Simplified: Even in the most "doom and gloom" scenario, it's likely that Sioux Falls' parking fund will be able to continue being self-sufficient for at least the next five years, according to financial projections Eide Bailly presented to the Audit Committee of the Sioux Falls City Council earlier this week.
Why it matters
Public parking in the city is an "enterprise" fund, which means it's self-sustaining. That is to say, people pay for parking, pay to lease ramps and pay parking fines, and that money goes to pay the expenses required to keep ramps, meters, etc. going day-to-day.
- The fund took an unexpected hit when the city had to pay an extra $1.5 million to finish off the downtown parking ramp enough to make it usable after an agreement with the private partner fell through in April 2019.
- It again took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic when fewer people were working, shopping and dining downtown.
- But projections show that the fund – which has $3.2 million as of the city's 2021 budget document – won't run out of money in the next five years even in the most "doom and gloom" scenario showing losses every year, said Matt Nelson, public parking facilities manager.
"We feel we're in a very good spot ... we're finally hearing from different businesses that they plan to come back in the summer and bring their employees back downtown," Nelson said.
What city councilors are saying:
"Our parking fund, while not flush with cash, is certainly not going broke," Councilor Curt Soehl said.
"Yes, the fund is viable," Councilor Greg Neitzert said, later adding, "One major X factor, of course, we still have the overhang of what we do going forward with the (newest downtown) ramp."
What happens next?
The Eide Bailly report will be shown to the entire City Council in the coming weeks, and the council will continue to monitor the parking fund, councilors said.