Mayor Rybak’s revised 2009 budget makes public safety and public works top priorities
Despite facing $30 million in state funding cuts, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak today announced that his revised 2009 budget for the City of Minneapolis will not include significant cuts to public safety or public works.
The proposed budget, which will now be considered by the City Council, includes cuts to every City department. While every effort was made to reduce job losses, the magnitude of the needed cuts means that staff reductions are unavoidable. In the Mayor’s revised budget, he called for 59 positions to be eliminated, about half of which are management positions. Of those 59 positions, 33 are currently filled.
However, the expected money from the Federal Stimulus package will allow the City to protect vital public safety function from deep cuts, at least in the short term. In addition to a reduction in staff, the City will be eliminating some services such as the Civil Rights Complaint Investigations Unit and the City's Health Lab that the State or other jurisdictions are already providing.
Numerous strategies used to prevent public safety cuts in 2009
If allocated equally across the city, the Governor’s proposed cuts to Minneapolis for this year would have lead to the elimination of 161 jobs, including 57 sworn officer positions and 19 civilian positions in the police department and 27 firefighter positions. Mayor Rybak’s proposed budget avoided those deep cuts by:
- Using $7.6 million freed up by paying down City debt - In the past six years the City has paid down or avoided almost $90 million in debt, meaning there is an additional $7.6 million to spend on basic city services this year.
- Focusing cuts on management positions – Of the 59 city staff positions eliminated in Rybak’s proposed budget, nearly half (27 positions) are more expensive management jobs.
- Eliminating some City services – Mayor Rybak is proposing to eliminate a lab in the health department and shift discrimination complaint services to the State. He also proposed that the City no longer maintain State highways that run through Minneapolis.
- Developing new revenue options – A proposed new street light fee will help pay for maintenance and repair of street lights. The fee means property owners will pay $8 more this year on their utility bill.
- Federal Stimulus – The Mayor is proposing to use one-time funds provided by the Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act to pay for 76 positions in the police department, including 57 sworn officer positions which would have otherwise been cut.
As a result of these strategies, there will be no layoffs in the Minneapolis police department or fire department; six vacant fire department positions will not be filled.
The City Council will consider the Mayor’s proposal over the next two weeks, and is expected to vote on a final 2009 budget in early March.
For more information on Mayor Rybaks revised 2009 budget, visit the 2009 budget page. The Mayor’s budget address will be rebroadcast on Channel 79 on Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 27, 28, and 29 at 9 a.m.
Published Feb. 23, 2009