Mayor Frey outlines priorities for 2023-2024

February 8, 2023

Today, Mayor Jacob Frey announced his administration’s top priority areas for 2023 and 2024. The mayor’s priorities include Affordable Housing and Homelessness, Climate Action, Community Safety and Police Reform, Economic Inclusion and Recovery, and Good Governance.

With the new form of government passed by voters in 2021, the mayor of the City of Minneapolis oversees the City’s executive functions, providing a clear line of direction for the first time in over 100 years. With clearer lines of accountability and responsibility, Mayor Frey and City leadership established policy priorities to guide the administration’s policy and budgetary priorities moving forward.

Under the new government structure, three executive positions serve as a mayoral cabinet to help in organizing and managing the day-to-day work of the City – City Attorney, City Operations Officer, and Community Safety Commissioner. Each of these leaders will support these priorities and work to provide efficient, effective, and equitable City services to Minneapolis residents.

The mayor’s priorities will help direct resources and staff time as related to City programs and initiatives and will further the goals adopted in the City’s Strategic and Racial Equity Action Plan. Additionally, the mayor’s future budget decisions will be aligned with and guided by these priority areas.

"Good governance requires effective prioritization and transparent communication,” said Mayor Frey. “We will be putting our time and money where it best aligns with our stated priorities – and that means focusing on affordable housing, community safety, economic inclusion, climate action, and good governance. By advancing these five priorities, we will help improve the daily lives of Minneapolis residents for generations to come.”  

“These priorities will positively impact residents, community organizations, and small businesses in Minneapolis,” said Heather Johnston, Interim City Operations Officer. “When our City staff work together – and in alignment – we can do great things to benefit everyone in our city. I’m excited for the work we have ahead and applaud Mayor Frey for prioritizing efforts to make our community safer, more inclusive, and prosperous for all.” 

“Everyone in Minneapolis deserves to feel safe, whether at home, work, or school,” said Dr. Cedric Alexander, Community Safety Commissioner. “That’s why integrating a comprehensive approach to community safety is a top priority for Mayor Frey, myself, and the entire Office of Community Safety. I look forward to our continued work ahead to make Minneapolis the safest city in America.” 

“We work every day to see to it that Minneapolis can be the most just, equitable, and inclusive city it can be,” said Kristyn Anderson, City Attorney. “Not only do Mayor Frey's priorities benefit the incredible people who call our city home, they also align the City’s entire executive branch – giving us all a shared vision for the incredible work we do as public servants.”  

Mayor Frey’s priorities for 2023-2024:

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

Since the start of his first term, Mayor Frey has invested in getting people into safe, stable, and permanent homes. Over the last few years, Minneapolis has invested in affordable housing at record-pace, including funding nearly five times the number of deeply affordable housing units. These units are for households with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income (AMI).

The City will continue to produce and sustain affordable homes for low-income and underserved populations. To help this effort, the mayor will focus on convening a multi-jurisdictional collaboration with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and other governmental and philanthropic partners to chart a course for investments in deeply affordable and public housing units, as well as preserving existing public housing units by addressing the backlog of capital needs.

Additionally, Mayor Frey is committed to making sure homeless shelters have the space they need to serve individuals in our community who don’t have a permanent home yet. The mayor is focused on expanding and improving shelter options in Minneapolis. This includes continued work and partnership with Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota to build on the collective investments made over the past two years, sustain those advancements, and continue to address capacity concerns and modernize shelter space.

Mayor Frey also plans to expand his Stable Homes Stable Schools initiative in partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Hennepin County, and the YWCA of the North. This expansion will provide deeper impact to the schools with the highest rates of homelessness, as well as provide more elementary schools with resources to prevent homelessness and find safe, secure, and stable housing for thousands of students and their families.

Finally, the mayor will lead Minneapolis in becoming the first city to eliminate childhood lead poisoning by 2035. More than 3,000 kids in our public school system have had lead poisoning, and the majority of these children are in BIPOC communities. 

2023 budget highlights: 

  • Increases to a total of $16.8 million in 2023 and $18 million in 2024 for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, helping to preserve and produce hundreds of housing units that are affordable to homes with incomes at or below 50% AMI 
  • Sustains people’s access to the Right to Counsel policy with additional ongoing funding of $500,000, bringing the ongoing annual total to $750,000 and leveraging resources from other jurisdictional and non-profit partners 
  • Invests over $3 million in the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, building on previous ARPA investments and an ongoing $1 million commitment 
  • Expands funding for NOAH Preservation by an additional $1.5 million in 2023 and Minneapolis Homes by $2 million in 2024 

Community Safety and Police Reform

Following the creation of the Office of Community Safety last year, Mayor Frey is focused on the continued implementation of the City’s comprehensive approach to community safety. That includes progress on integrating all five safety departments – and making sure they have adequate staffing levels. The mayor has been consistent in his message on recruitment and retention, and a big focus of the mayor’s priorities will be on increasing community-oriented officer recruitment in addition to bolstering 911 staff.

Over the course of the next two years, the mayor will broaden community-based violence prevention programs and alternatives to better serve and reach residents in all neighborhoods. The new Neighborhood Safety Department (inclusive of the Office of Violence Prevention’s programming) houses these services. The mayor has also made significant budget allocations to expand the Behavioral Crisis Response mental health programming, which will be transitioning from the Performance Management and Innovation Department to Neighborhood Safety over the next several months.

