Mayor Coleman Praises Passage of Honest and Progressive 2018 Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2017
 
 
CONTACT: Ben Petok
 
 

Mayor Coleman Praises Passage of Honest and Progressive 2018 Budget

Mayor says budget prioritizes critical investments around equity, public safety and job growth

SAINT PAUL – Mayor Chris Coleman today praised the Saint Paul City Council for adopting his 2018 budget that prioritizes advancing initiatives around equity, public safety, and growing the economic vitality of the City of Saint Paul.

“Each of the last 12 years, my administration has put forth a values driven and fiscally disciplined budget,” said Mayor Coleman. “We have prioritized investments in equity, vitality, and public safety, while maintaining Saint Paul’s AAA bond rating. Leadership often means having to make difficult decisions about how to invest public dollars. This budget was no different. I am pleased that the City Council has adopted my ninth consecutive structurally balanced budget and I remain confident that Saint Paul will continue to move forward on the sound financial footing that we have fought to create.”

“The budget we approved today reflects our commitment to maintaining quality services while continuing to invest in what is important for Saint Paul,” said Council President Russ Stark. “Increased investment for maintaining rec centers and trails, funding for body cameras, and a new Mental Health Unit within the Saint Paul Police Department are vital for the safety and success of our entire community.”

The Council passed an overall budget of approximately $563 million which maintains 2017 funding levels, while allocating resources to make critical investments in public safety, equity, and innovation in Saint Paul. Key items include:

  • Ongoing funding for Right Track, Saint Paul’s highly successful workplace readiness initiative that connects more than 650 Saint Paul youth with summer jobs and internships.
  • Citywide investments in out-of-school time learning through culturally relevant and educationally rich programming in our Parks and Libraries, including $50,000 in early literacy programs, the purchase of 50 new Wi-Fi hotspots that Library users can borrow to bring internet connectivity to their homes, and the addition of nearly 200 free activities at recreation centers in areas of need across our city.
  • The Saint Paul Police Department will add six new officers to the force, bringing the sworn complement to 626, up from the 576 officers when the Mayor took office.
  • Funding for the full implementation of the Body Worn Camera program within the Saint Paul Police Department.
  • Four new police officers will be specially trained to join a new Mental Health Crisis Unit within the Saint Paul Police Department.
  • Funding for the city’s Commercial Vitality Zones, with $750,000 aimed at ensuring neighborhood commercial areas are effectively utilized, and a $500,000 Job Opportunity Fund to provide capital to small business owners in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
  • Initial investment of $300,000 in Full Stack Saint Paul to begin the marketing and recruitment efforts to bring 2,000 innovation and technology jobs to Saint Paul by 2020, and increase innovation-related commercial space by 200,000 square feet.
  • A health and wellness program will be funded to support fire fighter health and well-being.
  • Increased investment to combat the Emerald Ash Borer infestation impacting public ash trees in Saint Paul.

Underfunded Local Government Aid continues to challenge local communities

In 2003, 42 percent of Saint Paul’s general fund budget was made up of LGA. Local government aid is conferred to local communities by the state, which has many ways it can collect revenues – including more progressive tools like state income tax. Since the early 1970s, when the state passed the Minnesota Miracle, LGA was a way for cities to encourage growth and stabilize property taxes – particularly in Saint Paul and Greater Minnesota communities. Today, the State of Minnesota is underfunding its commitment to hundreds of cities and towns across Minnesota, including a $48 million shortfall in funding for the City of Saint Paul.

Open data

Updated budget documents will be added to the open data portal as soon as possible at budget.stpaul.gov.

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