2019 Recommended Budget Address
Laying A Strong Foundation For A Stronger City
Call to Order and introduction by City Council President Lisa Bender
Thank you, Madame President; and thank you, colleagues, for having me here to talk with you. Today I have the honor of presenting my proposed 2019 budget. And in doing so, we begin a transition from planning to execution.
In this budget you will see clear progress and clear purpose in our decisions.
I want to begin by acknowledging the hard work that all of you—leaders from across our departments, our finance team, and my staff—did to make our first budget proposal possible. If our department heads and my staff could please stand. Thank you.
I also want to thank the City Council for their respective input. We’ve approached the budgetary process differently this year. We have brought Council Members into early meetings with departments heads and staff. Your input was very helpful in the development of our budget.
There is a lot to unpack, and I want to recognize up front that some items I’m excited about have fallen victim to time constraints. I went out on a limb and guessed you didn’t want to hear a two-hour speech.
I will be more than happy to meet with you all to further discuss any item. My door is always open.
Laying A Strong Foundation
This proposal was put together with one overriding goal in mind: laying a strong foundation for a stronger city.
As our city’s population continues to grow at a rate not seen since the early 20th century, Minneapolis is confronting an unprecedented affordable housing crisis. While neighborhoods across Minneapolis continue to feel the benefits of a growing economy, too many people in our city are not included in that growth. Upgrades and updates to aspects of essential city infrastructure have gone neglected for decades. A commitment to good governance demands we address those needs — not just with an eye for the 2019 budget, but also with a vision for our long-term future. And where we can increase access and transparency in our city government, we should. Minneapolis government should be more nimble, more responsive to what people need—and we are working to make sure that it is.
Our strong foundation rests on three core pillars.
First, data-driven investments in affordable housing and in programs proven to help people in our city.
Second, community-led and community-backed initiatives: forging partnerships aimed at everything from sparking economic growth through inclusion to improving police-community relations.
Third, a commitment to good governance and an effective, open, transparent method of governing.
With that, I’ll start with my first priority: expanding access to affordable housing.
The cards behind me were delivered by Make Homes Happen, a coalition of housing advocates from around the Twin Cities. Each represents a personal story from someone in Minneapolis, making their case for real investment in housing.
Aidan Walkett is a graduate student at the U. She wants to live in Minneapolis. But due to the high cost of housing, she’s still renting in Saint Paul and saving as much of her stipend as she can. She wants early career professionals to be able to live in our city — which is, in her words, “the center of activity in our state.” I couldn’t agree more, Aidan.
Polina Montes de Oca is a first generation American. She knows that housing is a foundation for generational wealth building. She wants a fair shot at making a better future for her family. And so do we.
The Munson family recognizes that for people with disabilities, access to secure, stable housing is everything. They know this to be true because their niece, who has Down syndrome, has been able to maintain her independence thanks to inclusive, accessible housing. They’re right.
There are thousands of stories like these going untold in Minneapolis.
After being elected Mayor, I convened a group of housing experts and held a number of public meetings to develop a housing agenda that would change the lives of people like Aidan, Polina, and the Munson family. From those conversations, we generated a set of recommendations that I made public in May. Since then, our office—working hand-in-hand with our extraordinary CPED staff—have been focused on implementing those recommendations. In 2018 alone, our city has already received sixteen applications for support from our affordable housing trust fund, totaling 23 million dollars. That’s a record high for our city.
So, the good news is that people want to build affordable housing here in Minneapolis. The bad news is that THIS year we didn’t have the resources to support many of those requests.
We are going to change that.
Driving home the point even further are market realities. Outside capital is available now. But it likely won’t be for long. The increasing cost of construction coupled with a hike in interest rates will likely drive down return on investment. That means the outside capital is likely to dry up, with fewer businesses and nonprofits vying to build in our city. Now is the time to take advantage of a market primed for investment. It is our job to help guide that investment towards a people-centered housing approach.
The old cliché is “don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” The reality is that we can’t put affordable housing investments off till tomorrow because tomorrow is too damn late.
