Mario Burgos

Clear thinking and straight talk from the top of a mountain.

Monday, February 26, 2007

How NOT to Plan for a Budget Shortfall

According to a Journal article back in January (subscription):
On balance, the city needs about $22 million in cuts, additional carryover or revenue, according to the report. That's the equivalent of 4.5 percent of the projected spending.

Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Perlman said the city will be able to come up with the money and is looking at ways to cut expenses in the current year.

"We're scrutinizing hiring very carefully," and departments have been told that their budget requests for next year should not call for net increases, except in critical areas such as public safety, Perlman said.

He said the city is hoping for additional economic growth that will provide tax revenue.

Perlman said revenue is difficult to forecast precisely. "It is not an exact science. It's like meteorology: '20 percent chance of snow.' It's not a certainty." [Hat tip: Eye on Albuquerque]
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it scary that the Chief Administrative Officer for Albuquerque is comparing revenue forecasting to meteorology? I wonder how many businesses could survive if they operated under the same premises. And this is the administration that wants to run our schools? But, I digress.

Here's the thing, I'm trying to figure out how with a $22 million shortfall, this is even close to a priority (subscription):
The city's plan to install a 210-foot reflecting pool at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum isn't holding water with some folks.

Critics say the money would be better spent on permanent restrooms and other infrastructure at Balloon Fiesta Park, and question how much water the 18- to 36-inch-deep pool and fountains would use.

"Evaporation is a huge problem," said City Councilor Michael Cadigan, who calls the reflecting pool an "evaporating pool."

"You might as well run water down the street," he said.

Proponents of the estimated $2.5 million project, which would include the pool, a park on the north side of the museum and landscaping between the museum and the Balloon Fiesta Park, say the area would be open to the public year-round.
Wait a minute. What I'm thinking? The city is probably counting on the pennies that people will throw into the reflection pool as a key component of that "hoped for economic growth."

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