Hodges Prevails in Lawsuit Over Late Budget

Preya Samsundar/Alpha News

MINNEAPOLIS – Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will be allowed to release her detailed budget on September 12 as she originally planned following a court decision in her favor.

Hennepin County Judge mary Vasaly ruled Thursday that the court has no authority to force Hodges to release anymore detailed a budget then she already has, reports WCCO.

The city charter requires the mayor to submit the budget by August 15, Alpha News reported previously. Having failed to do that, Hodges promised to submit a budget by September 12, which is the day before a public hearing on a proposed property tax levy would be held. Hodges’ rough outline of the 2018 city budget called for a 5.5 percent increase in property taxes.

Board of Estimate and Taxation member Carol Becker thought that this denied citizens an ability to comment on the budget in an informed manner, in addition to violating the city charter. She sued under those grounds, citing three other instances in the previous ten budget cycles when Hodges or previous mayors failed to get the full budget in by the August 15 deadline.

Vasaly ruled that Hodges’ budget outline was sufficient to fulfill her obligations under the city charter.

“The Court must conclude that the Mayor satisfied her official duty to provide a recommended ‘budget’ by August 15, as that term is defined in the Charter,” Vasaly wrote in her decision according to the Star Tribune.

“Although the Budget Letter does not provide the level of detail contained in full budget books, the language of the Charter could reasonably be interpreted to require only summary figures that include estimates,” Vasaly also wrote.

Hodges rejoiced in the decision in a harshly worded statement posted on her Facebook page.

“With this common-sense decision, the law prevailed over Carol Becker’s frivolous lawsuit,” Hodges wrote. “Minneapolis residents should be appalled that Ms. Becker wasted taxpayer dollars on defending against a politically-motivated, election-year stunt.”

Anders Koskinen