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Reprioritizing capital projects could save Santa Fe $7 million

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Facing a projected $100 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year, Santa Fe city government’s Public Works and Utilities Committee on Monday unanimously approved a staff recommendation to reprioritize projects, cutting more than $7 million in capital project spending.

The city’s projected deficit is due to the coronavirus outbreak, which is suppressing gross receipts tax revenue and is expected to continue to do so into the next fiscal year, beginning July 1. GRT accounts for about 70% of the city’s operating budget revenue.

Most of the savings – $6.1 million – would come from postponing the construction of a 14,000-square-foot fire station near South Meadows Road and the N.M. 599 bypass. Design of the fire station has been completed. The city and Santa Fe County’s fire departments will work together to coordinate emergency service coverage in the area, according to city documents.

Other savings would be realized by reducing the scope of scheduled improvements at City Hall, including renovation of the Land Use Office and HVAC upgrades, which would save $437,000, and the Genoveva Chavez Community Center, saving $357,000.

Another $100,000 would be cut from the Constituent Services Department for upgrades to its Customer Relationship Management System. The department created a new system in-house, according to a city memo. Skipping repairs to the rainwater harvesting system at the Southside Library would save $25,000.

The scope of improvements at SWAN Park would be reduced, saving $250,000, but that money would be allocated to the Municipal Recreation Complex.

City Councilor Ramon Abeyta said he and Councilor Chris Rivera, who both represent the area where the parks are, believe the $350,000 left in the budget for capital improvements at SWAN Park was enough to complete the second-phase design.

Reallocating the $250,000 to the MRC will help pay for an irrigation system for the soccer fields.

Councilor Rivera, who chairs the Public Works and Utilities Committee, said the new sprinkler system would result in a significant savings.

The proposal is scheduled to be up for approval by the full City Council on June 24.

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