|Superintendent Al Bangoura’s Recommended 2020 Budget for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) focuses on four priorities adopted by the Board of Commissioners last year and organizational performance goals adopted by the Board in April 2019 to support those priorities. The four priorities are: invest in youth; be financially sustainable; protect the environment; and engage communities’ power. The recommended budget maintains most current service levels, continues the use of racial equity tools throughout the budget process, and includes initiatives to address environmental concerns and critical funding gaps for youth programs and jobs.
“We have a responsibility to invest in, and serve, the youth of Minneapolis with quality, innovative programs, regardless of the youth’s ability to pay for services,” explained Superintendent Bangoura. “This budget begins to address the $2 million funding gap identified in the Closing the Gap: Youth Investment report shared earlier this fall with commissioners and city leaders. Because the Board of Estimate and Taxation did not approve additional funding for the Board’s youth and environmental priorities, this budget includes funding a portion of those priorities through service reductions within every division and careful, thoughtful increases to fees for a variety services.”
The Closing the Gap: Youth Investment report shows the MPRB’s investment in youth has increased slightly but not enough to address prior periods of decline in service levels. The MPRB has been held to current service level funding, without additional funding, to address youth programming and while general park service demands grew as the city’s population increased.
The report identifies several city and MPRB reports that outline the needs and desires for Minneapolis residents and leaders to support youth and youth programming: 2013 City of Minneapolis Blueprint for Violence; 2015 MPRB Closing the Gap; 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between MPRB and Minneapolis Public Schools; and 2018 MPRB RecQuest. In addition, the 2020 City Youth Coordinating Board Master Plan, which is working through approvals, echoes the call to better serve youth.
“We have ten years of community input and plans, but without additional funding these plans aren’t implemented and annually more than 80,000 Minneapolis youth go without the needed services that have been identified,” explained Bangoura. “We need to accept the good analysis that has already been done and get to work, or we will miss the current generation.”
Bangoura’s recommended budget includes almost $300,000 for additional youth employment opportunities within the park system, almost $200,000 for programming and $600,000 for capital to implement two ideation spaces converting outdated computer labs and providing staff and equipment to expand digital skills for youth, slightly more than $100,000 for free afterschool programming at four sites across the city, almost $25,000 for the formation of a new youth council, and almost $400,000 for environmental initiatives to reduce the MPRB’s carbon footprint, reduce energy and manage water resources.
The recommended budget includes a proposed 5.7 percent property tax levy increase that includes 5.8 percent increase for the General Fund annual operating increase, and 3.9 percent increase for the Tree Preservation and Reforestation Levy to address Emerald Ash Borer infestation and tree loss due to storms. The Superintendent’s 2020 Recommended Budget proposes utilizing the maximum 5.7 percent tax levies authorized by the Board and Estimate and Taxation. Of the total property tax paid by Minneapolis homeowners, approximately seven cents of every dollar will go to the MPRB. The proposed 5.7 percent property tax increase will result in an estimated annual increase of $17 for the owner of a median-value $266,000 house.
The Superintendent’s Recommended 2020 Budget totals $126.1 million, including $89.2 million for the general operating fund, $3.2 million for the special revenue fund, $13.2 million for the enterprise operating fund and $20.5 for capital project funding.
For details about Proposed 2020 Budget, public-comment opportunities and 2020 budget initiatives, read the full news release on the MPRB website.