April 30 First News: SF City Hall to get 2014 fiscal budget draft in time for May 8th vote. (listen)

Santa Fe city council will be getting a draft of next year's city budget in time for a vote on May 8th.  The finance committee has wrapped up work on the spending plan that anticipates about the same amount of income as this year.  The New Mexican reports the budget provides no wage increases and would eliminate some city jobs that are currently vacant. The plan also doesn't call for increasing taxes.  

New Mexico got a late start in setting up a health insurance exchange under federal law, and now an expert says it will be nearly impossible for it to be in place by October 1st.  John Kingsdale says he set up the health insurance exchange in Massachusetts and it too several years to get it operational. The New Mexico Business Weekly says Kingsdale believes it could be possible to do by January 2015. The 13-member New Mexico board held their first meeting yesterday.  

The 24-year-old man accused of stabbing parishioners in an Albquerque Catholic church has been charged with three counts of aggravated battery. Lawrence Capaner  says he thought the choir leader was involved in a cult because he appeared to be a Mason.  The authorities say Capener has no previous criminal record.

The forces behind a vast redevelopment of Santa Fe's Rodeo grounds have heard more public concerns and questions about the project during a community meeting at the Chavez Center.  The rodeo is on a path to replace the current outdoor arena with a new multi-million dollar, 6,000 seat enclosed facility that can host various events across the calendar year.  The effort has received city, county and state financial support for the necessary feasibility and impact studies.  Nearby residents expressed concerns about increased traffic, noise and water usage that could have negative impacts on the surrounding community.

The free concert program presented at the Plaza's Santa Fe Bandstand will expand performances this summer.  Across its nine-week schedule, some 89 events will be presented.  The season runs from June 21st through August 23rd. Started back in 2002, the program receives funding from a wide array of sources including the City of Santa Fe and the state tourism department along with local philanthropic groups. The program offers both afternoon and evening performances by a diverse line-up of musicians.

Local immigration reform advocates will stage events across the state tomorrow calling on Congress to enact common sense changes that will provide a path to citizenship. Here in Santa Fe, immigrant rights advocacy group Somos un Pueblo Unido plans a 5PM march and celebration to mark the annual May 1st International Workers Day.  Loaning support to the effort are various labor organizations and unions.

Weather for Santa Fe --  sunny, dry and unseasonably warm today with highs in the low 80s. Turning windy in the afternoon with gusts to 30 miles per hour. Overnight lows in the mid 40s. Tomorrow brings the start of a strong cooldown. Highs in the low 70s with winds on the increase as a potent cold front moves in.  Blowing dust expected Wednesday evening with lows falling to the low 30s. Thursday’s high will only make the low 50s.