Plan to reduce Mpls. property taxes passes committeeby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A plan to reduce the proposed 2011 property tax hike in Minneapolis passed a council committee today.
The plan would cut $6.1 million from Mayor R.T. Rybak's 2011 budget proposal, which would reduce the property tax levy from the 6.5 percent increase proposed by the mayor down to 4.7 percent.
Some of the reductions are short term measures. Other cuts take place over time, such as a two-year salary freeze for city employees.
The most controversial part of the plan would restrict spending by some neighborhood groups in 2011. The restrictions would apply to money allocated, but not designated for expenses.
Budget committee chair Betsy Hodges acknowledged that the plan will not please everyone. But she says taxpayers told her and her colleagues that they couldn't take another large property tax increase.
"And this is our attempt to reduce that property tax burden for them in 2011," Hodges said.
Council member Gary Schiff says difficult economic times call for changes in the way the city provides services and pays for them.
"This has been very painful so far. But, I'm afraid there is no light, in the forseeable future," he said. "And this is just a drop of the overall changes that we're going to have to adopt to try to get the city of Minneapolis on a sustainable course."
The council will listen to public testimony before it votes on the 2011 budget next Monday.