Simplified: It's been a big question for months: How will Sioux Falls spend extra cash from a budget surplus, COVID-19 relief funds and savings? The wait is (nearly) over. Mayor Paul TenHaken Tuesday outlined a specific spending plan totaling $53 million.
Why it matters
- The approximately $53 million comes from a mix of savings, surplus and federal relief funds.
- Sioux Falls' City Council has for the last several weeks and months heard from various community and city groups about different project proposals that could use a piece of the proverbial pie.
- These plans are starting to move into action items as the City Council Tuesday voted 8-0 to pass the first reading of more than $27 million in one-time spending on various projects.
“Our city remains in a strong economic position, and we are able to leave an incredible legacy for the residents of our community by bringing forward a comprehensive plan that addresses many opportunities within the community,” TenHaken said in a statement.
What's in the plan? (Lots of numbers. Brace yourself.)
It's largely made up of items discussed at previous City Council work sessions. Here's a breakdown of the plan as a whole.
Quick side note: The whole $53 million plan will be spent over a few years. It's not all going directly into the 2022 budget.
Youth outreach and police
- $800,000 for the police department to use for youth and community violence intervention
- $650,000 for the parks and recreation department for youth outreach at both the YMCA and the Arboretum
- $5 million for the new public safety training center
- $3 million to buy and redevelop homes in need of improvements in core neighborhoods
- $2.5 million investment in the city's housing fund
- $500,000 to fund a new program incentivizing police and other public safety workers to move into designated neighborhoods in an effort to reduce crime
Water and roads
- $5 million to reconstruct the low head dam in the Big Sioux river
- $1.25 million to reconstruct the Seventh Street cul-de-sac
- $6.8 million towards the expansion of the water reclamation plant
Parks and museums
- $300,000 to build the East Sioux Falls History Plaza
- $800,000 for the planned skate park at Nelson Park
- $9.5 million to construct phase three of the River Greenway along the river in the Steel District (currently under construction) downtown
- $512,500 to add tennis complex to Tomar Park
- $6 million to replace the cornice at the Washington Pavilion
- $800,000 for an expansion at the Dakota Aquarium and Butterfly House
Miscellaneous other expenditures
The remainder of funds will be split between city workforce efforts, facility investments and plans to ramp up community health and behavioral health workers.
What are councilors saying?
"I’m excited to bring a project like this forward and really see the impact it could make for the vast majority of our community," Councilor Christine Erickson said.
Councilor Rick Kiley drew special attention to two nonprofit public-private partnerships, the skate park project and the Dakota Aquarium and Butterfly House.
"I haven't really seen anything like it in my five years … it is kind of inspiring to be a part of it and just see everybody coming together and working things through," Councilor Marshall Selberg said.
What happens next?
City Council has final say in signing off on this spending plan, though throughout the planning process, councilors have been largely supportive of the measures listed.