ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis has proposed cutting the city's budget for 2021 by nearly three percent. Kleis laid out his preliminary budget to the city council during Monday night's meeting.

The proposal cuts the city's overall budget from over $77.5 million this year to over $75.5 million next year.

Total spending for the city is down over $2 million from 2020 to 2021, the tax rate is flat so no increase in the tax rate, no fee increases going forward either this year or next year.

Kleis' budget proposal would increase the public safety budget one percent, or nearly $271,000. It is the only department with a budget increase.

The Administrative support budget would be cut by 18 percent, including the elimination of nine full-time positions. The Community Development budget would decrease by 14 percent, public works decreased by 10 percent, parks and recreations down nine percent, and IT services down nine percent.

Kleis says there would be no increase in salaries next year.

He says the city is expected to see an increase in the tax base next year from 4.2 percent up to 5.1 percent due to new construction, which is why the tax rate would remain flat.

The bulk of the city's revenue, 38 percent, comes from property taxes with the second most coming from the state in the form of Local Government Aid.

Kleis says St. Cloud has the lowest city fees in the five-city area and he's proposing no increases in fees in 2021.

The 2021 proposed city budget has 45 percent going into public safety, 10 percent public works, and seven percent into parks and recreation.

The state average for city spending is $482 per capita, here in St. Cloud the per capita spending is $375.

The St. Cloud City Council has to approve the final budget and levy before the end of the year.

The city of St. Cloud does have a projected revenue shortfall of about $10 million for the remainder of this year, due to lost tax revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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