Duluth Mayor Don Ness laid out his plan Thursday for how to close a big hole in next year's budget.
Duluth lost $3.5 million in local government aid for its 2012 budget; the city had planned for a cut of less than half that amount.
Ness is proposing a nearly 3-percent property tax levy increase that would raise $500,000, and $1.5 million in further spending cuts. Ness said the plan would close branch libraries, reduce street maintenance and overtime for firefighters and leave some open positions in fire stations unfilled.
"This is a budget of tough decisions and unpopular decisions that is the natural result of the state of Minnesota sending their cuts to the local level," he said. "We've tried to limit that impact to the greatest extent possible, but this is going to be a budget that people are going to feel."
Ness wants voters to decide on a second levy increase that would help pay for parks and libraries. The City Council will vote on the final budget in December.