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Mpls City Council votes to keep Parks charter amendment off ballot

In a move that’s sure to set off disputes throughout the city, the Minneapolis City Council voted not to allow a charter amendment, which would have given the city’s Parks Department independent taxing authority, to appear on the November ballot.

The amendment was opposed by Mayor R.T. Rybak but had the support of Rybak’s two immediate predecessors, Sharon Sayles Belton and Don Fraser. Thousands of residents had petitioned to have the amendment added to the ballot.

The council tried to minimize the anger that is sure to follow by saying it simply was accepting the view of the city attorney’s office that bringing forward the amendment would be a violaton of the state constitution. Under the constitution, the city attorney’s office said, only the Minnesota Legislature has the authority to create separate, local units of government.

“I want to be very clear that today’s action was not a vote on the merits of the petition,’’ Council Member Betsy Hodges said. “The question before the council today was whether the allot proposal was lawful, not whether council members agreed with is policy.”

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