Twin Cities Mayors Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter laid out two different budget proposals Thursday, highlighting common priorities and different approaches to issues for the cities.
We've picked out some of the most important and interesting points from each budget.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's budget
In a council chamber packed with protesters, officials and media, Frey delivered his annual budget address. Protesters were vocal throughout the meeting amid concerns about extra policing, with Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins asking security to remove certain individuals before Frey presented his budget.
Perhaps the most controversial part of Frey’s budget includes funding for 14 additional sworn officers, eight of whom would serve as neighborhood outreach officers. Three of these officers would focus on sexual assault and domestic violence while the other three would establish a new traffic enforcement unit.
The move comes after Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo told the council last month. the department needed 400 new officers by 2025 to address lagging 911 response times. Arradondo received significant pushback from council members.
Other public safety initiatives in Frey’s budget includes $150,000 additional dollars for a gun violence prevention program and $404,000 to implement the recommendations of Frey’s opioid task-force.
Frey also included a 6.95 percent property tax levy increase, which he said would help prepare the city for a potential economic downturn.
“Rather than take a political win now with a lower levy, we’ve been more conservative with our projections, more strategic with our allocations and therefore can be more confident in our city’s future,” Frey said.
Frey identified the areas of West Broadway Avenue, Central Avenue, Cedar-Riverside East Lake Street, Franklin Avenue and 38th Street as “cultural districts.” These areas will receive $3 million in the budget for commercial property development and improved lighting to promote economic development in areas with large populations of people of color.
“Cultural district are intentionally designed to bolster the vision of black, indigenous and immigrant communities,” he said.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter's budget
Carter’s budget, which was unveiled at the Frogtown Community Center in St. Paul also includes a property tax levy increase, with his proposal 4.85 percent.
To keep up with rising costs, Carter also proposed cuts to youth programming and implementing a $5 fee for families using community centers.
“[These reductions] represent a very difficult and challenging set of decisions,” Carter said.
Following Minneapolis’ move to do so in 2015, St. Paul will begin working toward a $15 minimum wage in 2020. Carter’s budget includes around $80,000 for staff to help with that transition.
The budget also allocates money for St. Paul’s roads and sidewalks, which the city recently found to be in danger of deteriorating further without additional funding. The budget allocates $20.3 million for road reconstruction and resurfacing.
One of the most notable changes proposed by Carter is making half of the 4 lanes on Ayd Mill Road – a busy cut-through that drivers use to get between I-35E and I-94 – exclusive to bicycles and pedestrians, with car travel reduced to 2 lanes.
“The investments we’re making to rebuild our streets, sidewalks and bikeways, remove dead trees, install LED street lights and reduce illegal dumping convey that we care about every one of our neighborhoods,” Carter said.
Carter’s budget does not add any more officers to the St. Paul Police Department, with his plan actually cutting the number by five. Instead, Carter emphasized new programming to help homeless individuals and individuals who have frequent interactions with police.
Part of the budget will help the city adjust to St. Paul schools’ new start times, which have older students starting classes later. Recreation centers will see $250,000 in funding to provide accommodation for students as their class schedules change.