MINNEAPOLIS - Mayor Betsy Hodges unveiled her $1.4 billion 2018 budget proposal to the Minneapolis City Council Tuesday, dedicating funding to what she deems are challenges as a result of the Trump administration and its policies.
Hodges speech highlighted plans to invest in areas of clean energy, affordable housing, public safety and community trust. It includes a 5.5 percent increase in the property-tax levy for 2018. Her office says that's consistent with the five-year financial direction that the City Council passed in the 2017 budget.
The clean energy investment will total nearly $6 million, a 60% increase over the 2014 budget, according to the city. Hodges has proposed raising utility franchise fees by half-a-percent, which will raise over $2 million in 2018.
"Communities of color have borne the brunt of industries that led to climate change. Treating those impacts is a top priority." #MplsBudget— Betsy Hodges (@MayorHodges) September 12, 2017
Hodges is also proposing a $24 million housing investment across several programs with $6.5 million earmarked for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
“The challenge that we face is twofold—finding ways to retain our current supply of affordable places to live, and finding ways to add to that supply, without pricing longtime residents out of the neighborhoods they’ve invested in for years, and sometimes generations,” Hodges said.
"I’m proposing a commercial land trust pilot so we can help our small independently-owned businesses stay and thrive." #MplsBudget— Betsy Hodges (@MayorHodges) September 12, 2017
Hodges is asking for a $4 million investment in new strategies she hopes will build community trust and ensure public safety. Specifically, $300,000 for expanding the body camera program, $734,000 to fund eight Community Liaison positions in the police department and $643,000 to continue the Nighttime Mobility Management program downtown.
On Trump, Hodges said the city is facing challenges that couldn't have been conceived a year ago.
“Though we are shocked by the damage he does every day of his presidency, we have to anticipate that Donald Trump will remain in the White House through 2020. In the next three and a half years he can wreak untold damage to our country with his authoritarian tactics and his policies of oppression and suppression. Once he was elected, we knew it would be a disaster for our country, but even just six months in, it’s already far more disastrous than we anticipated,” Hodges said.
"Donald Trump’s values are not our values. In Mpls, we stand firm with our transgender and gender-nonconforming neighbors." #MplsBudget— Betsy Hodges (@MayorHodges) September 12, 2017
Hodges is proposing an investment in strategies she believes will offset "attacks" from the Trump administration in seven areas: immigrants, the transgender community, voting, media, arts, workers, and economic stability. That strategy includes a $1.2 million in funds for voter outreach and education and election operations "to ensure that Minneapolitans can take part in a fair and well-run 2018 gubernatorial election."
"I’m proposing the creation of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to preserve our status as a welcoming city." #MplsBudget— Betsy Hodges (@MayorHodges) September 12, 2017
Hodges is also asking for continued investment in the City’s Trans* Equity Summit, the creation of a centralized Data Practices request system, and hiring an additional data records staff member at the Minneapolis Police Department.
KARE 11's Gordon Severson attended the address and will have more details on the KARE 11 News at 5 and 6.