DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) – Mayor Jim Paine unveiled the city’s 2023 budget proposal Thursday.
The budget will spend around $33.7 million, about $1.4 million more than last year.
With investments in green energy, infrastructure and more, the Mayor said this year’s budget was the toughest yet.
“This was the most challenging budget I have ever worked on,” he said at a news conference.
Mayor Paine worked with the Superior City Council to set priorities on what city funds should be spent on. Among the priorities include raising wages for city staff and increasing the budget for the city’s fire and police departments.
“Maintaining our buildings, investing in our parks, investing in city staff,” he continued, “protecting the public form inflation and keeping down debt.”
The budget will also bring down debts owed by the city to $2,902,000. Paine said that was the lowest amount of debt owed in a decade.
With a just small increase in the tax levy and more residents living in Superior, Paine also stated this proposal won’t raise taxes for residents.
“We are not projected to increase taxes,” he said.
Paine is also proposing improvements for the fire department. This year, the city will spend $5,554,000 for the fire department, an increase of $414,000 from 2022.
“The firefighters are excited about having updated facilities at the station,” Howard Huber, the Assistant Chief of the Superior Fire Department, said.
Paine specifically pointed out Fire Stations Two and Three. Station Three in the east end of the city is getting more upgrades.
“Station three was built in 1980,” Huber said, “it’s in need of structural upgrades.”
Upgrades that include “a new roof, updates to the electrical system.”
And not just structural updates to the station, but training ones as well. Much of the training performed by firefighters nowadays is done using virtual systems.
“It’s important for firefighters to stay up to date on their training,” Huber stated, “a lot of our skills are perishable and they have to be constantly trained to keep them up.”
Mayor Paine also echoed what Huber said.
“The fire halls have to be state of the art, they have to be effective and so it’s just time to make that investment,” he said.
The City Council will now consider the budget proposal before making a final vote later this year.
They plan to hold a public hearing on Oct. 18.
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