Charter would increase local control, accountability, transparency

Bernalillo County voters will have the opportunity to formally establish more local control of county government this fall in the November election, when a new constitution for the county goes to the voters for approval.

The Bernalillo County charter would serve as a constitution, or framework for how Bernalillo County government is organized. The number of elected officials, county boundaries and most current ordinances would stay the same.

The charter would strengthen open government, ethics and compliance efforts; increase the efficiency of the county’s purchasing processes; strengthen the county manager’s ability to serve as chief executive of the county; and, establish a strong merit system for county employees. The bottom line is more local control of local government.
The charter also calls for more financial audits to better protect tax dollars.

The measure was passed unanimously by the Bernalillo County Commission earlier this week.

Notably, the charter would strengthen the county’s investment policies with more protections for taxpayers. Any amendments to the charter would also have to be approved by voters.

The charter language was finalized by the Bernalillo County Commission on Aug. 23. State law allows Bernalillo County voters to formally establish county government as a home rule county by adopting a charter. This means more local control and accountability of local government.

The Urban County Charter Commission has met since January 2016 to create the draft of the new charter. The seven-member volunteer board was appointed by the Bernalillo County Commission. More information and to read the proposed charter.

About Bernalillo County

Bernalillo County is 1,160 square miles and is New Mexico’s most populous county with more than 674,000 residents. Bernalillo County government provides a wide range of public services to residents who live in Albuquerque, Los Ranchos and Tijeras and the 111,000 residents who live outside the village and city limits in the unincorporated areas of the county.  Bernalillo County employs approximately 2,500 people and has an annual operating budget and capital investments of more than $500 million. Elected officials include five county commissioners, assessor, clerk, probate judge, sheriff and treasurer. 

2016 Bernalillo County Charter (pdf file)