And one more cliché, just for good measure: “We have got to put our money where our mouth is.”
Now is the time.
In our budget, we will be investing a record $40 million in affordable housing. To be clear, that’s just the City’s share. $40 million. That’s more than triple any previous City investment in affordable housing. Indeed, it’s one of the highest per capita investments for any municipality in the nation. To be exceedingly transparent, let’s go line-by-line to detail where this funding goes—
- Affordable Housing Trust Fund: $21.6 million
- Tenant Hotline: $125,000
- Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing Preservation: $3.4 million
- 4D expansion: $250,000
- Minneapolis Homes: $5 million
- Housing Stabilization: $1.5 million
- Affordable Housing Missing Middle: $500,000
- Home ownership rehab: $1 million
- Tenant legal services: $175,000
- Eviction Representation pilot: $150,000
- Homeownership Opportunity Minneapolis: $696,000
- Homeownership education: $325,000
- Stable Homes, Stable Schools: $3.3 million
- Higher Density Corridor Housing: $463,000
- Emergency Shelter Capital and Rapid Rehousing: $767,000
- Street Outreach: $300,000
- Vacant Housing Recycling Program: $1.3 million
- Single family construction services: $3.3 million
- Home Ownership Works: $500,000
- Administrative and contractual services: $2.1 million
In addition to the great work that the city was already doing, we are adding a one-time $29.4 million infusion.
None of those figures include the tens of millions of dollars that we’ll receive from federal and state government and other sources, which we have chosen to allocate to deeper and longer-term affordability. What this means is that in 2019, we are allocating over $50 million to affordable housing. With that level of support, we can do better for our city by targeting more deeply affordable housing at the 30 percent of Area Median Income level, something that Council Member Lisa Goodman has long advocated for.
I believe that housing is a right. This funding will help ensure more people throughout our city are guaranteed that right.
The foreclosure crisis and the 2011 tornado on the Northside resulted in the City owning a large number of properties, most of which were concentrated in North and South Central Minneapolis. We are seeing trends of displacement in those same neighborhoods — neighborhoods where distressed ownership housing is being purchased and converted to rental … and the rates for those rental units are increasing faster than incomes.
Here are two primary ways we plan to mitigate those trends.
The first is by dramatically increasing homeownership opportunities on City-owned properties. I am proposing a $5 million investment in the Minneapolis Homes program, which will prioritize inclusive and equitable development by reducing racial disparity rates in homeownership. Owning real property is the best way to increase inter-generational wealth, especially for first generation home buyers. So, let’s help more people reach that milestone.
The second is a pilot initiative geared towards funding developments of 2-9 unit housing along transit corridors. Sometimes called the Affordable Missing Middle, an investment of $500,000 will help these projects complement other neighborhood stabilization initiatives, reduce vacancy, and support our current residents.
Council President Lisa Bender has done extensive work on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan — much of which is dedicated to bolstering multi-unit housing in scale with single-family homes. This allocation should help support the goals in the comp plan and increase affordability where it’s needed.
The City is now a majority renter population. And about 50,000 of Minneapolis renters earn less than 60 percent of the area median income. When confronted with the sometimes-sudden rent hikes, people face a critical decision: Attempt to continue making payments on housing they can’t afford; or be forced out of a neighborhood they’ve helped make wonderful in the first place.
While government cannot reverse this trend on its own, we certainly can do our part to retain naturally-occurring affordability. To that end, I am allocating $3.4 million to our Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) Preservation fund. This preservation funding will allow us to help our experienced non-profit partners acquire affordable properties and protect low income renters for the long term.
Housing stability is especially critical for young people and families. The top indicator of success in school is stability at home. That’s just a fact. Still, 8.5 percent of our school age population is experiencing homelessness or teetering on the verge of it. Working with Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, and Hennepin County, we’ve built a team with the goal of curbing homelessness and housing instability for our city’s kids. Here’s how the Stable Homes, Stable Schools Initiative does that.
