Bernalillo County, New Mexico

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Permits, zoning Y
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Public records
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Transparency grading process

Bernalillo County is the most populated county in the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is located within the Albuquerque, New Mexico Metropolitan Statistical Area and had a population of 556,678 at the 2000 census; in 2010, the population was estimated at 662,564[1]. The county seat is Albuquerque.

Website evaluation

This site was most recently evaluated on December 31, 2012.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 3 years.[2]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[3]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[4]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 2 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 2 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.[5]
    • Meeting videos are available.[6]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2005 are available.[7]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[8][9]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[10]
    • There is a contract search function.[11]
    • Employee salaries are also disclosed on the site.[12]
  • Public Records
    • The public information officers are in the Public Information Department. These employees provide a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[13]
    • A public records form is provided.[14]
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[15][16]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[17]
  • Lobbying
    • The county discloses it hires lobbyists and the total amount spent on lobbying.[18]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[19]

The bad

  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes and agendas are not archived for 3-5 years.

2013-2014 Budget

The fiscal year 2013 budget spends $469,138,039 with $477,289,261 in revenues. The fiscal year 2014 budget spends $361,041,393 with $361,459,194 in revenues.[20]

2011-2012 Budget

The 2011-2012 budget was $454,096,972.[21]

Expenditure Type Amount
Capital $142,610,794
Public Safety $134,494,061
General Government $79,592,922
Debt Service $32,328,326
Health and Welfare $28,574,732
Public Works $27,294,272
Culture and Rec $9,201,865
Total $454,096,972
Revenue Source Amount
Taxes $225,217,144
Capital Improvement Fund $133,239,995
Charges for Services $39,606,248
Transfers in for Debt Service $24,261,177
Grants $15,240,438
Other $17,531,969
Total $455,096,971


Bernalillo County received $591,525,791 from the federal stimulus package.[22]

Type # of Awards Amount Jobs Reported
Contracts 479 $202,584,279 138.64
Grants 412 $387,441,511 453.01
Loans 2 $1,500,000 4.5
Total 893 $591,525,791 596.15

In 2009, Commissioner Art De La Cruz used $500,000 to create 100 temporary jobs for the county. According to the Department of Workforce Solutions, the estimated stimulus factor would be $2.5 million dollars.[23]

Public Employees

Elected Officials

There are five elected county commissioners that deal with[24]:

  • Budgeting
  • Local laws
  • Zoning
  • Appointments to boards and committees

County Commissioners earn $29,569.07 a year as of 2011.[25]

Administrative Officials

The County Manager is Tom Zdunek. The County Manager is appointed by the County Commissioners and serves as the Chief Executive.[26] Zdunek replaced Thaddeus Lucero who was County Manager since 2003 who was replaced and had his contract bought out after scandals involving the jail, detox center and community custody program. Both Zdunek and Lucero have salaries on the books for 2011. Lucero will earn $157,500.10 and Zdunek will earn $145,999.98.[27]

Department Salary and Benefits
County Commissioners $516,538
County Manager $1,315,966
Legal $1,013,553


The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department costs each citizen $47.[28]

In 2010, county employees received a 2% raise while city employees received pay cuts.[29]


See also: New Mexico government sector lobbying

Bernalillo County has reported $376,000 spent on lobbying since 2008.

Reported lobbying expenditures, 2008-2012[30]
Year Amount spent on lobbying
2012 $56,000
2011 $80,000
2010 $80,000
2009 $80,000
2008 $80,000

Transparency & public records

Public records are filed through the County Clerk's office and the contact information for the office is posted. There is also a page with public documents that is searchable.[31][32]

In May of 2011 the Rio Grande Foundation requested the public records for employee pay and posted the information online here.[33]

In response the Bernalillo County commissioners voted to create a "sunshine portal" which will include county budget, employee salaries and contracts.[34]


Local taxes provide $225,217,144 of revenue to the 2011-2012 budget.[35]

Citizens in Bernalillo has filed a lawsuit challenging the state's property tax cap passed in 2001. Under the cap, a home whose value has dropped significantly will not see their property taxes drop an equal amount. During a boom housing market the cap is intended to protect against massive tax increases.[36]

Ballot measures

Ballotpedia has an article about ballot measures in Bernalillo county.

External links


  1. Census
  2. Bernalillo County, Budgets, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  3. Bernalillo County, Staff Directory, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  4. Bernalillo County, Elected Officials, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  5. Bernalillo County, Meeting Calendar, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  6. Bernalillo County, Meeting Minutes, Agendas, and Video, Accessed: December 31, 2012 (timed out)
  7. Bernalillo County, CAFR, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  8. Bernalillo County, Bids, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  9. Bernalillo County, RFP, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  10. Bernalillo County, Contracts, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  11. Bernalillo County, Contract Search, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  12. Bernalillo County, Employee salaries, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  13. Bernalillo County, Public Information Department, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  14. Bernalillo County, Public Records Request Form, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  15. Bernalillo County, Property Taxes, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  16. Bernalillo County, Treasurer, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  17. Bernalillo County, Pay Taxes Online, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  18. Bernalillo County, Lobbying, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  19. Bernalillo County, Zoning and Building, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  20. Bernalillo County, 2013-2014 Budget, Accessed: December 31, 2012
  21. 2011-2012 Budget
  22. Recovery
  23. Job Creation
  24. County Commissioners
  25. County Salaries
  26. County Manager
  27. County Salaries
  28. RioGrandeSun
  29. ABQ Journal "Most Bernalillo County Employees To Get 2 Percent Raises
  30. Open Secrets
  31. Clerk
  32. Document Search
  33. Rio Grande Foundation "Rio Grande Foundation makes Bernalillo County salary information available online"
  34. Mountain View Telegraph "Commission OKs 'Sunshine Portal'" (dead link)
  35. 2011-2012 Budget
  36. Value Appeal Bernalillo County - Still Waiting for Court Decision on State Property Tax Cap