Updated: December 31, 2020 01:51 PM
Created: December 30, 2020 09:44 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There’s a lot of issues Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said he’ll continue to address heading into the new year including COVID-19.
“But I want next year to be the year the crisis is over as oppose to the year,” he said.
During the pandemic, the city has used $150 million from the CARES Act to help small businesses, produce PPE and keep the city up and running.
In 2021, Keller said he plans on asking the legislature for help to help pay for the old Lovelace Hospital on Gibson so the city can turn it into a homeless shelter.
He also wants the state to help pay for mental health treatment for people living on the streets.
“We have to continue to push crime down,” said Keller.
Keller plans to create a new department to handle mental health calls with unarmed professionals.
He also plans to hire a new Albuquerque Police Department police chief in early 2021.
“This is another thing I hope to have done in the first quarter of 2021,” he said.
The process is moving on. We almost had 100 applicants,” Keller said.
“That was basically cut in half and that was based on qualifications. Frankly, half were not qualified for a city of our nature,” he said.
Keller also said the 100 new officers graduating the academy in 2021 will help make the streets safer.
Meanwhile, the city has taken steps to soften the pandemic’s blow when it comes to hurting the economy.
Keller said the city was able to keep New Mexicans employed during this pandemic by spending $170 million on construction.
“And a lot of it is long overdue but we’re finally getting it done,” he said.
“And it’s keeping people working and it’s also showing that we care about our city and we’re building even during a pandemic,” he added.
On top of construction, new companies will be bring new jobs to the city in 2021, according to Keller.
“We have announced over 4,000 jobs coming to Albuquerque through Netflix or Orion and a couple of other projects.”
Keller said Netflix jobs should start next year. Meanwhile, Orion, an aerospace firm, will break ground on a new campus in the city in 2021.
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