City Council approves budget cuts

City Council adopts budget, including cuts to Cornerstone Mission, Humane Society

RAPID CITY, S.D.- Budget cuts are coming to Rapid City.

The City Council on Monday gave final approval to Mayor Steve Allender’s proposed budget, including cuts to the Cornerstone Rescue Mission and other local programs.

It was a contentious City Council meeting with debate from both sides.

“I felt like I was backed into a corner,” said Allender. “I didn’t want to go there, but that’s where we’ve had to go.”

To make up for a $203,000 shortfall in the proposed 2019 budget when the Council rejected to raise building permit fees, cuts are coming from elsewhere.

“I’m sorry you’re feeling the brunt of the budget because we’ve been so generous over the past few years, but some years we can, and others it’s going to be a struggle,” said Council President Jason Salamun.

The Cornerstone Rescue Mission will have their budget cut by 41 percent, or roughly $70,000. Though the Mission just started receiving funds from the city’s general fund in 2017, the cuts will certainly be felt.

“I see that we’re cutting $70,000 out of the Mission, which two years ago we weren’t giving them anything out of the general fund,” said Alderman John Roberts of Rapid City Ward 4. “There’s other ways for them to find monies if they need monies.”

The plan also cuts around $50,000 from the Rapid City Fire Department, around $4,000 from the Humane Society of the Black Hills, and around $3,000 from the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce.

In the tossup between the community resources and public safety, Allender contended that the cuts need to be made based on their priority. In November of last year, Rapid City spoke its mind, saying public safety was a top priority.

“We put all of the options on the table, we consider short versus long-term consequences,” said Allender. “We do all this to keep it sustainable. At some point, when it gets down to the point where its gotten, some of these cuts are not logical. They do not follow the priority-based budgeting principals. Priority budgeting is not meant to slash budgets. It’s used to reprioritize programs. In this case, we’re cutting money from both high and low.”

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