SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Future road projects and the $145.8 million highways and streets budget will be discussed by city department heads and city councilors in the final of three budget hearings Tuesday.
In the past two weeks, city council members have heard budget presentations from city departments included in the $790.1 million proposed 2024 budget. A joint city-county budget approval meeting is planned for Aug. 22 while there will be a public hearing and budget adoption meeting in the first two weeks of September.
Presentations are expected from health, planning, housing, transit and the city’s public works departments.
Public works’ total budget is $401.6 million, which is more than half of the total budget. Public works departments include highways and streets, storm drainage, power and distribution, sanitary landfill, water, water reclamation and fleet.
Public works director Mark Cotter, who has been with the city since 2006, told KELOLAND News 2023 has included the most bridge work happening inside Sioux Falls city limits at the same time.
Crews with the South Dakota Department of Transportation and city of Sioux Falls have been over seeing current bridge projects over Interstate 229 (North 60th Street, Benson Road and Western Avenue), Interstate 29 (41st Street diverging diamond) and 85th Street (South Veterans Parkway), while the city has been replacing a bridge over the Big Sioux River (6th Street bridge).
Over the next four years, water utility rates will increase by 19% (6% in 2024, 5% in 2025, 4% in 2026 and 4% in 2027). KELOLAND News toured both the Sioux Falls wastewater treatment plant and the water purification plant to show where the utility rate increases would go.
The water purification plant cleans and distributes 8.1 billion gallons of water annually, while the rest of the water comes from the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System. Sioux Falls will receive the largest allotment of water from that system at 28 million gallons a day when expansion is completed.
For wastewater, there’s more than 900 miles of sewer lines collecting wastewater in Sioux Falls and the wastewater plant treats about 18 million gallons of water and 44,000 pounds of pollution every day.
READ: 2024 city of Sioux Falls budget
The 2024 budget includes $2.2 million for 24 new full-time employees to work for the city. In 2023, the city added 29 new full-time employees up from 24 in 2022 and 26 in 2021.
The breakdown of the 24 new full-time employees are: seven new police department positions, four new innovation and technology positions, three facilities management positions, two new planning and development positions, one new human resources position, one finance position, one new fire department position, one new highway and street position, one new storm drainage position, one new parks and recreation position, one new water department position and one new water reclamation position.
Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken, parks and recreation director Don Kearney and Cotter spoke with KELOLAND News about the budget, highlighting how the city is dealing with population growth.
The 2024 budget is nearly $100 million more than the 2023 budget. TenHaken pointed to increases for services and goods, while taxes have remained the same.