During the past month the MPRB has been having budget discussions. When entities that have been funded by taxes have their budgets cut they often go looking for easy money rather than making the tough decisions that might offend some constituent group.
Many folks seem to forget that just like the rest of us government also has had its budgets affected by higher fuel costs, health care costs and heating bills. The MPRB alone has to heat 49 recreation centers, fuel a fleet of trucks and police cars and insure their workers ( as well as having to insure all their property, employees for workman’s comp etc…). Their health insurance alone has a cap of a 12% increase in year 1, 18% in year 2 and no cap in year 3….with the new plan for 2007-2010 . Maybe it is time to start making some hard choices.
The Superintendent will be announcing his proposed 2007 budget at the 11-15-2006 Wednesday meeting. With a shortage of over $2,000,000 ( they keep changing the figure with each new document they print so do not hold me to this exact number) in their Workman’s Comp fund ( based on pending litigation) and the Minneapolis Tree Commission asking them to budget about $4,000,000 more per year for the Forestry department they have some tough decisions to make. Their legal budget alone for 2005 was to be $200,000 per old budget documents but the lawsuit at the Fort Snelling 201 building alone was $400,000 in legal fees that year.
With the legal battle over DeLaSalle heating up, and the estimated need for $400,000 per year operating expenses for the East Phillips Community Center looming on the horizon I am hoping that there are some real plans to start dealing with the shortages. I am however afraid that they are just planning on being saved by the newly elected DFL majority in state government and keeping their fingers crossed that in 2008 there will be an LGA pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.