Sturgis considers financial impact of Rally closure

STURGIS, S.D. — There’s a lot riding on whether the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be held this summer.

Residents of Sturgis could be seeing an increase in their property tax and sanitation fees to make up for revenue shortfalls if the Rally is canceled.

All Sturgis residents who were a part of the 2020 census received a survey, asking what the city should do if the Motorcycle Rally in August were to be canceled. The city estimates it would lose $1.7 million and that property taxes could go up by as much as 5.3% percent, in addition, there could be a 7% hike in the sanitation tax.

“It is an increase and by no means is that what the city would like to do because over the last 6 years we have continually decreased our property tax, we have actually reduced by more than 20% over the last 6 years,” said Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie, “So that is definitely what we would like to do, but we do have to look at how to fill that void and so it would be an increase of about $47 a year, on the sanitation side it would mean an increase of just over $10 a year.”

The tax increases would only be in effect from 2021 to 2022, then revert to the current levels.

The city has a reserve fund in place for things such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but doesn’t want to spend all of its reserve in case another disaster occurs.

“We are looking at significant reductions across the board including furloughs and other things like that that would be occurring we would be using some of our reserves,” continued Ainslie, “But we are not going to use all of the reserves because we still have to be prepared if there is disaster, or if this recession continues for an extended period of time we have to ensure that we have a decent amount of reserves to address that.”

The fate of the Sturgis Rally will be decided by the city council on June 15th.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News