Mayor TenHaken outlines budget priorities ahead of address

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 8:10 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Mayor Paul TenHaken is preparing to present his vision for Sioux Falls’ budget through the 2023-2027 Capital Plan. A majority of his attention is on developing infrastructure and keeping up with the city’s growth. Handling the growth will involve more than just laying concrete and steel for better roads and bridges though. TenHaken is investing in 30 additional full-time employees to the city payroll, the largest ask ever for a mayor. When it comes to handling a deluge of building permits that have piled in over the past few years, the reasoning is valid.

“We have had over 1 billion dollars in building permits we are going to hit this month,” he said. “We hit 1.2 billion all of last year, so we need more permit techs.”

That is not to say roads, bridges, and water infrastructure is not a priority. Below is a look at one of the bigger projects the TenHaken administration hopes to accomplish by providing a new avenue of traffic from I-29 to Veterans Parkway. The Veterans Parkway South project is starting this year and will take about 4-5 years to complete. It is a high priority for TenHaken because of struggles with east and west traffic flow within the city. Upon completion, a similar road to I-229 would connect Tea to 57th Street and Veterans Parkway towards the east.

Also, an extension of the bike trail could stretch further east from Lien Park near N Cliff Avenue to Great Bear along E Rice Street.

Mayor TenHaken's proposal to expand the Sioux Falls bike trail further east.
Mayor TenHaken's proposal to expand the Sioux Falls bike trail further east.(City of Sioux Falls)

TenHaken’s reasoning for many of these goals is to invest in families, kids, and their wellbeing. He says a new library position will focus on literacy for kids and can help compensate for the absence of state-funded preschool resources in South Dakota. He added, “It is our belief that a community that is good for youth, good for kids, good for families is good for everyone. They are our future and this budget is going to reflect that.”

Mayor TenHaken says the budget has a conservative outlook to account for inflation and volatility of the current economy. A lot of projects were cut and tabled to revisit down the road, but spending taxpayer dollars for the most necessary things remains the top priority. His budget speech is Thursday, July 21 at Carnegie Hall beginning at 3:00 p.m. Dakota News Now will stream the event online.

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