The Mayor has presented his 2011 budget proposal to the City Council. The proposed budget increases expenses for all City funds to $1.36 billion, an $81 million dollar increase from 2010. The General Fund, which includes funding for the operations of most City departments, increases from $371.6 to $393.6 million. The budget includes an increase of 6.5% to the total property tax levy. This will bring in $17.4 million more to cover City expenses, including a $17.7 million jump in pension obligations. In his budget address, the mayor indicated that without these pension costs he would have proposed to lower property taxes by 0.1%.
There will be $15 million in revenue coming from a recertification of a tax increment district dedicated to neighborhood revitalization purposes and paying off the Target Center debt.
The Mayor's budget calls for over 80 positions to be eliminated. Many of these will likely be accomplished through attrition and not filling current vacant positions, but there will be some layoffs.
One new position, “a high-level coordinator of transit-oriented development to bring together private, public and foundation efforts around economic development on transit lines,” will be added. The position will be paid for in part with foundation money. The budget also increases spending on street and other infrastructure improvements, including a new program aimed at more residential street improvements.
The budget counts on the state following through with its $87.5 million Local Government Aid commitment. The Mayor has unveiled contingency plans that may be needed if the State Government reduces LGA, as has happened in the past two years. Basically, the contingency would reduce the number of streets that we can repair over the next five years from 555 miles or 55% to 181 miles or only 18%.
You can see the Mayor’s proposed budget at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/city-budget/2011recc/index.asp. The Council will have the opportunity to analyze and amend it before final approval in early December. There will be public comments taken on the levy and budget during the evenings of November 18 and at the formal Public Hearing on the budget on December 13.
I welcome your comments.