FARMINGTON — Farmington City Council members have adopted a final budget with $252.9 million in spending for fiscal year 2015.
The final budget shows $108.1 million in a beginning cash balance with $215 million in total revenue. That would leave a cash balance of $70.2 million.
The council voted 3 in favor, 1 opposed to accept the final budget at a work session on Tuesday.
Councilor Mary Fischer voted against approving the final budget.
"I do appreciate the amount of work that went into it but I am still not going to support it because I don't think it ... adequately meets the needs of our community," Fischer said.
Councilors Dan Darnell and Gayla McCulloch said the final budget was "conservative" and it was well planned.
Public information sessions were held in May as part of the budget process.
Comments from Councilor Nate Duckett did not solely focus on the budget but the low attendance number at the sessions.
"In addressing the public input part of the budget, I think we need to find more extensive ways to get more people involved," Duckett said.
City officials have until July 30 to submit the adopted budget to the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration.
The council also listened to a report and presentation about the Convention Center Financing Act, which allows local governments to impose a fee on the use of hotel rooms.
Revenue collected from the fee can be used by a government entity for land acquisition or to design, build, equip, furnish, landscape, operate or maintain a civic or convention center.
Cory Styron, director of the parks, recreation and cultural affairs department, said the Farmington Civic Center cannot host a number of conferences and conventions because it does not have enough space to accommodate those events.
In order to attract those types of events, the civic center would need to have additional exhibit space and upgrade and expand its kitchen.
Revenue could be collected from 31 lodging establishments in the city, Styron said.
Greg Anesi owns two hotels in the city and advised the council to use caution while exploring this possibility.
"You need to look at who your target is, how many conventions you are actually hosting, how to draw people in there, and who you are going to draw," Anesi said, adding that the civic center's downtown location does have drawbacks like limited parking and restaurants.
After the presentation and discussion, Darnell motioned to have the city proceed with hiring a consultant to explore the possibility of approving the Convention Center Financing Act.
The motion was approved in a vote of 3 in favor, and Fischer opposed.Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.