The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board this past week voted to support a 2023 tax levy increase of 6% in an effort to improve safety and security, care for park assets and continue investments in youth programming.
The total levy request amounts to $79,025,000, according to a Park Board document. The Board of Estimate and Taxation still must approve the levy amount.
Last year, the Park Board sought a 7.75% increase over the 2021 levy. Previously, the average property tax increase over the decade had been 4.5%.
Here is what is known about the latest proposal:
What does this mean for my property taxes?
If approved, the Park Board increase will result in a 1.1% increase in city property taxes — or about $18 for owners of an average-value home in Minneapolis, which is estimated at $316,000.
What new initiatives would the levy fund?
Two new expenses are included in the 2023 request. The first would put $389,000 toward ensuring that parks and facilities, including three new downtown parks that came online last year — Commons Park, Waterworks and North Loop — are staffed equitably compared to existing parks. Specifically, it would fund two new park police officers and the conversion of some part-time park agent hours into two full-time park patrol agent positions, said Robin Smothers, spokeswoman for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
A second element of the request is $443,000 to maintain park assets, which includes hiring two project managers and one system analyst.
How much of the levy goes to maintaining current services?
The request also will maintain existing service levels in parks at a cost of $78,193,000, which is $576,000 more than estimated previously because of less in state aid.
Some $260,000 of the $78.2 million would go toward an annual investment in youth programming that started in 2022 and will continue for five more years.
Last year, commissioners made the case for bolstering youth programming — including spaces called "Spark'd Studios" to promote art, music and technology careers and expanding hiring for a paid job training program — in light of high crime citywide. Funding also would go toward intergenerational programming and nature-based programming, Smothers said.
What about the city budget?
Minneapolis' elected officials will negotiate their own budget with a separate tax levy. Mayor Jacob Frey is expected to deliver a budget address in mid-August outlining his financial priorities. City Council members will have a chance to offer their own amendments, and together they often finalize the budget in December.
As is the case with the Park Board, the Board of Estimate & Taxation will determine the maximum tax levy, and city leaders will have to work within those boundaries. Frey, Council President Andrea Jenkins and Council Budget Chair Emily Koski sit on the board, together making up half its members.
How much of every Minneapolis property tax dollar goes to the Park Board?
About 7.6 cents of every property tax dollar paid by Minneapolis homeowners currently goes to the Park Board.
The Minneapolis park system encompasses 180 properties totaling 6,817 acres.
Staff writer Liz Navratil contributed to this story.