MediaRRObserver

FY ’17 city budget reflects ‘positive growth’

FROM THE MAYORS DESK
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Spring is a time for many things in Rio Rancho.

For local government it means reviewing and approving a budget that funds public services for the new fiscal year that begins on July 1.

The city budget contains the most important decisions your elected officials make on an annual basis. I am happy to say that this year’s budget reflects positive growth and encouraging progress in critical infrastructure.

The process by which the city adopts a budget begins with the city manager providing a recommended budget that encompasses all local government activities and services.

The mayor of Rio Rancho provides comments to the city manager regarding the recommended budget, the governing body (mayor and city councilors) reviews and discusses the recommended budget at public meetings, public input is taken, and then the governing body votes to adopt its single-most important policy document.

The recommended budget that is currently under review is projecting growth in the city’s gross receipts tax distribution (the city’s largest funding source) as compared to the previous year.

This is extremely positive and a reflection of the development we have experienced in many different areas of the local economy. From new businesses opening to residential development and job creation, Rio Rancho is diversifying and fortifying its economy for both the short- and long-term.

Whether it’s Intel or another business, many factors drive the private sector and economic development, which local government does not control.

Therefore, it’s logical for local government to focus on the areas we do control that can have a positive influence such as investment in public infrastructure.

By making improvements in this area, we can help spur more private-sector investment via business expansion and job creation, which in turn grow the tax base.

When this happens, local government has more revenue to meet the public service needs and wants of citizens for things such as public safety, parks and recreation, libraries, roads and much more.

Along these lines, I have recommended an increase to the proposed funding in the budget to the local economic development fund the city recently established.

This fund aids the city’s ability to recruit employers and close deals by way of infrastructure support for specific projects. I believe having a fund such as this helps send the message we have been working on so hard the past two years: “Rio Rancho is Open for Business.”

I cannot thank voters enough for overwhelmingly supporting the passage of a road bond question in March that will provide additional funding that will be applied toward reconstruction of High Resort Boulevard and Sara Road improvements.

The road bond and its continuation in future years is one piece of addressing Rio Rancho’s road needs puzzle and associated funding. During the budget review process, the governing body and city staff will discuss and explore other ideas on how we continue to make more headway on road funding.

The recommended budget along with my complete budget message can be viewed on the city website, rrnm.gov.

The budget review meetings are taking place at City Hall starting at 6 p.m. on May 3, 4 and 9.

The budget hearings are open to the public, and can be viewed on the city website or government cable channel 15.

The governing body will take public comment regarding the proposed budget during our May 11 and 25 meetings at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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