Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether has proposed a nearly $19 million increase in spending for 2014. A 2.3% increase in your property tax is included.

The mayor is asking for 18 new employees: 4 police officers, changing 5 medical contract positions in the health department to full-time, 1 animal control officer, 1 fire inspector, 1 traffic engineer, 1 billing specialist, 1 custodian, 1 patient support person, 1 assistant city attorney, 1 environmental analyst, 1 water program specialist.

The proposal to change the five medical positions to full-time is, according to the mayor and the health director, to be better able to deal with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act ('Obamacare').

“Our goals with this budget are to maintain the City’s financial strength, stay ahead of growth, enhance quality of life for residents and strengthen return on the taxpayer dollar,” said Mayor Huether in a press release. “We truly have listened to the citizens of Sioux Falls and created a budget that truly reflects their values and priorities.”

Revenues are expected to rise about 6% in 2014. That translates into approximately $7.8 million.

On the expenditure side his proposal will spend most of that increase.  Property and sales taxes are the primary sources of revenue for the general fund operating budget.

The city receives revenue for water and sewer services, the landfill, and a small light department. Those enterprises are self sustaining, meaning they don't rely on property or sales taxes to pay their bills. The Capital budget is funded by the second penny sales tax.

In the budget are funds to buy snowgates, pending the outcome of the election on that subject in April.

Discussion of cut backs in service for the transit system were part of the address, but no specific proposal for route, fare, or eligibility standards were made.

“Every City department really comes together to create a budget that meets a variety of needs,” said Tracy Turbak, Director of Finance. “City government must think differently to increase productivity, improve service levels and capture opportunities.”

The City Council has until Sept. 30th to scrutinize and change the mayor's budget. Normally, few changes are made, although with City Council Member Greg Jamison challenging the mayor in April's election, there could and probably will be more heated discussion.

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