MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has signed the approximately $1.5 billion 2021 budget, staying the course with the “both-and” approach to policing and public safety.
The budget would retain the same number of police officers, after the City Council initially approved a proposal to cut the city’s authorized police force to 750 officers beginning in 2022. They changed course late Wednesday after Frey called the move “irresponsible.” The council voted 7-6 on Wednesday to keep the cap at 888.
“As Minneapolis continues navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, we have collectively emphasized the need for a responsive and nimble local government across our work, from affordable housing to safety. This budget centered a both-and approach to public safety by better integrating social services into our emergency response systems while fully preserving the targeted officer staffing levels in our police department,” Frey said in a statement Friday. “These investments serve as an emphatic reaffirmation of our priorities and values since the onset of the pandemic: to help those who are struggling most and to continue delivering core city services no matter what.”
The plan cuts $7.7 million from Frey’s $179 million policing budget and redirects it to mental health teams, violence prevention programs and other initiatives.
More than 300 Minneapolis residents signed up to speak about the proposal Wednesday, with some pleading for City Council members to deliver the reforms they promised after George Floyd’s death, and others warning it would be irresponsible to cut officers.
The budget includes a 5.75% tax levy increase, and is roughly $88 million less than this year’s budget.
The mayor’s office also touted the approved budget’s efforts toward economic recovery and affordable housing.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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