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Parks to play in, emergency medical folks and community centers were all part of the Bernalillo County Commission fiscal year 2022 budget at its April 6 regular meeting. This and a bunch of other business has been taken care of by the commission during its last several meetings. 

Follow The Money

Some government reporters get a little giddy, others a little nauseous, when the word “budget” shows up on a government agenda. This reporter falls on the giddy side when it comes to following where tax and other monies come from and then get spent on things for the public.

The $351.8 million Bernalillo County 2022 general fund budget shows an increase of about $12 million in funds to dole out. The money comes from mainly gross and property taxes, with grants and other funding filling in the gaps.

The county bean-counters are hopeful that the unpredictable financial impact of the COVID pandemic will go away and the economy will continue to bounce back quicker than expected. Along with the general fund budget there is the non-general fund budget, which adds about $198 million and a carry-over budget for multi-year projects of about $166 million. So as one can see, there is quite a bit of cha-ching moving in and out of the county’s coffers.

Some of the items in the budget include a 2 percent across-the-board raise for all worker bees. Twenty new employees will be added, mainly to the busy animal care and fire/rescue departments. The largest chunk of money goes to the Metropolitan Detention Center, where just under $66 million will be spent. Another $10.6 million will go to providing medical care to adult inmates. The juvenile lock up will get $8.1 million to house our youth offenders. The Sheriff’s Office gets $54.9 million, with another million for deputies’ tricked-out vehicles. To put out our fires and come to our emergencies, $27.2 million will fund the fire and rescue department. Information technology is kind of a big-ticket item and will get $18.9 million to keep the county hooked up. Our parks and recreation will get $11 million to get us outside and doing fun stuff. A million bucks will go to the Gateway Center to help support our homeless neighbors. The current fiscal year ends June 30, and this budget goes into effect July 1. Check out all the budget goodies at bernco.gov.

Busy Bees

Over the last month or so of meetings, the Commission has been busy. Here are some of the things the governing body has done: accepted $1 million to do upgrades to Isleta Boulevard; approved helping out the city to buy the beautiful Poole property along the west side of the Rio Grande; approved naming the open space at 905 Espanola NE the Marble Open Space; took a grant for about $680 to help incarcerated parents and their children; approved $294,00 for a contract with AXON Tasers Service to provide sheriff’s deputies Tasers; approved a grant for $500,000 for MA Camera; approved three more behavioral health employees; awarded a contract to extend water and sewer to Isleta Amphitheater; approved placing a plaque at the Second Judicial Courthouse Downtown to honor deceased employees; gave the greenlight to start the contract for the planned Woodward Road improvements and gave the thumbs up to buy more Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for the fire and rescue department.

Other Doings

The county put a new fire department ladder truck into service at its South Valley Station 389 off Rio Bravo and Prince where last year the awesome fire and rescue folks took in 3,196 calls for service. The old detention center at Fifth and Roma Downtown is in the process of coming down to make room for a parking lot.

For the next four weeks the county and a lot of other people are presenting the El Camino Real Trade Fair. This virtual event takes place Friday evenings and Saturday mornings for the next four weeks. Check it out at facebook.com/elcaminorealtradefair/.

The county and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, the City of Albuquerque, the South Valley Regional Association of Acequias, Center for Social Sustainable Systems and the Water Authority joined together to create a future educational outdoor site. The site, near Central and the Rio Grande River, celebrates, preserves and protects the historical and agricultural traditions of the acequias that run from Cochiti Pueblo south to San Antonio. The Acequia Madre de Atrisco is one of the oldest irrigation canals in the United States.  Some call the waterways sacred, according to a county news blurb. Water began flowing again through the ditches and acequias on April 1 of this year.

The Great American Cleanup happens the weekend of April 24 to 25. This is the largest community improvement program that happens every spring. The city is involved as well and will provide trash bags and gloves to help with the cleanup. Email milaromero@cabq.gov for more information.

Little Helpers

The Commission approved the appointments of folks wanting to help. This week’s community volunteer include: Ivonne I. Nelson to County Planning; Tom Ruiz to the Detention Facility Management Oversight Advisory Board; Sean Kesani, Paul Chavez, Kevin Sanders and Robert Doucette to the Code of Conduct Board; Lina Ramos, Javier Sandoval, Tina Tomlin and Kim Jackson to the Arts Board and David Atkins to the Library Board; Tysen Patterson, Bob Cleavall to the Youth Sports Commission.

The Bernalillo County Commission will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, April 22 at 5pm. You can watch the meeting on Gov-TV Channel 16, or live-stream on the county’s website at bernco.gov.

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