Proposed 2017 Minneapolis Park Board budget focuses on fiscal responsibility, service delivery, and implementation of historic 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan

Posted on October 19, 2016

The Superintendent’s Recommended 2017 Budget for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) focuses on enhanced maintenance, rehabilitation and capital investments for neighborhood parks, continued sound fiscal management, providing responsive service delivery to meet the changing demographics and needs of the community, maintains the park system within available resources and, for the first time, implementing a racial equity tool throughout the budget process.

“The 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan, or NPP 20, is the culmination of the Closing the Gap: Investing in our Neighborhood Park initiative, which began in 2014,” said Superintendent Jayne Miller.  “NPP20 is significant and historic in two ways: it provides long-term funding for Minneapolis neighborhood parks as well as explicit terms for all other funding between the MPRB and City of Minneapolis, and it adopts the Criteria Based System Ordinance that directs the spending of capital and rehabilitation funds for neighborhood parks based on racial and economic equity.”

The 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan Concurrent Ordinances were passed by Mayor Betsy Hodges and Minneapolis City Council and MPRB Board of Commissioners on April 29 and May 18, 2016, respectively.  The Concurrent Ordinances ensure an additional $11 million, with scheduled inflationary increases, in annual funding for 20 years to the MPRB to revitalize Minneapolis’ renowned network of neighborhood parks.  The MPRB Board of Commissioners additionally adopted the Criteria Based System for Capital and Rehabilitation Neighborhood Park Project Scheduling Ordinance on July 6, 2016 which establishes an objective, criteria-based system to ensure that racial and economic equity criteria are utilized in determining the distribution of funds to neighborhood parks.

The proposed budget includes the General Fund operating budget that reflects a 10 percent property tax increase (note: if a $15 minimum wage increase were to be implemented by the City of Minneapolis, an additional 3 percent property tax increase would be needed). The 2017 budget fully integrates the NPP20 into the MPRB budget and is the first MPRB annual budget to use a racial equity lens for budget decisions.  This budget also continues to focus on sustainable funding, supporting ongoing operations, addressing threats to the urban tree canopy, continued refinement and implementation of operating efficiencies and targeted service delivery, and employment and asset investment alignments to meet changing demographic needs across the city. It continues to reflect the MPRB’s commitment to strategic long-term planning.

In 2017, of every dollar Minneapolis residents pay for property taxes, eight cents will go to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The combined levies reflect a 10 percent property tax increase over 2016.

The Superintendent’s Recommended 2017 Budget totals $76.6 million for the general operating fund, $3.2 million for the special revenue fund, $10.7 million for the enterprise operating fund and $20.8 for capital project funding.

“In May 2016, the MPRB was named the number one park system in the nation for the fourth year in a row and earned another ‘five park bench’ rating on The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore® index,” explained Miller. “Also in May, the MPRB was recognized as a 2016 Finalist, for cities with populations over 400,000, for the National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. It is because of the vision and commitment of those who have been here before us, and everyone who is committed to the Minneapolis park system today, that we receive these prestigious honors and recognitions and continue to be at the forefront of new innovation. It’s a wonderful tribute to all the dedication and hard work over our 133 year history. These honors and recognitions are also reflective of the organization’s focused work in recent years to meet the changing needs of our city.”

As the demographics of Minneapolis have changed and continue to change, the Park Board is working hard to be responsive to the changing needs of the city’s current community and plan for the needs of future residents through more diverse service delivery, modifications to the system of parks and park assets to meet the diverse needs of our community, the updating of policies that demonstrate the respect of varied cultural values and needs, and the expanded employment of a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization.

Miller added, “I am committed to this continued diversification of our organization and the expansion of diverse offerings throughout our city.  I am extremely proud of our park system, the hard work of our employees, and the services we provide to our community and visitors from across the world.” 

