New BioPark tax may lead to loss of bond money

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Albuquerque BioPark will soon get millions of dollars to help with improvements but with that new stream of cash coming in, they also stand to lose millions from another source of funding.

Thanks to voters, the BioPark will get more money to bring in new animals and fix up old exhibits.

A gross receipts tax increase in July is expected to result in anywhere from $15 to $17 million a year for repairs and renovations, but it won’t come without a cost.

“It is one of those things where we decided we had to take that chance and decide which is going to be better in the short and long term,” said New Mexico BioPark Society Executive Director Julie Miller Rugg.

The city said an old source of BioPark funding will likely go elsewhere.

“We want to make sure that we manage our funds to the best of our ability,” said Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano.

Roughly $3 to $4 million in bond money typically going to the BioPark could now go toward other city improvements.

“That amount of money can be used to fix roofs at family and community centers. It can be used to buy police cars,” Montano said.

The New Mexico BioPark Society said it is not surprised.

Its main concern is trying to get that money back later when the tax increase expires.

“Now 15 years down the road, it’s a little scary of trying to recoup that money because, again, the city will have used it in a different area,” Miller Rugg said.

The city said that while the BioPark may not be getting millions in bond money, it may eventually get more for the day-to-day budget to pay for additional workers, food and other things that would be necessary once the BioPark adds new exhibits.

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