Minneapolis’ account for subsidizing affordable housing projects received a last-minute boost Friday during review of the mayor’s 2016 budget.

Such changes to the affordable housing trust fund have become somewhat of a December tradition for the City Council, which is scheduled to pass the mayor’s $1.2 billion overall budget next week.

The move helps the city meet its annual goal of $10 million in the fund — a combination of city and federal money — for the second consecutive year, after falling short in the past.

A unanimous vote Friday added $1.5 million to the fund using excess revenue that had accumulated in the city’s tax-subsidy districts. Last year, extra funds were added partly by moving money from other low-income housing initiatives.

“This fund needs stability,” said Council Member Lisa Goodman, who chairs the council’s community development committee and authored the change. She indicated that similar revenue, which can be tapped from other tax-subsidy districts with balances, may help boost the fund in the future.

Trust fund money is doled out to developers who commit to including income-restricted units in new housing projects. Since 2006, the city’s aid has led to the construction or rehab of more than 7,200 affordable housing units. About two-thirds of those were reserved for residents making less than 50 percent of the area’s median income.

Goodman noted that some of the federal funds in the account must be used for projects in low-income areas. “I do think we need to have a mix of flexible money in this account so that we can continue to work on deconcentrating poverty,” she said.

Council President Barbara Johnson pointed to a number of large redevelopment projects on the horizon and asked staff to provide an update next year on the city’s use of a tax-subsidy tool known as tax-increment financing — including old districts that still generate money.

She also asked for an overview of the potential funding sources for projects like the redevelopment of the city’s port and the reopening of Nicollet Avenue at Lake Street.

“It’s helpful for us when we’re looking at some of the projects that are looming … that we have this information in front of us,” Johnson said.

Other changes to the mayor’s budget include moving an extra $87,500 into a program targeting domestic abuse “hot spots.”

“We have a pilot [project] that’s been showing that we can have an impact, a positive impact, on the complex situations of domestic violence in our community,” said Council Member Linea Palmisano, an author of the change.

The city’s 2016 budget raises the amount collected in property taxes by 3.4 percent to $297.5 million, but more than half of homes will see a decrease in tax bills.

The final budget hearing will occur on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 6:05 p.m.


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