ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis presented his preliminary 2022 city budget to the city council during Monday night's meeting.  It is the 16th budget Kleis has put together as the mayor.

The budget has money to hire back nine full-time positions that were eliminated in 2021 due to budget cuts because of COVID-19.  Of those positions, the city will add four full-time police officers.  An additional staff member will be added to the city's attorney's office due to a backlog of cases.  And, three new public works staff are being proposed as well.

The overall proposed city budget for 2022 is just over $79 million, up from about $75.8 million in 2021.  It's about a $3.1 million increase with about $2.8 million of additional money going into public safety, an eight percent increase.  The public works department is getting an additional $900,000, an 11 percent increase.  The city's IT department's budget is also going up by about 17 percent.

By comparison, the city's budget in 2020 was $77.5 million

Kleis says his budget includes more money for road resurfacing than in any other year in at least the past 20 years.  Meanwhile, public safety spending has increased every year since Kleis has been mayor. (In 2021 the only department that had an increase was the public safety department)

Forty-seven percent of the city's budget goes to public safety spending, while 11 percent is for public works, the top two areas of the city's expenses.

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Kleis' budget proposal keeps the property tax rate flat for next year with no fee increases..

Forty percent of the city's revenue comes from property taxes, while 18 percent is from Local Government Aid, the top two resources for the city.

The projected tax base growth for St. Cloud is expected to be down in 2022 from 2021, but it's still higher than it was in 2018.

The St. Cloud City Council has until December to approve a final budget.


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