Roseville reviews proposed 2020 budget and levy

Mike Munzenrider
executive editor

The Roseville City Council took a look at the city’s proposed budget and property tax levy for 2020, which includes tax increases to cover more cops and firefighters.

City Manager Pat Trudgeon presented his recommended budget and tax levy at the council’s Aug. 12 meeting. 

Members did not vote on any budget numbers that night — the council will set its not-to-exceed property tax levy at its Sept. 23 meeting. The final budget and levy will be voted on in December.

Trudgeon said the proposed budget includes a 5.5% increase over the 2019 property tax levy. Much of that increase will go toward the hiring of three new police officers and three new firefighters.

The recommended 2020 budget is $62.6 million.

That’s $7.1 million more than it was for 2019, a 12.8% increase.

Beyond the big-ticket items driving the budget jump — public safety staffing and $5 million to rehab and repair the Roseville OVAL — Trudgeon said the usual suspects are adding to the budget at the margins. Personnel costs, insurance and inflation all add to the budget on a yearly basis.

If not for the planned OVAL work, Trudgeon said, the budget would be increasing by 3.8% for 2020. 

He said the city is seeking state bonding to pay for the maintenance of the quarter-century-old skating center, which was built with state help. If no state cash comes for the work, Trudgeon said the city would seek other ways to fund the work.

The revenue-supported portion of the proposed budget is $32.6 million. The property tax-supported portion is $22.7 million — just less than half of the tax collected goes toward police and fire service.

Should the levy be approved as presented, Trudgeon said the owner of a median-valued home worth $272,000 would see a $6.67 increase in the Roseville portion of their monthly tax bill.

The proposed levy, coupled with planned utility rate increases for 2020 and the unchanged Economic Development Authority levy, would mean that homeowner would go from paying $138.68 per month this year to paying $148.33 per month next year to the city.

 

Public safety staffing
Council members had few questions or comments about the substance of the proposed budget and levy, though did key in on the goals behind bringing on more public safety personnel.

Police Chief Rick Mathwig and Fire Chief Tim O’Neill, who’d both appeared before the council earlier this year to ask for staffing increases, were on hand to explain the rationale behind the additions.

The proposed budget includes $290,000 to bring on two new patrol officers and to hire a community service officer as part of the department’s diversity hiring program, through which it aims to retain officers from diverse backgrounds who are trained in-house.

Mathwig said a number of factors created the need for more cops — an increase in reported crimes, lower case clearance rates, more calls for service and more complex investigations. He said the new hires would work a 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. shift, when department data says they’re needed most.

Not included in the 2020 budget but likely for future years is cash to a pay a new detective to work sex trafficking cases. The police department plans to hire another investigator come next year, who will be covered by a grant from the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office.

Mathwig said the new detective, despite having a dedicated beat, should help ease the case-load burden among all department investigators.

Though O’Neill had asked the city for nine new firefighters, he said he expected three more staffers should help his department better cover the city’s needs.

He said the number of calls for service handled by the fire department, due to the city’s development and the type of development happening, have outpaced its ability to handle them.

The fire department currently doesn’t have the staffing to field enough firefighters to handle a third call for service if teams are out working other calls, O’Neill said. That happens roughly seven times a day, delaying response times or forcing someone else to respond.

O’Neill said his new firefighters in 2020 should mean that delayed- or non-response number is reduced to less than an average of one per day.

 

Future meetings
The city council will revisit the proposed 2020 city budget and tax levy a number of times before they’re finalized in December. 

On Sept. 16 it will receive budget recommendations from the Finance Commission. On Sept. 23, the council will vote on a preliminary budget, tax levy and Economic Development Authority levy, setting the maximum for each of those figures.

The council will discuss utility rates and the city’s fee schedule on Nov. 4. It will hold its final budget hearing on Nov. 25.

The final vote on the budget, levies, utility rates and fee schedules will be held Dec. 2. All meetings are Monday beginning at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 2660 Civic Center Drive.

 

– Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. 

Update: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Roseville planned to use property tax money to fund maintenance at the Roseville OVAL. The city is seeking state bonding money for the work.

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