R.T. Rybak proposes quicker street repairs, 90 job cuts

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak proposed his 2012 budget in downtown Minneapolis this morning.

The good news: those pesky potholes might be filled in sooner than expected.

The bad news: The city of Minneapolis could lose 90 employees.

As of today, the city can pretty much tell us where the potholes will get filled. Which jobs are going to be cut is harder to say.

One of the highlights of Rybak's budget is that he wants to accelerate street repairs by spending $57 million over the course of the next five years. That's a 60 percent increase from the previous plan, and a response to frequent complaints, spokesman John Stiles told City Pages.

"They're in terrible shape and we've been hearing about it for a long time," says Stiles.

The repairs will target the most heavily-trafficked streets around the city, rather than residential neighborhoods. The city is able to beef up the plan because it recently paid off debts, says Stiles. "We're finally in a position to do something about it."

One more perk to Rybak's plan: no property tax increase.

Though Rybak announced plans for a 2 percent property hike just last month, the proposal would keep taxes flat. Some residents could still see a rise in their taxes, however, because the Legislature recently eliminated the homestead tax credit.

It's unclear at this point exactly which 90 positions would be cut, but Stiles says the human resources and health and family support departments would take the biggest hits. Stiles notes they hope to avoid layoffs wherever possible.

"Don't think that that means 90 people will lose their jobs," says Stiles. "A lot of these are going to be lost from attrition, some of them are vacant. There will be some layoffs. We don't know how many right now, and it's going to depend on how each department manages its cuts."

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