Thank you for this opportunity to update you on City and neighborhood issues.
Parks Funding Proposals
By the time you read this, the City Council may have voted on a proposal to provide increased funding to our park system, to address a maintenance backlog at neighborhood parks.
To date, three proposals for funding Minneapolis Parks have been introduced publicly:
First, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has a referendum proposal, which would provide $15 million per year for 20 years dedicated to neighborhood parks. Voters would need to approve this proposal.
Second is a proposal by Council Members Barb Johnson and Lisa Goodman that includes a guaranteed minimum of $10.5 million per year for 20 years, a $3 million per year increase in operating revenue, and one-time funding of $1.5 million.
Third is a proposal by Mayor Hodges and John Quincy for $300 million over 10 years in parks- and city-roads capital investment. The proposal would fund, annually, $10 million in park capital maintenance and $20 in roads maintenance.
Many residents have contacted me to express support for our world-class park system, and I believe that the funding needs for maintaining park infrastructure are real. At the same time I want to ensure that we are able to balance our need to address other funding priorities, including our significant road-maintenance gap. Failure to maintain either of these fundamental systems – park infrastructure and city roads – will result in higher cost to taxpayers down the the road.
The City is now considering financial impacts of all three of the above proposals through its Ways & Means committee, and reviewing potential funding sources such as an increased levy. A final issue that has been raised by many residents is ensuring the Park Board utilizes a racialequity framework to determine funding priorities and timeline for any increased investment in neighborhood parks.
Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance Approved by City Council
To reduce the litter, waste, environmental impacts and expense of managing carryout bags, the City Council has approved an ordinance to regulate the use of plastic carryout bags in retail establishments. The new ordinance takes effect June 1, 2017.
Key features of the ordinance include: Retail establishments may not provide plastic carryout bags to any customer.
Retail establishments providing bags to customers may only use recyclable paper bags, compostable plastic bags or bags designed to be reusable multiple times.
Retail establishments providing bags must charge customers at least 5 cents per bag. (Customers who receive food assistance are exempted from paying for a bag.) Retailers may choose to pay a 5¢ fee to a litter cleanup nonprofit in lieu of charging this fee.
Certain types of plastic bags will be exempt from the prohibition, including bags that come into direct contact with food, takeout food bags, and specialized types of bags, for instance for newspapers or dry cleaning.
With this ordinance, Minneapolis joins many communities across the country and the world that have adopted laws to address the impacts created by carryout bags; more than 160 U.S. cities have enacted carryout bag bans and/or fees.
How to reach Elizabeth
I invite you to contact me at (612) 673-2208 or elizabeth.glidden@ minneapolismn.gov. As well, I host community office hours every Monday, 9-11 a.m. at Sabathani Community Center, 310 E 38th Street, at a table in the first-floor hall closest to the parking lot. Please just drop by or call our office for a time-certain appointment.