Mayor Hodges’ 2015 Budget Invests in Equity, Growth, and Running City Well
 In first budget, Mayor delivers on wide range of investments in equity, infrastructure, public safety, housing, and curbside organics, among highlights
August 14, 2014 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges today delivered her proposed 2015 budget for the City of Minneapolis that makes significant investments in increasing equity, growing Minneapolis, and running the City well. In her first budget address, entitled “Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value,” after a quote from Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Hodges proposed a number of specific initiatives in the areas of equity, public safety, infrastructure and others that represent deliberate and intentional investments in the vision that Minneapolis residents overwhelmingly voted for last fall.
“When we voted last fall, we asked for something bigger than each of us. When we voted last fall, we asked for a city that was well run. When we voted, we asked for action on a vision of growth — to bring more people, businesses, housing and jobs here. When we voted, we overwhelmingly demanded action on eliminating the gaps we have between white people and people of color, and to make sure everyone could participate in the benefits of that growth. When we voted, we asked to reach for something beyond what we had ever before imagined for ourselves,” said Mayor Hodges.
“Today’s budget, Minneapolis, is about taking major steps toward that vision. It will take all of us participating fully to get it done.”
The highlights of the investments that Mayor Hodges proposed include:
·         An additional $1 million City dollars in affordable housing, focusing on family housing.
·         $3.5 million to fully fund the investment in the redesign of Nicollet Mall.
·         Planning dollars for the redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal, to ensure North Minneapolis has its own valuable riverfront amenities.
·         Two new positions in the City Coordinator’s office to focus exclusively on the city’s equity work, ensuring the best possible equity outcomes in every department and every division.
·         Funding to support 10 more police officers, for an authorized strength of 860 sworn officers.
·         $1,140,000 in capital dollars to implement a program of body cameras for the police department.
Mayor Hodges noted that while Minneapolis has been coming out of the recession sooner than almost anywhere, we are still dealing with the aftermath of the economic crisis. To meet the need to reinvest in services that Minneapolis needs to grow in the 21st century after years of cuts, Mayor Hodges proposed a 2.4% levy increase in the 2015 budget. The modest, mostly inflationary increase in the levy covers the natural rising cost of services while also investing in the values and priorities that Minneapolis voted for last fall. It also comes after three years of holding the levy under the growth of inflation, not to mention after a decade of dramatic cuts to Local Government Aid, which were partially restored by Governor Dayton and DFL majorities in the Legislature only in 2013.
Even with this modest levy increase, one-half of residential properties in Minneapolis would nonetheless see no increase, or would even see a decrease, in the City portion of their property taxes.
“More than half of the proposed levy increase is simply to pay for the services we are already providing. It maintains the status quo. When we voted last fall, however, we didn’t vote for just the status quo. We didn’t vote for business as usual.
“We voted to end our racial disparities and move toward a brighter future altogether. This budget invests in that.”
When we do this work, Mayor Hodges said, “There is something in it for everyone.”
 
Equity
Mayor Hodges noted that while we are entering a period of growth for this country and in this city, the increase in prosperity is happening primarily for white people and that people of color are not sharing in the new circumstances. She proposed many investments in equity, including the following:
·         Two new positions in the City Coordinator’s office to focus exclusively on developing the City’s equity work, in order to ensure the most equitable outcomes in every City department and division.
·         An additional $1 million city dollars in affordable housing, focusing on family housing.
·         Investment in an initiative to promote home ownership among communities of color, and help rebuild community wealth in north and south central Minneapolis.
·         Increased investment in youth violence prevention, including $55,000 to extend the effective work of downtown youth outreach workers.
·         An additional $70,000 in education and support for caregivers and parents of adolescents.
·         Additional funding for elections and neighborhood voter services.
·         Additional $100,000 in the Business Technical Assistance Program, which helps develop entrepreneurship in communities of color.
Many of the investments in equity will support the goals of the Mayor’s Cradle to K initiative, the goal of which is eliminate disparities for Minneapolis children, starting before birth to age three.
 
Growth
Mayor Hodges noted that growth in cities is becoming the status quo rather than a new trend, as people across the country move into our urban cores. She proposed a variety of intentional investments to help Minneapolis grow, and increase quality of life and prosperity:
·         $3.5 million to fully fund the investment in the redesign of Nicollet Mall. Mayor Hodges thanked Governor Dayton, the Legislature and the downtown business community for their investment in this project.
·         $750,000 for a network of protected bike lanes, many of which will be in some of the most diverse and low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis.
·         A reorganized and reimagined transportation planning division in Public Works to focus on staying ahead of future transportation trends and projects.
·         Planning dollars for the redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal, to ensure North Minneapolis has its own valuable riverfront amenities.
 
Running the city well
Mayor Hodges noted that closing our racial disparities and growing the city must rest on a foundation of running the city well. To that end, she proposed a number of investments in public safety, public works and the environment:
·         Funding to support 10 more police officers, for an authorized strength of 860 sworn officers.
·         Close to $1 million a year ongoing for classes of community service officers, which are known to significantly boost the diversity of the police force.
·         An additional $960,000 for a police cadet class of 18.
·         $1,140,000 in capital dollars to implement officer body cameras in the Police Department.
·         $800,000 for two recruit classes for the Fire Department, including one class added to the department’s base ongoing.
·         $50,000 for the Fire Department’s Fire and Emergency Service Explorer Program, which encourages young people in Minneapolis public high schools to enter firefighting and emergency management as a career, and offers hands-on leadership development.
·         $346,000 for an additional four 911 operators.
·         Increased funding for a comprehensive pedestrian safety initiative, including durable markings for bicycle conflict areas, high-use vehicle lanes, and at crosswalks.
·         Funding for curbside organics collection, which is set to begin in 2015.
The full text of Mayor Hodges’ 2014 budget speech, “Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value,” can be found here as prepared for delivery. You can also watch the video from the budget speech, found here.
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Published Aug 14, 2014