New website gives you a chance to weigh in on the 2009 budget

As the City of Minneapolis works to revise its 2009 budget, the City has launched a website where residents, businesses and employees can learn more about how the City's budget works and also share their ideas for saving money and streamlining services. The new Web page can be found at 2009 Budget.

Mayor R.T. Rybak is preparing a new 2009 City budget, which will be reviewed by the City Council, following Governor Tim Pawlenty’s action that cut $13.1 million to Minneapolis in late December. The cut has left City officials no choice but to revamp the City's 2009 budget by making significant cuts, with an eye toward the longer-term possibility of even more significant cuts from the State. The magnitude of the needed cuts means changes or reductions to some City services are unavoidable. Minneapolis already receives $36 million less in State aid than it did five years ago.

The 2009 Budget website is designed to help people access information related to the 2009 budget and to give them an opportunity to share their priorities when it comes to services they receive from the City. Features of the site include:

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 $13 million cut represents a significant financial impact to the City's budget. To put that amount into context, it represents the equivalent of paying 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, $378 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.

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.

Feb. 03, 2009

Published Feb 3, 2009