Melvin Carter is wrapping up his first year as St. Paul’s 46th mayor. Born and raised in St. Paul, Carter moved to Tallahassee, Florida, for college. After graduating, he returned to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and then began dabbling in local politics. Voters elected him to two terms on the City Council, representing St. Paul’s Ward 1 (which includes the Frogtown, Summit-University, Lexington-Hamline and Snelling-Hamline areas), before he stepped down to take a job in Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration in 2013. That was his last gig before being elected to St. Paul’s top job in November 2017, becoming the city’s first black mayor. MinnPost caught up with him this week to discuss his first year in the office: about the biggest challenges facing the city, and what is in store for 2019. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. MinnPost: What were the main issues of 2018 for you? … [Read more...] about ‘The biggest surprise is the number of big surprises’: a Q&A with St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter on his first year in office
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Four months ago, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter had to answer what has become a controversial question: How much money should their cities spend on police in 2019? After several high-profile incidents of black men being killed by law enforcement in recent years, police-reform advocates have been looking to see how Minneapolis and St. Paul would approach public safety going forward. Recent cases of excessive force by local officers (and their dogs), as well as allegations of racism within the departments, have intensified criticism, too. So, while completing the annual task of presenting their budget proposals in August, the mayors approached the issue carefully, hoping to satisfy both activists seeking reform and residents worried about safety in their neighborhoods. In Minneapolis, Frey proposed a funding boost so that eight officers could move from desk jobs to beat work, increasing the number of cops on streets and backfilling their office positions … [Read more...] about The debate around policing is similar in Minneapolis and St. Paul. How the cities are responding is not.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s 2019 budget proposal seeks to fill more potholes, expand funding for anti-poverty initiatives and recreation centers, and bolster the city’s housing efforts. None of it will be free. In August, Carter proposed a $16 million increase to the city’s tax levy — an 11.5 percent tax hike to fund city services for the next year. Double-digit increases aren’t unprecedented in St. Paul, but they can be a difficult sell for property owners. Over the past six years, median home values in St. Paul have risen faster than inflation — and so have property taxes. With a final public hearing on the 2019 budget and tax levy scheduled for Wednesday, city council members are still negotiating with the mayor’s office how to trim the hike by at least a percentage point, or $1 million or more. “We’ve been committed to try to bring the levy down. … I think we’re pretty close,” said St. Paul City Council … [Read more...] about St. Paul City Council trying to trim mayor’s 11.5 percent tax hike proposal
It was around this time last year when then-candidates Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter ran campaigns for mayor with this big focus: police reform. Officers should have more time to be out and about in neighborhoods, they said, to build the community’s trust after controversy after controversy involving officers last year. But at the time, the candidates for mayor of Minneapolis and St. Paul didn’t explain specific plans for police to do so. The vagueness appeared intentional; Frey and Carter emerged as moderate compared to rivals for mayor who pushed hard for hiring more police officers and others who said cops don’t do any good at all. Flash forward past the November 2017 election, two swearing-in ceremonies and roughly eight months in office, and details on how exactly Frey and Carter want to change their cities’ police departments are now available, via their 2019 budget proposals. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey wants to move eight police officers currently in … [Read more...] about How Frey and Carter are fleshing out police-reform proposals for Minneapolis and St. Paul
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter proposed a budget for next year that includes no new cops but hefty investment in affordable housing, new streets, and legal help for immigrants — and an 11.5 percent property tax increase. “In an increasingly polarizing national landscape, we must be champions of local unity, and move forward together in building a city that meets our needs today, but also creates a St. Paul of the future that our children, and grandchildren want to live in,” Carter said during a speech at Washington Technology Magnet School in the city’s North End. “To realize this vision, we need a city budget that reflects our values and invests in a future for all of us.” City officials said the tax increase equates to an extra $76 for the owner of a median-value home ($186,200). In all, it equates to an additional $37 million in spending over last year’s $569 million budget, $16 million of which would be paid through … [Read more...] about St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s budget plan boosts affordable housing, increases taxes