Simplified: Between a budget surplus and federal relief funds, Sioux Falls has millions in extra money and a list of potential uses. Nothing is set in stone, but here's an early look at where some of that money could go.
Why it matters
- Sioux Falls received $48 million in federal funds through the CARES Act last year, and another $25 million is expected over the next couple years with the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- There's also a budget surplus, plus some money saved due to CARES Act funds that's still in the city's reserves.
- ARPA funds are stricter in their usage, Finance Director Shawn Pritchett said, but there's still millions of dollars Sioux Falls City Council must decide how to spend as it enters budget season.
"It's very clear from the ARPA guidelines that this is meant as a response to COVID-19," Pritchett told the council Tuesday. "We do have to make sure that what we do with those funds somehow ties back to the overarching philosophy of why they were granted to us."
What are some projects that could be considered?
There are several options on the table.
It's worth noting as we go through this that it's not been decided which pool of surplus or supplemental funding would fit with which proposal (and, of course, the proposals themselves haven't been selected.)
It's also worth noting that many of the projects already approved in the first phase of the Sioux Falls For All effort were public-private partnerships. That's likely to be a common theme moving forward, councilors said.
Here's a look at some options councilors are expected to discuss:
- Fixing the parapet at the Washington Pavilion
- Funding the third phase of the River Greenway expansion
- An expansion of the Butterfly House and Aquarium
- Housing programs
- Programming for at-risk youth at the downtown YMCA
- Replacing or rebuilding the Kuehn Park and Frank Olson pools
- Falls Park master plan
- Funding construction of a skate park at 10th and Cliff
- Tennis courts at Tomar Park
- Police station in southeast Sioux Falls
- And likely more to come.
What councilors have to say about how they'll make their decisions:
"I'm just really looking for things that'll make an impact in 20 years," Councilor Pat Starr said.
Councilor Janet Brekke called for the council to seek the public's input on whatever they decide, especially with the ARPA funds.
"I do think that it's really important for the credibility of it," she said.
Councilor Alex Jensen echoed Brekke's statements, adding that he's already had lots of public input just from people weighing in with emails on what they think the council should support.
Councilor Greg Neitzert is also thinking long-term, he said, and while he's not bringing any specific projects forward, he's interested to see what others have to suggest.
"There's so many ideas out there," he said. "I just kind of want to see them all."
What happens next?
Councilors will meet Wednesday morning for a work session to lay out council members' projects for consideration as well as a discussion on needs and priorities.