CHICAGO — Minneapolis has tapped its police department finance director, Kevin Carpenter, to serve as the city’s chief financial officer following the departure of Patrick Born earlier this year to lead the Metropolitan Council.
Director of management and budget Heather Johnston had served as interim CFO since Born’s departure in February to become the council’s regional administrator. Born had held the top city financial post since 2001.
Carpenter joined the city last year as director of financial operations for the police department. He previously worked for 14 years at RBC Capital Markets in several positions, including CFO for one of its divisions. The firm has a significant presence in Minneapolis through its acquisition of Dain Rauscher in 2000.
As CFO, Carpenter will manage the development of a $1.4 billion annual budget and oversee financial planning and procurement. The Finance Department has a staff of 172.
Minneapolis city coordinator Steven Bosacker said in a statement that Carpenter, since joining the city, had “worked closely with department management to meet the department’s financial goals while developing and implementing new policies and practices to improve the department’s long-term financial stability.”
Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s recently affirmed the city’s triple-A ratings assigned to $1 billion of general obligation debt. Minneapolis has struggled to keep its budget balanced but its economy has proven more resilient than many other comparable cities during the recent Great Recession.
The city has seen revenue from state aid dwindle since 2008 as Minnesota grappled with budget deficits, but some of those pressures were offset by a rapidly growing tax base. That growth ended in 2010 and is now expected to remain flat over the next few years.
The 2011 budget includes a 4.7% property tax increase, cuts 80 positions, and includes a 6% hike in spending due to growing pension obligations that will total $55 million. Future state aid cuts remain a risk as Minnesota faces a $5 billion deficit in its next two-year budget.
Minneapolis also recently unveiled a plan to partially fund a new $895 million Minnesota Vikings football stadium and renovations to the Timberwolves basketball arena by raising the city’s sales tax and expanding other taxes.
The Vikings are working with Ramsey County on a competing plan. Legislation paving the way for a publicly subsidized stadium is pending before the state Legislature.