This week’s budget agreement didn’t end up as a worst-case scenario for the state’s big cities, but there are cuts, and Minneapolis officials announced today that they’re implementing cuts to make for the lost $23 million.
These cuts have been preplanned, in anticipation of the state action.
“The Legislature could have made the tough choice to fund State government sustainably, as we have done in Minneapolis, but it did not. Cities are where the rubber meets the road, so the Legislature’s refusal to do so has left us with no other option but to make harmful cuts,” Mayor R.T. Rybak said in an announcement.
The mayor’s statement said:
As a result of the State of Minnesota’s failure to deliver on promised LGA, the City of Minneapolis will make the following cuts:
- $7.1 million to pay down pension debt
- $6.2 million in street paving — equivalent to more than 50 percent of the City’s 2011 paving programs.
- $2.8 million to offset future property-tax increases.
- $2 million in across-the-board cuts to all City departments, recapturing reductions to health-care costs that had been allocated to departments based on current service levels.
- $1.7 million in budgeting for no wage and salary increases for City employees, for the first of two years.
- $1.1 million to avoid layoffs in the Fire Department.
- $1 million to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Municipal Building Commission.
- $0.7 million for one-time, innovative initiatives.
- $0.5 million to avoid layoffs in the Police Department.
- $0.35 million for innovations in Neighborhood and Community Relations and Business Information Services.
In addition to the cuts to Police and Fire … those departments will take an additional cut of approximately $850,000 and $350,000, respectively, as their proportion of the across-the-board cut to all departments to recapture reductions in health-care costs that had been allocated to departments, bringing for a total cut of $1.35 million to Police and and $1.45 million to Fire. These cuts to Police and Fire come on top of the 24 full-time positions in Police and 32 full-time positions in Fire that were already cut in the City’s 2011 budget.
“Reluctantly, we must make the cuts that we said we would make, because the State has left us no choice,” Rybak said. “We are cutting much-needed street paving despite this year’s record numbers of potholes. We are slowing our debt repayment despite the fact that doing so has helped restore Minneapolis’ AAA bond rating and save taxpayers money. And we are cutting positions from Police and Fire despite achieving record-low levels of crime this year.”