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Budget hike would add social worker, park rangers and specialists to Las Cruces staff


The Las Cruces City Manager’s office presented a proposed budget with a $14.9 million increase, mainly to hire new positions in the fire department and police department. New positions include three park rangers for the Las Cruces Police Department and two support staff for the fire department.

According to LCPD, the park rangers will patrol the parks with similar authority to animal control and code officers. For the Las Cruces Fire Department, the positions include a social worker to join the Mobile Integrated Health Unit, which contains Project LIGHT.

The proposed hike would also pay for specialists in the human resources, sustainability, transit, IT and finance departments. Other positions include a new park maintenance worker and two custodians.

The expenditure increases, stemming from an increase in revenue, were presented at a budget work session on April 22. Overall, the general fund, as presented, totaled $166.7 million, a $14.9 million increase from last budget’s $151.8 general fund.

Most of the general fund’s revenue comes from gross receipts taxes on goods or services.

According to budget documents, about $110 million (76 percent) of the general fund comes from gross receipts tax. The rest comes from property tax (10 percent), fees and charges (10 percent), and a cannabis excise tax (1 percent).

Most of the general fund is spent on staffing. According to the presentation, about $109 million (66 percent) goes to personnel costs. The rest, about $53 million, goes to operating expenses.

The budget includes a 3 to 4 percent increase in staff wages, new contracts between the city and unions representing some workers, and insurance rate changes. $1 million would also go to 16 new vehicles – six of which would be hybrid or electric – for seven departments.

The city’s budget allocates funding for nearly all operations. The general fund supplies cash for most city services.

City staff prepare a budget that aligns with the mayor's and six councilors' synthesized wishes. The council then approves the budget via vote or sends it back to staff for revisions.  

The budget goes into effect July 1 — the start of the fiscal year — and lasts until June 30 next year. Staff expect the council to approve the budget in May.

proposed budget, $14.9 million increase, gross receipts taxes