Duluth City Council Passes Mayor’s Budget Proposal

Budget Includes $2 Million in Cuts to City Spending

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth City Council has passed Mayor Emily Larson’s controversial 2018 budget proposal.

The budget includes a $1 million increase to the street maintenance fund, a slight property tax increase, and about $2 million in cuts to city spending.

City Council President Joel Sipress tells us the cuts mean a “significant” reduction to city staff, including the elimination of three positions in parks maintenance, and multiple positions in the Police Department’s record keeping staff. No officers are affected.

Sipress says less state funding means tough choices for cities like Duluth.

“Because of the failure of local government aid to keep pace with increasing costs and with inflation, it means that each year we’re faced with these kind of budget gaps forcing us to make very difficult decisions between reducing city services and raising property taxes and the city is struggling each year to find that right balance,” said Sipress.

An amendment to the budget proposed by Sipress and Councilor Em Westerlund would have taken funds from street maintenance to keep two police record keeping positions and one parks maintenance position.

That amendment was voted down by the council 6-3.