The City will also be working to implement the necessary police and safety reforms required in any future settlement agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR). The confidential negotiations with MDHR are ongoing, and the City still awaits the findings of the Department of Justice investigation.

Finally, as the nation continues to deal with an opioid epidemic, the mayor’s administration plans to expand local treatment and recovery options for those battling abuse and addiction, allowing everyone to get the support and services they need.

2023 budget highlights:

  • Transitions the Office of Violence Prevention to ongoing general funds in 2024 (using $3.3 million ARPA funds in 2023) in the Neighborhood Safety Department, a newly elevated and standalone department 
  • Addresses the opioid epidemic with over $600,000 in ongoing funds for immediate opioid addiction treatment services 
  • Funds 731 sworn officers in the Police Department and 4 classes of new recruits in each year of the budget, additionally investing $8.6 million for overtime and $1.5 million for contracting with other law enforcement entities  
  • Expands the Behavioral Crisis Response program with a $1.45 million investment in 2023 and $2.9 million in 2024, helping provide unarmed, mental health professionals as responders in behavioral health crisis situations – bringing the ongoing annual investment in this work to over $6.4 million by 2024. This will bring the number of Behavioral Crisis Response Teams operating 24/7 from two to five
  • Appropriates $12.95 million for enhancing street lighting throughout the City - including funding for system replacement in Stevens Square, Loring Park, Como, and Marcy Holmes along with lightbulb and fixture repair and replacement in North Minneapolis  
  • Expands code compliance and traffic control in Regulatory Services by $932,897 in ongoing funding for 9 positions to provide 24-hour service – one Field Supervisor and eight Code Compliance Specialists, enhancing their ability to handle increases in parking complaints, traffic management and special events, including responding to overnight 911 calls for traffic control issues 

Climate Action

Mayor Frey is committed to addressing climate change at the local level. Building on the new Climate Equity Plan, slated for release in the first quarter of this year, the Minneapolis Climate Legacy Initiative will outline a roadmap for significant climate action in Minneapolis over the coming years. Through local, state, and federal partnerships, the City will focus on cutting greenhouse gas emission with a specific focus on reducing racial disparities.  

Along with City, State, and partner resources, the mayor is focused on utilizing federal funding opportunities made available through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to help Minneapolis reach its climate goals and create safer, healthier, and more sustainable communities.

2023 budget highlights:

  • Adds over $500,000 in two years for the Green Cost Share program which will help businesses reduce environmental pollution through solar energy and weatherization projects  
  • Expands electrical vehicle stations with $700,000 between 2023 and 2024, leveraging an estimated $2-3 million in additional federal funds to support electric vehicles and carbon emission reduction 

Economic Inclusion and Recovery:

As Minneapolis continues to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, economic inclusion and recovery remains one of Mayor Frey’s top priorities. Part of this collaborative effort includes supporting and uplifting BIPOC-owned businesses and entrepreneurs through the city’s Ownership & Opportunity Fund (formerly known as the Commercial Property Development Fund). This fund creates opportunities for BIPOC business owners to not only run their business, but to own the underlying real estate. This fund supports capital and wealth generation for small businesses and developers in historically disinvested areas of the city.

As the State of Minnesota moves to legalize adult-use, recreational cannabis, Mayor Frey is working to make sure the City is ready to go if – and when – the time comes. That means lining up pathways to licensure and planning for a smooth transition for small business owners, with a focus on supporting communities most impacted by the failed policies of prohibition.

Mayor Frey and the City are also working on several, large-scale projects that will see important advancements in the coming years including: the Upper Harbor Terminal connecting North Minneapolis to the Riverfront, the Nicollet Redevelopment Project reconnecting Nicollet Avenue between Lake Street and the Midtown Greenway, and upcoming recommendations from the mayor’s Vibrant Downtown Storefronts Workgroup.

2023 budget highlights:

  • Builds on ARPA investments by adding $2 million to the Commercial Property Development Fund to provide ownership opportunities to BIPOC business owners 
  • Supports economic development along 38th Street with $500,000 one-time funding to Dreamland, a multi-tenant small business and event center 
  • Facilitates a business incubator on West Broadway with a $1 million investment in the ZaRah project
  • Invests $250,000 in the Rise Up Center, a hub for BIPOC-workforce development in the green building and clean energy fields 
  • Provides $400,000 in funding for competitive grants to support cultural malls impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic 

Good Governance

For the first time in over 100 years, the City of Minneapolis has a new form of government. In November 2021, Minneapolis voters approved the new form of government, which explicitly defined the mayor as the City’s chief executive officer and the City Council as the City’s legislative and primary policy-making body. In fall 2022, the City Council approved an omnibus ordinance, which passed with a 9-4 vote, officially creating the new government structure under the form voters chose.

Over the course of the next two years, Mayor Frey and his administration will continue to operationalize the executive functions through the work of the City’s excellent employees. This includes enhancing performance measurement tools, aligning racial equity standards to all programs, and using a data-driven approach to budget decision-making.

2023 budget highlights:

  • Invests in programs and initiatives for Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, a newly elevated and standalone department 
  • Brings back over 50 FTEs to the City's workforce by 2024, matching the pre-pandemic workforce size