St. Paul mayor proposes 2024 budget

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter delivered the city’s 2024 budget address Thursday morning.

Full video of the budget proposal can be viewed below:

[anvplayer video=”5188248″ station=”998122″]

Mayor Carter highlighted several aspects of the budget, including steps to prevent gun violence, repairs to infrastructure, swimming lessons, medical debt relief and funding for first responders.

Mayor Carter referenced new state legislation aimed to prevent straw purchasing of guns, a city-wide ordinance that requires guns to be locked and unloaded inside homes, and Project Peace, led by the Office of Neighborhood Safety, which focuses on deterring gun violence in communities.

During his speech, Mayor Carter said he is “excited” to have two fire station projects in progress, with Fire Station 7 on the city’s east side set to open in 2025 and reconstruction of Fire Station 51 on West 7th Street already underway.

“As the son of a St. Paul first responder, I am keenly aware of the critical role our firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians play in protecting our community,” Mayor Carter said.

The mayor shared his plan to streamline city services into one enterprise and touted the response to this past winter’s historic snowfall as an example.

“This year, we added a significant amount of value and got the snow plowing better, without spending a single cent, thanks to our enterprise thinking,” Mayor Carter said.

Mayor Carter also discussed his effort to invest in city streets, saying “My proposal to fundamentally improve the quality of our city-wide street and infrastructure is the sales tax proposal which will go to voters this fall.”

The mayor then proposed a one-time investment of $1,000,000 in American Rescue Plan funds to purchase and eliminate the medical debt of low-income patients.

“We all agree, especially in our post-pandemic reality, that the idea of medical debt acting as a barrier that keeps our neighbors from accessing healthcare is simply a non-starter,” Mayor Carter said. “So we have all worked together to build our medical-debt reset initiative.”

The effort will be administered by the national organization called RIP Medical Debt. Representatives from Allina Health, Children’s Minnesota and Fairview Health Services, Healthpartners, and RIP Medical Debt were all present and recognized by the mayor during the announcement.

Mayor Carter is expected to submit his recommended budget to the St. Paul City Council on Aug. 15. They will then review the proposal with department management, potentially make adjustments and hold public hearings on it before making a final approval in December.