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After a few changes, Mpls. budget awaits vote by full council

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT
  • Star Tribune
  • December 7, 2011 - 8:26 PM

A Minneapolis City Council committee restored a few jobs -- most notably a zoning inspector, an auditor and five community crime workers -- to Mayor R.T. Rybak's proposed 2012 budget this week.

But the amended budget forwarded Wednesday to the full council by its budget committee largely tweaked the mayor's budget around the edges. The property tax levy stays flat -- as Rybak proposed and as a taxation board mandated in September.

The proposal still eliminates nearly 90 jobs, some in middle to upper management. No more police officers or firefighters will be laid off, but the police force will shrink by 10 officers -- to 843 -- by attrition in 2012.

The council budget restores five community crime prevention workers that Rybak proposed eliminating, using a surplus in the police budget to pay for them and to restore cuts proposed in a domestic abuse prosecution initiative.

Also restored, with the help of money shifted from a City Hall wireless initiative, was the full complement of three internal auditors, which Rybak had sought to cut to two. The full staff of three zoning inspectors was kept intact despite Rybak's proposal to cut one of the positions. Fee increases will pay for that.

The Minneapolis Telecommunications Network was able to win back $100,000 of the $250,000 cut that Rybak proposed, after the mayor's staff argued that its programming benefits are oversold. That money also came from the wireless pot.

The closest thing to a windfall for the city spending plan was $400,000 more than had been expected from a federal community development grant.

The committee allocated $164,601 to affordable multifamily housing, $72,000 to community health staffing, $60,000 to the Domestic Abuse Project and $104,600 to regulating problem properties.

A final chance for public comment on the budget comes at 6:05 p.m. next Wednesday, just before the council adopts the plan. People may sign up to testify by calling 612-673-3130 or registering when they arrive.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

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