We will directly provide $3.3 million on an annual basis in aid, so that students and families experiencing homelessness or housing instability have rapid housing support. And we want to do it in a way that allows students to stay in their neighborhood school.
Private partners have a role to play, too. If you are a property owner in the City, I am calling on you to collaborate with us and set aside at least one unit in your building to house a student and their family.
Together we can do right by our students and our families.
It’s not just students who need us to stand up for them. Everybody deserves stability in housing. Eviction is a threat to stability. And without a keen understanding of the law or a legal advocate in your corner, prevailing against a well-lawyered landlord in an eviction case can be almost impossible. We should level the playing field for our renters by providing legal representation. And so with $150,000 for a new Eviction Representation pilot we’ll be able to help provide it.
To be sure, housing access and affordability are statewide issues. In our state, one in every four households devotes more than 30 percent of their income to housing. That’s a burden borne by renters and homeowners alike. This isn’t just a Minneapolis problem. But this is a problem where Minneapolis is uniquely positioned to lead. And we will. The data is clear: We simply must act.
Community-Led and Community-Backed Initiatives
Data is also revealing what’s working and what’s not in our approach to public safety and economic development initiatives. And what’s working is often centered on community-backed, community-led initiatives.
Co-Creators and Partners
Chief Arradondo is doing extraordinary things for our city. Under his leadership, we’ve launched and expanded a number of initiatives that are generating results.
Why? Because community is bought into his vision. And he’s even forging more partnerships even within the city.
Our Group Violence Intervention (GVI), led by our Health Department, is a great example— which supports an effective response to gun violence. Based on a person’s likelihood of being involved in group gun violence, they’re brought in to GVI to receive a message: stop shooting and start a new life. Law enforcement, community members who have been directly impacted by group violence, and social service providers all work together to reinforce that message. And guess what? It’s working on the Northside.
A GVI participant whom I’ve met with is already turning his life around. Following an initial GVI meeting, a young man sat down next to me while we were eating dinner, and he told me his story. He acknowledged his prior involvement in group violence, time spent in prison, and a host of compounding difficulties of street life. But he also knew exactly where he wanted to be. He wanted to exit the gang lifestyle and get his real estate license — and he was going to do everything possible to make that goal a reality. Just days ago, I talked with this young man again, and after staying up for multiple nights studying his tail off, he passed the first phase of real estate exams. Minneapolis, his name is Keegan Jamaal Rolence and he’s here today. Please give him a round of applause.
This program is working. Chief Arradondo and I have spoken with people at Little Earth. They want the same opportunity to lead and curb shootings in their community. I’m investing an additional $270,000 to keep GVI going strong in the 4th precinct and $100,000 to expand it to the 3rd precinct. This brings our current investment in GVI to $660,000.
GVI is rooted in a public health based approach, as are several other key public safety items in my budget. That’s because evidence is revealing that public health-based, culturally-sensitive, and community-backed initiatives are effective.
Earlier this year I announced the formation of a multi-jurisdictional opioid task-force. Again, the efforts are propelled by experts, advocates, and community partners. Our team is working to develop a coordinated plan to reduce opioid abuse, dependence, and overdoses in Minneapolis. Beyond our work to equip every officer and firefighter with the life-saving anti-overdose drug naloxone, I am proposing 50 thousand dollars to support our task force’s ongoing work.
The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis and our public safety personnel can and should be part of the solution. As a city, we can also do a better job of consolidating our emerging public health-based safety responses. I’m also proposing $25,000 toward creating an Office of Violence Prevention and Intervention. The creation of this new office would serve to make sure the right hand is talking to the left; that the departments doing this work are coordinating with one another; and it would serve as a formal acknowledgment of our shared belief that violence is a public health epidemic.
I want to thank Councilman Cunningham for continuing to bring more awareness around this important issue.
As Mayor of Minneapolis, it is my duty to ensure the safety and health of all our residents and to make sure that everyone feels pride in our city—that everyone belongs. A municipal form of identification would bring us all together under that banner.
