Próxima vez, or next time, is the best way to describe the Jan. 18 Albuquerque City Council meeting. Much was said, in English and in Spanish, but not a lot of business was finished, even with a four-and-a-half-hour time stamp, though the Council did spend much time on discussion of the Albuquerque/
Note: This recap of Albuquerque City Council coverage originally appeared in the Alibi and is reprinted with permission.
Qué es el plan?
Adopting a new Albuquerque/
City and county staff have been working on the plan for the couple years. Planners have said the update is needed to simplify and integrate zoning regulations to improve economic development and job creation. Opponents say the plan needs more work in order to incorporate historic neighborhoods’ unique goals previously identified in sector plans. More importantly the message was that the planners should listen to the residents and not just the developers.
Albuquerque historic neighborhoods represented at the meeting included Santa Barbara/
Some residents took a city planner to task, in Spanish, over comments apparently made at a prior meeting regarding local Hispanics and their Spanish-speaking ability. The Hispanic planner being taken to the woodshed for over an hour spoke last, and in Spanish, apologizing for his misunderstood remark.
Not all of the speakers were in opposition of the plan. A couple of folks spoke in favor of adopting the Comprehensive Plan sooner rather than later. They said it was a good idea to consolidate planning documents. Most of the councilors said they felt the plan has been vetted properly and agreed more public notice is not a bad thing. But as Councilor Trudy Jones said, “If you don’t participate how can you complain?” Weekly Alibi wrote about this issue back in July, so now is a good time for readers to take another look at it and throw in their two cents, in English or Spanish, at the next Council meeting.
Speaking of two cents, the City Council may ask for an additional two cent tax on each gallon of retail gas sold in the city—to help drag the city’s coffers out of the municipality’s current deficit. A measure was introduced and will make its way through committees to see what the impact of such a tax would be. The measure will then return to the forum for Council approval. City voters will have the final okay in an upcoming election. The $5 million projected earnings from this tax could be used for roadway improvements, particularly those that improve conditions for pedestrians.
Under the city’s charter Councilors are to review and renew a vision statement of five year goals and one year objectives. These broad statements come from city residents volunteering to be part of the process on the Indicators of Progress Commission. The statements are the foundation for other city policies and legislation. Some of the statements adopted include: Albuquerque is an active, thriving, culturally rich, sustainable, high desert community; residents are literate, skilled and educated; residents are active and healthy; residents have access to medical and behavioral health care services; high-speed internet is accessible and affordable throughout the city and many more overall vision statements designed to guide Burque into the future. Councilors approved the measure unanimously.
Councilors approved a 2017 plan to spend federal housing money as part of the 2017 action plan and also approved moving the Office of Neighborhood Coordination from the planning department to the Council services department.
Other agenda items up for approval were postponed. These postponements included adopting a way to deal with the city’s large number of vacant buildings, establishing legislative priorities, providing additional funding for more police service aides and establishing a property crime reduction pilot program.