Rapid City Mayor explains proposed $175M budget

RAPID CITY S.D. — Rapid City taxpayers are poring over Mayor Steve Allender’s $175 million budget which he presented on Monday night.

The mayor’s budget puts the city in the black, but just barely. Allender says this budget is more reactive than proactive to challenges facing the local economy. The $175 million spending plan is aimed at sustainable growth; especially when it comes to human services, economic development, and the upcoming population boom due to the B-21 Bomber at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

The Mayor says Rapid’s sales tax dependent economy is increasingly unpredictable in the face of weather, declining commodity prices, and tariffs.

“Our largest piece of the revenue pie is sales tax, which is also the most vulnerable to fluctuations,” said Allender in a press conference on Tuesday morning.

For the 2020 budget cycle, Allender said revenue and expenses are neck and neck. His budget calls for a 6-percent overall spending increase, with an 8-percent increase for city assets such as Rapid City Regional Airport and the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. It also boosts public safety spending by 2 percent.

Like with Governor Kristi Noem’s state budget, Allender said it’s too soon to tell how online sales tax revenue will effect the economy. Allender is calling for the need to diversify through property taxes and workforce development. Amidst growing housing development in the face of the B-21, Allender is optimistic about skilled labor coming to the area.

“It will clear a better place for future development, so all of that means better economy, more people working, more people contributing.”

The deadline to get a budget approved is September 1.

Categories: Local News, Politics & Elections, South Dakota News