My team and I have been engaged in discussion with a variety of advocates, staff, and community leaders to come up with a viable policy to create that ID. That’s why we are preserving an upfront investment of $200,000 in funding for a municipal ID. This City ID card will grant our residents benefits, opportunities, and -- hopefully -- some peace of mind. Too many people right now are unable to obtain a primary form of identification -- youth, immigrants, seniors who no longer drive, transgender people, and those who are experiencing homelessness.
Council Member Alondra Cano has championed this initiative, and we are moving forward thoughtfully, working with a large interdepartmental team to create a plan. We have a responsibility to first draft an ordinance, and then to build a City ID program that protects people’s private data and balances implementation costs. We’re not there yet, but we are working to ensure we have the public and private partnerships, community input, and core benefits Minneapolis needs for a City ID program.
It’s important to ensure that all people in Minneapolis can go about their lives with a sense of security. It’s also important that every one of our residents is counted in the 2020 Census. In fact, it’s essential. An undercounting of our residents brings an underinvestment in our city.
The President is weakening the 2020 Census efforts with less money, fewer staff, and fewer resources than previously provided. So, as has been increasingly the case, the buck stops with cities. Specifically, $350,000 bucks will stop with us — and be included in our budget because the Census, in no small part, defines who we are.
Council Member Abdi Warsame has long recognized the importance of counting our entire city, and will undoubtedly be at the forefront of our collaborative efforts to ensure everyone in Minneapolis is counted. We are forming a Complete Count Committee -- inviting constituent, faith, arts and business leaders to shape our 2020 efforts. Making sure that everyone’s voice is heard—that everyone is counted, those are Minneapolis values.
Community Investments: Policing & Funding
Our values can and should be embedded into everything we do. That includes all departments. Public safety and policing in Minneapolis should be centered on compassion. And the need to uphold and enforce our laws should always be balanced with our values. We are allocating $25,000 for our “Fix it, not Ticket” initiative.
All of you have heard — many of you have lived — the story before. A police officer pulls someone over for a legitimately broken tail light and hands them a ticket. That’s been the expectation. Chances are, the reason the tail light was broken is the person couldn’t afford to fix it. If they can’t afford to fix the tail light, they can’t afford to pay the ticket. And when they don’t pay the ticket, the fee goes up, paying it becomes impossible … All the while, that light stays out, creating a less safe road for vehicles and pedestrians alike.
Instead of letting people get trapped in a cycle of unpayable tickets and fees, let’s skip the ticket in the first place and offer a voucher to fix the broken light. An added benefit? It’s a way for officers to build relationships, not damage them. Rather than getting dinged with a ticket, you get a voucher for a free repair.
Safe communities make economically healthy communities possible. And we can help drive more inclusive economic growth by partnering with the people, businesses, and neighborhoods we all want to benefit, namely Black, American Indian and Immigrant communities. Now is the time to put our stated values into action. We must ensure that communities of color are not being used as scapegoats and data points, but are being supported as owners, leaders, and partners in prosperity.
Let’s start with Village Trust Financial Cooperative, the only black-owned cooperative and community development financial institution in Minnesota. They’re open for business; they’re lending. They’re working with community to build economic security and independence in significant ways.
Presently, more than 30 percent of black households in Minneapolis are unbanked or underbanked and many depend on predatory lending services to meet their basic financial needs. The black community continues to be financially underserved and excluded -- even as the number of new businesses owned by Black people continues to outpace many other groups. Me’Lea Connelly and her team already have over five million dollars in organizational and individual pledged deposits, coming from just over 1,600 pledges. Now they have another one. This, by the way, is a personal deposit for my own new account. And with this budget, we are providing another $500,000 for Village Trust.
Will Village Trust’s success help make for a more equitable city? Council Member Ellison will tell you, yes, it will. You can take that to the bank. Or rather, to the credit union.
While access to capital and credit is often where these partnerships begin it shouldn’t be where they end. Local governments should not be known for putting up roadblocks to opening a business. We should be providing road maps for success. Flipping this paradigm on its head won’t be easy, but new investments in our Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP), will help us get there.
