Councilors discuss proposal to prioritize projects in underserved neighborhoods

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There was a spirited debate at Albuquerque City Council Wednesday over a proposal to consider the income and racial makeup of a neighborhood when deciding where to spend money on improvements. “Especially now as COVID has ravaged our city that we do seek out the outdoors and our green spaces for refuge, and yet many of our communities of color lack access to that,” said City Councilor Lan Sena.

The proposal from Councilors Klarissa Peña and Lan Sena would require the city to prioritize projects in areas deemed “underserved.” Wednesday night other councilors argued the city already considers these factors through its Office of Equity and Inclusion.

They also expressed concern the proposal could backfire and actually divert money away from needed projects. Some wanted to see more specific language to make sure districts that largely do not qualify as underserved don’t get left behind. “How am I supposed to go back to my constituents and say I voted for something that it very likely could be that we’re not going to see coming back into our own particular district,” said City Councilor Brook Bassan.

Councilors tabled the discussion so the sponsors can consider reworking the proposal.

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