PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Its executive director has an explanation for the decision by the South Dakota Housing Development Authority commissioners to move ahead on only part of the money that state lawmakers provided for infrastructure.

The commissioners are proceeding on $50 million of federal aid that the Legislature designated for housing infrastructure. But the commissioners voted to delay the administration of $150 million of state general funds transferred to the South Dakota Housing opportunity fund for housing infrastructure by HB 1033

Lorraine Polak said the new law doesn’t say whether the $150 million should be administered in accordance with the current purpose of chapter 11-13 of South Dakota’s legal code or if that chapter’s restrictions aren’t intended to apply to these funds.

“SDHDA cannot appropriately administer the funds transferred pursuant to section one of HB 1033 without further clarification by the South Dakota Legislature as to whether the restrictions of chapter 11-13 apply. SDHDA looks forward to working with the legislators to make this legislative clarification and move forward with program implementation,“ Polak told KELOLAND News.

Governor Kristi Noem first raised the objection back in March. Noem signed the legislation into law but also issued a letter. Lawmakers finished the 2022 regular session on March 28. The Legislature’s Executive Board has since tried to address the situation but didn’t convince the authority’s board of commissioners.

One of the state lawmakers who fought hard for the funding’s approval said the federal aid came with a spend-by date.

“It appears that SDHA will move forward with grant funding with $50 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds and we may have to wait until next legislative session for clarity on the $150 million from the state on the balance of the grant and loan funding.  It is important to use the federal funding as those funds need to be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2026,” Representative Roger Chase, a Huron Republican, said.

The commission directed that a draft plan for allocating the federal $50 million be posted on the authority’s website. A webinar is planned for 2 p.m. CT on July 7 and written public comments will be taken until 5 p.m. CT on July 12 by fax or email.

The $50 million will be distributed through grants. The draft plan calls for the application period to open August 1 on a first-come first-served basis. Communities with more than 50,000 population — Sioux Falls and Rapid City — are to get 30% and communities smaller than 50,000 population are to get 70%.

Polak said the board plans to meet again in late July to consider any public comments received and take final action on the plan. That date is pending while board members are contacted regarding availability, she said.