Clerk looks for ‘Plan B’ to fund Mpls election

A request to boost the budget for this year’s Minneapolis election has received a thumbs-down from the city’s finance department.

The City Clerk’s office says it needs an extra $385,000 to run the election, which combines the relatively new ranked-choice voting system with a red-hot mayor’s race. The clerk proposed using unspent money left over from last year’s budget to pay for the added expense.

But a list of Finance Department recommendations for allocating those rollover dollars contains no mention of the election request.

The recommendations prioritize one-time projects and expenditures already authorized by the city council, Ways & Means Committee Chair Betsy Hodges said. Hodges, one of three council members running for mayor this year, noted that the council can override the recommendation or come up with additional funding through other means.

“We will pay for the election,” Hodges said. “We won’t be cheating the citizens of Minneapolis out of their fair election, and we won’t be damaging our bottom line to do it.”

City Clerk Casey Carl said he’s now looking for an election funding “plan B”, because he argues the extra money isn’t optional.

“Put plainly, the Clerk’s Office lacks sufficient financial resources to plan and conduct the 2013 Municipal Election,” Carl wrote in an official report earlier this year.

The Ways & Means/Budget Committee will discuss the funding proposal tomorrow.

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