Proposed 2019 MPRB Budget Focuses on Youth Services, Fiscal Responsibility, Environmental Protection and Engaging the Communities’ Power

Public comment opportunities scheduled Nov. 7, 14, 28 and Dec. 5

The Superintendent’s Recommended 2019 Budget for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) focuses on the four priorities adopted in April by the Board of Commissioners, which this year includes six new commissioners. The budget supports the priorities: invest in youth; be financially sustainable; protect the environment; and engage communities’ power. It also maintains current service levels, continues the use of racial equity tools throughout the budget process, and reflects initiatives to meet the changing demographics and needs of the community, including funding to pilot the wrap-around fullservice community school/park model.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from commissioners, community members, city leaders and state legislators that our city has a critical need for enhanced youth programs and services, and youth violence prevention strategies,” explained Superintendent Mary Merrill. “The Park Board is uniquely positioned to address this need and we appreciate Mayor Frey’s support for the work we do and his down payment towards the ongoing investment needed for youth services. We are very proud to partner with the Mayor and the Minneapolis Public Schools on piloting the new wraparound, fullservice community school/park model for Minneapolis children.”

A wraparound, fullservice site will be the hub in the community where families will have access to resources where all their needs can be met. The Park Board’s role in this partnership will be to find where a park and school share the same site and work together to leverage both park and school resources and services in support of young people and their families.

Superintendent Merrill also commended Mayor Frey and the Board of Estimate and Taxation for their support for a MPRB tax levy increase that allows the MPRB to continue to provide services at their current level, and for their support of the MPRB’s investment in Youth. In addition to the $150,000 for the wrap around park/school initiative the MPRB received $100,000 to provide increased youth employment through Teen Teamworks. The budget also includes full funding for one Conservation Corps crew and support for the Run and Shoot Basketball League.

The recommended budget includes a proposed 5.7 percent property tax levy increase that includes 5.8 percent increase for the General Fund annual operating increase, and 3.0 percent increase for the Tree Preservation and Reforestation Levy to address Emerald Ash Borer infestation and tree loss due to storms. The Superintendent’s 2019 Recommended Budget proposes utilizing the maximum 5.7 percent tax levies authorized by the Board and Estimate and Taxation. Of the Minneapolis property tax paid by Minneapolis homeowners, approximately eight cents of every dollar will go to the MPRB. The proposed 5.7 percent property tax increase will result in an estimated annual increase of $17 for the owner of a $249,000 home.

The Superintendent’s Recommended 2019 Budget totals $120.1 million, including $84.2 million for the general operating fund, $1.8 million for the special revenue fund, $11.9 million for the enterprise operating fund and $22.2 for capital project funding.

The 2019 recommended budget includes multiple initiatives to protect the environment, including shifting a current arborist position to a forestry outreach position, adding a parttime community garden position, developing a comprehensive energy action plan, implementing a carp management plan for Lake Nokomis, creating interactive exhibits at the Kroening Interpretive Center, and use of a racial equity lens in tree planting. To better engage communities’ power, the recommended budget includes development of the next Comprehensive Plan, creation of a Language Access Plan, implementation of a citywide resident survey, continued racial equity and inclusion work, funding for the communityled Juneteenth celebration and enhanced staffing for events. The focus on financial sustainability includes the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Program funding and balancing the need to maintain existing facilities and programs with the importance of offering improved and new programs and services requested by the community.

“We are committed to meeting the changing needs of current and future residents,” said Merrill. “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 6122306400. The public may comment on the proposed budget during the following times:  

Nov. 7, 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. 14, Public Comment Session – Committee of the Whole Board meeting, MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis, at 5 pm.  

November 28, Administration & Finance Committee Approval of 2019 Budget MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis. Comments may be made during 5:30 pm regularly scheduled Open Time session. 

Dec. 5, Public Hearing and Board Approval of 2018 Budget – City of Minneapolis public hearing on 2019 tax levy and 2019 Budget, City Hall, Council Chambers Room 317, 350 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, at 6:05pm.