Whether it’s helping upstart businesses pull financial statements together, file a tax return, or secure financing — B-TAP allows more people to access the wealth of institutional business knowledge we have in the city. We can connect the upstart to the established company in their sector. Just like RT helped me navigate my transition to Mayor, entrepreneurs should have access to the same mentoring.
And we aren’t stopping with serving just businesses. We have C-TAP for Coops, D-TAP for developers, E-TAP for business energy savings, and ACE-TAP for artists because every great city must support small business development and cultural corridors.
Before I tap out, we are allocating $597,000 in funding for these programs.
We also must plan for our workforce of the future, recognizing that, as of today, we have a workforce shortage. With over 100,000 job vacancies in the Twin Cities region, we have to build on our human capital here at home. We know that innovation and manufacturing are critical pathways to employment and ownership. That is why we have doubled down on IT and manufacturing. Employer partnerships in initiatives like MSP TechHire and programming through the Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center and 800 West Broadway are driving economic growth while helping close the skills gap.
A diverse talent pool is critical to our economic competitiveness. This work ensures that the workforce of tomorrow has the training necessary today. Let’s support it. We will be investing $100,000 in new spending for MSP TechHire; $100,000 for the Opportunity Center; and $75,000 for 800 West Broadway.
African American Museum and Center for Racial Equity
We should also be partners when it comes to expanding access to culture and human resiliency. Earlier this year Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins brought forward a meaningful proposal: an African American Museum and Center for Racial Equity. The Museum and Center” will be a place of affirmation and serve as a training ground to mental health providers. It is a visualization of culture and racial healing that says very clearly, “Yes, you matter.” She has already done substantial work coordinating with the owners of a site within the cultural corridor of 38th Street at Fourth Avenue South and has begun the visioning process. I’m setting aside $25,000 to begin site planning for the African American Museum and Center for Racial Equity.
A Greener Minneapolis: Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability
Community is a source of expertise in advising the City on how to invest in furtherance of ambitious goals. Economic inclusion is not a single project but a system-wide transformation of how we do business.
Combating climate change, the defining challenge of our time, is going to require ambition. We are lucky to have a team of experts, engaged residents, and elected leaders like Council Members Cam Gordon, Council Member Steve Fletcher, and Council Member Jeremy Schroeder who are committed to sustainability. I’ve seen their excellent work firsthand as a member of the Clean Energy Partnership. I am proposing over $1 million in expanded and enhanced energy programs. How we allocate this money will be driven by recommendations from our resident-led Energy Vision Advisory Committee.
From incentivizing energy efficiency upgrades to assisting green zones and expanding successful initiatives like the green business cost share program, this funding can take us to the next level in combating climate change.
We should also add a dedicated expert, within the city, to lead responses to state-level energy policy. Minneapolis residents see the impact of energy policy not only as an existential threat, but they also feel it in their pocketbooks. Our response to the climate crisis must be cutting-edge and forward-looking. In addition to being cutting edge, we must also remain attentive when it comes to improving core city services.
Public safety is one of those core city services. Fundamentally, we as a city should be about a new type of policing—a community-oriented type of policing. That’s precisely why I’m proposing that we invest in our mental health co-responder program, proposing that we put our sworn police officers on the street, and making sure our officers have full wellness training to be their best versions of self 100 percent of the time.
First, the mental health co-responder program provides compassionate crisis intervention to individuals experiencing mental illness. As fiercely advocated by Council Member Linea Palmisano, my proposal invests $280,000 to permanently continue the program in the third and the fifth precincts and expand it to the first. Second, with over $1 million in new funding, we can add capacity to our department in an innovative way by civilianizing eight non-policing positions presently held by sworn officers.
