Mayor announces plan to lower 2012 prop taxes

Revised budget plan will also allow city to hire police, restore library hours and increase fire department services

SAINT PAUL- Today, Mayor Chris Coleman submitted a revised 2012 budget plan to the Saint Paul City Council with a nearly $1 million drop in proposed property taxes.

The revised 2012 budget proposal, with an additional $1.4 million from tax increment financing revenue not included in the original budget projection, stays true to the mayor’s values by lowering the proposed levy increase and further investing in public safety and education.

“I have said all along that Saint Paul must take a balanced approach to cuts to city services and increases in the property tax levy in response to drastic cuts in local government aid from the state Legislature,” Mayor Chris Coleman said. “We are staying true to that commitment by using this excess revenue to cut the proposed property tax levy and restore vital city services.”

The revised budget proposes a nearly $1 million drop in the proposed property tax levy. This is the first time a proposed levy has been decreased since records of such actions have been kept. With the revised budget, Saint Paul will also fill three vacant police officer positions, increase fire department coverage, and restore morning library hours.

“With this revised budget, not only can we ensure public safety and lower the proposed property tax burden on our residents, but we can restore hours to three of Saint Paul’s busiest libraries,” Mayor Chris Coleman said.

The specifics of the plan include $298,000 to fill three vacant officer positions in the police department, $184,280 for the Fire Department personnel budget and $55,000 to hire an additional inspector for the Department of Safety and Inspections, adding to that department’s crucial code enforcement role. It also includes $376,000 to buy back 6.8 full-time equivalent positions in Saint Paul libraries, thereby restoring additional morning library hours, and the reallocation of $4,000,000 in competitive annual Neighborhood STAR funds, including $2,000,000 designated for low-income housing.

The Council is set to adopt the final 2012 budget on December 14.