St. Cloud’s proposed budget for 2023 increases funding for police and parks

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ST. CLOUD ― Public safety spending is expected to be 48% of St. Cloud’s proposed $82 million budget for 2023, and the city is expected to spend 6% more on public safety than last year.

The proposed city budget for 2023 is 4% higher than 2022. Debt service (such as paying off public works projects and vehicles) is 16% of the budget, public works is 10%, general fund transfers represent approximately 8%, parks, recreation and library represent 7%, community development represents 4%, administrative support also represents 4% and information technology represents 3% of the budget.

The bulk of the budget, ie 43%, comes from property taxes and 17% of the budget comes from aid from local authorities. The rest comes from transfers, reserves, franchise fees, licenses and permits, special assessments and fines.

A public hearing for the preliminary budget and tax levy will take place in September. Another public hearing and adoption of the final budget and tax levy will take place in December.

More funding for police and public safety initiatives

In the proposed $82 million budget, Kleis advocated increasing the public safety budget by 6.1%, or about $2.3 million for a total of $39.7 million.

The city plans to hire six additional police officers and one additional firefighter.

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According to a 2019 survey, public safety was the top issue St. Cloud citizens believe the city should address, followed by road conditions and traffic congestion. Police spending has risen steadily in Saint-Cloud since 2014.

The St. Cloud Police Department Headquarters building is pictured Wednesday, August 11, 2021 in St. Cloud.

More funding for parks, recreation and the library

Kleis proposed a 9.8% increase in the budget for parks, recreation and the library, or $534,000, bringing the total to $5.9 million.

Other funding increases included a $161,600 increase in the technology budget, for a total of $2 million. Community development funding is expected to decrease by 3.6% or approximately $106,000 to total $2.8 million.

No fee increase, flat tax rate

As in 2022, there is no fee increase or proposed tax rate change for 2023.

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Investment in infrastructure

St. Cloud plans to spend nearly double what the city planned to spend last year on infrastructure, $41.8 million in 2023 versus $21 million in 2022. The infrastructure budget is part of the budget from the general fund.

Here are the projects they are considering:

  • Cooper Avenue South – $7 million
  • Avenue Wilson – $5.9 million
  • Highways 10 and 23 and Fourth Street – $6 million
  • St. Germain Street West – $2.9 million
  • Street resurfacing – $4 million
  • Water treatment facility upgrades – $40 million (year three of four)
  • Calvary Hill Water Improvements – $3 million
  • Renewable Natural Gas and Green Hydrogen from Wastewater Project – $3 million

Becca Most is a city reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Contact her at 320-241-8213 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @becca_most.

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