Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey unveiled a scaled-down 2021 city budget on Friday morning that looks to address several financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of George Floyd's death.
In his video address, Frey proposed extending the city's hiring freeze until the end of 2021. Frey believes the hiring freeze, offering early retirement packages for long-time workers, and reorganizing departments across the board will lessen the financial impact.
"With these measures in place, we'll be able to limit the levy increase to 5.75-percent in 2021 while making prudent and necessary investments that benefit all who live and work in our city," Frey said. "What we're offering today is a maximum levy. Bright lines to guide our decisions moving forward and clear expectations for our city staff."
Frey's initial 2021 budget calls for about $1.1 billion in spending and about $1.4 billion in revenue. The city's 2020 budget came in at just around $1.4 billion.
Frey also reaffirmed his stance against defunding the Minneapolis police department, biut said this is a time to refocus conversations on improving public safety,
"Let's equip the most forward-looking police chief in the nation with the support he needs to remake the department of and for community," Frey said. "Let's bring more people in and empower community leaders to help us disrupt cycles of violence. With the world watching, let's define a shared framework for progress and honor George Floyd by making real and enduring change."
$2.5 million is being proposed by Frey for ongoing funding for the Office of Violence Prevention to implement MinneapolUS, a violence intervention narrative initiative based on the Cure Violence model. The model has trained violence interrupters and outreach workers to prevent shootings by mediating conflicts in the community and follow up with individuals to decrease retaliatory violence.
Frey's budget also calls for providing office space for the Office of Violence Prevention staff to increase accessibility.
“There is no single policy proposal that will, in one fell swoop, undo 400 years of institutionalized racism,” Frey said. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t leverage this moment to do more and go further than those who have tried before us.”
According to Mayor Frey's office, the 2021 budget will be finalized by the end of September.