Council could scale back $8.25 million budget
September 12. 2013 12:04PM
A proposed $8.25-million City budget has local officials calling for major changes to the 2014 agenda.
The first draft of the 2014 budget calls for a 27 percent increase from the $6.46-million budget the City is operating with this year. The budget includes projects like the $1.9 million utility extension, the $615,000 Garfield Bridge replacement and interest payments for a $1-million loan for Dell Rapids Economic Development Corporation.
Although the plan calls for some cuts to some civic groups and contracted county services, Councilor Mark Crisp says there’s too much in it, and encouraged his fellow councilors to consider cutting deeper.
Crisp said projects like the utility extension and DREDC’s development park plans are investments and should be pursued. But the current budget calls for finding increased revenue – whether it’s raising utility rates or taxes – and that’s unacceptable, he said.
“There’s a lot of things that I look at in here and I think, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,’” a visibly agitated Crisp said at the council’s Sept. 2 meeting. “We’re supposed to pass this through, but in the mean time we’re having tax increases and we’re having three years worth of water rate increases.
“The people don’t appreciate it and the people aren’t going to tolerate it,” he added. “Every item in this budget needs to be looked at. This budget is a train wreck waiting to happen.”
The 2014 plan calls for cuts to law enforcement and the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
After the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Department announced it was raising its rates by 3.8 percent, the City Council expressed a desire to reduce services in order to keep costs the same. With Councilor Chad Andrews the lone nay vote, the City Council approved a plan last week to chop six hours per week from the time the sheriff’s department must have officers in Dell Rapids.
The budget calls for a $5,500 cut to the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce, which has been in rebuilding mode since its board dissolved in 2012. The economic group got $13,500 in taxpayer dollars that year and this year, but Crisp and other councilors say Dell Rapids hasn’t seen enough results to justify maintaining that level of funding.
“I personally would like to see the chamber get rebuilt and I would like to see some results from what the chamber is doing,” Crisp said. “But we have some tough decisions. Most people don’t want their taxes to go up.”
Councilor Lee Burggraff agreed.
“I was the president of the chamber for 10 years. At that time, we didn’t have any trouble,” he said. “We had strong leadership and we had a $50,000 budget and we raised all of it.”
The little money received from the City, he said, was donated to DREDC.
The Council, required to adopt next year’s budget no later than Oct. 1, was set to meet Monday for a special meeting to revisit the proposed budget.