Minneapolis Park Board commissioner eyes possible cuts to park police

Updated: September 16, 2019 10:19 PM

A Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he is ready to propose cuts to the Park Police Department budget if the board's request for a higher levy increase is denied.

Commissioner Londel French told KSTP the MPRB wants an additional $1.5 million for more youth programs, but funding is needed for those new programs through the board's levy portion of the Minneapolis property tax revenue.

"If we do not get the additional $1.5 million in a higher levy proposal, then I am ready to look at other programs to cut," French said.  "I am willing to cut park police by that amount, $1.5 million, to pay for more youth programs if that's what it takes."

French said he his not sure how much support he would have from other commissioners on the park board, but he is ready to offer the proposal because current funding levels are not adequate to offer more youth programs.

"We need more programs for our youth because that is what's going to keep crime down in Minneapolis," French said.  "More police is not the answer."

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French said he's already talked with other commissioners about his plan to come up with the extra money through cuts, but was not willing to share their thoughts publicly.

"I don't think I should speak for the other commissioners until they are ready to talk publicly," French said. 

The Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation takes a final vote on the proposed 8 percent levy increase on Sept. 25. If it is passed, the levy would produce more than $70 million toward the overall park board budget for 2020.

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Jay Kolls

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