The Park Board has just issued the following report:
2014 MPRB Budget Continues Focus on Fiscal Responsibility, Service Delivery, and Maintaining Park System
The 2014 Budget for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), approved at the December 11 Board meeting, focuses on maintaining park services and facilities, strategically addressing financial and operational challenges, improving organizational efficiency and service delivery, and addressing threats to the urban tree canopy.
“The budget includes the General Fund operating budget that reflects a zero percent property tax increase and focuses on supporting innovation and development, maintaining what we have, and implementing organizational changes that will improve efficiency and enhance service delivery,” explained Superintendent Jayne Miller. “It also includes a special levy dedicated to the removal and replacement of infested and distressed ash trees and replanting of trees lost during storms. The combined levies reflect a 2.1 percent property tax increase over 2013.”
The 2014 Budget totals $66,051,956 for the general operating fund, $1,190,780 for the special revenue fund dedicated to trees and $9,955,199 for the enterprise operating fund. Initiatives launched by Superintendent Miller in 2013 to align revenue and expenses to department activity areas are continued in the budget.
“In June, the Minneapolis parks earned the first-ever ‘five park bench’ rating on The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore® index and was named the number one park system in the nation,” said Miller. “It is because of the vision and commitment of those who have been here before us, and everyone who works here today, that we received this prestigious honor from The Trust for Public Land. It’s a wonderful tribute to all the hard work we’ve put into the park system for 130 years and a great responsibility to continue that work moving forward.”
According to Miller, the 2014 Budget reflects the Park Board’s commitment to service delivery and represents fundamental investment in four major areas: organizational performance improvements; improvements in recreation services delivery; care of the current park infrastructure and improving equity across the park system and protection of the urban tree canopy.
The proposed budget and budget related documents are available for viewing at http://www.minneapolisparks.org/budget or by calling 612-230-6400. The public was able to comment on the proposed budget during the following dates:
Nov. 6, Public Comment Session – Administration and Finance Committee meeting, MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis. The Committee meeting followed the Board’s regular meeting at 5 p.m.
Nov. 20, Public Comment Session – Regular Board meeting, MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis, at 5 p.m.
Dec. 11, Public Hearing – City of Minneapolis public hearing on 2014 tax levy and 2014 Budget, City Hall, Council Chambers Room 317, 350 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, at 6:05 pm.
The 2014 budget outlines initiatives aimed at meeting the Board’s strategic goals and budget frameworks, including:
* Focus resources on maintaining the park system and address issues of aging infrastructure, especially in neighborhood parks. Use Comprehensive Plan as guidance for maintenance of natural areas and boulevard trees.
* Become a national leader in issues of sustainability, including collaborative efforts with the City Council, Mayor, County, local business leaders, and the public, making our city greener, cleaner and energy efficient.
* Focus on our partnerships, especially with the City and the Public schools, to focus on the service delivery and responsibilities across jurisdictions to assess what is working and what can be changed or improved in difficult financial times.
* Focus on new strategies of community engagement, including greater transparency and information that is posted online, outreach strategies, and clarity about our processes and procedures. Enhance our communications and relationships with communities, media, agencies, and partners.
* Focus on a financial plan that increases revenue growth with grants, new program offerings, sponsorships and foundation giving, but also plan for potential budget reductions that are the result of projected state deficits or increased costs.
* Assure that basic services and programs remain accessible, community based, and equitable. Reaffirm the importance of outdoor activities for children.