City Council Approves Budget

City Council Approves Budget Click to Enlarge Photo: Steven Coursolle (KNSI)

(KNSI) - The St. Cloud City Council approved the 2019 tax levy and budget Monday night by a vote of 4-2.

Council members George Hontos and Jeff Johnson voted against passing the $74,825,000 budget.

The tax levy increased from 3.54 percent in 2018, to 4.60 percent in 2019.

The total property tax levy for next year was approved at $26,739,592.

Mayor Dave Kleis says that's because of new construction and population growth.

In the budget, the top two areas of spending are public safety and road infrastructure.

The budget outlines $18,633,100 in spending for the police department.

The city will purchase new squad camera equipment for all 32 marked squad vehicles, as well as hiring 12 more officers.

The mayor says the hiring of the new officers is not due to a rise in crime, which he says the city is not experiencing. He says it is need because a change from the state, allowing officers to retire with pension benefits earlier.

The City of St. Cloud says those were the two topics that citizens identified as most important in scientific survey and public meetings.