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Sioux Falls: State Of The City

Kealey Bultena

The mayor of Sioux Falls is laying out a list of accomplishments and areas he sees need improvement. Mayor Mike Huether detailed the two sides in Thursday’s State of the City presentation.

An invocation in Sanskrit starts Thursday’s special meeting of the Sioux Falls City Council. Mayor Mike Huether presents his perspective on the State of the City. Huether praises leaders for supporting projects like the events center and indoor pool. He says leaders must focus on preserving and improving infrastructure.

"Not only just the infrastructure that is above ground, but we also have to pay really, really special attention to that infrastructure that lies below the surface as well. You know, the sanitary sewer lines? Big deal here," Huether says. "Remember the sanitary sewer line collapse up by the prison four years ago? We don’t want anything like that to happen again."

City workers repaired 340 miles of streets in the past five years. This construction season, they plan to fix 47 miles more.

Along with accomplishments, Huether says Sioux Falls should advance. He cites major traffic projects and improving public safety.

"Let me make something very, very clear: if you want to commit a crime in Sioux Falls, you’re going to do time in Sioux Falls," Huether says.

A recent citizen survey shows 79 percent of respondents say they feel safe in Sioux Falls overall. That means 21 percent don’t.

City council member Christine Erickson says leaders are watching crime rates and planning for projected needs.

"People think you can just hire a police officer tomorrow, and it’s not. It’s the timing of the training: when they have to go to Pierre, what they have to accomplish to becoming a police officer and having all that responsibility," Erickson says. "So it’s not just as easy as saying, ‘Let’s add five officers.’ It’s all about the timing, so I’m appreciative of adding the ten officers this year."

Erickson says city councilors want law enforcement to have enough people and the right tools to keep people safe.

Financial reserves for the City of Sioux Falls have surpassed the town’s savings goal. Mayor Mike Huether says leaders are prudent and cautious with taxpayer dollars.

"We are a 33 percent savings level in terms of our reserve level right now versus a goal that’s been established by city councilors and leaders way before us of 25 percent," Huether says.

The mayor says projections show Sioux Falls reserves should remain at or about 25 percent through at least 2023, even with additional spending to promote public safety.

News Sioux Falls, South DakotaCrimeSafetyBudgetMayor Mike HuetherTransportationFinancialSioux Falls, South Dakota
Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).