Mayor Rybak looks for input on city budget cuts
January 22, 2009 (MINNEAPOLIS) - Like other Minnesota communities, the City of Minneapolis faces significant financial challenges in large part due to State finances. Governor Tim Pawlenty’s action that cut $13.1 million from Local Government Aid (LGA) to Minneapolis has left City officials no choice but to revamp its 2009 budget, and prepare for even more significant cuts from the State.
As Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak prepares to redesign the City’s 2009 budget, the City is asking residents, businesses, and City employees to share their priorities and ideas for making significant cuts. The last time the state cut Minneapolis local aid in 2003, the City made major structural reforms that put us on much stronger financial footing to deal with the current situation. However, the magnitude of the needed cuts means changes or reductions to some City services are unavoidable. Minneapolis already receives $36 million less in LGA than it did five years ago.
In February, Mayor Rybak will host two community meetings where people can give their input into their priorities for the upcoming budget revisions and to share their ideas for saving money and cutting services.
2009 budget cuts community meetings:
Monday, Feb. 9
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King Park Recreation Center
4055 Nicollet Ave. S.
Tuesday, Feb. 10
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Eastside Neighborhood Services
1700 Second St. N.E.
"The good news is that we’ve done a lot of work in recent years paying off debt, restructuring City government’s finances, and learning how to deliver City services more efficiently. That has put us in a better position to weather these difficult times," said Mayor Rybak. "But these cuts will be significant, and we know that City services to our residents and businesses will be affected. Continued cuts by the State mean we’re going to have to put everything on the table and make some hard choices. This process needs to move quickly, and I hope our residents will get engaged and share their input on their priorities moving forward."
The $13 million cut represents a significant financial impact to the City’s budget. To put that amount into context, it represents the equivalent of playing for 130 police officers or 150 firefighters. Looked at another way, it represents a cut that is about twice as much as it cost the City to respond to the I-35W Bridge collapse.
The vast majority of the City’s annual budget is restricted for specific purposes. Out of the City’s approximately $1.4 billion budget, $374 million is from its general fund, which is funded primarily through property taxes and Local Government Aid. That means that cuts to LGA result in the City having to make budget cuts from services paid for by the general fund, specifically services like police and fire protection, health and family support, and public works services like street repairs, snow removal, and infrastructure improvements. More than half of the general fund goes to public safety.
As the City seeks input from residents, businesses, and its employees, it will have resources available on its website to help folks understand more about how the City’s budget works. Later in January, folks will be able to share their ideas for cutting costs and tell the City how they would prioritize the services they receive by taking an online survey. The survey will also be available by calling 311.
Mayor Rybak will propose a new 2009 budget to the City Council in mid- to late February. The City Council will consider the new budget following a typical budget deliberation process and is expected to vote to approve a new budget in early March.
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Published Jan. 22, 2009