Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque have been occupying the same facility for... well as long as we can remember. The arrangement has worked pretty well for the two government entities and could even be called efficient - if anything government related could ever be called efficient.
Our Eyes tell us that the county commission has been looking for a suitable property for some time and now they've got their sights set on the Albuquerque Petroleum Building at 500 Marquette. As luck would have it the building is for sale for the rock bottom price of $44 MILLION.
Someone should check the water down there at the government center because the urge to spend tax dollars on brand new toys seems to be spreading. In addition, the city's penchant for obtaining predetermined results from "studies" and task farces is also catching. You see they've asked Tommy Hughes to study the purchase and advise the commission on the feasibility of the purchase.
Mr. Hughes of Hughes & Strumor, Ltd. is the bond counsel for the county - which means that he and his firm would directly benefit from the sale of the bonds that would be required to purchase the property. Now, we don't want to impugn the integrity of Mr. Hughes or his firm, but one can't help but notice a severe conflict of interest. It's kind of like the city hiring Leland Consulting Group - a company that specializes in putting trolleys in cities - to consult on whether or not to install a 19th Century Streetcar (read our take here).
All of this is going on at a time when the economy is struggling, and the county is looking for new tax revenue. It's not like the commission has been frugal over the past few years in fact they've been on somewhat of a spending spree with expenses going from $220 MILLION to $521 MILLION in just three years. For the past two years expenses have outstripped revenue by almost 12% (read it here).
Look, we could understand the county moving if they needed to. Our Eyes tell us that the county isn't cramped or in need of space they simply want a place of their own and they're willing to spend $44 MILLION of our money to get it.
----- Update -----
The Albuquerque Journal ran a story Tuesday on the proposed property purchase (Subscription). The story sites a purchase price of $42 MILLION. That number does not include an estimated $2 MILLION required to make the building county ready. We're sure that there would be some remodeling involved along with physically moving phone and IT systems just for starters. In fact, we'd be surprised if it only cost $2 MILLION particularly if they plan to move other county facilities to the building.
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes