ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Early voting begins in October, and Bernalillo County is making its final push, asking voters to approve a number of bond questions. One would give nearly $13 million to public safety projects, without raising taxes.
Director of Fleets and Facilities for Bernalillo County Jared Divett said one of the biggest projects is the new Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) substation in the northeast heights. About $2 million would go to creating the 7,000-square-foot facility, which would cost a total of $12 million.
“There’s always a need for more Sheriff Department’s presence in any neighborhood, and we think that will really help us serve the northeast heights as a point of operation for the BCSO,” said Divett.
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Other big projects include two new fire stations. The county plans on building Station 37 on the West Mesa.
“It is going to be more expensive than we anticipated in the past, and that’s just how the construction market is right now,” said Divett. “We’re looking at making a really nice facility, not going to have a lot of features that are unnecessary. We’re really cognizant of cost savings, and not adding things that aren’t going to be used in any of our facilities.”
Officials are also looking to build a new station 36 near Edith and Osuna. Divett said the current Station 36 will soon no longer be usable.
“So, rather than invest a lot of money what’s quite literally a sinking station, it’s actually sinking into the ground, and rather than invest money in trying to make that operable for long term. It’s fine now for the next couple years, it’ll be ok while we design Fire Station 36, but in the long term, it will need to be discontinued as a fire station,” he said.
The county is also looking to buy 10 more BCSO units and about two multi-use, heavy equipment vehicles. “The better our equipment is, the better we’re going to be able to take care of the roads,” said Divett.
If the bond is approved, $2.25 million would go towards equipment improvements at Metropolitan Detention Center. Another $700,000 would go towards continued renovations at the juvenile detention center.
“Those pods, we’re trying to make them more livable, less institutionalized. Of course, these youth, we want them to feel rehabilitated and not necessarily like they’re in a detention facility,” said Divett.
Other projects in the pipeline include $400,000 for a new BCSO helicopter hanger, $150,000 expanding the courthouse, and $525,000 to go towards building a STEM early childhood learning center at Explora Museum.
“If we want to say the same, then yeah, we wouldn’t necessarily need this money, but, if we want to make improvements, if we want to be able to improve what we’re able to offer in the county, then these funds are needed,” he said.