Albuquerque City Council passes $1.4B city budget

Albuquerque City Council passes $1.4B city budget – 5 p.m. update

The Albuquerque City Council passed a $1.4 billion city budget Monday night. It's the largest budget in the city's history.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque City Council passed a $1.4 billion city budget Monday night. It’s the largest budget in the city’s history.

“Number one is our city is growing and so you need city government to grow with it,” Mayor Tim Keller said.

The budget is around a 2.3% increase from last year’s budget.

“Our budget should go up every year unless we’re in a situation where we don’t have the funding, the budget is balanced. Every budget I have set down has been balanced,” Keller said.

The city council’s final version diverted more than $1 million from homeless funding, arguing not all the money was being spent. Keller says it just means they’ll have to ask for more money later on.

“Mid-year, we’re going to be coming back and we were saying we need the housing voucher funding, we need funding also for cleanups and we’ll be asking for those,” Keller said. “We have the council’s verbal commitment. So I hope they make good on that this summer.”

City Council President Dan Lewis was the lone vote against approval.

“This budget has fees, fee increases all over the budget,” Lewis said. “That just increased the cost of our services to the families in our city that need it the most. And so this is not the time to be raising, you know, fees and costs to the people in Albuquerque. This city has more money than it ever has before.”

Keller disagrees and says the administration has been transparent.

Some of those fees include raising prices at the ABQ BioPark to $5 for out-of-state visitors, $2 for in-state adults, and $1 for children.

Councilors spent a lot of time Monday night focusing on how to eliminate a fee increase for swimming pools and aquatic activities. They decided to offset that with a $1 per round fee increase at golf courses.

Lewis also argues that the mayor’s administration isn’t transparent about where the money from the budget is going.

“The council staff found an organizational charter that wasn’t published… so about $3.5 million, 20 positions of unclassified people that report directly to the mayor, that were put in other departments and hidden throughout the budget,” Lewis said.

KOB 4 spoke to former state lawmaker Daymon Ely, who has been working with the city as a volunteer to help the growing homelessness crisis. He argues the city needs to put in more money, not less.

“Every four days, on average, somebody dies in the streets. So when you cut a budget for things like food, housing, medicine, it does two things. One, it sends the message to the Legislature, we’ve got money, we don’t need your help, which is not true. And second, it really could impact and make the problem worse,” Ely said.

The budget goes into effect July 1.

The full budget is available below.