Minneapolis Residents to See No Property-Tax Increase, Major Street Improvements and Focus on Jobs and Safety in 2012
City Council passes Mayor Rybak’s 2012 budget unanimously
December 14, 2011 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Minneapolis Mayor Rybak’s 2012 budget, with no increase in the City’s property-tax levy, passed unanimously this evening at the Minneapolis City Council.
The newly-adopted 2012 City budget makes a major new capital investment in street improvements and invests in the coordinated One Minneapolis initiative to reduce racial inequity in unemployment. The budget also maintains investments in public safety that have lowered violent crime citywide to historic lows, and eliminates no positions in the Fire Department.
“This budget reflects many years of sustained work to pay down debt, cut spending, end a broken pensions system and restore the City’s fiscal health,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak.
- Under Mayor Rybak’s leadership, the City has paid down or avoided $183 million in debt since 2002 and restored its AAA credit rating.
- City spending in the 2012 budget is flat compared to 2011 and is 9 percent lower than 10 years ago. In 2012, the City will have 12 percent fewer full-time positions than 10 years ago.
- Earlier this year, Mayor Rybak and City leaders negotiated a merger of two closed City pension funds with the State’s public-employee retirement system that averted a $20 million tax increase that would have been forced in taxpayers in 2012.
Mayor Rybak delivered a budget with no increase in the property-tax levy despite another cut by the Legislature in Local Government Aid and continued declines in commercial and residential property values.
Council President Barbara Johnson said, “We have heard property taxpayers’ concerns in these hard economic times and are streamlining City government.”
The Council’s adoption of Mayor Rybak’s budget also invests in $150 million in street improvements over the next five years, 60 percent more than had been planned. The City will spend $9 million more in street improvements in 2012 than previously planned, and $23 million more in 2013.
Mayor Rybak continued, “This level of street improvement would never have been possible a decade ago, when a debt-ridden city had lost one of its AAA bond ratings. Better streets, fewer potholes and fewer car repairs are the result of a reform-minded, fiscally-responsible city paying off its debts — in our finances and in our infrastructure.”
“Meeting the City’s many important needs while not raising the property-tax levy was tough work, but tough times demanded it,” said Council Member Betsy Hodges, chair of the Ways and Means/Budget Committee.
Council Vice President Robert Lilligren concluded, “This budget responds to our challenging times and also looks to the future. We are dramatically improving core services like street repair while funding important work like addressing jobs and income disparities through our One Minneapolis initiative. And we are planning ahead for more improvements that will ensure that our city’s best is yet to come.”
Published Dec. 14, 2011