Mayor Roger Reinert delivers State of the City Address

Duluth Mayor Roger Reinert delivered his State of the City Address Thursday after spending 100 days in office. The event was held in the Denfeld High School Auditorium. This is Mayor Reinert’s first State of the City. He was elected Mayor of Duluth on November 7, 2023.

Mayor Reinert focused on five key issues in tonight’s speech. He talked about housing across all income categories, commercial tax base growth, streets and utilities, Downtown Duluth and affordable property taxes.

Fifth District Councilor Janet Kennedy and City Council President Roz Randorf spoke prior to Mayor Reinert’s speech.

“I chose Denfeld because I’m a fan of Duluth history,” said Reinert. “There are so many connections to
our most amazing chapters that all tie back to this place.” Reinert also noted that he lived on the west
side of town.

Mayor Reinert spent most of his time discussing major issues he campaigned on in 2023. He
highlighted the action steps that had already been taken in each area, and discussed the work yet to
be done.

In his address, Reinert asked the City Council to send unused ARPA dollars to the Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA) so those funds could be applied to gap financing on housing projects, as well as site prep and utility infrastructure costs.

Reinert pledged to hold Duluth’s 2025 local property tax levy flat for the first time since 2014.
“After nearly 50% growth in just the last eight years, Duluth taxpayers need a breather.”

Reinert also shared that according to the City’s Finance team, a third party actuarial, and the State
Board of Investment, the City has successfully funded its retiree healthcare obligation. He said that frees up $4.5M in the city budget beginning in 2025. The Mayor advocated using these funds to finance a new
combined maintenance facility for the City.

“I asked the staff smart enough to find these dollars how we could best use them to support our core
city service priorities. Without hesitation they said a combined maintenance facility.”

“We have to be better systems thinkers and we have to do a better job of actually moving the needle.
This project may seem a little boring, but it’s a great example of doing both those things well.”
Reinert concluded by calling on Duluth to have a “growth mentality”. “By the 2030 Census Duluth
should be over 90,000 people.”

Duluth’s population was once nearly 107,000, but has hovered at just under 87,000 for over three decades. He noted that growing the population would indicate moving the needle on all the big issues: creating more housing, growing the economy and tax base, better investment in core City infrastructure,
revitalizing downtown, and spreading out the existing tax burden.

The Denfeld Jazz Band performed prior to the event.

Mayor Reinert delivers State of the City Address

Mayor Reinert highlighted five key issues in Thursday's State of the City Address at Denfeld High School.