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Commission OKs budget, $1 million increase

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BERNALILLO — The Sandoval County Commission on Thursday approved the fiscal 2015 county budget, which features salary increases for non-contract employees and funds to pay for more polling locations during the 2014 primary and general elections.

The $85 million budget, up from $84 million last year, includes $200,000 for an economic development organization, $500,000 to upgrade information technology, $200,000 to replace the telephone system and funds for at least a dozen new patrol vehicles.

County employees not on contracts will receive a 3 percent salary increase. The county has set aside additional funds for union employees, pending the resolution of labor negotiations, County Manger Phil Rios said during a budget hearing earlier this month.

The county budget remains preliminary until the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration approves it.

In other matters, County Assessor Tom Garcia presented the annual report for his office. He said the county will report to the state this year a $40 million increase in property values. His reappraisal program, which uncovered much of that property, shifts to Rio Rancho in November.

The county detention center will install 66 additional beds this week, in time for the expected increase this summer in the number of inmates, said Al Casamento, detention center director.

Metro Detention Center in Bernalillo County and the City of Rio Rancho each agreed to pay $5 more per day for housing inmates at the county detention center, Rios said. He said he was still negotiating with the U.S. Marshals Service, which often sends federal inmates.

The commission approved $50,000 from the indigent fund this year, as well as $50,000 from the general fund next year, for a couple of free dental care events at Santa Ana Star Center in the coming year. Low-income individuals will be eligible for the first event, with the second one open to all county residents.

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