Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council approved a record high $800 million budget Tuesday night. Here’s a look at what councilors added that wasn’t in mayor Paul TenHaken’s original proposal.
Why it matters
- TenHaken proposed a $790 million budget for 2024 earlier this year. Councilors have spent the last six weeks hearing from each city department and putting together the final pieces of the budget. On Tuesday, a total of 11 amendments were brought, nine of which passed.
- The council added nearly $300,000 to support the arts, $1 million for “neighborhood revitalization,” and $2 million for affordable housing, but one item that didn’t make the cut was $100,000 proposed to start an Office of Child and Youth Development (one of the specific recommendations to help solve the childcare crisis.)
- The public did weigh in on the budget, but because amendments were added after the public input was finished, there was no opportunity for input on the various amendments. Regardless, most councilors said they were happy with the process.
"The sausage making definitely isn’t pretty, but that doesn’t mean it has to be nasty," Councilor Marshall Selberg said. "And I think generally … we’ve had good discussions."
Tell me more about the amendments
Here’s a breakdown on each one.
The first amendment from Councilor Pat Starr would have reduced the proposed tax increase by about $2.4 million. That failed for lack of a second, meaning it wasn’t even discussed.
The second amendment was Starr’s attempt to set aside funds for the Office of Child and Youth Development. That failed, and councilors argued it wasn’t worth supporting because it wasn’t a fully formed idea.
- It's worth noting that a later amendment for 10 times that amount was approved for neighborhood revitalization despite Councilor Curt Soehl’s admission that the idea wasn’t “fully baked.”
"This says this council sets a priority that our children and youth development are one of our top priorities, and we put our money where our mouth is," Starr said before his amendment failed.
A series of amendments passed fairly quickly, including:
- increasing funding for the city's neighborhood grant program by $25,000,
- adding $150,000 for new co-sourced internal audit services,
- $120,000 for a new arts coordinator position,
- an additional $150,000 to help promote the arts,
- an additional $25,000 to support the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House,
- an amendment to move money around for the new Metro Communications department.
Two other big-ticket items added to the budget include an amendment to add another $2 million for affordable housing – specifically targeted at people who make 30% or below the area median income.
- And finally, Councilor Soehl's amendment to add $1 million to the city planning department for neighborhood revitalization also passed.
What happens next?
Tuesday's vote was the last piece of the puzzle in approving the 2024 budget. Now, it'll be up to the council to make any changes to the budget as needed throughout the next year.