Mayor Hodges Applauds Building Boom, Proposes 'Modest' Tax Increase

Updated: 08/15/2014 7:47 AM By: Tom Hauser

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges delivered her first budget address on Thursday and proposed what she calls a "modest" property tax increase of 2.4 percent.  After three years of slightly lower or flat increases, she says the city needs to respond to a rising demand for city services. 

"We must catch up with inflation if we wish to keep our basic services, already cut to the bone, functioning," she said during her speech in the Minneapolis City Council Chambers. "To do that requires increasing the amount of money that we raise in property taxes in order to meet this year's inflation factor and so some catching up to years past to make the investments that the voters asked us to make."

Her budget calls for money to boost the number of sworn police officers and community service officers, increase the fire department budget and add more 911 operators.  It also includes more than $1.1 million to add "body cameras" for Minneapolis police officers.

Hodges also revealed what most people can see every day driving through Minneapolis.  The city is in the midst of a building boom. 

This week she learned the city has already reached $1 billion in construction activity this year.  Last year, the city didn't hit that mark until October.  The mayor proposes increasing the number of building code and fire inspectors to keep up with the demand.

Hodges' budget proposal will now go to the city council for consideration.