St. Paul approves $500M city budgetby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The city of St. Paul has approved the city's 2013 budget.
The $500 million budget includes a $1 million contingency fund to improve the police department's troubled crime lab. The lab had to close its drug testing unit this summer after defense attorneys raised questions about the quality of its work.
The budget also includes $700,000 to hire additional food inspectors. That department that has seen cuts over the last decade.
Despite the additional spending, the city was able to avoid major cuts by redirecting more than a million dollars it had earmarked for a Ramsey County fiber optic networking project that fell apart earlier this year. It also benefitted from lower-than-expected employee health care costs.
The budget includes an increase to the city's property tax levy of 1.9 percent. A spokesman for Mayor Chris Coleman the increase is at or below the rate of inflation.