Time to consider public/private partnership at the Albuquerque Biopark?

We have complained in this space in the past that Albuquerque’s City Council has too much control over too many small decisions. Take the approval of vendors at the Sunport. Someone who is more responsive and market-driven should be in charge of this. We don’t need elected officials holding committee hearings on the relative merits of Los Cuates or El Pinto (or any other vendor for that matter).

Now, we have the Council embroiled in controversy over whether or not to raise the price of admission at the Albuquerque Zoo/BioPark. Obviously, it is tough to raise prices on a popular family attraction in a down economy, but if it is necessary to maintain the place, it may be necessary. Something Councilors should at least know about and consider is the fact that government-owned-and-operated zoos are no longer the standard. According to Reason Foundation, “The vast majority of accredited zoos and aquariums across the United States now rely on private operators—this includes major cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Fresno, Houston and Seattle. Eight publicly owned zoos and aquariums have been transferred to private operators in the last ten years alone.”

Perhaps Albuquerque can maintain the zoo and keep costs low by using modern management techniques. We hope they at least consider the option. The zoo is truly an asset to the community. Getting the most bang for those scarce “bucks” must be a top priority. De-politicizing the whole issue should be another.