St. Paul adopts 2023 budget, approves 14.65% property tax levy

While approving a 14.65% property tax levy increase, the budget will increase anti-theft street lightning and bike lanes, but decrease police patrol operations. (FOX 9)

The St. Paul City Council approved its 2023 budget Wednesday, totaling $781.5 million in spending while approving a 14.65% property tax levy increase.

The budget, "reflects our community's interest in improving neighborhood safety and preventing gun violence, ensuring equitable and responsible uses of city resources, and expanding and preserving affordable housing among others," according to an announcement from the city detailing the council’s adoption of the budget.

The adopted budget lowers the property tax levy from the original proposal of 15.34% from Mayor Melvin Carter’s initial budget that totaled $782 million.

Total property tax levy is used to determine annual tax rates for homeowners.

The 2023 property tax levy incorporates a shift of a $13.3 million Street Maintenance Program that was previously billed as a separate fee to the general fund, according to the city. In the past property owners received an annual bill for street maintenance. 

The court-ordered shift in program financing drives 7.6% of the overall levy increase, according to the city.

The 2023 outline calls to employ 782 full-time equivalent police officers, with police services comprising 16.6% of the budget. The police services budget will total just over $106.6 million, while seeing a $1.7 million reduction in patrol operations.

Meanwhile, a public safety and community policing partnership will see an increase in spending of $1.3 million year-over-year.

The budget also includes $355,991 for anti-theft street lighting initiatives, $469,684 for vegetation management and increased park maintenance services, and $480,000 for bike and pedestrian improvement projects.

Spending of American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) funding totals $166.6 million, an increase from 2021-22 expenses of $65.3 million. As a COVID-19 pandemic response, ARP provided $350 billion in emergency funds for state and local governments.

Within the spending, $1.03 million will go toward a Police Academy Pilot program. Another $1.9 million will go toward a council office redesign.