Minneapolis budget – some cuts, some surprises

Some police officers will go under the budget adopted yesterday by the Minneapolis City Council. After Chief Tim Dolan surprised the council with a deficit announcement last week, MinnPost described the council as “steaming over the police department’s last-minute confession that it has overshot its budget by $8 million.” Dolan proposed cuts detailed by MPR as including elimination of 21 community crime prevention specialists, the mounted patrol and the police athletic league.

The council disagreed with the chief’s priorities, restoring the civilian crime prevention program. Details in this morning’s Star Tribune report include police department layoffs for about 19 recruits who were scheduled to go to work “in a matter of days” and for a half-dozen police officers already on duty, as well as 30 civilian police employees. The department might get a reprieve from layoffs “if a federal stimulus grant comes through.” Other cuts:

Money was taken away from such programs as high school career centers, micro grants to encourage homegrown food, and foreclosure prevention efforts.”It was ugly work because there were no easy cuts to make,” one budget panel member, Sandra Colvin Roy, told her constituents in a newsletter.

By a 7-6 vote, the council kept investigation of civil rights complaints in the hands of the city’s Civil Rights Department, rather than throwing them to the state. The proposal to pull the teeth of the civil rights department drew a storm of criticism over the past several months — see here and here.

The budget totals $1.3 billion, and it looked balanced — but if the governor follows through on his talk about cutting more already-allocated local government assistance funds, everything could be up for grabs again.

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