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Metro Beat: Mayor finishes city-funded economic development trip to Germany

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mayor Richard Berry is returning this week from a city-funded trip to Germany.

He and Gary Oppedahl, Albuquerque’s director of economic development, traveled to Bremen, Germany, to support five local companies at a trade show and make other connections.

It cost about $2,800 each for Berry and Oppedahl to be there.

International travel is rare for Albuquerque mayors, aside from the occasional trip to Mexico.

As for this week’s travel, Berry said he met with executives from Sennheiser, a German company that operates a manufacturing plant in Albuquerque, to thank the company and pledge support for expansion here.

The mayor’s trip coincided with similar travel by five companies from New Mexico. They attended the Hannover Messe Industrial Technology Trade Show, the largest event of its kind, according to the mayor’s office.

Participating were Skorpios Technologies, PJ Woodlands LLC, InnovASIC, Pajarito Powder and Advanced Decon Technologies.

Big cars for big officers

More police officers may soon be cruising around Albuquerque in SUVs, not smaller cars.

Police Chief Gorden Eden told city councilors recently that some officers are simply too big to fit comfortably in a Dodge Charger, a popular sedan APD has been buying for officers.

Instead, Eden said, he favors moving to the Ford Explorer, an SUV that offers more room. The vehicle is tall with big windows, he said, improving driver visibility.

They’re cheaper to buy, too, Eden said in a recent budget hearing.

The mayor’s budget proposal for next year includes about $1.5 million to replace 34 police vehicles. That’s well short of the city’s goal of replacing about 90 police cars a year.

Balancing act

Bernalillo County commissioners managed to balance the county budget – after starting about $19 million in the hole – without layoffs or a tax increase.

But some of the solutions they settled on are temporary.

The county, for example, found some money to support next year’s budget by tapping into unspent pots of money, such as a fund that supported the old Downtown jail. The problem, of course, is that commissioners won’t necessarily be able to find similar one-time sources next time.

They’re aware of that, obviously, but there weren’t many easy choices to make.

Dan McKay:

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