SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Budget hearings continue Tuesday with the Sioux Falls City Council. Different department leaders will share their proposals in Mayor Paul TenHaken’s recommended budget.
LIVE at 3PM: Tune in for a live blog from the budget hearings. This page will be updated in real-time.
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Some of the key highlights in the budget will be discussed at 3 p.m. at Carnegie Town Hall:
A focus on mental health & addiction
Mental health will be a front seat in Tuesday’s budget hearings. Jill Franken, director of public health, will be requesting $257,500 for the Community Triage Center.
This is a partnership between the City, Minnehaha County, Sanford and Avera.
The Community Triage Center will be located at the City Annex and is expected to be an alternative to the emergency room or jail for people with Substance Use Disorder or mental illness.
It will include detox, psychiatric care, medically-assisted treatment for opioid addictions and referral to other services in the community.
Currently what happens is many of these people in crisis go in and out of jail or the ER. The goal is to stop the “treat and street” cycle.
The funding for the city’s portion of support will come from the existing detox from the Police Department’s budget plus an additional $100,000.
If approved, the triage center is expected to open next summer.
The health department’s entire budget request is $14.4 million.
Public safety growth
To also help in this area, the Sioux Falls Police Department is looking to hire a Community Resource Officer specifically trained to work with people in a mental health or addiction crisis. Chief of Police Matt Burns will be at Tuesday’s meeting for the budget request.
The department is also growing the narcotics enforcement section of the department by moving a second Police Sergeant and expanding the number of detectives.
To handle a growing city, the budget request also adds four staff officer positions.
In addition, the department is looking to lease building space in the southwest part of Sioux Falls as a remote “Police Report to Work” location. The administration says the goal is to reduce commute times and help with workspace at the Law Enforcement Center.
The city is also requesting a $270,000 increase to Metro Communications. The goal is to add four additional employees.
The Police Department’s entire budget proposal is $41.5 million. That’s up from $39 million in 2019.
Fire chief Brad Goodroad will also be at Tuesday’s meeting to discuss the department’s $30.9 million budget.
Fire rescue will be adding a new fire station in the Southeast part of Sioux Falls. It will be located at 41st St. and Faith Ave. Construction will begin next year, if approved, and will open in 2021.
The budget also requests a new fire truck and EMS response unit.
Fire Rescue is also looking at a new Public Safety Training Facility in the northeast part of Sioux Falls. That is expected to be a separate bond request in the future.
Parking could be a hot-button issue
Parking could become a hot-button issue at the budget hearings. Public parking facilities manager Matt Nelson will present the $3.3 million budget.
The department pays for itself, but the upcoming opening of a downtown parking ramp that will add 525 spaces is expected to be questioned by at least one city council member.
Budget Presentation Tomorrow August 13. I will be asking parking supervisor Matt Nelson : 1. How much are we paying monthly for debt payment for the empty concrete bunker parking ramp? 2. When will we have revenue from the use of the concrete bunker parking ramp? 3. What will be the monthly income from the parking ramp? (Last month the finance department stated that the yearly debt payment could be approximately $1.5 MILLION for the empty ramp.)
In May, the City of Sioux Falls terminated a development agreement and ground lease for the Village on the River project with the Village River Group.
In December 2017, the city entered into a development agreement for construction of a mixed-use development including a public parking ramp and private hotel with leasable retail space.
Offering more steps for affordable housing
Another highlight of the meeting will be the housing division. The city is considering a housing clinic to address resource connections.
In the proposed budget, development housing projects will see a significant increase, while the revitalization program is facing a $3.4 million cut and the homebuyers assistance program is eliminated.