Rapid City residents prioritize public safety, infrastructure in budget survey

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Rapid City residents have spoken their mind on where the city's budget priorities should lie.

In the Rapid City Citizen Priority Survey which was administered in November, the city mailed out 3,000 paper surveys at random, and also surveyed online. The survey asked residents, if they had a$1,000 to spend on city programs, how would they allocate it in a new form of budgeting that's called priority-based budgeting.

Residents put the greatest emphasis on public safety and infrastructure. They allocated $273 of the hypothetical $1,000 to police and fire services, and another $215 for street repair, maintenance, cleaning, and snow removal.

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In the survey, 60 percent of residents said they would rather see increased fees for public services and facilities to cover the cost instead of raising taxes.

When it comes to public safety and infrastructure, residents said that if there was a revenue shortfall, they want those services maintained.

But when it comes to parks, libraries and other forms of recreation, residents are more inclined to favor either increased fees or reduced services.

According to Sean Kurbanov, the budget analyst for Rapid City, the survey responses will be used to come up with a budget for 2019.

“The way we have priority-based budgeting currently is that all the seven goals are weighted equally," said Kurbanov. "That effects the distribution of the prioritization of the funds. Once we enter in the new weights for the strategic goals, the prioritization may change; it may change significantly. That will be taken into consideration by the administration and the city council.”

For more details about the survey, visit www.rcgov.org.

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