Council Member’s Message
Thanks to all who attended the recent First Ward Forum on the topic of financing community solar projects and special thanks to guest speakers Mark Russ, the City of Minneapolis CFO, and Andy Stahlman from IPS Solar. For more information about this engaged discussion, visithttp://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/documents/agenda/wcmsp-213755.pdf. This event was only the latest in an ongoing discussion about the feasibility of a community solar project right here in Ward One. Watch future newsletters for announcements about upcoming meetings.
September marks the beginning of budget season for the City of Minneapolis. Mayor Frey presented his proposed 2019 budget on August 15 and you can read it in its entirety by clicking HERE. Over the next two months I and my Council colleagues will be hearing presentations from various departments about the specifics of their budget requests. These presentations are open to the public and are also available on the City’s cable access channel. Visit http://www.minneapolismn.gov/budget/budget-calendar for a calendar of these presentations. These presentations are illuminating, offering an important glimpse into each department’s accomplishments, goals and priorities, and I encourage you to watch them to learn more about the work of your tax dollars.
There will be three opportunities for public comment to the Council on the budget in November and December, before final budget adoption on December 5. You don’t need to wait, however, to offer me your input on priorities for our tax dollars, so feel free to reach out at any time by email, letter, phone or at one of my community events.
Council Member Kevin Reich is always available to meet with Ward 1 constituents and discuss matters of concern to them, either at City Hall or at a convenient location in the Ward. Feel free to contact the Ward Office at 612-673-2201 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. You can also meet with Kevin at one of his monthly constituent meet & greets. Here’s the September schedule:
Wednesday, September 12, 8- 9 a.m., Diamonds Coffee, 1628 Central Avenue NE
Monday, September 24, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Insight Brewing, 2821 E. Hennepin Avenue
How do you travel around Minneapolis? The City wants to know and encourages you to take part in an online survey. Share your current travel habits and thoughts on what improvements could be made to the city’s transportation options and infrastructure. You can also enter to win one of two $25 gift cards if you complete the survey.
Public Works will use the information as it drafts the City’s Transportation Action Plan, which will guide City priorities for transportation projects and policies over the next 10 years. Over the next year, Public Works will work with the community to develop and gather feedback on the draft of the Transportation Action Plan. In fall 2019, Public Works will present the Transportation Action Plan to the City Council for approval.
Current work on the Transportation Action Plan will also identify specific actions for the City to take toward transportation goals and policies outlined in Minneapolis 2040, the City’s draft comprehensive plan. The City Council will vote on Minneapolis 2040 by the end of the year.
Work on the Transportation Action Plan will also support the City’s Complete Streets Policy, Vision Zero commitment, Climate Action Plan goals and commitment to equity. To take the survey, learn more about the plan and review the draft community engagement plan, go to minneapolismn.gov/gompls.
Mayor Jacob Frey has presented his recommended 2019 City budget to City leaders – a budget that includes a significant increase in funding for affordable housing programs.
The City Council will begin reviewing the recommended $1.55 billion budget, hold a series of budget presentations in September and October, and vote on adopting a budget Dec. 5. The Board of Estimate and Taxation is scheduled to hold a public hearing to set the maximum property tax levy at 5:05 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12.
The recommended budget includes a 5.63 percent tax levy increase. The City’s revenues come from a variety of sources with property taxes accounting for about 23 percent of the budget. The City’s tax base has increased by more than 10 percent between 2018 and 2019 and the proposed levy increase is less than 6 percent, resulting in the overall tax rate going down.
A few highlights of the mayor’s proposed budget include:
Visit the City’s budget website to review the 2019 recommended budget, learn about key dates in the approval process and watch a video about how you can provide feedback on the proposed budget.
The public comment period for feedback on the City of Minneapolis’ draft comprehensive plan officially closed July 23, and since then City staff have been diligently reviewing more than 10,000 comments from Minneapolis residents. These comments will inform changes and updates to the draft plan, and the Minneapolis Planning Commission and the City Council will consider the new draft in September.
Feedback from residents includes:
- A wide spectrum of ideas on land use, density, affordable housing and community growth.
- The need to coordinate educational/professional training programs with the City’s goals (e.g., green building, preservation).
- The need to provide more support to small businesses, especially in vulnerable areas, to avoid displacement.
- The need for multi-generational housing that allows residents with strong ties to a neighborhood to stay in that neighborhood throughout their lives.
- The importance of supporting residents who want to improve the public realm in their neighborhoods.
- The importance of strengthening relationships between jurisdictions, such as those between City and County, City and school district, City and nonprofit sectors, to do the work outlined in the comprehensive plan.
More comments and feedback can be found here.
The Metropolitan Land Planning Act requires municipalities in the Twin Cities area to provide the Metropolitan Council with updated comprehensive plans every 10 years. It must be consistent with the Metropolitan Council’s regional development guide, Thrive MSP 2040, that sets the direction for the region’s growth and development.
The City Council has approved a license agreement for shared motorized foot scooter operators as part of a pilot program through Nov. 30, 2018.
Under the pilot program, the number of scooters allowed in the city is capped at 200 during the first two months of the pilot and increases to 400 in October and November. The City can increase or decrease that number any time during the pilot.
State law regulates how motorized foot scooters can be operated. A scooter may not be operated on a sidewalk, except to cross it. Scooters may be operated on a bicycle path, bicycle trail, bicycle lane or bikeway unless it is signed otherwise. Scooters must be ridden as close as is practical to the right-hand side of the road, and must follow the same traffic laws as bicyclists. Also, scooter operators may not carry passengers.
Shared motorized foot scooters may be parked on sidewalks in the city if they are not blocking pedestrian travel or access. Scooters should be parked upright using the kickstand when not in use.
The City will use data throughout the pilot program to evaluate scooters’ impact on the right of way, user riding and parking behavior, equitable distribution and access, among other things. During and after the pilot program, City staff will do analysis and determine the best framework for relaunching the scooters in the spring of 2019.
For more information about motorized foot scooters, visit minneapolismn.gov/scooters or call 311.
Fiction Basics Workshop
Saturday, September 15, 10 – 11:30 a.m., Northeast Library, 2200 Central Avenue NE. A workshop in collaboration with the Loft Literary Center to teach the ins and outs of creating memorable settings, developing an exciting plot and writing believable characters. Register at https://www.hclib.org/ or call 612-543-6775.
10th Annual Waite Park Pushcart Derby
Saturday, September 15, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Waite Park, 1810 – 34th Avenue NE. Watch the thrills of the derby and then stick around to enjoy food, music and games.