Rybak’s 2010 budget: reform and cuts

Facing $40 million in state cuts, Rybak proposed a 6.6 percent property tax increase and a $19 million cut from the general fund.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak unveiled a proposed city budget for 2010 Thursday that seeks to balance rising pension bills and a $40 million shortage in state aid via a $19 million cut to the general fund, a 6.6 percent increase in property taxes and a reform of the police department to save cash. The $19 million cut to the the city’s $371 million general fund will come from all city departments, but take the least from police, fire and public works, Rybak said. But reform is needed in the police department to save some much needed cash. Rybak wants to streamline management in the department by eliminating supervisory positions, reducing special units and consolidating cell phone plans. Police overtime has also been reduced by 38 percent, saving the city $1.7 million, or about 17 police officer positions, he said. New revenue would come from a proposed 6.6 percent average increase in property taxes. The revenue generated from the property tax increase will go to pay the city’s more than $25 million in pension costs for 2010 and to make up for a $40 million cut from local government aid from the state. Rybak wants to spend more than $5 million to expand several programs, however, including $1.2 million for it’s workforce centers and $4.3 for a small business lending program. Rybak, who is currently campaigning for a third term as mayor of Minneapolis, has not ruled out a run as a DFL candidate for governor. The Minneapolis City Council is expected to adopt a final budget in early December.