Duluth Reveals 2016 General Fund Budget

Two Priorities: Street Maintenance, Employee Wages

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Next year’s financial plan for the city of Duluth is being largely characterized as a ‘status quo’ budget compared to the 2015 budget, with two primary exceptions.

Those exceptions are an increase in maintenance funds for Duluth streets, parks and trails, along with increased wages for employees.

Mayor Don Ness has said time and time again that the condition of Duluth roads and streets remains one of the biggest and unmet challenges the is facing.

As laid out right now, the 2016 budget will allot half a million dollars to maintenance of the streets, and another $500,000 to parks and trails maintenance.

Duluth city councilor Jen Juslrud says she was expecting more money to go towards street maintenance, especially after the city just lost an on–going legal battle with the Fond–du–Luth Casino, where it was previously receiving 19 percent of casino revenue and putting it towards road repair.

“It’s not, it’s not even close to enough,” declared Councilor Julsrud. “We need to add that to the tax rolls, instead of adding fees, I think it’s wiser to do that so people can write it off.”

The other big change this year is in employee wages.

This budget’s wage increases for city employees run slightly above statewide averages for new contracts.

Plus, the city captured $400,000 in new growth.

“Which is by far the largest amount that we have seen in that, and you can see the impact on being able to capture that new growth through new development in our community,” Mayor Ness stated.

The total figure of the 2016 budget is $80 million, that’s 3 percent higher than last year’s budget.

The city council has to set the maximum budget levy by the end of September. 

Categories: News-imported, Politics-imported, Transportation-imported