The following press release has been distributed by the MPRB on February 4, 2016.
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board overrides Mayor’s veto of recommended ballot language for referendum to close neighborhood park funding gap
At its Feb. 3 meeting, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) of Commissioners overrode a veto by Mayor Hodges of the MPRB’s Jan. 20 resolution approving language for a 2016 ballot measure. The ballot measure will ask Minneapolis residents for a property tax levy to help maintain, rehabilitate and invest in its chronically underfunded network of 160 neighborhood parks.
Per the City Charter, the MPRB could only override the Mayor’s Jan. 27 veto if it took action at its Feb. 3 meeting by passing the resolution again by two-thirds vote. The City Charter requirement of taking action on Feb. 3 didn’t allow time for any rewording of the resolution; however MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller and MPRB President Liz Wielinski will continue working with Mayor Hodges to discuss her concerns with the resolution.
The Feb. 3 action by MPRB Commissioners reflected the MPRB’s strong position to move forward with both the proposed ballot language and elements of an agreement with the Minneapolis City Council to address sustained current funding.
This year’s actions by MPRB Commissioners follow a year of public meetings about the current condition and maintenance service level of neighborhood parks in the city during Closing the Gap: Investing in Neighborhood Parks (Closing the Gap)initiative.
Resolution 2016-112, passed Jan. 20 and again Feb. 4 by MPRB Commissioners, includes ballot language for a November 2016 referendum and elements of an agreement with the Minneapolis City Council to address sustained current funding. Superintendent Miller also provided an overarching implementation plan for a referendum. If approved by the residents of Minneapolis, the referendum will generate the additional resources needed to provide a long-term strategy to fund annual maintenance, repair and capital investments for neighborhood parks in Minneapolis, as long as other current funding sources are sustained.
The maximum annual amount of the proposed tax levy increase is limited to .0388 percent of the estimated market value by the city per year. It would begin in 2018 and continue to be collected for the next 20 years. If the levy had been in place in 2016, it would have generated approximately $15 million and added $65.68 to the property tax bill of an owner of a home valued at $190,000.
All expenditures related to the levy would be subject to full public examination. A one-page fact sheet gives an overview of how funding generated by the levy would be spent in the first five years; Superintendent Miller will provide specifics of the 2018-2022 implementation plan in April.