Mayor Rybak’s proposed 2010 budget focuses on jobs

In his annual Budget Address Aug. 13, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak unveiled a proposed City budget for 2010 that focuses on jobs, while preserving public safety gains and continuing to invest in infrastructure.

Among the priorities in the Mayor’s budget is funding to help businesses grow and help people find work. It includes expanding a program that offers low interest loans and financing tools to small businesses, and $1.2 million to help more people find and get jobs through the City's Workforce Centers.

Minneapolis is facing a number of serious fiscal challenges that affect the City's bottom line. This includes State cuts to Minneapolis of more than $40 million during 2009-2010 and escalating health care and pension costs. In 2010, the City will spend $48 million on employee health care and $25 million in pension obligations, which will climb to $52 million by 2014.

To balance the budget, the Mayor’s proposal includes a mix of budget cuts, reforms and a new revenue policy.

Cuts to spending – Mayor Rybak proposed a total of $24 million in cuts to the City's $371 million general fund. Every city department’s budget would be cut, with the largest departments (police, fire, and public works) seeing the smallest cuts.

Reform – Mayor Rybak proposed a significant reorganization of the police department that will streamline management, eliminate supervisory positions, put more officers into precincts, reduce special units, and promote collaboration across divisions. Police overtime has also been reduced by 38 percent, resulting in a savings of $1.7 million – the equivalent of 17 police officer positions.

New revenue policy – Mayor Rybak has proposed an increase in property tax revenues that will result in a 6.6 percent increase in property taxes on the average Minneapolis home. More than 60 percent of the proposed tax increase is solely to pay for the City's skyrocketing pension bills. The rest of the increase, along with spending cuts and reforms, will be used to replace state cuts.

The City Council’s Ways & Means Committee will begin budget hearings in September, and the City Council is expected to adopt a final budget in early December.

For more information on the proposed 2010 budget, visit the Mayor’s Office Web page .

Aug. 13, 2009

Published Aug 13, 2009