Converting these positions not only frees up sworn officers to build better relationships, it also results in more efficient and cost-effective work done by individuals specifically trained and educated in their fields, like crime lab forensics, body worn camera technicians, and a new LGBTQIA liaison. So, this proposal is good for safety by getting beat officers on the streets; it achieves a new level of expertise for our civilianized positions; and it’s good for our bottom line. A sworn officer costs about $28,000 more per year than a civilian, and that’s without including the increased cost of training and insurance. So, in this case, the best decisions for safety, fiscal responsibility, and good governance are all aligned.
Finally, being your best version of self requires self-care, especially in a profession like policing. The officers of our Minneapolis Police Department wear the uniform they do and take the risks they do because they want to make Minneapolis a better place. So, we are allocating $150,000 for wellness assistance to our officers so they can process what they encounter in the line of duty and re-calibrate between calls. Ensuring officers are in the right state of mind benefits both the officers and the communities they serve and protect.
Making sure that our laws and progressive policies have teeth is also central to getting government right.
Prior to our passage of our minimum wage ordinance, 41 percent of all black workers and 54 percent of all Latino workers in Minneapolis earned less than $15 per hour. That’s compared with just 17 percent of white workers. It’s great that workers are getting a raise. But everyone needs to know -- and understand -- that these workers are entitled to that raise and to sick leave. And they should know that the City has their back when they assert those rights. It’s never enough to pass a law, pat yourself on the back, and declare victory. Indeed, the quickest way to erode trust in government is to pass laws that you don’t enforce.
A recent case at McDonald’s, where workers are now being repaid over 20 thousand dollars in lost wages, shows what we can achieve when community, workers, businesses, and the city all work together.
We need more victories like this one.
So, I’m proposing we make a real investment in our Labor Standards and Enforcement Division: $100,000 in outreach funding and an additional $100,000 for an investigator to make sure that our city is effectively stopping wage theft.
I have talked a lot so far about our efforts to support new, innovative programming in the City. But the reality is that for most of our residents, the expectation is that streets are drivable, bikeable, walkable, and safe; that city services are easily accessible; and that our response systems are ready when emergencies arise.
In our capital projects, I have prioritized those that deliver on those expectations. The population boom in our urban core requires a Fire Station responsive to the safety challenges of a population increase. The proposed $5 million investment to renovate and expand fire station Number 1 will be key to realizing that goal. It’s also necessary that the fire department has the capacity to keep both the city and themselves safe. That’s why I’m recommending the addition of five positions and $110,000 to give the department the flexibility to help meet the needs of the community and to purchase additional protective equipment meeting or exceeding the minimum national standard.
For bikers, we will be spending over $1 million on the protected bikeways program and another $400,000 for our Safe Routes to School Program.
For walkers, we are investing $600,000 in intersection and crossing improvements, as well as $4.4 million for repair of defective or hazardous sidewalks.
And for everyone—including drivers—we are investing over $73 million in street paving all across the City to make sure potholes are quickly identified and repaired.
We also must make wise investments for the future. It might cost more today, but it will save us substantial money in years to come. Concrete streets cost more. But they’re also more durable, they hold up better in harsh winters, and require far less ongoing maintenance than typical asphalt mill and overlay construction. Council Member Kevin Reich has for years pushed for intelligent long-term fixes for our basic infrastructure, and we are taking his lead by investing $4.3 million in concrete streets throughout our city.
Don’t worry. We aren’t forgetting those of you who are groundwater and sanitary sewer fanatics. Over 85 percent of sanitary and storm sewers are over 80 years old; 45 percent are over 100 years old. They were built to handle much less water than they currently do. We need to modernize them. We have $18.5 million for sanitary sewers and another $14.75 million dollars for storm sewers.
These are the things our residents should expect from us — a City that consistently delivers on infrastructure investments, and with this budget, we will. City government must rise to meet the needs of the people it serves.
Even more central to meeting the needs of the 21st century? An easy to navigate, interactive, engaging, and intuitive website. We can help more people connect with our incredible staff, access our innovative new programming, and walk away from their computer with a better impression of our city than they had before entering the URL. I’m putting forward $111,000 to finally complete this project.
