Duluth mayor presents 2011 budget plansOn Monday night, Duluth Mayor Don Ness unveiled preliminary budget plans for 2011 that would cut the city’s general fund spending by about $500,000 from what was budgeted this year.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
On Monday night, Duluth Mayor Don Ness unveiled preliminary budget plans for 2011 that would cut the city’s general fund spending by about $500,000 from what was budgeted this year.
But that doesn’t mean lower tax rates.
The proposed city tax levy still stands to increase by 2.9 percent to cover the cost of a new law enforcement center under construction.
Ness said this equates to the equivalent of an extra $11 in annual taxes for the owner of an average value home in the city.
The city’s proposed $74.9 million budget in 2011 is $5.4 million lower than the maximum the state would allow Duluth to levy.
Ness said the conservative budget anticipates another $1.5 million cut in local government aid from the state, which is facing a $6 billion shortfall for the next biennium.
The city expects to reap the benefits of reduced retiree benefit costs to the tune of $1.9 million in 2011.
Chief Administrative Officer David Montgomery said the city will hold down its employee headcount to help control costs, but plans call for filling four positions that have been held open even though they were included in the 2010 budget. Despite this, the number of budgeted positions in the 2011 budget represents a reduction equivalent to 5.2 full-time positions from the current year’s budget.
Councilor Todd Fedora praised the proposed budget, saying: “Let me be the first to congratulate the mayor for holding the line on spending in 2011.”
Council action on a final budget probably won’t occur until December.