Mayor’s proposed budget calls for investments for the future and property tax cuts
In his final budget address to the City Council, Mayor R.T. Rybak proposed a $1.1 billion budget for 2014 that calls for investments in the future of the City’s workforce, environment, transit, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure, while also cutting the City’s property tax levy by 1 percent. The tax cut would be the first levy reduction in memory.
Among the Mayor’s proposals:
- Preparing for the many retirements anticipated in the Police and Fire Departments, as well as across the City enterprise. The budget proposal funds a new cadet class of 30 in the Police Department, and three new classes of 15 each in the Fire Department. It also funds 20 new Community Service Officers in the Police Department.
- Funding Saturday hours for 311.
- Establishing a pilot program in the Fire Department to send a fully-equipped SUV to respond to some medical-emergency calls, rather than a fire truck. It would be staffed by new EMS specialists who will be recruited from Minneapolis Public Schools for a career in the Fire Department.
- Investing in the environment by setting up 85 air quality stations around the city to gather data that can be used to address air pollution at the neighborhood level.
- Continuing planning for modern streetcar lines along Nicollet and Central Avenues, and along North Washington and West Broadway Avenues.
- Funding more bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects. The budget calls for funds to begin the process to convert the Fifth Street off-ramp from I-94 into a pedestrian connection between downtown and the West Bank and turning 29th Street, one of the most blighted streets in Minneapolis, into a pedestrian walkway connecting Lake Calhoun to the Uptown and Lyn-Lake neighborhoods.
- Increasing the five-year capital budget to accelerate improvements to roads and other infrastructure.
The mayor told the audience that the proposed 1 percent property tax levy reduction is possible because:
- Local Government Aid cuts have been restored, making more than $10 million available to Minneapolis.
- A Property Tax Relief Fund, which was created with budget savings from 2012, makes $7 million available from last year’s budget.
- The stadium legislation gives the City the ability to control revenues from some sales and hospitality taxes that it did not previously control. That means that property tax dollars once spent on the Target Center can be used for other core services and to reduce the levy.
The mayor concluded, “The bottom line on property taxes is: In tough times, we asked residents to invest more to keep the city strong. With times getting a little better, we will ask less.”
More about the Mayor’s speech
You can also watch the speech through November on Minneapolis 79 (Comcast Cable channel 79) on:
- Wednesdays at noon
- Saturdays at 8 p.m.
- Sundays at 8 p.m.
In the coming months, the City Council will deliberate on the 2014 City budget in preparation for adoption on Dec. 11, 2013.
Key dates in the budget process:
Aug. 27, 1:30 p.m. – Ways & Means budget overview presentation
Aug. 28, 5:05 p.m. – Board of Estimate and Taxation public hearing on maximum property tax levies
Sept. 11, 4 p.m. – Board of Estimate and Taxation meeting to set the maximum property tax levies
Aug. 29 - Oct. 2 – Ways and Means presentations and consideration of City departmental budgets hearings
Nov. 19, 6:05 p.m. - Public comment hearing
Dec. 11, 6:05 p.m. - Public comment hearing
Dec. 4 and 5, 1 – 4 p.m. – Ways and Means Committee budget mark-up
Dec. 11, 6:05 p.m. – City Council final vote on budget.
Published Aug. 20, 2013