The city of Sioux Falls is growing and so is the city's bank account. Sales tax revenues for the first part of the year are up seven percent from this time last year.
Sioux Falls Finance Director Tracy Turbak said in recent years there was no growth. Over the last year, however, sales tax revenues grew at a steady five-percent rate. Turbak said the jump to seven percent is a sign that more economic growth is on the way.
Jan Brue Enright is one of the reasons for this good news. She has been perusing the greeting card aisles at Lewis Drug at 41st St. and Minnesota Avenue and does not plan on leaving empty handed.
"Well, I'm just shopping for cards for graduations, weddings and Mother's Day," Brue Enright said.
Her and her fellow shoppers' purchases fill the store with beeping from the cash register. It is music to the employees' ears. The store manager said business has been increasing lately.
"Well, I think more people are getting more confident about the economy. It's like things have settled down and people are feeling more safe in our part of the world," Brue Enright said.
It means big gains in sales tax revenue for the first three months of the year. The city has collected $11.7 million so far, which is $800,000 more than this time last year. Busy stores like Lewis are helping, but so is a thriving community. Turbak said more new homes are being built, more new businesses are opening and more people are calling Sioux Falls home.
"Good news breeds good news. The more positive information and the more positive economic activity people see, the better they feel about the future. That feeds on itself," Turbak said.
It is a good thing more people are out spending money. Even though a growing community can signal a booming economy, more people, more houses and more businesses can also mean more pressure for city leaders to sustain the growth and meet expectations.
"We have more streets to maintain, wider range of the community to provide police and fire protection to provide, more parks to maintain," Turbak said.
Make no mistake, Turbak said it is a good problem to have. This hike in sales tax revenues will help the city keep up and avoid budget cuts. So, each card Brue Enright buys has a much bigger impact than just a Hallmark moment.
"I don't think about that directly!" Brue Enright said. "I'm a proud citizen of Sioux Falls and I like to see parks and schools and all of that continue to develop."