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Mpls. mayor wants to go big on spending for housing

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Minneapolis Jacob Frey reveals details of his 2019 budget.
Minneapolis Jacob Frey reveals details of his 2019 budget proposal in council chambers on Wed Aug.15, 2018.
Brandt Williams | MPR News

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's first budget proposal contains what he calls a historic investment in affordable housing. Frey's $1.55 billion plan for 2019 dedicates $40 million on a variety of efforts designed to help low and middle income families rent or buy somewhere to live.

"That's more than triple any previous city investment in affordable housing," said Frey, adding that this is the city's contribution alone and doesn't include federal funding. 

Too often, said Frey, people choose to leave the city rather than pay rising rents.

"While government cannot reverse this trend on its own, we certainly can do our part to retain naturally occurring affordable housing," said Frey. "To that end, I'm allocating $3.4 million to our naturally occurring affordable housing preservation fund."

The mayor's proposed budget includes a 5.6 percent increase in the property tax levy. However, Frey said that doesn't mean everyone's tax bills will go up. 

"If your home value did not increase from 2018, this budget will result in a $55 or a four percent decrease in the city's tax bill," said Frey. "If your home value increased by 10 percent, the annual increase will be $85 or 6.5 percent."

Frey's proposal also focuses on infrastructure, workforce development and improving police-community relations. To that end, Frey wants to spend $25,000 to pay for car repair vouchers that police officers can give to drivers with damaged lights instead of giving them tickets. 

Members of the Minneapolis City Council will soon begin the process of reviewing and amending the mayor's budget proposal before taking a final vote later this year.