Will APD be a beneficiary of Albuquerque tax hike?
March 06, 2018 10:19 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Soon, Albuquerque businesses will be hit with a new tax – one city councilors call crucial to keeping our streets safe.
They passed the proposal 8-1 Monday night to raise the gross receipt tax by three-eighths of a percentage point, with the extra money set to go to public safety.
The vote passed days after Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier laid out his plan to hire 400 new officers over the next four years, and he cited this tax as a way to pay for it.
But according to the city’s budget, APD isn’t the only entity that makes up public safety. The Animal Welfare Department, Civilian Police Oversight Agency, Fire Department, Family Community Service, and Technology and Innovation also fall under that broad umbrella.
But Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, said he’s confident hiring more officers will be a top priority.
“If we see that it’s not going to staffing, that it’s not going to public safety, if we identify that we got duped in this process, we’ll be the first ones to tell the public,” he said.
How much money will actually be allocated to APD remains to be seen. While passing the tax is a major move, city councilors also deferred an ordinance that would require the mayor to make his first priority fully staffing the Albuquerque Police Department and require an independent recruiting competitiveness study immediately.
However, Willoughby said that move isn't necessary.
“I don’t think we need a study to state what the obvious is, right? You can do a Google search and understand that the Albuquerque Police Department is not competitive,” he said.
Councilors voted to require a minimum of 60 percent of the new tax to go to public safety. The rest of the money will go to the general fund.
“I'm encouraged that everybody's speaking the same language," Willoughby said. "For the first time, they're being honest with the community about the state of the police department."
Updated: March 06, 2018 10:19 PM
Created: March 06, 2018 09:58 PM
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