Street money, other investments make mayor’s proposed 2021 budget

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — More street projects and additional firefighters and police are all part of Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken’s recommended fiscal year 2021 budget, which he says will not only addresses the needs for today but also for the future.

TenHaken pointed out several budget highlights during a 2 p.m. presentation to the Sioux Falls City Council.

The city’s fiscal year runs on a calendar year from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.

The FY2021 budget is $593.6 million, which includes $259.6 million in the operating fund, $235.6 million in the capital improvement fund and $98.4 million in internal services. The operating fund covers the daily services the city provides. The capital improvement fund covers projects. The internal services covers employee benefits, city fleet and similar expenses.

TenHaken proposed a 20% increase in funding for street projects at $97.2 million.

The capital improvement fund money earmarked for street projects amounts to “a higher portion of the sales and use tax to street construction and maintenance than it did on average in the last decade,” TenHaken said.

In 2020, $48,314,697 was earmarked for streets and roads from the sales and use tax fund, according to the 2020 budget on the city’s website.

The budget and expenses are investments in property and projects but also in people.

TenHaken said investments made in technology will improve the efficiency and ability for city employees to serve the public.

The city would also add 15 new firefighters, five additional police officers and four full-time positions in user fee areas such as utilities.

He also highlighted the need to continue with a goal to add 5,000 mentors to the community by 2026.

The mayor’s recommended 2021 budget is about $49 million more than 2020. The 2020 budget is $545.4 million with $177.7 million in the general, or operating fund.

Although the 2021 budget proposal is larger than 2020, some of the topics included in the 2021 are similar to 2020.

TenHaken said the city needed to be committed to affordable housing and workforce development in 2020. Those were two items he said were among priorities for 2021.

Affordable housing and workforce development are linked, the mayor said. Progress is being made to develop 1,000 affordable housing units soon, TenHaken said.

The city pays for its budget from three primary sources: 41% from taxes, 27% for charges on goods and services and 32% from other sources, according to TenHaken’s presentation. Charges for good and services include utilities and other sources can include licenses and permits.

While 47% of the overall budget is funded from taxes, more than 80% of the city’s general fund budget, which covers police, street maintenance, libraries and similar operations, comes from taxes.

The public safety and health budget will increase by 19% at $94 million. TenHaken also outlined a 22% increase for the water reclamation project. The expansion of the wastewater plant will continue in 2021.

The new wastewater plant will serve the city and region for decades to come, he said.

Mayor Paul TenHaken’s recommended 2021 budget. This a breakdown of some planned expenses. City of Sioux Falls chart.

TenHaken also referred to the 2020 Community Bond, which will also be discussed later this summer. The bond would be used for a police training facility and expansion of the Big Sioux River Greenway.

The city is responsible with debt, TenHaken said.

“We remain well below our borrowing threshold,” he said.

The city council will discuss the mayor’s proposed budget at upcoming meetings.

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