City Council Approves Mayor Hodges’ 2015 Budget that Invests in Equity, Growth, and Running the City Well
More than half of homeowners feel no increase, or a decrease, in City portion of property taxes
December 10, 2014 (MINNEAPOLIS) — The Minneapolis City Council Wednesday approved Mayor Hodges’ proposed 2015 budget for the City of Minneapolis that makes significant, intentional investments in equity, public safety, infrastructure, economic development, and curbside organics recycling, among others.
“Overall, this is a great budget: the investments that we are making in so many areas are significant steps forward for equity and growth in Minneapolis,” Mayor Hodges said.
“I am proud of our success here.”
More than half of Minneapolis homeowners will feel no increase, or will feel a decrease, in the City portion of their property taxes.
The investments in the 2015 budget as passed include:
·         Two new positions in the City Coordinator’s office to focus exclusively on the City’s racial-equity work, ensuring the best possible equity outcomes in every department and every division.
·         $1,140,000 in capital dollars over two years to implement a program of body cameras for the police department.
·         Close to $1 million a year ongoing for classes of community service officers and an additional $960,000 for a police cadet class of 18.
·         $3.5 million to fully fund the $50-million redesign of Nicollet Mall.
·         Planning dollars for the redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal, to ensure North Minneapolis has its own valuable riverfront amenities.
·         $790,000 for a network of protected bike lanes, many of which will be in some of the most diverse and low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis, plus funding for snow management of these lanes in winter.
·         $150,000 to fund staff and program resources to demonstrate the City’s commitment to and leverage the new Clean Energy Partnership, a first-of-its-kind City-utility agreement reached with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy earlier this year.
·         Start-up costs and operating funds for the launch of curbside organics recycling, which will allow the City to take the next step forward to a Zero Waste Minneapolis.
A few of the equity investments that Mayor Hodges proposed in her budget were cut by 7-6 votes of the City Council.
“A narrow majority of Council Members made short-sighted cuts to the budget that will place increased burden on future taxpayers, particularly those who are already paying the most," said Mayor Hodges.
“Overall this budget keeps property taxes low, while advancing the goals of our city and our residents,” said Council Member John Quincy, Chair of the Council’s Ways and Means/Budget Committee. “However, the small amount of savings from the reductions in the property-tax levy this year will most certainly be passed on to future years.”
Other cuts that the Council made last week were restored tonight, including funding the entirety of Mayor Hodges’ proposal for the City of Minneapolis’ commitment to the Clean Energy Partnership with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy.
“This budget demonstrates the city’s commitment to the Clean Energy Partnership, which is getting national recognition for its important and groundbreaking work,” said Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden. “Funding the partnership is critical, as it leverages significant staff and resource contributions from our partner utilities and helps us prioritize our commitment to greenhouse gas reduction and clean energy.”
Last week, the White House named Minneapolis a Climate Action Champion, based in part on the groundbreaking Clean Energy Partnership.
The Council also restored some of the cuts that it made last week to Mayor Hodges’ investments in racial equity, including the full $150,000 enhancement that Mayor Hodges proposed for the One Minneapolis fund.
“I deeply thank the organizers whose voices and presence at our budget hearing ensured we restored significant funding to our equity work,” said Council Member Alondra Cano. “I am disappointed at the cuts that remained because they are vital to our community. At the same time, I am proud of the investments we were able to protect and believe that our approved budget puts us on the right path towards achieving an equitable city.”
“I want to speak directly to the community: your voices matter and it is powerful that you are here today,” said Council Member Lisa Bender. “These are critical investments that help stabilize all of our neighborhoods, these are investments that over time will ensure that all people in Minneapolis have opportunity and representation in the city’s decisions, these are investments in our future.”  ‚Äč
Mayor Hodges added, “The advocacy of Minneapolis residents made a crucial difference in retaining other key equity and energy investments. I am grateful that they put action behind their passion and helped craft a stronger budget for all Minneapolis residents.”
“I am proud of this budget and the investments that it makes in our shared community vision,” Mayor Hodges concluded.
 
2015 budget investments
 
Equity
·         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.
·         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.
 
Growth
·         $3.5 million to fully fund the investment in the redesign of Nicollet Mall.
·         $790,000 for a network of protected bike lanes, many of which will be in some of the most diverse and low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis, plus funding for snow management of these lanes in winter.
·         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
·         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.
·         An additional $960,000 for a police cadet class of 18.
·         $1,140,000 in capital dollars over two years to implement a program of body cameras for 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.
·         $150,000 to fund staff and program resources to demonstrate the City’s commitment to and leverage the new Clean Energy Partnership, a first-of-its-kind City-utility agreement reached with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy earlier this year.
·         Start-up costs and operating funds for the launch of curbside organics recycling, which will allow the City to take the next leap forward to a Zero Waste Minneapolis.
 
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Published Dec 10, 2014

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