The recommended budget for the 2024 fiscal year was released by City Manager Matt Geisel to Mayor Gregg Hull and city council on April 14.
“The Recommended Budget is a balanced budget and furthers the goals outlined in the City’s Strategic Plan. Staff projects a balanced five-year General Fund financial plan. This reflects the City’s continued efforts to achieve a structurally sound and sustainable long-term budget. Recurring revenues are projected to exceed recurring expenditures in each of the next five years. As a result, the ending fund balance is projected to meet or exceed the City’s 25 percent policy minimum for the next five fiscal years,” Geisel said in his letter to Hull and council.
As reflected in the City’s Strategic Plan, public safety remains a priority of the recommended budget. It encompasses 47.6% of the General Fund expenditures. This excludes transfers.
The budget focuses on safety, infrastructure, quality of life, economic viability and organizational vitality.
The safety budget allows for new positions in the Rio Rancho Police Department, including a sergeant position and new members for the Mariposa Neighborhood Fire Station, which is budgeted to be recommissioned.
The repair of faulty or broken street equipment and road repair phases are included in the infrastructure budget. This also includes some neighborhood streets, which is another priority with Hull.
The new Hub center is a big part of the quality of life budget and will be going into its next phases if passed. The budget for quality of life also includes improvements to city pools, libraries and the sports complex fields.
According to Geisel, the city’s economy has been difficult to forecast since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago. There hasn’t been any data to compare it to.
The 2024 total budget recommendation is $132,217,676. The General Fund total sources (including beginning fund balance and transfers) are projected to decrease by a net of 1.9% compared to the FY 2023 Adjusted Budget. This reduction is due to a lower projected beginning fund balance than in the FY 2023 Adjusted Budget. The city uses economic data from FOR-UNM to perform a regression analysis to forecast GRT. GRT revenue was expected to decline significantly due to pandemic-related business impacts. During the pandemic, the city lost an estimated $1.3 million in revenue stemming from reduced activities and services (e.g., recreation, aquatics, Rio Rancho Events Center, motor vehicle and public safety-related); however, while some sectors did decline, GRT for the past three years has far exceeded conservative and pessimistic estimates.
The budget includes a cost-of-living salary adjustment for employees as well.
The Recommended Budget and Capital Program will be reviewed by the Governing Body (mayor and city council) at a budget hearing on Friday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to noon at City Hall (3200 Civic Center Circle). The hearing will be streamed live and archived on the city’s website.
The full proposed budget can be viewed at city-rio-rancho-nm-budget-book.cleargov.com/9703/introduction/transmittal-letter.