Mayor presents structurally balanced budget

Budget makes key investments in public safety and infrastructure

Mayor Chris Coleman outlined a structurally balanced 2013 budget for Saint Paul today at his annual budget address, which this year took place in the heart of Lowertown at the Saint Paul Farmers Market.

The core of his proposal held city spending flat, and in fact reduced the baseline budget by about $1 million. It prioritized investments in public safety, education and infrastructure.

“We have a lot to celebrate in the City of Saint Paul. In the face of the worst economic recession in decades, we continue to work hard to build a structurally balanced, sustainable budget for the City of Saint Paul,” said Mayor Chris Coleman.

Mayor Coleman’s budget restored full funding to the police department to fill the seven open sworn officer positions, maintained the city’s commitment to the fire department and invested in library programming and infrastructure.

Saint Paul has faced increasingly devastating state cuts for several years, and at the end of the 2011 session local government aid was cut $28 million over 2011 and 2012.

“We need to ask ourselves what we value and then dedicate our resources accordingly. This budget reflects a dedication to children and safe streets. It understands the importance of private investment. It prioritizes green space and our parks. Above all else, it places an emphasis on being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Mayor Coleman said.

Coleman announced a plan to widen the 6th Street sidewalk in Lowertown to allow for patio seating and expanded sidewalk cafes. He also announced funds to invest in Frogtown Farms, using under-utilized land to create much-needed green space and spark economic investment.

The proposal also included a modest increase in the property tax levy of 1.9 percent, below the rate of inflation.

The budget address took place at the Farmers Market, in the center of Saint Paul’s revitalized Lowertown district, next door to the newly-constructed Farmers Market Lofts, within view of the future site of the Lowertown Regional Ballpark and a block away from an almost completely reconstructed Union Depot.