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Santa Fe City Council approves $6.5M in cuts

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The Santa Fe City Council unanimously approved around $6.5 million in cuts to various capital outlay projects across the city, part of the city’s attempt to address ongoing financial troubles.

A planned fire station to be built near South Meadows Road and N.M. 599 will face the largest decrease, a little more than $6.1 million. The design portion of the fire station has been completed for months, with only construction of the building remaining.

Two other capital outlay projects actually received sizable increases in their allocated budgets from the city.

The Public Safety Department secured an extra $556,000 for a replacement of the department’s radio system, bringing the total funding to $2.56 million. The extra funding will to go toward a Computer Aided Dispatch system, city documents say.

The other increase went to the Municipal Recreation Complex, bringing the total allocated for improvements there to $1.5 million, a 20% increase.

Plans for field lighting and rehabilitation have been scrapped, and the MRC will instead have its sprinkler system completely redone.

During a Public Works Committee meeting June 8, when the cuts were first proposed, councilors said the new irrigation system would save the city money in the long run.

Councilor Roman Abeyta had said the increase in funding for the MRC coincided with cuts to improvements at SWAN Park totaling $250,000, since funding for the park was already insufficient.

“Instead of just having the remaining money just sit there until we had enough to do something else substantial (at SWAN Park), we were OK with it being moved for this other purpose,” Abeyta said at the June 8 meeting.

Another cut of about $437,000 came to scheduled improvements to the City Hall building, a 72% decrease. The renovations would have gone toward the city’s Land Use office and multiple HVAC improvements, both of which will continue in a much smaller scope.

The city made a cut of $356,687 to a project at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center, which included repainting the center’s pool room and the removal of pool tiles. City officials have been mulling a possible decision to eliminate the center’s ice rink, as well, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

The Southside Library will have $25,000 less for removal of its rainwater harvesting system.

In May, the city announced it expected a $100 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2021, due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic that led to a contraction in city revenues. Budget hearings on how the shortfall will be covered are expected to take place later this month.

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