Budget Highlights

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By Arin McKenna

Community Services

• Two full-time vacancies in recreation (80 hours) and two part-time in library vacancies (50 hours) will not be filled. Current hours will be maintained at facilities such as the library and pool, but there could be longer lines at the service desks. The self-check system at the library should mitigate that.
• The library’s collection budget will be reduced from $248,000 to $214,000. The library normally buys between 11,000 and 14,000 items, that will be reduced by approximately 7,000 items or 750 eBooks.
• Supervision at bear camp will be reduced from a 7-to-1 ratio to a 12-to-1 ratio. The State requirement is 15-to-1 for registered day care centers. (Bear Camp is not a registered day care center.)
• Casual and temp hours will be reduced in the Parks Division, so there will be a little less weeding, slightly longer grass and potentially less trash pickup on weekends.
Watering will also be reduced to three times a week, which will likely result in browning of grass.
• Overtime at the cemetery will be cut back, so all weekend burials will be curtailed except those dictated by religion. Fertilizer will also be reduced, which will impact turf quality.
County Courts
• The existing budget is reduced by $20,500, but the courts are asking for funding for electronic monitoring, drug testing and new training required by the Supreme Court. All of those require an upfront expenditure, but are reimbursed through fees or outside funding.
Fire Department
• Able to meet 10 percent reduction, largely through cutting back on supplies. Very little additional cuts were possible due to agreements with LANL, the need to train an inexperienced workforce and the need to outfit 25 new vehicles that were ordered before the current financial downturn.
Police Department
• Very little reduction possible. There was an increase of $225,000 due to salaries and benefits. They were able to balance that with reductions elsewhere and by reorganizing and consolidating some services as people retired.
The department is asking for volunteers to help with administration needs, preparing meals at the detention center and fingerprinting.