Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

MAGNUSON_01

Hey kids, get your butts down here and help me clean out the basement while wading through other people’s excrement.

As I posted about last week, the Sioux Falls city budget will exceed a half-billion this year. Up $89 million from the original budget proposed by the Mayor’s office and approved by the City Council. I decided to do a little more digging and this is what I came up with according to the finance office;

          The city does not plan to spend the entire amount, because many of the projects are in the CIP and will take several years to complete. More or less it’s typical of what bureaucrats do, pack a budget with more than they want in hopes to get what they really want in the end when it is whittled down.

          It jumped to $89 million largely due to the carry-forward of $55.4 million from 2008 in unfinished CIP projects. Some of the bigger projects in the amount were flood control, main library, 57th street upgrades and (yes) more zoo improvements.

           Two other numbers that stuck out to me, and maybe were just ‘interesting’ to read was that the city collects $153.2 million in Enterprise funds (water and sewer fees) and doles out another $15.1 million in debt service.

 

In a final word, the Finance Department claims that budgets have been so large in recent years due to;

 

          Lewis & Clark

          Eastside Sanitary and Sewer system

          Storm Drainage upgrades

          Rail Relocation

          Flood Control

Yes these are all ‘needed’ upgrades to our city, but we went in the wrong direction. We could have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by funding these projects differently.

Lewis and Clark should have been ‘pay as we go’ instead we basically paid them for something we won’t have until maybe 2012. On top of that, the Feds should have paid for this ENTIRE project. But with Senators like Thune, Herseth and Johnson busy chasing around lobbyists and Wall Streeters, what do you expect?

The massive storm drainage upgrades were in direct response to the city systematically ignoring infrastructure for over 20-40 years and crossing their fingers hoping nothing would happen, until (literally) shit backed up into hundreds of people’s houses two weeks in a row. The city then realized that they may have to fix it, which of course cost us a lot more in the end.

As you can see, a large chunk of the budget goes to necessary projects, the problem is we are either paying too much for them or we shouldn’t be paying for them at all through loans and such.

Once again the spin cycle dial is turned to a full-load at City Hall with the tired old ‘our hands are tied’ excuse – but are the purse strings?



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