Will Sioux Falls Adults be looking at $10K per capita debt in a couple of years?

Before all the math wizards start freaking out, I want you to know the numbers below are approximates, but close. One of the numbers I had trouble finding was the SF School District current debt. From looking at past data I believe it is hovering at that $100 million mark, but I am unsure, it could be higher. I based the number on their yearly debt service of $13 million which would put them a little above that $100 million mark. I’m also spit balling the city debt a bit, because I am basing that on 2017 numbers minus some major payoffs.

The Sioux Falls Adult population numbers are very, very close.

Where it gets a little sticky is I am using the entire county of Minnehaha’s debt while only including SF adults. I also leave Lincoln county out (I would be surprised if they had any debt) and the fact that NOT all SF adult residents live in the Sioux Falls school district.

Yes friends, living in Sioux Falls is a ‘Hot Mess’ of taxes. In fact your neighbor just across the street could be paying a different property tax rate than you, it’s that weird.

But, I also think the enormity of the numbers helps people better grasp that if you live in Minnehaha County, within the city limits of Sioux Falls and the SF School District, your per capita (govt) debt could easily reach $10K in the next 4-5 years.

This is why I often shake my head when the school district talks about $2 a month tax increase, or the Water Department talks about $.30 a month water and sewer increases, they never mention the current and future debt we will be taking on. It’s a boatload.

Realistically, how many adult working SF residents could cut a check for $10K tomorrow without borrowing it or hurting their personal finances? My guess it is probably less than 1%. We don’t live our lives this way, why should our government?

The irony is that our debt is half of what T. Denny is worth. Hint. Hint.

We could finally put the Sanford Falls sign up.


#1 scott on 08.06.18 at 9:39 pm

the 1% who could cut a check won’t pay for this, the rest of us will.

#2 D@ily Spin on 08.07.18 at 7:39 am

There’s really no cap. Government will spend into debt. It reached a plateau in California and many cities took bankruptcy. The debt is readily forgiven. Citizens are not responsible. However, taxation reaches a height such that it’s favorable to move outside city limits.

#3 Anthony Renli on 08.07.18 at 9:29 am

First- yes the city finances are a hot mess and need to be cleaned up, but – math nerd here – your numbers are off…quite a bit off.
1 – to make your numbers work, you assume 0% population growth, which hasn’t been true in Sioux Falls for the last 30+ years
2 – thousands of people from Sioux Falls live in Lincoln county, and these neighborhoods are growing. You’d be better served by totally skipping including the county numbers at all in the calculations.
3 – you seem to be assuming that the city and county will be making no payments to principal or interest over the next 4-5 years. That is wrong. As payments are made, the interest and principal go down.

Where exactly are you getting your numbers. Without this information we can’t actually assess if you are right or wrong.

#4 l3wis on 08.07.18 at 9:44 am

I got most of the numbers from meeting agendas on the official websites. One number came from an official with the county. You are right about ‘paying’ some of the debt off. But as you know, once something gets paid off, they just find something else to bond. Case in point, we paid off $25 million of the L & C when we re-financed than turned around and borrowed $25 million for an admin building.

#5 T on 08.07.18 at 1:31 pm

Shouldn’t you include all Minnehaha county population for those numbers, and only SF population for those numbers? Not all of SF is in the SFSD either. I would break it down by jurisdiction. Please recalculate.

#6 Thor Bardon on 08.08.18 at 12:33 am

In agreement here, these numbers are a misrepresentation for the reasons cited above. One of your main critiques in the past has been when someone misrepresents the facts especially when it comes to government misappropriation. Don’t be Hippocratic in journalism.

#7 D@ily Spin on 08.08.18 at 7:26 am

Sounds like the lady on my GPS; Recalculating. Problem is, the new route leads you over a cliff.

#8 l3wis on 08.08.18 at 8:56 am

First off Haters, I put a disclaimer on here saying that the numbers were a mish-mash because of the different tax rates the different sectors charge. I posted this mostly for the big picture of DEBT and possible DEBT. Even if you take off the per/capita debt, we are still looking at over a BILLION of debt if you live in SF/MINN/SFSD area.

#9 T on 08.08.18 at 9:51 am

But you need to recalculate.
What about folks in Baltic? They are in Minnehaha County, but a different city and school district. The per capita numbers are a misrepresentation.
You are using the smallest possible denominator you can to boost your own agenda. Tsk tsk.
Yes, this is a lot of debt. But it is worth the investment.

#10 l3wis on 08.08.18 at 12:49 pm

Yeah, I could push that number even higher by adding the school debt of Harrisburg, Tea and West Central who all have districts in Sioux Falls, and while we are at it Lincoln County. I guess I’m old school but I think government, especially local government should only spend within their means.

#11 T on 08.08.18 at 2:55 pm

Spend within their means…what does that means? No debt? Ever?

#12 Matthew Paulson on 08.08.18 at 5:35 pm

This is definitely fuzzy math without considering how much debt the city has the capability of paying down each year. That’s like calculating everything you charge on your credit card for the next 5 years without considering the fact that you’re going to be making monthly payments and paying a chunk of it off each month.

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