Sioux Falls “Doing Well, Capable Of More”
Mayor Mike Huether delivers State of the City Address
While he raved about the city’s growth in population, jobs and infrastructure, he also talked about the obstacles city government is facing.
The Mayor says those challenges stem from declining funds.
As he holds up a Wall Street Journal newspaper article, Mayor Mike Huether says “Sioux Falls, we keep making it big time.”
The article title reads “Sioux Falls prospers as other cities slump”.
Based on that, a decrease in debt and a record year for new housing units, Huether says the city is doing well.
“We are the 9th best run city in America according to Wallet Hub, we are the 8th best city in America where residents have those healthy finances,” he says.
But during his hour long speech, Mayor Huether used majority of the time to focus on areas that need improvement; a lack of affordable housing, a lack of workforce and development and a lack of public transportation.
He says tackling these issues might be hard since sales tax revenue is down and there’s threats of federal and state budget cuts.
“We are going to need to learn more and more in the city of Sioux Falls and the state of South Dakota to take care of ourselves,” says Huether.
Councilor Pat Starr says this issue is what stands out to him, since in 2016, city government used $13 million in federal funds.
“There’s going to be some major changes coming from Washington that we’re going to have to address, that the tax payers of Sioux Falls are going to have to pick up the tab for,” says Starr.
But councilors say a potential decrease in funding isn’t going to stop them from focusing on the city-wide issues Mayor Huether laid out in his speech.
“This is a very active council, a very interested council, a very interested mayor, and so I think that we’re going to see us tackling some of those issues that especially come with the way the economy is changing,” says councilor Michelle Erpenbach.
The mayor also talked about future projects that will continue to help Sioux Falls expand and thrive.
And that’s the Levitt Shell and Falls Park West event center and the Downtown Railyard Redevelopment Project.
This will be the mayor’s second to last State of the City Address.
His second term ends in May 2018.