A Positive, Forward-looking Vision

Important goals for my administration:

Open, People-friendly Government

  • Every quarter a “Progress Report” is issued to let our citizens know about the efforts being made to focus on our Infrastructure, and provide great service to our commmunity. My goal is regardless of status, all citizens and businesses will be treated fairly and consistently.
  • The income statements have been posted on the Internet for all revenue generating departments (enterprise funds).
  • Fish Garbage has confessed to fraud, and a settlement favorable to the City has been reached.
  • The City reduced the residential garbage rates by 8%, effective October 2012.

Infrastructure and focusing on existing Streets and Utility needs

  • In 2012, the City Council unanimously approved the issuance of a $22.9 Sales Tax bond to help fix some of our aging streets over the next few years.
  • In 2013 alone, nearly $33m will be spend on infrastructure needs, and that doesn’t even include the $40 Jackson Spring bond (for a Water Treatment plant and transmission lines (See Jan 2013 progress report - page 2).

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs — Focusing on the community by cutting red tape and encouraging progress

City Hall must facilitate growth and not stand in the way. I am working to bring a renewed focus on economic development to the Mayor’s office. Regulation is necessary, but should be consistent across city government.

  • I am focused on finding ways to say yes to growth and new business, while also focus on encouraging and supporting our existing businesses
  • We are slashing the red tape to encourage economic development, and to make the process easier for our citizens, businesses and employees. Two years ago we had more than 80 committees.  We now have about half that. [See 1/11/13 RCJ article]
  • We have rewritten many of our codes and procedures to streamline our processes while will ensuring public safety and accountability to our citizens.
  • As of September 2011, 2nd Floor at City Hall is now open until 5 PM. Many of the offices previously closed at 4 PM.
  • Certified mailings used to be used for all the planning and zoning notifications to citizens. This was maddening for people to have to wait in line for an hour at the post office for their mailing only to find out the hearing had passed them by because they didn’t have a chance to get to the post office a week earlier. We now use first class mailings, and the mailings are assembled by the applicant, and then mailed by city staff to ensure people are properly notified.

Reforming the Budget process

  • I have never pledged never to raise taxes, but I have and continue to promise to examine every tax increase with great scrutiny. Whenver possible, I believe economic growth should fuel property tax relief. I do recognized that costs go up as the city grows, but there are times where the budget can still be balanced without increasing taxes. For the 2013 budget, the combination of 9 expiring Tax Increment Financing Districts, and good sales and property tax growth (due to redevelopment, economic development, annexations and rezoning) made it unnecessary to increase property taxes by taking the CPI (Consumer Price Index increase). Our exciting economic growth in Rapid City allowed us to increase the General Fund budget significantly to cover rising costs, while keeping your taxes from going up. In Sept 2012, I vetoed an attempt to take the CPI property tax increase for 2013.
City Budget
2010
2011
2012
2013
+/- since 2010
General Fund
$50,040,884.00
$47,414,778.00
$47,804,275.00
$50,827,725.00
$786,841.00
Enterprise Fund
$98,817,205.00
$115,851,428.00
$90,738,021.00
$86,981,720.00
($11,835,485.00)
Total
$148,858,089.00
$163,266,206.00
$138,542,296.00
$137,809,445.00
($11,048,644.00)
  • Resolution 2012-004 was passed unanimously in 2012 and requires a separate vote before increasing your property taxes.
  • The city budget used to be hundreds of pages long and was filled with meaningless numbers. The 2013 budget I presented the Council in July 2012 was 81 pages long, and included data, trends and information to help the council and community understand the budget.
  • We have implemented four ordinances to ensure financial accountability and transparency