“While significant efforts have been made in addressing the funding gaps in our neighborhood and regional park system, there is still more work to be done,” said Merrill. “I believe in playing for life, and the important role parks play in everyone’s life. The Park Board is committed to addressing the challenges we face to ensure quality facilities and quality delivery of park and recreation services to Minneapolis residents. This budget supports our commitment to the continuation of this important work.”

Financial Challenges:

Key challenges include inadequate funding for recreation service delivery, regional park maintenance and improvements, and enterprise operations.

Other key financial challenges include the impact of a City of Minneapolis $15 minimum wage ordinance, health care cost increases, network upgrades, 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 2019 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 2019 include:

Asset Management – conversion of four Parkkeeper Trainees (NPP20) to four fulltime Parkkeepers (NPP20); reallocation of staff to support maintenance of concession areas in Enterprise Fund; reduction in seasonal parkkeeper and mobile equipment operator staffing; reductions in revenue due to changes in services provided

Athletic Programs, Aquatics & Ice Arenas – increases in revenues and decreases in expenditures for athletic programs and aquatics based on trends and actual experience; increase in revenue for ice arenas based on market comparisons; expenses for ice arena small equipment purchases

Communications and Marketing – funds for citywide resident survey and development of a MPRB Language Access Plan; reduction in contract services for web maintenance and enhancements

Community Outreach – addition of fulltime events position; increase in parttime event staffing; adds funding for annual Juneteenth celebration and establishment of overhead charge for revenuebased MPRB events; funding for cultural somatic training and implementation, Government Alliance on Race and Equity memberships, and resultsbased training to continue advancement of racial equity work

Customer Service – increases in revenue based on market comparisons and addition of three canoe racks at North Cedar Beach; increase in parking revenue due to expansion of parking operations and increase to annual parking permit fee

Design and Project Management – reduces one project designer position and associated project charge revenue

Deputy Superintendent’s Office – funds to develop facility emergency preparedness plans for storm, active shooter and fire emergencies; funds for phase one of MPRB ordinance review

Environmental Management – addition of parttime position to provide coordination and initial implementation of community garden policy; increase to one fully funded Conservation Corps crew; reduction of public hours at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary and other expenditures based on trends and actual spending 

Finance – increase enterprise fund overhead charge for financial services provided for that fund

Forestry – continuation of the Tree Preservation & Reforestation Levy to remove and replace ash trees and replant trees lost during storms; conversion of one arborist position to forestry outreach position; reduction in tree planting and contract stump grinding by 563 for total of 6,899 trees planted and 3,289 stumps removed; changes to expenditures based on anticipated spending

Golfsupports reduction in parttime clubhouse staff based on actual spending; increase in golf revenue based on market comparisons; development of a Golf Department longrange financial sustainable operating plan

Human Resources – funds employee survey of fulltime staff; transfer to the Enterprise Fund of background check costs associated with enterprise fund staff 

Park Police –eliminates new parttime police officer positions added, but never hired, in 2018 and the revenue associated with special event work assignments by these parttime officers 

Recreation Centers and Programs – addition of piloting wraparound, fullservice community school/park model; transfer of funds from Youth Development to support the Run and Shoot Basketball League; elimination of Nite Owlz program on Friday nights at Powderhorn Park due to low attendance; closing of recreation centers for one week at the end of August to align with RecPlus annual schedule and start of the Minneapolis Public School year; increase in revenue to better match revenue that has been consistently generated in recreation over past several years

Strategic Planningadds a parttime office support position for property research, verifications and field monitoring of encroachments; funds for development of next Comprehensive Plan

Superintendent’s Office – addition of fulltime Intergovernmental Relations position; reduction of contractual services 

Youth Development – increase in Teen Teamworks to hire 30 additional youth; increase of parttime staffing to assist with RecPlus state reporting requirements; transfer of park leadership funds to Recreation Centers & Programs for Run and Shoot Basketball League; use of onetime funds to conduct Youthline program evaluation

In 2019, there are no fee increases for most activities, permits and programs. There are marketrate fee increases for select activities and services, and fees have been established for new activities and services being launched in 2019.