Aberdeen Mayor gives State of the City Address
ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce hosted a Community Affairs Luncheon at the Best Western Ramkota Thursday, where Mayor Travis Schaunaman gave his State of the City Address.
”The good thing about reflecting on the previous years is it gives you a good opportunity to take a look at the shortcomings as well as the opportunities we’ve got moving forward,” said Mayor Schaunaman.
During his address, Mayor Schaunaman criticized the federal government’s response to the pandemic, while praising Aberdeen’s commitment to staying open.
”The economic impact of COVID and the government’s response to it proved to be many times worse than the illness itself,” Mayor Schaunaman said during his address. ”The reason that Aberdeen is special is because of the people, and when you shut things down and you don’t let people congregate and interact one another, it’s a real shortcoming.”
One of the issues Aberdeen is looking to rebound from in 2022 is the effects of The Great Resignation.
”Around town, many of our service businesses in particular are being hit hard with the labor shortage, and we expect that to continue as we see shortened hours and decreased service,” said Mayor Schaunaman.
Despite the labor shortage, Aberdeen saw $27 million in business remodels and expansions.
”Our goal is to support our local businesses and certainly, it’s been a hard couple of years. We heard some statistics today, but a lot of our businesses are very resilient and growing and strong,” said Chamber of Commerce President Gail Ochs.
2021 was full of ups and downs for the Hub City. Aberdeen was able to pay off $7.5 million in bond debt in 2021, but the sales tax revenue was lower compared to 2020. Crime rates fell in 2021, but domestic violence and mental health calls rose.
Inflation and housing shortages are also ongoing issues for Aberdeen going into 2022.
”Inflation is something that’s been a real concern for us. That’s something that we’re going to have to budget around. Housing continues to be a challenge, but we’re doing things to incentivize housing development and growth,” said Mayor Schaunaman.
As for 2022, new projects are being implemented in Aberdeen, such as new softball fields, and inclusive playground and the conversion of downtown Main Street to a two-way road, which is expected to increase business. Aberdeen will also be spending $56 million on water treatment upgrades.
”He told us how good things are, and he’s absolutely correct. Things are good in Aberdeen, and they’re gonna get better,” said District 3 Representative Carl Perry.
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