Mayor R.T. Rybak Releases Final Proposed Minneapolis Budget

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak recently released his final proposed budget for the City of Minneapolis, in a speech entitled “Investing in the Future”.

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak recently released his final proposed budget for the city of Minneapolis, in a speech titled “Investing in the Future.”

Regarding property taxes, Rybak said: “The bottom line on property taxes is: In tough times, we asked residents to invest more to keep the city strong. With times getting a little better, we will ask less.” The mayor announced that his 2014 budget will include important future investments, as well as a cut of 1 percent in the city’s property-tax levy. The property-tax cut is 3.8 percent below the growth in the cost of maintaining current city services and before making new investments.

The proposed city budget will include four important investments:

1. To address impending retirements by hiring and training a new diverse workforce for the city, especially in the police and fire departments. According to estimates, in 10 years, more than 40 percent of the city’s total workforce will be eligible to retire. In the same period of time, 42 percent of current police officers and 60 percent of current firefighters will also be eligible to retire.
2. To improve public infrastructure, including transit, road, bike and pedestrian improvements. Mayor Rybak announced a $16 million increase over five years in the city’s capital budget for these improvements.
3. Making the city “greener” to meet the challenges of climate change. The budget will fund a neighborhood-level air-quality study and Mayor Rybak called for strong action to replace the numerous park and boulevard trees that Minneapolis has lost and will lose in the near future.
4. Investing in order to grow jobs, housing and population. Mayor Rybak highlighted Minneapolis’ swift population growth, which puts the city on track to reach or exceed a goal of 450,000 residents by 2025. The city is also, for the first time since the Great Recession, home to more than 300,000 jobs. Furthermore, Minneapolis is on track to beat last year’s record of $1.2 billion in the value of construction permits. Mayor Rybak said its growth efforts have to focus on creating a city without economic gaps, which he termed “One Minneapolis.” His budget aims to continue the city’s investment in affordable housing, to support the Grow North initiative and to direct the proceeds from the sale of downtown’s Gaviidae Common to three essential neighborhood initiatives: the Midtown Global Market, the Great Streets Neighborhood Business District Program and the city’s development account.

In the conclusion of his budget address, Mayor Rybak said: “We stand on broad shoulders in Minneapolis. Today we join our predecessors whose investments looked down the road (and paved it, too), building a great city for generations to come.”

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