In addition to our digital infrastructure, our physical workspaces should be modern. Work is underway to meet that goal with the construction of the new Public Service Center. The new design should be constituent and customer-facing. With the new Service Center, we will meet that need by providing a one-stop shop for 311 -- a physical desk where you can get things done. Additionally, we have incredibly talented, highly-experienced City employees, who frankly make less than they otherwise could in the private sector because they love their work and they love Minneapolis. But we can’t expect to retain them if their working conditions are subpar. Like any other business in Minneapolis, we need to invest in our human capital. That means adequate light, collaborative workspaces, and an inviting design that leads to not just efficient work, but also happy employees.
We will also be investing $3.9 million to move our Crime Lab into the Service Center and into the 21st Century. A strong investment in technology and resources will help ensure our police and prosecutors have fast turnaround on evidence. By doing this, victims of sexual assault and crime will receive a higher level of assurance that justice will be done.
We need to keep public safety front and center—and there are incremental, commonsense steps we can take to make sure we are, even when we’re talking about sidewalks. It might be tempting to forget, given the weather, but it is certainly no secret that Minneapolis has harsh winters. Winter conditions pose challenges for people—especially our seniors and those with disabilities—who are often left to struggle through the snow and ice on our city’s sidewalks. I’m working in partnership with Council Member Andrew Johnson to invest in right-of-way inspectors to move us from our current inconsistent and reactive enforcement, to proactive enforcement that covers each and every block of our city.
Parks & Schools: Key Community Partners
And year round, our number-one-in-the-nation park system should be open and accessible to everyone in our city. Parks provide safe spaces for kids to grow, learn, and play. That’s why in 2019, I am recommending a levy increase for the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board that includes $800,000 to maintain current service levels, and $150,000 for a full-service community park-school campus program. And we are continuing to look for additional funding to supplement those efforts.
The Park and School Boards are our partners. Where we can support them, we should. And working together should not be the exception to the rule—it should be the standard. I want to thank the Park and School Board members here with us today. Please stand to be recognized … and to stretch your legs.
Property Tax Levy Impact
Record levels of funding for affordable housing; housing stability for our kids; and ensuring all residents are counted in 2020—these are non-negotiable if we want to keep Minneapolis strong. But we must do these things with the understanding that the work is paid for by the people we represent. And as stewards of their money, we have a responsibility to spend their money wisely.
As is always the case, we built this budget under real fiscal pressures. From backfilling in response to cuts to local government aid, to increased pension obligations, to making right on our promise to fully fund our parks and streets, we have a number of obligations that we have to live up to. When we began this budget process, the prevailing thought was that just retaining current service levels would require a 5.65 percent levy increase. Some savings came from lower than anticipated health care costs. Thank you to Council Member Palmisano for driving this change. Other savings resulted from hard choices.
We found that some programs that had been funded in the past did not have the data to justify continued funding. These programs were cut or replaced with new programs or higher levels of funding for programs that do get results. But today, after months of deliberation and tough conversations, we are able to propose a 5.63 percent levy increase for 2019. Yes, you heard correctly, lower than where we started.
To give you an idea of what this will mean to the average property owner, if your home value did not increase from 2018, this budget will result in a 55 dollar or a 4 percent decrease in the City’s tax bill. If your home value increased by 10 percent, the annual increase will be $85 or 6.5 percent.
That, at a high level, is my plan for laying a strong foundation for a stronger Minneapolis.
The three core pillars of our government will only be as strong as our leadership and only as dependable as our commitment to following through and getting things done. This budget is one of principled and measured investments. It includes commitments to core services like filling potholes, fixing our 100-year old sewers, and making sure sidewalks are clear of snow. It includes investments in serving our community, like making our business interactions more customer-oriented and helping provide legal services for tenants.
These investments in our city today can serve as guarantees for a strong foundation. That foundation rests on community-led and community-backed agreements; a commitment to good governance with an effective, open, and transparent way of governing; and data-driven investments in Minneapolis.
That solid foundation also rests on working together to make this the best possible budget for our city.
And I look forward to doing so.