ABQ City Council to Act on 2019 Budget at Monday Meeting

After having postponed action through its March meetings, Albuquerque City Council will meet next Monday, April 1st for final Council action on the City’s 2019 Two-year Capital Budget. Here’s the meeting agenda. And here is a revealing breakdown of request proposals for Department of Municipal Development Streets authorizations throughout the proposal and approval process.

Go Bond DMD Streets Budget Options
You might need to click on the image to bring it to a viewable size

One could teach a semester-long class unpacking all the details and backstory illustrated by the categories and figures above, and I am extremely unqualified to teach such a class. A few details I can pass along is that the “original dept. request” are figures from a draft proposal that’s been around for a few months, while “Admin proposed amount” and the two “sub” columns are the result of discussion, arm-twisting, and the sausage-making of government over the last month or so.

As Better Burque focuses on walking and cycling, we’ll briefly do the same with all the juicy information above, particularly where figures differ between proponents. One’s bike/ped eye immediately goes to “Trails & Bikeways (5% Mandate)” and is troubled by the lowering figures, but, as I understand it, that category is based on changing revenue figures and not whether the Council/Mayor/Councilor Jones (of “Jones Floor Sub 1”) is for or against such expenditures.

Instead, let me direct your eye to things like “Median and Interstate Landscaping” where the Administration is now proposing $6 million while DMD originally asked for $1.6 million and Council just at/over half of $6 million. While not a multi-modal category, the Admin request, if granted, would sure suck a lot of funds for other things, including those that impact walkers and cyclists.

Notice too, the following:

  • $100,000 “Complete Streets East Central from Louisiana to Tramway” looks to have gone away since the original request and appears gone. Given this stretch of road suffers from one of the very highest rates of pedestrian fatality in the City, this is troubling.
  • ADA and Neighborhood Traffic Management Programs (NTMP) still have the embarrassingly paltry $400,000 each dedicated to them, something we pointed out in a post a month or so ago. NTMP’s low figure is unfortunate, but the ADA budget figure is litigiously laughable. Pathetically unlawful. We’ll be spending far, far, far more than this figure in legal costs sometime very, very, very soon.
  • Tijeras Bridge Replacement hasn’t fare well over the process, with the original $4 million request whittled to 1/4th that by the time of the Jones Floor Sub. Maybe there’s another funding source in line for this project, or maybe the new bridge will just be made of Styrofoam or something.
  • Pavement Signs and Markings, on the other hand, gets a big jump in subsequent proposals, perhaps indicating…well, perhaps indicating a great many things. Again, I’m not expert enough to teach/speculate on this.
  • Then there’s Mayor Keller’s $2.5 million for a Balloon Fiesta Park Slip Ramp. I’m also far from an expert on the subject of Balloon Fiesta, and will just point out that other ideas for bringing more Fiesta goes with less traffic congestion are out there. Really. And they wouldn’t cost $2.5 million and be used only nine days a year.

The bullets above only highlight a few of the nearly countless interesting aspects of what Council will be voting on next Monday regarding the Capital Budget. It should be an fascinating meeting next week, but the complexities of budgeting and the mind-numbing nature typical of budget discussions might somewhat mask the importance and the millions of dollars we’re talking about.

In the meantime, have a good weekend, everybody. Make sure everything important to you is nailed down in this wind.

 

 

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