It's been a turbulent year for the mayor of Minneapolis – and now she's being dragged into a court battle by one of her top tax policy officials.
This week, Carol Becker, a high-ranking member of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation, sued Mayor Betsy Hodges for not releasing the city budget by the Aug. 15 deadline.
According to Becker, this is in violation of the city charter.
Mayor Hodges has said she would "produce a full budget by September 12th," but according to a Saturday Facebook post from Becker, that's the day before an important public hearing on a property tax levy.
In Becker's opinion, this presents a big problem. Read her full statement below:
"Without a budget, folks don't have the ability to know what their taxes will pay for," Becker wrote. "This is not OK."
In other words, as MPR puts it, the planned Sept. 12 release doesn't "give the public enough time to examine the inch-thick document before" the next day's big hearing.
What Hodges says
For her part, the mayor clearly acknowledged the delay, even before Becker's legal action.
This week, her office released a preliminary summary of the 2018 city budget, saying the full version would have to wait until next month because of some huge goings-on in Minneapolis recently: the fatal shooting of Justine Damond by a local cop, and the deadly explosion at Minnehaha Academy.
Dealing with these issues, Hodges said in the summary, took up the time she normally "would have spent crafting my full 2018 budget proposal."
Additionally, she wants the new chief of police – who was just confirmed for the job Friday – to have time to weigh in on the budget, so his department can get what it needs.
And the summary, her office says, "constitutes my 2018 budget message with all the components required by the City Charter."
Becker disagrees, and her petition is seeking to have a judge say the mayor is wrong.
And according to City Pages, Becker says she doesn't "find any of [Hodges'] arguments compelling," adding the mayor has "had months to work on this."
Becker, in her Facebook post, also noted she's fought with past mayors over this same issue.
Her court petition, filed Friday in Hennepin County, would force Hodges to submit the full 2018 budget to the city council "immediately," the Star Tribune reports.