Park commissioners request 4.4 percent levy increase

Park Board commissioners are asking for a 4.4 increase to its 2016 property tax levy.

Commissioners passed a resolution Sept. 2 requesting the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BOE) set a 4 percent increase for the board’s general fund.

The increase from this year’s certified tax levy would bring the Park and Recreation levy up to $52,582,400, up from this year’s $50,560,0000. An additional 0.4 percent increase would bring a special levy for tree preservation to $1,732,000, up about 17.4 percent from $1,475,000.

Park staff estimate that even with the 4 percent property tax increase, the Park Board will still have a $1.3 million gap in the budget.

The board currently faces a $140 million budget gap in maintaining the city’s park system, including about $111 million for neighborhood park facilities like playgrounds and athletic fields.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board property tax levy has increased an average of 3.7 percent each year for the past decade. This includes the Tree Preservation and Reforestation Levy, a special fund to address tree loss, which was reinstated last year.

The BOE sets the maximum tax levy for the City of Minneapolis, the Park Board, Municipal Building Commission and the Public Housing Authority each year. It’s scheduled to set the levies Sept. 21.

Superintendent Jayne Miller will present her recommended 2016 budget Oct. 21. The board will take up the budget Dec. 9.