There's no better description of what Albuquerque's city government has become. On one end we have the loud voice of the mayor and the council telling us that we need, need, need. On the other we are constantly dumped on by having to pay for the consequences of that insatiable desire.
Trolleys, arenas, even decorative pots... We are told that we need these things. We as voters often approve the shiny new toy because like an envious teenager, we are told that all the other kids our size have them. Today we have a perfect example of both ends of the governmental baby. Amazingly enough the justification for the need and the consequences are both the same.
Mayor Chavez made his State of the City address yesterday at the NAIOP luncheon. In it he reportedly referred to the recent defeat of his Desire Named Streetcar and noted that he lost by just one vote. Well the mayor is back on track pushing to get this thing out of the station. (We apologize for the overuse of the ridiculous railroad metaphors, but they're no more ridiculous than the project itself.) The justification used... other cities our size have one and if we want to be like everyone else we should have one too!
The other end of the governmental baby made its presence known earlier in the morning. According to the Albuquerque Journal we will all be paying more for parking at the airport if city officials have their way. Read the Journal report here. (Subscription Required) The move would raise an estimated $1.7 million according to airport spokesman Daniel Jiron. Surprise, surprise the justification given for increasing parking fees... other cities our size charge more than we do! Blogger Mario Burgos nails this one when he notes:
"Mr. Jiron is not saying we need additional revenue to cover costs. Instead, he is saying that he just wants to bump up the costs because other municipalities charge more. Would somebody please explain to the goofballs what it means to have a competitive advantage?"At first glance there doesn't seem to be any real justification for the additional revenue. But once you start taking a look at both ends of the baby you'll find that the city needs all the money it can get if it is to continue to spend like teenagers set loose with their parents no limit credit card. $270 million for a train, $10 million just for the land for an arena, and budget shortfalls, all require cash. Unfortunately, we're the ones they send the bill to. $3.5 million from red light cameras, $1.7 million from increased parking rates, alarm permit fees, extensions of taxes that are set to expire, are all indications that the city is doing all it can to increase the flow of money into its coffers and out of our pockets.
There's no doubt that the city baby is active and dumping on us with no sense of responsibility whatsoever.
----- UPDATE -----
Last night we were a bit bleary eyed and were unable to find the recent journal article that announces the city's budget shortfall. In the bright light of the morning, The Eye spotted the remembered journal article about the predicted $22 million budget shortfall for 2008. The article points out that the city's spending is $125 million ahead of inflation since Mayor Chavez took office. You can read about it here. (Subscription Required). Is it really any wonder that the city is squeezing revenue from every possible source?