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$386.5M 2014 Budget For SF Approved

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The 2014 budget for the city of Sioux Falls has been approved. In a 7-1 vote the Sioux Falls City Council approved the $386.5 million budget, as well as the 2014 to 2018 Capital Program. Before they gave the Ok however, they had a lot of discussion regarding the 26 amendments they proposed
The first item on the proposed amendment agenda was ensuring that the current paratransit system stays the same. In the proposed budget, $160,000 was supposed to be cut, taking away two hours of service every night.

Sioux Falls City Councilman Rex Rolfing said, “It will give us another year to put together a task force to study the service."

The task force will work to find ways to keep the current system going and make changes that will benefit it for years to come. Rolfing proposed $200,000 is added to the budget to keep the service the same.  In a 7-1 vote, it passed.

Sioux Falls City Councilman Kermit Staggers said, “The city council, except for one year I think, always passed a property tax increase.”
And this year Staggers hoped the council wouldn't do it again. Staggers said the 2.1 percent increase on property taxes doesn't fund anything specific. He also said the city doesn't really need the extra $1 million. Unfortunately, for property owners, the tax increase was approved.

What really got council members talking was the proposed dog parks on the east and west side of Sioux Falls in the Capital Program.

“One million dollars you know I think should be spent on human beings, not on dogs,” said Staggers.

Sioux Falls City Councilman Greg Jamison asked, “Do we have other needs for this money? Do we have other places to invest this money and improve the quality of life for people? I think we do.”

The council voted 4 to 4 on the issue. Mayor Mike Huether, being the tie breaking vote, voted to keep the plan for two new dog parks. But council members said since the parks are planned for 2015, they will be revisiting the issue, to see if there is a better way to spend $1 million.

A little over $58 million was budgeted for highways and streets. Culture and recreation received $50.5 million, with over $36 million of it alone going towards the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department.
Public safety will receive 15 percent of the $386.5 million budget. The Sioux Falls Health Department received an extra $97,500 than initially proposed. Council members said the department needed it for ambulances and personnel hours.

The entire city budget went up 5.4 percent for 2014.

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