Council Slams Berry; Overrides Budget Veto

Council Slams Berry; Overrides Budget Veto

6-3 Vote Overturns Veto

The City Council on Monday handed Mayor Richard Berry a severe defeat by overriding his veto of their budget and rejecting a compromise budget that Berry had worked out with two councilors.

The 6-3 vote to overturn the veto was probably the biggest political defeat for Berry during his seven and a half years in office.

Voting to override the veto were Councilors Isaac Benton, Ken Sanchez, Diane Gibson and Klarissa Pena, all Democrats, and Councilors Dan Lewis and Don Harris, both Republicans.

Harris, Sanchez, Gibson and Pena are running for re-election to their council seats, while Lewis is running for mayor.

Voting to support the veto were Councilors Patrick Davis, Brad Winter and Trudy Jones. Davis is a Democratic and Winter is a Republican and they helped forge the alternative $529 million budget that Berry wanted.

Under the compromise deal by Davis, Winter and Berry, all city employees would get a 1 percent pay raise. But the proposal would cut anywhere from $1.6 to $4 million for police officer retention bonuses.

In addition, the deal would have restored about half of the $3 million in cuts to community groups that Berry’s original budget contained.

Critics of the council’s budget said it made the increase in police retention bonuses contingent on the city meeting its quarterly tax revenue projections. For the current fiscal year, the city originally projected a 2.9 percent increase in gross receipts tax revenue. But through the first 10 months of the year, the actual increase has been in the 1 percent range.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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