Mayor Rybak has presented his proposed 2009 budget to the Council. I'm thrilled about some of the priorities he has set forth:
Welcome new investments in infrastructure. RT is proposing $27.5 million in new transportation infrastructure spending, enough to repave or repair more than one third of all the heavily-traveled streets and parkways maintained by the City of Minneapolis. This includes $2.1 million for the Hiawatha Bike Trail lighting and extension project in 2013, $2.2 million for the U of M bike trail from Bridge 9 to the Transitway through Dinkytown, and $2.1 million for the Riverlake Greenway in south Minneapolis. It also includes the first-ever dedicated bike infrastructure maintenance budget line, which will invest $100,000 per year into keeping our off-street trails and on-street lanes in good condition.
Continued attention to preventing youth violence. The budget includes $75,000 in one time funding for implementing our Youth Violence Prevention Action Plan. The Mayor also recommends spending $150,000 on continuing the Youth are Here buses.
A smaller than expected property tax increase. For the past few years, Minneapolis property owners have faced levy increases of 8% per year. This has been quite a burden, especially to people on fixed and limited incomes. This year's proposed levy increase is 6.9%, still not as low as we would like but a step in the right direction.
The 2009 budget will be adopted in December. I look forward to learning and sharing more in the weeks ahead and I encourage you to share your budget priorities and concerns with me.