Mayor Chris Coleman outlined a structurally balanced 2013
budget for Saint Paul today at his annual budget address, which this year took
place in the heart of Lowertown at the Saint Paul Farmers Market.
The core of his proposal held city spending flat, and in fact reduced the
baseline budget by about $1 million. It prioritized investments in public
safety, education and infrastructure.
“We have a lot to celebrate in the City of Saint Paul. In the face of the
worst economic recession in decades, we continue to work hard to build a
structurally balanced, sustainable budget for the City of Saint Paul,” said
Mayor Chris Coleman.
Mayor Coleman’s budget restored full funding to the police department to
fill the seven open sworn officer positions, maintained the city’s commitment
to the fire department and invested in library programming and infrastructure.
Saint Paul has faced increasingly devastating state cuts for several years,
and at the end of the 2011 session local government aid was cut $28 million
over 2011 and 2012.
“We need to ask ourselves what we value and then dedicate our resources
accordingly. This budget reflects a dedication to children and safe streets. It
understands the importance of private investment. It prioritizes green space and
our parks. Above all else, it places an emphasis on being good stewards of
taxpayer dollars,” Mayor Coleman said.
Coleman announced a plan to widen the 6th Street sidewalk in
Lowertown to allow for patio seating and expanded sidewalk cafes. He also announced
funds to invest in Frogtown Farms, using under-utilized land to create
much-needed green space and spark economic investment.
The proposal also included a modest increase in the property tax levy of
1.9 percent, below the rate of inflation.
The budget address took place at the Farmers Market, in the center of Saint
Paul’s revitalized Lowertown district, next door to the newly-constructed
Farmers Market Lofts, within view of the future site of the Lowertown Regional
Ballpark and a block away from an almost completely reconstructed Union Depot.