City’s Financial Foundation Remains Strong Despite Slower Growth in Sales Tax

Director of Finance Tracy Turbak presented the City Council with preliminary 2017 year-end financial results for the City of Sioux Falls today.

The preliminary financial results for 2017 are complete and, once again, the City team stepped up to the challenge of managing expenses in a year of slow revenue growth. Recognizing before the year even began that sales tax revenues were likely to fall short of budget estimates, the City team took proactive steps to protect the City’s strong financial foundation. Each department implemented a contingency plan to live within its means while also ensuring high-quality services would be provided.

Although sales tax revenue ended the year with a relatively low growth rate of 1.2 percent over 2016, the Sioux Falls economy remains strong. At $739 million, construction permitting reached another all-time high again in 2017. The local unemployment rate of 3.1 percent reflects a strong employment picture even though the City’s population grew by another 4,700 residents.

City operating reserves ended the year $4.5 million higher despite budgeting to use $2.2 million when the year began. In addition, the amount of City debt outstanding at year-end declined by nearly $39 million. This leaves the City well-positioned to continue providing essential services and meeting the needs of a growing community in the years to come.

Turbak states, “The City’s strong financial position is no accident. Sure, good end-of-the-year weather played a role, but this year’s positive results were much more due to the proactive steps taken early in the year to identify savings opportunities and the good old-fashioned hard work put forth by our departments to target their spending toward providing the highest quality services possible.”

The City invested $99.5 million in capital infrastructure in 2017, including major street improvements to Louise Avenue, Veterans Parkway, 69th Street and Western Avenue, 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue, Marion Road, and Arrowhead Parkway. Also included in the 75 projects completed or substantial completed in 2017 were improvements to the City’s utility infrastructure, more than 733 blocks of street repairs including overlays and slurry seal, renovation of the Downtown Bus Depot, reconstruction of the bike trail from Minnesota Avenue to Cliff Avenue, and replacement of playgrounds at Tuthill, Bakker, Meldrum, and Kuehn Parks.