Minneapolis Mayor Proposes Boost in Funding for Fire Dept.
After years of cuts and layoffs, the Minneapolis Fire Department is looking at a possible boost.
During his yearly budget address, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak proposed adding $1.1 million to the fire budget next year for personnel. The department estimates that could help hire about 15 new firefighters. The mayor also proposed starting a new recruit class in 2012.
"It's certainly going to help the Fire Department meet some of the challenges that we are facing in the future," said Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel.
The average age of a current Minneapolis firefighter is 46 years old.
"It's challenging... Over the next 5 years, we could probably lose over 150 firefighters, there are a lot of firefighters who could retire," Fruetel said.
"Our fire department is rapidly aging, in part because we've had historically low attrition," Mayor Rybak said during the address.
"He talked about the attrition bubble. And that's something we do have coming down the pipe. We do have an aging work force and so this will allow me to take some of the pressure off," Fruetel said.
Rybak also proposed adding $2.5 million to the Minneapolis Police Department budget and increasing city property taxes by 1.7 percent. According to the Mayor, the tax increase proposal is half of what it would have been without the Vikings stadium deal.
The Mayor's budget still has to be approved by City Council this fall.
To read the text of Mayor Rybak’s 2013 budget speech, click here.