Proposed 2018 Minneapolis Park Board budget continues focus on fiscal responsibility, service delivery to meet changing demographics and supporting the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan

Posted on October 18, 2017

Public comment opportunities scheduled Nov. 1, 15, 29 and Dec. 6

The Superintendent’s Recommended 2018 Budget for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) focuses on maintenance, rehabilitation and capital investments for neighborhood parks through continued implementation of the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20), continued sound fiscal management, providing responsive service delivery to meet the changing demographics and needs of the community, addressing the $15 minimum wage initiative and continues the use of racial equity tools throughout the budget process.

“The 2018 recommended budget continues much of the important work begun in 2017, including supporting the NPP20 and continuing to integrate criteria metrics and the use of the racial equity lens for budget allocations and decisions,” explains Superintendent Jayne Miller. “It also allows continued 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 improvements, and organizational initiative and asset investment alignments to meet changing demographic needs across the city.”

The recommended budget includes a proposed 4.1 percent property tax levy increase that includes 4.2 percent for the General Fund annual operating increase, and 1.2 percent for the Tree Preservation and Reforestation Levy to address Emerald Ash Borer infestation and tree loss due to storms. The Superintendent’s 2018 Recommended Budget proposes utilizing the maximum tax levies authorized by the Board and Estimate and Taxation.

Miller notes that the racial equity lens is demonstrated in the 2018 budget in a variety of ways, including five distinct and critical areas: department 2018 budget goals, neighborhood park capital improvement and rehabilitation funding, regional park capital improvement funding, recreation center funding, and 2018 budget adjustments.

“With the recommended 2018 Budget, the MPRB is the first and only park agency in the country to require, by ordinance, its entire Capital Improvement Program use specific, transparent, data-driven measures to ensure racial and economic equity are accounted for in funding allocations,” she adds.

The Superintendent’s Recommended 2018 Budget totals $80.7 million for the general operating fund, $3.1 million for the special revenue fund, $11.2 million for the enterprise operating fund and $20.9 for capital project funding.

“This year was truly a banner year for recognizing the vision and commitment of those at the Park Board who have been here before us, and everyone who is committed to the Minneapolis park system today,” says Miller. “It is because of all the dedication and hard work over our 134-year history that we receive prestigious accolades and continue to be at the forefront of new innovation.”

Honors, accolades and opportunities include:

  • May 2017: MPRB was named the number one park system in the nation for the fifth year in a row and earned another ‘five park bench’ rating on The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore® index.
  • May 2017: for the second year in a row, the MPRB was recognized as a 2017 Finalist, for cities with populations over 401,000, for the National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.
  • July 29 – August 2: the MPRB co-hosted the Greater and Greener Conference that brought more than 1,000 urban parks leaders from around the world to the Twin Cities.

The 2018 recommended budget also supports the MPRB’s focused work in recent years to meet the changing needs of current – and future Minneapolis residents. 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 explains, “My commitment to continued diversification of our organization and the expansion of diverse offerings throughout our city remains stronger than ever. 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 or by calling 612-230-6400. The public may comment on the proposed budget during the following times:

  • Nov. 1, 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. 15, Public Comment Session – Regular Board meeting, MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis, at 5 pm.
  • November 29, 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. 6, Public Hearing and Board Approval of 2018 Budget – City of Minneapolis public hearing on 2018 tax levy and 2018 Budget, City Hall, Council Chambers Room 317, 350 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, at 6:05 pm.

“The MPRB remains committed to establishing long-term financial sustainability in operations, rehabilitation, and capital infrastructure for all operations,” notes Miller. “While significant efforts have been made in addressing the funding gaps in our neighborhood park system, recreation service delivery, internal services funds and enterprise fund operations there is still more work to be done. The MPRB is committed to addressing the 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 challenges include inadequate funding for regional park maintenance, parkway paving, and for delivery of quality recreation services, particularly youth services.

The 2017 State Legislative ended in a special session. Law changes affecting MPRB funding included a permanent statewide increase of $15 million in Local Government Aid (LGA) which gives the MPRB $152,000 in additional LGA in 2018. However, $10,000,000 per year in state funding for the Minneapolis Employees Retirement Fund was eliminated starting in 2019. This will cost the Park Board an estimated $1 million annually, beginning in 2019.

Other key financial challenges include the impact of a City of Minneapolis $15 minimum wage ordinance, health care cost increases, inflationary increases especially in construction costs, employer pension cost increases, internal services rate increases for stabilization of the mobile equipment fleet and information technology services, and the continued work to stabilize the Enterprise Fund.

The proposed 2018 budget also addresses the need for improved operations facilities, capital investment needs in regional parks that continue to outpace available funding in the aging park system and Emerald ash borer infestations and tree losses due to storms.

Initiatives and changes for 2018 include:

  • Asset Management – enhancement of regional park maintenance through increased contractual services to address underground infrastructure failures and sinkholes in multiple regional park locations
  • Athletic Programs & Aquatics – convert seasonal lifeguards to three full-time lifeguard positions to improve service levels for Phillips Community pool and beach and waterparks seasonal sites; creation of Bossen field rental fees and concession commission rates as a premier field site
  • Board of Commissioners – Training budget for newly elected Board of Commissioners; addition of real-time captioning and text transcriptions of MPRB Board meetings
  • Communications and Marketing – funding for full-time Archivist position; funding of part-time staff to complete the new intranet website
  • Customer Service – additional funds to operate the Stevens House at Minnehaha Park; minor decrease in Longfellow House Visitor Center hours; minor revenue increases based on trends; converts a part-time parking systems analyst position to a full-time position
  • Environmental Management – reduces contractual services to offset the addition of a Natural Resources Specialist position; changes to revenue and expenditures based on trends and actual spending
  • Finance – supports delay in hiring vacant supervisor position prior to filling vacant accountant position
  • Forestry – continuation of the Tree Preservation & Reforestation Levy. 2018 is the fifth year of the eight-year plan to remove and replace ash trees and replant trees lost during storms
  • Golf - supports leaving one golf manager and one assistant golf manager position vacant
  • Human Resources – supports enhanced employee “healthy benefit” options and onboarding programs; savings in professional services
  • Information Technology Services - adds two software/database support positions to improve internal service delivery
  • Park Police –adds four part-time police officer positions with cost partially offset by the security fees charged to events; elimination of the parking violation, “convert to permit” option
  • Planning - adds a part-time office support position; converts an engineering technician position to a GIS technician position
  • Recreation Centers & Programs – utilizes a criteria-based system to allocate budget dollars to the recreation centers based on racial and economic equity; increases part-time staffing within the recreation centers and for outdoor supervision; increases in program and rental revenues based on trends
  • Youth Development – supports the Street Reach program with addition of a coordinator position; reduces part-time staffing for Recreation Plus program due to site changes

In 2018, there are no fee increases for most activities, permits and programs. There are market-rate increases for select activities and services and fees have been established for select new activities and services.