Following the Legislature's cut of $23 million to Local Government Aid, administrators for the Minneapolis fire and police departments have begun the painstaking process of trying to achieve massive midyear budget reductions.
To make ends meet, the fire department is looking to cut $1.1 million; police are cutting $500,000, says John Stiles, spokesman for Mayor R.T. Rybak. Tacked onto cuts already made, the city will slice $2.8 million from the combined department budgets this year.
And that's on the low end.[jump] The city has already been operating for more than half the year on the assumption that it would receive LGA. To compensate, it's possible that the cuts will be even deeper, says Stiles.
"This is money now that needs to be recaptured midyear," he says, adding that it's possible the city will dip into contingency funds to offset the costs. "I don't think anybody's made decisions on that."
Where the departments will find this much money so late in the year is still to be determined. Stiles says the chiefs began evaluating their options last week, and will have to figure out a plan quickly.
"Obviously, they're encouraged to do it by eliminating as few positions or by as few layoffs as possible," he says. "We just don't know right now what's going to be possible."