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CITY BUDGET DOWN 21% AT 26 MILLION

 


City Budget DOWN 21%

at 26 MIllion

by Patricia Lynn Stuart, TALON

At the Tuesday, May 22nd, Aztec City Commission budget workshop City completed the preliminary budget for submission to state of NM.

Due to the downturn in local economy affected by the lack of drilling in the San Juan Basin, Gross Receipt Taxes have dwindled since about 2009.

The City Commission is diligently working on balancing the budget with great consideration of the affects it may have on the staff and community. The goal is to rebuild the General Fund and Reserve. Due to 2009 decline in Gross Receipt Tax, the Reserve has been used for operating costs. Some of the considerations are reductions in staff relating almost exceptionally to delaying hiring. One part time position has been cut after the Splash Park hours were changed from 10am -10pm to 10am - 8pm. There was less need for that part time Parks and Recreation position since water testing could be done during the reduced hours. There is also a proposal for an increase of utility, water and sewer fees, though the commission is still discussing the most fair and efficient way to implement those measures.

The total budget for Fiscal Year 2019 is $26,529,193, versus 33,249,183 last year, representing a 21% decrease year over year. The budgeted expenditures for the new budget are; General Fund $7,280,395 and Joint Utility $13,172,485.

The City of Aztec Finance Director, Kathy Lamb said to TALON “We just aren’t growing at the same rate” Significant expenditures that are part of the proposed budget are the Aztec Arterial Phase II Project and the North Project.

The Aztec Arterial Phase II Project is the new truck route. This route will connect with the Phase IA Project which is the piece of roadway from Navajo Dam Road that provides access to Tiger Reservoir and the Tiger Sports Complex. The multiple budget year Aztec Arterial Phase II Project would not be feasible to delay due to an increase in cost and time limited grant and legislative funding. According to Lamb, “It’s a large construction project and the longer we put it off, the more it costs. Those costs aren’t just construction related, but you’ve got staff resources and the time that’s expended on those types of projects. As regulations change, you take the chance of having to redo pieces of the design and such. So, there is a cost associated with that.” With the approval of the Department of Transportation, this project will go to bid this fall and construction can begin in the Spring of 2019. The route will take approximately 24 months to complete.

One project the commission has talked about delaying is the North Main Project. This is the open area between the Subway and Anytime Fitness north of Main and Aztec Blvd called the North Main Corridor. Lamb continued, “The commission has asked that we look at trying to do some phase of that project. One problem with delaying the North Project is that grant funding could be lost” if the City of Aztec does not proceed with the project in a timely manner. “Grant funding is very specific. The first phase to be looked at is constructing what is referred to as the plaza and transit stop.” The funding that was attained is specific to the transit stop and the plaza. Not included in that funding are the utilities, public restrooms and access road construction. “That’s where the struggle is. What phase of the project do we build that will utilize the grant funding and still have some type of viable project” but not spend more than the grant money allotted?

Both of these projects utilize grants which must be used within a specified time period. If they are not used, they can expire and the funding would be lost. However, the Arterial Phase II Project has priority due to the major safety concerns of traffic moving through downtown. Sharing her concern, Lamb explained, “Trucks side swipe each other. We have had pedestrian deaths and injuries on Main Street. Main Street was never designed for that mixture of traffic” which includes big trucks on the narrow street. Also of concern is the deterioration of historic buildings due to the vibrations caused by the heavy trucks. Finance Director Lamb finished by relating that re-routing truck traffic with the Aztec Arterial Phase II Project also provides opportunities and potential possibilities for Main Street.

The submittal of a proposed annual budget to the Department of Finance and Administration Local Government Division (LGD) was required June 1st, 2018. A final budget, including a formal resolution, by the public body must be submitted to LGD no later than July 31st, 2018.

Upcoming Scheduled Commission Meetings

• June 12: Commission Meeting, 6 pm

• June 26: Commission Meeting, 6 pm

Stay tuned for updates from the next Budget workshop.

CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION ON WEBSITE:

http://www.aztecnews.com or

on talon facebook pages

Q:

Is this year’s budget up or down over prior year? How much?

What significant expenditures ( projects ) are part of the proposed budget?

Could any of budgeted projects be delayed into a future year ? How would projects be impacted by a delay ?

 

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