Members of the board that sets the lid on Minneapolis property tax increases are balking at a proposal by Mayor R.T. Rybak to present his budget just days before it must make a decision on 2012 taxes.
Rybak proposed on Wednesday that he delay his budget delivery until Sept. 12, two days before the Board of Estimate and Taxation is scheduled to meet and three days before its deadline for setting the ceiling on next year's levy, which must follow a public hearing.
Rybak said budget work has been hampered by a delayed determination of local government aid, uncertainty posed by an upcoming vote of police and fire pensioners on a merger into a statewide plan and the city's tornado response.
The city charter requires the mayor to submit a detailed budget to the board and City Council by Aug. 15. The charter requires him to recommend by Aug. 15 all proposed expenditures and revenues and a recommended five-year construction program. Also required is a message outlining important budget features with explanations, legislative recommendations and a review of the taxes imposed on property by other taxing authorities and their impact.
On Thursday, Rybak's staff said he would supply whatever is required by charter by Aug. 15, but not a full budget presentation. Board members said Rybak made no such offer Wednesday. "The big picture is, between when the mayor makes his statement and the time [the maximum levy is] adopted, there has to be a good chance for public interaction," said board President David Wheeler, who has asked city attorneys for guidance.
Board member Carol Becker said good public policy requires a gap between Rybak's proposal and the board's hearing and setting of the levy cap. "The charter has a full month in there for a reason," she said.
Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438