TenHaken Proposes $498 Million Dollar 2019 Budget
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Sioux Falls mayor Paul TenHaken is sharing his first budget address as mayor. He’s budgeting $498 million dollars for 2019. This is the largest proposed annual budget in Sioux Falls history, topping the previous record of $471 million in 2016.
TenHaken’s administration calls the record-breaking proposal “cautious and realistic.” Sales tax is bringing in more revenue to the city, but not overwhelmingly.
Most of the budget – $126 million- would go toward utility enterprises, like the landfill, light, and power. Then, more than $80 million would go toward highways and streets.
“As a fiscal conservative, I see this number and I think ‘wow, that’s a half a billion dollars,’” said TenHaken.
Another chunk of the change is paying for personnel, or the benefits, pensions, salaries, and wages of the city’s 1,300 employees. The ratio of city employees to citizens has gradually decreased year by year, but the mayor says some new hires are still necessary for a growing city. TenHaken says that according to birth records, death records, school enrollment, and other city data, the city’s population grows by about 5,000 people annually.
“There’s a stark difference between excessive government spending and necessary government spending,” said TenHaken.
Among those, TenHaken wants to invest in what he administration calls “riot gear” for certain police officers, although the SWAT team already has its own.
“We’re the largest city in the state,” said Deputy Chief of Staff T.J. Nelson. “We’re not immune to civil disobedience protests in the future so we want to be prepared if that would ever happen here.”
TenHaken also plans to hire a new police sergeant for the first time since 2010, who would work the overnight shift.
The administration is also investing in more full-time employees rather than part-time employees in order to combat the high turnover rate for those part time employees.
The new hires also include five custodians to maintain the new administration building downtown. TenHaken also wants to hire three emerald ash borer forest crew members to tackle those bugs destroying ash trees.
City council went into an executive session immediately following Tuesday’s budget proposal.