The fiscal year 2010 Budget was developed during one of the most challenging economic times in the history of the United States. The downturn in the national economy affected our key source of revenue, the Gross Receipts Tax. The Gross Receipts Tax is economically sensitive, which means it historically declines when the economy is in a downturn. Last fiscal year we had a substantial decline on our collections of Gross Receipt Tax of approximately $756,000, compared to the prior year (FY08). For the current fiscal year (2010), we projected a zero percent (0%) growth over the prior year collections. In addition, property tax is expected to be stagnant, with no increase in growth due to flat valuations and a projected decrease in new construction due to the restrictive credit market.
The long term water needs of the community continue to be a major focus of the City of Alamogordo. Staff has been working very hard to improve well production by updating equipment and re-drilling several existing wells. In addition, improvements were made to the mountain surface flow collection system in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Fresnal to improve capacity. Repairs were made to the covers at the La Luz Reservoirs that were damaged by the remnants of Hurricane Dolly. The New Mexico Court of Appeals determination of the District Court ruling on the water rights allocation at the new well field north of town (also known as Snake tank) and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are scheduled to be completed this fiscal year. The short term prognosis for water this year is good, the forecast is for a wet winter, the reservoirs are full, the well fields are rested, and as discussed, improvements to existing wells have been completed.
The largest capital project in the history of the City of Alamogordo is taking place this fiscal year. A total of thirteen (13) streets are being reconstructed. The street reconstruction includes water and sewer line replacement as well as ADA improvements. These major capital projects are funded by the 2004 ¼% and 2008 ¼% Gross Receipts Tax dedicated for street maintenance and street capital improvements.
The recommended budget represents reductions in expenses; staff reductions, service cutbacks, operating capital reductions and the reorganization of functions within departments. City employees and departments are called upon to do more with less. The recommended budget has placed a freeze on sixteen (16) full time positions, and seven (7) part-time positions, for a total savings of $688,096.
The City Commission and City Staff will continue to plan and work as efficiently as possible to continue to provide the quality programs and services the citizens of Alamogordo currently enjoy.
Matt Mc Neile, Interim City Manager