Council considers budget options presented by Community Budget Advisory Committee
This month, the City Council will vote on the 2021 property tax levy. This levy funds 69.4% of the City’s General Fund budget. The remainder of the General Fund budget is supported by lodging and admission taxes, license and permit fees, grants and program revenues. The preliminary levy, which was approved in September, reflects a 5% increase over the 2020 levy. The final levy can be less than the approved preliminary levy amount, but not more.
Proposed budget solutions
To ensure budget discussions reflected community preferences, the City Council appointed nine residents with knowledge of municipal budgets to the Community Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) in May. CBAC presented three budget proposals to the City Council in November that include varying levels and types of service reductions. To read the details of each potential budget scenario, visit blm.mn/cbac. The three options CBAC presented can be summarized as:
- Scenario A: 5% levy increase, a cost increase of $3.40 per month for owners of median-valued homes, $4.35 for renters of average-cost apartments.
- Scenario B: 3% levy increase, a cost increase of of $1.51 per month for owners of median-valued homes, $3.14 for renters of average-cost apartments.
- Scenario C: 0% levy increase, a cost savings of $1.33 per month for owners of median-valued homes, a cost increase of $1.34 for renters of average-cost apartments.
The City has already taken action to respond to an ongoing loss of revenue due to the pandemic, while still providing core public services. The City expects to balance the 2021 budget by controlling personnel costs with a wage freeze and reducing staff positions; drawing down fund reserves where available; carefully analyzing City services for possible reductions; and analyzing lower interest rates to borrow for projects instead of paying for them in cash.
Engaging the community
CBAC studied the City’s budget and services, and hosted many community engagement initiatives to provide the City Council with recommendations for balancing the budget. This year, CBAC held several rounds of listening sessions to hear from residents. The most recent round took place in October. Attendees gave feedback on the three potential budget scenarios. They voiced support for funding public safety services, parks and recreation, cultural arts and more. To read all the feedback received during the October events, visit blm.mn/cbac.
The City Council will hold a virtual public budget hearing on Monday, December 7, at 7 p.m., via WebEx video conference. Residents will be able to call in and participate. For instructions, visit blm.mn/cc-1207.
For detailed information, including staff presentations, summaries of community input and minutes of CBAC meetings, visit blm.mn/cbac.