What Albuquerque’s Next Mayor and City Council Can Do to Turn City’s Struggling Economy Around

(Albuquerque, NM) – The City of Albuquerque faces serious challenges. With the election for mayor and control of city council scheduled for October 3, it is clear that “the economy” and “crime” are the two issues of most importance to residents.

To assist candidates, the Rio Grande Foundation has outlined a detailed plan to improve Albuquerque’s fiscal condition and thus boost economic development and reallocate resources to effective crime-fighting. Ideas contained in “Fixing Albuquerque: Fiscal Policy” include:

  • Right-size and re-evaluate employee compensation to more closely reflect private-sector reality. Beginning with a comprehensive study and analysis of municipal employment, city councilors and the next mayor must streamline the bureaucracy;
  • Reduce the number of government-owned, city-run, taxpayer-financed facilities such as the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum and the Albuquerque International Sunport. Each of these facilities could at the very least be managed far more efficiently by private-sector providers. In some cases the facilities can be sold off completely;
  • Albuquerque is among the minority of cities to not rely on private-sector providers for city-owned golf courses and solid-waste collection/disposal. For example, Rio Rancho’s trash is handled by Waste Management, Inc. and the City of Cincinnati’s municipal golf courses are managed by private contractors.
  • Nearly 40 percent of the 165 American zoos accredited by the American Zoological Association—among them, zoos in Fort Worth, Cincinnati, New Orleans, San Diego, and Jackson, Mississippi—are run by private, nonprofit societies.
  • Albuquerque’s poorly focused government and bloated payroll is illustrated by a lack of clear, simple, and achievable goals. The city’s “Goal Areas, Goal Statements and Desired Community or Customer Conditions” is a mish-mash of random and even conflicting objectives that often have little to do with making Albuquerque or any other city thrive.

The Rio Grande Foundation will send “Fixing Albuquerque: Fiscal Policy” to all active candidates for city office this fall, and hopes that it will form the basis for some hard discussions about streamlining and improving services and the cost of city government.