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Bernalillo County Ponders Budget Shortfall

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Bernalillo County is facing a $19 million dollar budget shortfall next year, and jobs and grants to nonprofits could take a hit.

With costs rising and income staying flat, Bernalillo County is trying to figure out just how they’ll balance the budget for the upcoming fiscal years.

“We can’t spend like there’s money coming out of the trees, so we have to manage how we do things,” says Shirley Ragin, Deputy County Manager of Finance. The county will have to consider hiking taxes, freezing open positions in the county, or having county employees take unpaid leave days to save money.

“We have everything on the table, we have to look at everything as we’re going through this process,” she says.

Ragin says whatever cuts happen, critical services like police, fire, and environmental health wouldn’t be affected. But the budget squeeze could also make it harder for the county to fund nonprofit groups that work in things like addiction services or community development.

The county commissioners will vote on a final budget next month.

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.
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