Kirtland, Bloomfield approve preliminary budget

Hannah Grover
Jordan McClure, a lifeguard and swimming instructor at the Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center, prepares the indoor pool on Thursday at the center. The indoor pool will be closed for an extra day each week as part of the city's cost-cutting measures.

FARMINGTON — The city of Bloomfield and the town of Kirtland approved their preliminary budgets for fiscal year 2017 earlier this week.

Members of the Bloomfield City Council had been concerned that the city would have to institute furloughs to make up for a budget shortfall, but City Manager Eric Strahl said the budget includes enough reductions that furloughs likely will not be necessary.

These reductions included a change in health insurance offerings for the employees, not replacing two employees who retired and leaving vacant positions open. Strahl said he also gave up his automobile allowance. The Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center will close its outdoor pool one hour earlier this year than in previous years and will also close its indoor pool for an extra day each week.

The city was facing an approximate $617,000 shortfall in the general fund and wanted to cut more than $800,000 from its budget for fiscal year 2017 to provide a cushion, Strahl said. The reductions allowed the city to nearly make that goal. Strahl said the city cut about $795,000 out of the budget for fiscal year 2017 and may also look at a few other options to further save money.

While Bloomfield searched for options to save money in fiscal year 2017, Kirtland included the construction of a park in its budget of approximately $340,000. Mayor Mark Duncan said the town will not necessarily build a park, but having it included in the budget gives Kirtland the option to build it at the end of the year if the money has not been used for something else.

Duncan said Kirtland is a new town, and the majority of the spending will go to pay bills.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.