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Council votes 3-1 to keep facilities open

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FARMINGTON — The City of Farmington has decided not to consolidate services at two popular locations following input from community members.

The city was considering closing the Farmington Indian Center and E3 Children’s Museum and moving the exhibits, staff and services to the Bonnie Dallas Senior Center and the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park.

This proposal drew opposition from many people who rely on those services.

The City Council voted three to one to include those services in the preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2020. The council met at 9 a.m. May 21 in a work session that can be viewed online at fmtn.org.

Bingham-Kelly casts dissenting vote

Councilor Jeanine Bingham-Kelly cast the sole dissenting vote. She favored closing the buildings and moving the services to other existing locations as a way of saving taxpayer money.

Budget: Farmington residents speak out against proposal to consolidate museums

“I think that if we can offer the same exact services at a different location and save taxpayer money, that’s what we need to do,” she said. “I think that there’s some hard decisions coming forward and it’s going to be tough, but I really think, you know, we’re not losing any services and we’re saving money. So that’s what we need to do.”

Keeping facilities open will cost $189k

The city will use $109,000 from the Community Transformation and Economic Development fund to pay some of the $189,000 price tag to keep both facilities open. The CTED funds come from the Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative’s director leaving the city and the position being consolidated with the economic development department.

The CTED fund was created through an increase in gross receipts tax the City Council approved last year.

Revenue: Economic development potential spurs support for tax increase

 “I look at the number and I know we have to make it up from some place, but I don’t think that it’s appropriate to make it up from these two facilities,” said Councilor Linda Rodgers. “Nor do I feel like it’s appropriate to ask the departments within the city to take yet another cut.”

Jakino says the city still needs to consider future budget impacts

Councilor Janis Jakino emphasized the importance of the two facilities, but said both buildings will need significant investment in the future. She said both buildings need at least $200,000 of repairs.

“We shouldn’t just look at today’s budget,” she said. “We need to look at the future and what other building, facilities and programs are going to come to us with needs in the future.”

City Manager Rob Mayes said budget cuts could be coming sooner rather than later. He said the budget calls projects a 2 percent increase in gross receipts tax revenue in the upcoming fiscal year, which is not the current trend.

“We may have to come back and make those very hard decisions much sooner than next year,” he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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