Mayoral Candidate Roger Reinert shares thoughts on proposed 2024 budget

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Mayor Emily Larson has released her proposal for the 2024 Duluth city budget. Today, her opponent in the general mayoral race, Roger Reinert sharing his thoughts.

Reinert says this budget is something he could work with as mayor. Right out of the gate, he says three out of his five main campaign issues are addressed in this budget.

We have the full details on the 2024 proposed budget, here.

Reinert adds there are a few key details missing and things that he would do differently.

“Where we’re really falling short right now is long term care. Right now, our options for long term care with the opioid crisis and related mental health issues is hospital beds in the E.R. and jail cells. Neither of which are effective nor are they affordable. So, you know, you look at something like the San Marco project in Duluth, which is for folks that are struggling with long term alcohol abuse, it is a safe, clean, supportive place to be for those who can’t kick their addiction,” said Reinert.

This wasn’t the only issue that Reinert has concerns about. “Another one of the places that I would make different recommendations is especially around the use of our remaining $24 million of American Recovery Act ARPA funds. That is a great use of one time dollars around infrastructure.”

Another big issue, road construction and repairs. Reinert notes there are nearly 500 miles of Duluth roads and a lot of them need fixing. In Mayor Larson’s proposal, she says they would fix 50 miles of roads over the next three years. Reinert says that’s not enough and more roads should go through repairs.

Another highlight mentioned, housing and especially affordable housing.

“Any Duluthian knows that if you have thought about moving and thought about selling, you probably have stayed put. The market is stuck in the middle right now. We’ve done work on the affordable end of the spectrum, and that’s important work. Without really focusing on the middle of the market, what’s happening is, those who can afford are over buying and over renting because they have the resources to do it given the stock that’s available,” said Reinert.

Reinert wanted us to mention that this budget is far from being approved. There are still months until the budget is official. He adds that community members should be as involved in the process as possible.