Chart of the Day: Minneapolis City Budget

This is a great new bit of data journalism from the Star Tribune you can explore… the city budget in square-chart form.

mpls budget chart

Check out the size of the Public Works budget. Anyone have any good ideas on how to save taxpayers some money?

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13 Responses to Chart of the Day: Minneapolis City Budget

  1. David Levinson
    David Levinson August 27, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    More appalling is the Convention Center is more than half the size of the Park Board? I realize there is a revenue side to this as well, but if the convention center were sufficiently valuable, it would have been privately provided.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller August 27, 2014 at 11:21 am #

      Why pay for something you can get the government to provide for you?

      • Matt Steele August 27, 2014 at 11:59 am #

        Speaking of CC, apparently the cash flow was much more stable (and less red) before they expanded it in 99/00.

        One of a pile of bad 90s City Council decisions, including letting the Wild go to St. Paul (apparently there was a deal to improve the Target Center and avoid splitting business across two arenas, but they nixed it) and also building Block E.

      • Tony Hunt
        Tony Hunt August 28, 2014 at 10:30 am #

        The real question is why subsidize private ventures when we can socialize them?

  2. Matt Steele August 27, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    I think it would be much more telling to see the budget of each area minus fees and such income, thus showing the net impact of these items on the city budget as a whole.

  3. Brendon Slotterback
    Brendon Slotterback August 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Keep in mind this is the calendar 2014 budget. 2015 is yet to be released in detail as far as I know.

  4. Matt Brillhart August 27, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    To Bill’s question regarding possible savings in the Public Works budget:

    Stop replacing traffic signals carte blanche. Actually study if a signal is truly needed, or if it could be “downgraded” to a 4-way stop. My baseline for this is 31st and Grand: A pretty busy intersection that handles traffic just fine. Meanwhile, other intersections along 31st have stoplights that are truly unnecessary. 34th and Grand might be the lowest volume intersection in the city to have a traffic light.

    The City actually needs to evaluate the need for traffic signals instead of throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars away per intersection, then telling us there’s no money to convert 26th and 28th to two-way streets because the signal work would be too expensive. I call BS. There is absolutely no evaluation going on as to whether a signal is even necessary.

  5. P August 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    I can’t be the only one here that isn’t surprised by the Public Works budget.. I mean they literally do everything. All the sewage, drinking water, drainage, trash collection and handling, planning, plowing, street sweeping, street lights (not the kind you all hate but the kind that helps you see/make everything safer), sidewalks, traffic signals, and paying for all the workers, drivers, technicians, planners, and engineers that make it happen. And then add all the protected bike stuff that everyone is trying to push. I’m sure Bill just said that in jest, but I’ve been wrong before.

    If you want a city to look good and have nice things, it isn’t going to happen for free..

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke August 28, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      Not totally in jest. I’m not talking about labor costs, but about things like Matt’s suggestion above; there are likely a great many ways to be smarter about designing streets that can save the city and taxpayers money. Biking and walking cause far less damage to streets than cars do; OTOH buses cause a lot of wear. Things like that…

      • P August 28, 2014 at 11:56 am #

        I agree with that, and with Matt on some fronts. It would be nice to have a task force with the city that strictly reviews signals and problem areas, but at the same time that would bring up the budget too. Maybe they already have one (I’m not sure on that one) and some were deemed worthy of it (it really doesn’t take much to warrant a signal).

        Maybe the city really does need to spend a little more time on looking further into their warrants of signals, but that at the same time, a lot of people drive. And as bad as it sounds, politics and ensuring your job security play a huge part in making those kind of decisions. Unfortunately, I’m sure there are lots of factors and pressure preventing them to make the “right” decisions.

  6. Citation Needed August 28, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    “I mean they literally do everything. All the sewage, drinking water, drainage, trash collection and handling…”

    All of these are handled by the Met Council or private companies.

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