Transforming Minneapolis into 21st Century City Guides Mayor Hodges’ Budget Priorities
Mayor Invests Significantly in Public Safety, Affordable Housing, Sustainability, Better Basics & Growing City Economy
Two-Thirds of Minneapolis Homeowners Will See the City Portion of Their Property Taxes Go Down
August 12, 2016 (MINNEAPOLIS)— Mayor Betsy Hodges set forth her vision for transforming Minneapolis into a leading city of the 21st century during her 2016 budget address today. The Mayor proposed bold investments focused on growth and improving basic city services for all residents.
“We have entered a time when we are being asked to face and meet the changes of the 21st century,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “We must not only match, not only meet, but we must precede the challenges these changes create with innovation, vision, and the bone-deep knowledge that to become the city of the future we must be a city that leads and weathers the transition and is in it for the long haul. Being a 21st-century city means we transform our work to meet the needs of the people and economy of the new century. So today I presented a budget based on that premise.
You can read the full budget address Mayor Hodges delivered here.
The highlights of Mayor Hodges proposed investments include:
· $13 million in affordable housing largely spurred by the Mayor’s Cradle to K cabinet’s proposal to focus on housing as a strategy to ensure a healthy start for kids. This includes investments in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, $1 million flexible dollars to help create affordable housing options for large families and targeted rental assistance for families leaving shelters.
· $10 million for the City’s portion of the 10th Avenue bridge rehabilitation.
· $400,000 to accelerate Minneapolis’ conversation of City-owned streetlights to LED technology. The funding will implement approximately 900 LED fixtures which will save about $113,400 a year over their life cycle and pay for itself in three and a half years.
· Raising the sworn compliment of police officers to 862 while funding a recruit class and ongoing community service officer classes.
· Funding for 30 TechHire Initiative scholarships that will provide women and people of color with job training to meet employers growing demand for a workforce educated in technology skills.
In recent years, the City’s non-property-tax revenue increased in ways that outpaced expectations while at the same time, some City departments underspent their budgets the City spent less money. These two factors allowed the Mayor to increase the projections of non-property-tax revenues to match what the City has seen over the past few years and can reasonably expect to see for the near term and to make $750,000 in on-going strategic cuts to departments.
Merely to maintain current service levels the City provides and account for inflation in 2016, a 4.4 percent levy increase would have been required.
However, Mayor Hodges is instead able to propose a 3.4 percent increase to the levy, a full percentage point lower. Moreover, because a levy increase does not mean all taxpayers pay more property taxes, two-thirds of Minneapolis homeowners will actually see the City portion of their property taxes go down.
“That 3.4 percent levy increase I proposed today is one full percentage point lower than the City would have needed had we not made smart choices to right-size revenue and spending,” said Mayor Hodges. “These choices not only brought down the levy increase by one full percentage point, they gave us the flexibility to make changes to how we do business and make transformative investments in what it takes to be a great 21st-century city.”
Today the Mayor noted that running the City well is a down payment on Minneapolis’ future success. She proposed a variety of investments to ensure the city improves the basic services it delivers to all residents including the following:
· One new position in the City Auditor’s office to handle the increased demand of property assessments brought on by strong development throughout the city; a new American with Disabilities compliance position to ensure the city is accessible and livable for all residents; and $75,000 to the Auditor’s office to improve capacity to assess risks in technology environment.
· $200,000 in supplemental funding for the Presidential election to prevent long lines and voter confusion, ensuring everyone is afforded the right to vote.
The Mayor noted in her speech that no city service is more basic than public safety and no city service needs to shift to meet the demands of the 21st century as much as public safety. To continue her efforts to make that shift she proposed several significant investments, including:
· Funding for two new sworn police officers who will focus on youth outreach downtown, and $300,000 for police to hire a recruit class to help fill the 862 sworn officer positions in the City.
· $435,262 in funding for two additional analysts in the Crime Analyst Unit and two additional forensic scientists in the Crime Lab. The new positions will free officers up to spend more time in the community and process requests more efficiently and quickly.
· Funding for the implementation of police body cameras, storage of data, two video analysts.
· A proposed $15,000 for the City Attorney’s office to increase the reach of their driver’s licenses diversion program which aims to reduce the negative impact driving related offenses has on communities of color. She has also proposed funding for a pilot program that gives the Attorney’s Office the responsibility to charge misdemeanors and ensures more direct feedback to officers following arrests that do not meet the charging threshold and minimizing needless arrests.
· Tripling investments the City makes in restorative justice to break the cycle of recidivism and negative community impact that the traditional justice system frequently fails to do.
Children and Youth
One of the biggest hurdles Mayor Hodges believes the City faces in its pursuit to be One Minneapolis is the predetermination of success based on a resident’s zip code. To overcome that obstacle the Mayor has proposed the following investments:
· $112,000 to bolster the City’s BUILD Leaders program which takes young men of color and puts them in leadership roles where they also learn employment skills.
· Funding that supports the work of the Mayor’s Cradle to K initiative including community outreach about Autism, led testing in homes, and seed dollars for a word gap project.
Workplace and Workforce of the Future
Mayor Hodges noted today that to be a 21st Century city we must invest resources that create the workforce and workplace of the future economy. To that end her budget proposes several investments including:
· $200,000in funding for the Fire Department to implement innovative new programs to get youth and high school students of diverse background into pipelines that transition to jobs in the EMT and firefighter fields.
· $200,000 in funding for two new positions to aid the roll-out of the City’s Working Family Agenda policy—expected this fall—that will be tasked with business outreach, employee education, and the development of enforcement mechanisms.
As Mayor Hodges noted today, investments in entrepreneurs don’t just increase business growth, they contribute to the long-term sustainability of a city. She proposed the following investments in entrepreneurs in her budget, among others:
· $85,000for the implementation of the Business Made Simple working group recommendations to cut through red tape and improve city systems to make it easier for businesses to invest in Minneapolis.
· Green Business Investment Matching funding to provide money for businesses that work with hazardous substances to operate more cleanly and efficiently and be innovative in their efforts to reduce pollution.
· $50,000 to create a Green Zone pilot program which will use economic development to catalyze environmental and economic justice in vulnerable neighborhoods.
Managed Growth and Infrastructure
Mayor Hodges made the case today that doing the basics of running a city well means that we must help manage the new realities of growth, and set the stage for growth through our infrastructure. That thought process led her to propose the following investments:
· Funding for four new construction and six new housing inspectors.
· $155,000 for the Upper Harbor Terminal to go toward preparation and development of the site.
Climate Change and Sustainability
The Mayor firmly believes that a new basic service that municipal governments must take into account in a 21st century is developing a plan on how to halt climate change and effectively manage its impacts. She has proposed several suitability investments including the following:
· Ongoing funding for the first-in-the-nation Clean Energy Partnership that will expand its ability to execute the 2016 work plan and meet goals to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in Minneapolis.
· $50,000 to engage more communities and residents engage the City’s Zero Waste programs.
· Funding for two positions in CPED for the next three years to help support the creation of the City’s new Comprehensive plan—which guides growth and operations—with a focus on sustainability and equity.
Published Aug 13, 2015