Minneapolis mayor: Levy plan coming next week

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 4, 2011 - 7:36 PM

Minneapolis mayor outlines a new priority-based city budgeting regimen, but not all are happy with timing.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak committed Thursday to giving the City Council a 2012 maximum-levy proposal next week.

But he was noncommittal when asked what other financial details he will present by the Aug. 15 deadline set in the city charter for various pieces of budget information.

Rybak has said he wants more time to send his full budget to the council this year. That prompted complaints by some members of the city's Board of Estimate and Taxation. Rybak has said he'll transmit a full budget on Sept. 12. That's three days before that board must set a maximum levy for 2012 -- after holding a public hearing on it.

The maximum levy represents the highest levy the council may adopt, not necessarily what it will adopt. This year, for instance, the council voted to increase the city's property tax collections by 4.7 percent, though it was authorized to go as high as 7.5 percent.

Rybak's remarks Thursday to the City Council described a new priority-based budgeting approach he is employing. He depicted it as an attempt to meld city spending more closely to six overarching city goals adopted last year by the council. Those goals focus on safety; business and jobs; a healthy, livable city; an inclusive community; sustainability, and excelling in municipal government.

He said teams of mid-level managers have reviewed departmental programs to rank them by how well they address city goals, a step toward shaping departmental budgets. But the mayor won't meet one-on-one with all department heads on their budgets, only with the heads of four large departments. Aides said the comments of the review teams will guide how programs and their budgets change.

"Do not expect revolution in this budget, but do expect an evolution toward priority-based budgeting," Rybak said.

He also said he'll bear in mind the comments of people who participated in a series of community forums last spring oriented toward city finances. After Thursday's session, he declined to say what specifics he'd gleaned from those.

The charter requires the mayor to outline by Aug. 15 significant features of the next year's levy as well as budgetary income and spending for each department, to offer a five-year building program and to recommend legislation involving city finances.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

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