Portales budget concerns raised


May 26, 2019

PORTALES — Looking at some “alarming” dips into reserves for the upcoming interim budget, Portales city manager asked the city council to be prepared to look at ways to “cut services or increase revenue streams” in order to keep the books balanced in the coming fiscal year.

“We’re really getting into our reserves,” Sammy Standefer told councilors in a presentation on the fiscal year 2019-2020 preliminary interim budget during the regular meeting Tuesday night. “And that will spark some other conversations.”

Standefer compared the interim budgets from 2018-19 and 2019-20, noting each had beginning cash balances of $3,000,000. Projected revenues of $7,531,709 in the latest interim budget were 2.56% higher than in the previous year, but there were also “decreases in budgeted revenues for ambulance fees, recreation & pool fees” and miscellaneous revenues. Ambulance fees are projected to decrease because a transport company has recently started handling all “non-emergency transports,” Standefer said.

The general fund is “projected to draw down reserves by $1,300,389 in FY 19-20,” said Standefer’s presentation. Consequently, he explained, city leadership should look toward either a reduction in services or in increase in their fees. Other ways to increase revenue could include incremental increases in either property taxes, municipal Gross Receipts Tax or the Hold Harmless Gross Receipts Tax, the latter of which Standefer recommended against.

Also at Tuesday’s city council meeting:

• Recognition of the Portales High School Chamber Choir for its 2019 New Mexico Activities Association state championship.

• Approval of a joint resolution between Roosevelt County and the city “to increase community awareness and participation” in the 2020 census, with documents noting that “communities lose approximately $3,000 federal dollars per year for each resident failing to participate in the Census.” Census Day is April 1, 2020, and the resolution specified that the city and county “shall each appoint three members” to the local census committee, “established to serve in an educational and promotional advisory capacity.”

• Approval of resolution authorizing city to apply for participation in the Juvenile Adjudication Program. The state legislature created a fund in 2009 “to support an alternative adjudication process for juveniles charged with traffic and other misdemeanor offenses,” according to the meeting documents. If awarded, funds from the program would assist the city in bringing Teen Court volunteer attorneys and adult chaperons to Santa Fe for court and legislative sessions and possibly a Round House tour.


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