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Frey's 2021 budget proposal includes $34 million in cuts

The proposed budget also increases funding for affordable housing and violence prevention programs.

Minneapolis Mayo Jacob Frey’s 2021 budget proposal includes more than $34 million in total cuts amid COVID-19 financial challenges.

Frey unveiled his final proposal on Wednesday. Under the budget, property tax levies will go up by a maximum of 5.75%, but most residents will see their property tax go down. The budget also reduces police funding by around $14 million.

The mayor's almost $1.5 billion budget comes as he says the city is looking at a $156 million budget deficit in 2020 due to the dramatic fall in tax income owing to the pandemic.

“This budget makes tough but necessary decisions to minimize layoffs while preserving core city services and maintaining flexibility for important decisions in the future,” Frey said in a statement. “By restructuring departments to improve efficiency, we are laying the ground work for Minneapolis to be better able to expand funding for key priorities like affordable housing and economic inclusion when the recession is over.”

According to the Star Tribune, the reduction in police spending is in part thanks to an uptick in officer departures after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

In total, the city will have around 100 fewer officers than it originally planned for due to a mini exodus among officers following the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests and riots. However, Frey's budget would also bring on three recruitment classes of officers, though he's budgeting $5 million for extra police overtime while those recruitment classes are trained.

With the police budget potentially reducing from $193 million to $178.7 million, it would still be the fourth highest budget out of all city departments. 

What's more, almost $3 million will be invested in other violence prevention efforts that go "beyond policing," which includes expanding the mental health co-responder program, $2.5 million for the MinneapolUS violence interrupters, a street outreach team aimed at curbing gun violence, and $300,000 to fund recommendations of the city's opioid task force.

The City Council will review the proposed budget before finalizing it in December.

Here what else is in Frey’s proposed budget:

  • A $7.2 million increase to affordable housing projects
  • $5.9 million in funding to support for businesses affected by the pandemic and unrest over the summer
  • $5 million one-time funding for the Commercial Property Development Fund, which helps business owners in impoverished areas to buy the properties they rent. 
  • The Public Works department will see a reduction of around $12 million.
  • Community Planning and Economic Development dept. would see a cut of $30.5 million.
  • The Convention Center’s budget will see a reduction of around $18 million.

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