Sioux Falls city councilor seeking $136k for municipal band

Local News

{A previous version of this story had a typo in the title and the body of the story; these have been corrected.}

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The proposed 2021 budget for the City of Sioux Falls does not include any money for the city’s municipal band, but a city councilor is looking to bring money to the band.

Mayor Paul TenHaken’s office tells KELOLAND News that $112,263 for the band was cut from the 2021 budget. City councilor Curt Soehl is seeking $136,000 for the band in the 2021 city budget. Christopher Hill, bandmaster for the Sioux Falls Municipal Band, says no money from the City of Sioux Falls means a harsh reality for his band.

“That means we cease to exist, unfortunately,” Hill said. “We’ve been going for 101 years.”

He also says it’s not an option to bring in the money through other means if it doesn’t come from the City.

“It’s not feasible, according to the three fundraisers I’m in contact with, professional development directors,” Hill said.

The proposed 2021 budget is just over $593 million.

“City council has a budget analyst, Dave Bixler,” Soehl said. “I contacted him and said, ‘What is the process for me to amend the budget so that we can put that money back in there?’ And so, he’s drafting an amendment to the budget already.”

Hill says $136,000 is roughly what their budget is.

“We do 25, approximately 25 concerts each year, and this will allow us to continue to do that,” Hill said. “We play at the nursing homes and for military events to honor our military and, of course, for a cross-section of the community over at Terrace Park.”

“It’s part of what we do, it’s part of who we are as a city,” Soehl said. “Going to a band concert in the middle of the summer at a park, sometimes that’s the first live music that kids will ever hear. To go to that, and to see the kids dancing and the parents having a good time, and there’s nothing like a John Philip Sousa march.”

The mayor’s office sent KELOLAND News the following statement from TenHaken:

“While the City of Sioux Falls has been more insulated than other communities from the economic impact of the pandemic, we have had to make some tough choices in the proposed 2021 budget. This budget reflects priorities within the One Sioux Falls framework of maintaining our current infrastructure and assets and continuing to provide core municipal services that residents rely on daily.

We are hopeful the Sioux Falls Municipal Band can continue providing music to the community by finding a model that works in today’s economic environment. The Sioux Falls Municipal Band has served as a long-standing value to the community since 1919, and we are thankful for the success of the program.

Sioux Falls continues to offer a vibrant arts and music scene, including many outdoor music entertainment options, for the community to enjoy.”

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