Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller reflects on highs and lows of 2023

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller reflects on highs and lows in 2023

Mayor Tim Keller says the solutions he's been working toward during his six years in office are finally starting to fall into place.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s hard to sum up 12 months in Albuquerque in one sentence, but if Mayor Tim Keller had to:

“2023 I think is where we’ve seen the ship turn the right direction,” said Keller. 

Keller says the solutions he’s been working toward during his six years in office are finally starting to fall into place. 

“Instead of just saying, ‘Oh, these are tough times.’ Now we say, ‘Yeah, we know, and help is on the way,’” said Keller. 

Starting with the Gateway Center for our homeless. This time last year, vital services were supposed to be months away. 

“The Respite Center and the Medical Triage Center, which has to do with our mental and behavioral situations, the most dangerous that are on the streets, and the 24/7 emergency dropoffs, those are all coming online in just a few months at the end of the winter,” Keller said.

At the end of 2023, none of them up and running.

“It’s one word: asbestos. It totally held us back an additional year,” said Keller. 

City crews found asbestos in the construction zone in March. It added time and cost to the project’s schedule.

“Our goal was 2025 to help 1,000 people a day, we can still hit that goal,” Keller said. 

Keller says homelessness and crime have sat at the top of the city’s priority list for years now. 2023 was no different. 

“This is the first year in, I think I’m going to say roughly 10 years, where we can say that most crime categories are going down,” Keller said. 

APD leaders say the homicide rate is down 22% from 2022. Felony warrant clearance is up almost 30%, and APD is coming close to 80,000 traffic citations in 2023. 

“Crime in general is down. We have not been able to say that in years. Homelessness, we have help on the way with the Gateway coming online. Again, we couldn’t say that last year. And then we have our new department, that ACS Department, that’s up and running,” Keller said. 

ACS is the Albuquerque Community Safety Department. Data show it has taken more than 20,000 calls away from APD so far in 2023. 

Giuli Frendak: “You still see the comments, you see the complaints, you see our news stories. Do you feel like it’s tougher for the public to keep up with that maybe successful outlook that you see?”

“Oh absolutely. And I see the short term too, look you still drive around our city, you see whether it’s the camps, or you see the abandoned buildings, you see the challenges that we’re having. So I acknowledge those problems. What’s different this year is we have answers lined up for next year,” said Keller.

Economic developments lined up for the next several. Maxeon announced it’s bringing a $1 billion wind turbine manufacturing plant to Mesa Del Sol. The project will create 2,000 new jobs.

“There’s gonna be probably 20,000 people living out at Mesa Del Sol in 10 years. So that’s what I say when our city is transforming. We are growing up, and we are achieving, I think, that promise to be an urban center for healthcare for entertainment, soccer stadium, you know, for all of these things,” Keller said. 

Keller says he believes we are one year closer to the Albuquerque we all want to see. 

“We have a clear path forward, and we know what we’re doing,” said Keller.