Minneapolis Mayor Hodges proposes 2.4% property tax levy hike - KMSP-TV

Minneapolis Mayor Hodges proposes 2.4% property tax levy increase

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges gave her first budget speech on Thursday, proposing a 2.4 percent property tax levy hike -- the largest increase in several years -- to put more police on the city payroll.

"Now is the time to put our money where our votes are," Hodges said as she opened the address.

Property tax levy hike

More than half of the property tax levy hike comes from keeping up with inflation and growth, Hodges said. Since the hike, which has not yet been approved by the City Council, would be spread out among Minneapolis' growing tax base, Hodges exacts half of homeowners won't see any increase and some may even see their taxes decline.

Public safety initiatives

Beefing up public safety is a top priority in Hodges' new budget. Here's how the numbers -- and price tags -- break down:

- 10 new police officers to bring the total to 860 sworn officers.
- 20 more community services officers
- $1.1 million in one-time capital funding and ongoing operating dollars for a police body camera program
- $800,000 for 2 fire department recruit classes in 2015
- $346,000 for 4 more 911 operators
- $960,000 for a police cadet class of 18 in 2015

"I strongly support Chief Janee Harteau's strategy of getting more officers out of squads and talking directly with our residents and business owners on our streets, corners and doorsteps," Hodges said. "To do this essential work takes more time and that requires more officers."

Construction boom

She also noted the city of Minneapolis this week has reached $1 billion in new construction permits. In 2013, the city didn't reach that number until October. The budget includes more money for construction code services, fire inspectors and $3.5 million for the Nicollet Mall renovation.
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