Last Friday, Mayor Tim Keller was joined by several officers from APD to respond to funding allocated by the recent Legislative session to the city of Albuquerque. Although Mayor Keller acknowledged that funding fell short of what was requested, he noted that it was a promising start and encouraged a special legislative session to further review the approved budget.
“This was definitely a session that moved us forward,” Keller said. “We gave it all we got, and the outcome was a mixed bag. The state is fundamentally responsible for key aspects of the criminal justice system. We’re grateful for the progress we made and the MCI items that passed, but we know this doesn’t mean we have justice for victims of violence, it doesn’t close the revolving door of crime and it doesn’t mean we’re going to rest in pursuing the help with homelessness and crime that we need.”
Alburquerque received $1.7 million in recurring funds to expand Albuquerque’s Violence Intervention program in the city and a new $9 million fund to expand the program statewide and further support its work in the city. The most significant funding allocation was in $50 million in capital outlay allocated to Albuquerque for infrastructure priorities. This includes $15 million towards road improvements, street safety and traffic calming, along with $3 million to construct a facility for the Albuquerque Community Safety Department at the intersection of Kathryn Ave and San Mateo Blvd SE.
Additional funding includes $12 million for repairs, improvements, and construction of community centers, libraries, museums, and senior centers around the city. The Keller Administration’s marquee project, the Gateway Center and Gibson Health Center received $421,000, while $455,000 was afforded to construct new affordable housing in the city and $225,000 for supportive housing renovation.
Keller also noted that because Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city and economic driver, Albuquerque’s problems are not entirely isolated to the metropolitan area, but should be perceived as a statewide problem. This includes crime and infrastructure.
“No single person, no single office, no single jurisdiction can single-handily fix the criminal justice system,” Keller noted about the difficulties facing the state. “We still have much, much farther to go,” Keller emphasized.