ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque city council passed an amended version of the city’s budget for 2023. City councilors say it’s larger than any other budget they’ve had in the past.
Albuquerque’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023 is roughly $1.4 billion dollars— up about 200 million dollars from the previous budget. “I do think that that is acceptable because we have inflation rates, we noticed the different growing costs everywhere, but the good news is that our GRT rates for taxes and what is coming in for revenues has also increased,” says Brook Bassan, city councilor for District 4.
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The bulk of this budget comes from sales and property taxes. The budget includes a five percent pay raise for city workers and some one-time incentives—between $500 and $2,000 dollars for employees making under $100,000 a year.
Approximately one-third of the budget is going towards Albuquerque Police Department—$255 million dollars—which city councilors say they hope helps fill some of the vacancies in the department and retain current law enforcement. Albuquerque Fire Rescue (AFR) is also getting a one-time payment of a million dollars to put towards funding and paramedic programming.
Additionally, the city council approved $15 million dollars in recurring funds for housing vouchers meant to help the homeless—or those on the brink of it—pay their rent. “We have an emergency here in Albuquerque and so that $15 million dollars in vouchers recurring every year will be very very helpful. Certainly not enough but its a step in the right direction,” says Tammy Fiebelkorn, city councilor for District 7.
The Albuquerque Community Safety Department—which is in place to respond 24/7 to calls of addiction, inebriation, homelessness, and other issues not requiring police or EMTs—is nearly doubling its department funding from $7.7 million to $15 million.
AFR, which has been top in the nation for medical calls per capita, is getting some new help from this budget as well. They will get 29 new positions funded, all on the medical side. 16 of those will be paramedics to work on rescues in the southeast part of the city, which sees the highest number of medical calls.
There will also be 13 more positions funded for people to fill in for firefighters who decide to go to paramedic school. Traditionally, those students would be taken out of the mix during their year of study but these additional positions will make sure the department is fully-staffed during those times.
A department spokesperson says they are still working out logistics for the extra medics. They are hoping to add more than one rescue in the high-volume stations. At present, each station is equipped with just one.
While this is not a complete list of all budget items for the 2023 fiscal year, city councilors say the goal of the entire budget is to take care of city employees and address long-standing issues in the community.