2019 budget to go before St. Paul City Council Wednesday

December 12, 2018 01:16 PM

St. Paul city leaders are expected to approve the 2019 budget Wednesday.

The budget includes a double-digit increase to property taxes for most homeowners but adds funding for new programs and more police officers, though not nearly as many as the police chief asked for.


Mayor Melvin Carter said he believes this budget is a good start to making positive changes in St. Paul, even though it means taxpayers will be shelling out more money in property taxes.

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Public safety is one area that will see a boost. Earlier this year, the police chief had asked for 50 new officers, saying the department is seeing a growing number of calls.

The proposed budget doesn't completely fulfill that request, but would add nine new officers to the force.

The budget would also set aside more than a $1 million for the St. Paul Fire Department.

Additionally, Carter said the budget would invest an unprecedented amount of money into affordable housing - $71 million. It would also triple the number of free programs in recreation centers and would create the first ever dedicated funding stream for bike lanes in the city.

Those plans would come at a cost for taxpayers, however.

"We had our public hearing last week and members of our community came out and said, overwhelmingly, that they support the investments the critical investments we're making in our city," Carter said.

The average homeowner would pay roughly an extra $67 per year under the plan.

The city council will vote on the budget Wednesday and they are expected to approve it.

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Rebecca Omastiak & Alex Jokich

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