Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced his 2023 city budget proposal Monday, which includes more than $3 billion in spending over two years, or $1.66 billion in 2023 and $1.71 billion in 2024.
“Since the start of the pandemic, cuts have been necessary to keep the boat afloat and our city moving,” Frey said. “This year we’re focusing on the services you can and should rely on now.”
Frey emphasized his intention to increase spending on public safety and affordable housing, among other priorities. He wants to create a new Office of Public Safety that includes police, fire, emergency management, 911 and neighborhood safety.
His budget proposal includes additional law enforcement funding for a total of 731 sworn police officers in 2023, plus an additional nearly $9 million for overtime and $1.5 million for contracting with other law enforcement agencies.
“I was consistent in my message. We need employees and they need to reflect the values of our city. I pushed for an aggressive recruitment and retention plan to rebuild our officer ranks as well as strengthen community confidence in the Minneapolis Police Department,” Frey said.
The mayor is also proposing the city expand its Behavioral Crisis Response Team, investing more than four million over two years to provide the city with 24-hour mental health response services from teams operating from five vans.
It also seeks $5 million to pursue potential consent decrees. In April, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights issued a report detailing its findings that the Minneapolis Police Department engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination.
MDHR wants to negotiate a consent decree with the city that would require MPD to make specific changes to policies and practices. The decree will be enforced by the courts and monitored by an independent monitor. The US Department of Justice is also investigating the Minneapolis Police Department.
“All we can do is prepare. That means setting aside funds for the next two years,” Frey said. “We have an interdisciplinary team working tirelessly to make sure we’re ready to go.”
Frey also highlighted plans to invest in affordable housing. He plans increases of $15 million to $18 million over the next two years to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, injecting nearly $3 million into the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and allocating $500,000 to provide legal aid for tenants facing eviction.
“Affordable housing is — and probably always will be — my passion in service,” Frey said. “This is now a core service in our city, not just a one-off change when money is plentiful. People need an affordable home, especially when economic times are tough.”
In this year’s proposal, Frey recommends the creation of a one-time abortion fund that, if passed by the City Council, would allocate $300,000 to support abortion access in the city of Minneapolis.
It follows other cities, such as Chicago and New York, that have set aside money to support reproductive care.
“The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade sent shockwaves across our country. And while Minnesota provides legal protections for pregnant people, it is incumbent on all of us to step up even more,” Frey said.
Last month, the abortion fund Our Justice along with two members of the Minneapolis City Council and Pro-Choice Minnesota launched a campaign to get the mayor to create such a fund, gathering public support through an online petition.
Frey proposes to pay for his plan with a 6.5 percent tax increase in 2023 and a 6.2 percent increase in 2024. The proposal has moved to a committee and will undergo several public hearings before the council votes on the budget in December.