The proposed budget and related documents are available for viewing at www.minneapolisparks.org/budget or by calling 612-230-6400. The public may comment on the proposed budget during the following times:

  • Nov. 2, Public Comment Session – Administration and Finance Committee meeting, MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis. The Committee meeting will follow the Board’s regular meeting, which begins at 5 pm.
  • Nov. 16, Public Comment Session – Regular Board meeting, MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis, at 5 pm.
  • November 30, Administration & Finance Committee Approval of 2017 Budget - MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis. Comments may be made during 5:30 pm regularly scheduled Open Time session.
  • Dec. 7, Public Hearing and Board Approval of 2017 Budget – City of Minneapolis public hearing on 2017 tax levy and 2017 Budget, City Hall, Council Chambers Room 317, 350 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, at 6:05 pm.

According to Miller, although the NPP20 funding helps address aging infrastructure and assets in neighborhood parks, there continues to be financial and service challenges facing the Minneapolis Park Board.

“The MPRB remains committed to establishing long-term financial sustainability in operations, rehabilitation, and capital infrastructure for all operations, noted Miller. “While great strides have been made through organizational performance initiatives becoming an integral part of the MPRB way of doing business and the passing of the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan funding gaps still exist in our regional park system, recreation service delivery, internal services funds and enterprise fund operations. The MPRB is committed to addressing the ongoing financial challenges to ensure quality facilities and quality delivery of park and recreation services to Minneapolis residents and park users. This budget supports, as best as is possible within the resources available, the continuation of this important work.”

Key financial challenges include inadequate funding for regional park maintenance and for delivery of quality recreation services, particularly youth services. Additionally, the 2016 State Legislative session resulted in flat LGA, O&M and Lottery proceed levels, and the loss of an anticipated $3.4 million for capital projects in regional parks.

Other key financial challenges include the potential impact of a City of Minneapolis $15 minimum wage ordinance, state minimum wage increases, Affordable Care Act impacts, rising health care costs, inflationary increases, especially in construction costs, and employee pension cost increases.

The proposed budget also addresses capital investment needs due to increased demands for service and increased park usage, especially in regional parks, and operations facilities investment needs. The 2017 proposed budget also continues to address Emerald ash borer infestations and tree losses due to storms.

Initiatives and changes for 2017 include:

  • Asset Management –NPP20 funding for staffing and operating costs for enhanced neighborhood park maintenance; five additional park operations manager positions that align with service areas; additional funding for contractual services and supplies for regional park operations; and increase in overall overtime budget
  • Athletic Programs & Aquatics –part-time staffing for athletic and aquatic program marketing through donation revenue; lifeguard wage adjustments; and end-of-season tournament entry fee
  • Communications and Marketing – funding to assist in the launch of a new intranet website
  • Community Outreach – continue focus on racial equity, diversity and inclusion work, including oversight and implementation of Racial Equity Action Plan; and savings from operating efficiencies
  • Customer Service – minor revenue increases based on trends
  • Environmental Management –full operation of Carl W. Kroening Interpretative Center at North Mississippi Regional Park; increased staffing of Aquatic Invasive Special program coordination; and revenue increases for services to other agencies
  • Finance – minor operating efficiency reductions
  • Forestry – increase in revenue and expenses for City of Minneapolis’ portion of the Forestry Preservation position; revenue reduction for elimination of wood processing site
  • Golf - projections presume reopening of Meadowbrook golf course to full operational capacity and 2nd 9 at Hiawatha golf course; full funding of golf staff to department budget due to Winter Recreation changes; new Point of Sale system; expense reductions due to historical average; golf fee increases and revenue increases; and revenue reductions at Wirth due to construction
  • Park Police –new position for youth violence prevention and funding for acquisition and implementation of Body-worn cameras among Park Police sworn/patrol staff
  • Planning - addition of an Urban Scholar position; increased support for community engagement by funding food, childcare and translation services for community engagement meetings
  • Recreation Centers & Programs – Ambassador staffing at the Trailhead
  • Superintendent – Funding for Greater & Greener 2017, City Park Alliance International Urban Park Conference
  • Youth Development – expand Street Reach program with additional part-time Street Reach staff; and increased revenue for Recreation Plus program

In 2017, there are no fee increases for the vast majority of activities, permits and programs. There are market-rate increases for select activities and services.

Contact

Robin Smothers
Communications and Marketing
612-230-6410 office | 612-499-9052 cell
rsmothers@minneapolisparks.org