My fellow community members, in this installment of my regular newspaper column I want to provide you some information about the city’s budget, an update on the District 5 city councilor vacancy and a reminder and invitation to join me for a very fun upcoming event.

Recently, the Rio Rancho Governing Body approved and submitted to the state Rio Rancho’s balanced and final budget for the current fiscal year. The key takeaway from this year’s budget, and those in recent years, is that your local government is being very conservative when it comes to revenue estimates and consequently is not making spending commitments it’s not sure it can pay for down the road.

As a result of this very sound financial and management approach led by City Manager Keith Riesberg and the financial services department staff that has been supported by the governing body, when revenues have exceeded estimates, this has created unencumbered one-time money we can put to use where it’s needed most.

For example, as part of last year’s budget when additional revenue materialized, it went to emergency repair work on the Idalia Road tributary crossing ($500,000) and roadway improvements to Grande Boulevard and Ridgecrest Drive ($400,000).

As a result of smart spending practices and financial forecasting that puts the city in the plus column and not the negative column, the budget the city just finalized has approximately $1.2 million in one-time money that is available and not already allocated.

In the coming months, decisions will be made on how best to utilize this funding for public services. As I have consistently done since becoming mayor, I will advocate that additional revenue such as this is put toward needed road work, as this is what citizens have consistently communicated is a top priority.

• District 5 City Councilor Shelby Smith’s last day in office was July 31. He resigned from his position, which he was elected to in April 2014, for family reasons out of state.

I did not know Shelby prior to the 2014 election season. Through campaigning and serving together on the governing body for a little over two years, I had the privilege to get to know and work with a man of the highest integrity. His unwavering commitment to always do what was right and desire to see Rio Rancho prosper will be missed.

As mayor, I have the task of appointing and seeking governing body approval for Smith’s replacement. I am pleased to report that 13 District 5 residents have applied for the position. I am currently in the process of interviewing applicants and plan to make a final decision no later than the end of August.

While filling Smith’s shoes will not be an easy task for his replacement, I believe any of the 13 applicants who sought this job and to serve and represent the people of District 5 will be up to the challenge.