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Mayor Berry Signs $467 Million Budget

Journal Staff Report
          Mayor Richard Berry signed Albuquerque's $467 million budget into law Thursday, clearing the way for city spending on basic operations in the coming year.
        The plan doesn't raise taxes or fees, and it provides enough money for small pay raises to most city employees. City workers had their pay cut on average about 2 percent last summer, but those making under $50,000 could see increases of about 1 percent under the new budget plan, subject to union negotiations.
        "All in all, I believe it's a fair budget," Berry said in a news conference.
        The plan was adopted 5-4 along party lines last week, with no support from council Democrats. It was sponsored by Councilor Brad Winter, who, like Berry, is a Republican.
        The most controversial aspect of the measure is a move to shift $3 million out of the operations budget to fund a new capital program aimed at building quality-of-life projects. Berry said the city should have enough money to pay for operating the new projects. In some cases, they could be operated in conjunction with private companies that would charge user fees. In others, such as building a new bike loop around the city, little money would be required once the project was built. Projects haven't been selected yet.

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