The Rapid City Common Council is approving a property tax hike as a part of crafting this year’s budget.
According to city documents, the one percent rate hike will generate an additional $160,000 dollars for city coffers.
Meanwhile, the mayor is vetoing funding for a city program that coordinates seniors for volunteer opportunities.
Since 2011, anytime the city wants to raise property taxes it must be debated separately. According to officials, prior to then property taxes would increase with the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation.
Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender says that property tax hike used to get included in the overall budget discussion, but that changed following a change in ordinance.
“There seems to be no end in sight. We will debate this and get this type of vicious dialogue surrounding the Rapid City budget process forever. Honestly we are talking about 6 dollars and you could say ‘if it’s not that much on a percentage basis, why even bother with it?’ Well, then our property tax revenue source stays as low as it can possibly be. We continue to have an overreliance on sales tax.”
Allender says sales tax collections are too unpredictable to rely on for running city government. He says increasing the property tax for additional revenue covers the cost of city services.
Allender says forty four percent of the general fund is propped up by sales tax collections. He says diversifying revenue generating sources is a way to stabilize the city’s budget.
As part of the mayor’s new initiative to do that, the mayor is vetoing funding for the Retired Senior’s Volunteer Program as part of his priority based budgeting process.
Four programs were on the mayor’s chopping block as part of that process, but all were funded by council during budget negotiations. Allender vetoed funding for RSVP, saying the service can be found elsewhere in the city.