Sioux Falls Mayor makes pension changes top 2012 accomplishment
Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether has laid out the City's top accomplishments that happened in 2012.
Huether presented the top ten wins that Sioux Falls City government captured at press conference Tuesday morning.
1. Pension changes in City government will save taxpayers millions
Huether said the City successfully identified strategic pension changes affecting current and future employees, a move that would reduce and stabilize rising pension costs and is anticipated to save taxpayers $300 million over the next 30 years.
Current employees voted to contribute two percent more of their pay to fund pensions and agreed that future retirees would no longer participate in the City's health/dental plan. . Instead, employees retiring after December 31, 2013, will receive a monthly stipend toward purchasing their own insurance starting in 2014.
2. Sioux Falls inks record-breaking naming rights deal for Events Center
The City successfully negotiated and signed the naming rights to the events center. The Denny Sanford PREMIER Center was one of the richest naming rights deals in history for a market the size of Sioux Falls.
The 25-year deal nets $20.75 million dollars.
3. Big-time economic development, job creation
In 2012, the city permitted $490 million of construction activity—the second highest year in history.
The City also created 2,000 jobs and put Sioux Falls' unemployment rate at 3.7 percent.
4. The old River Ramp comes down. A new Hilton Hotel sprouts up
The City finally accomplished the removal of the 50-year old River Ramp parking garage in downtown Sioux Falls. Ground was broken on the $36million, 136-room Hilton Garden Inn & Suites. The City sold the property to make the project possible and approved a Tax Increment Finance District (TIF 14) and Business Improvement District (BID) assessment incentives to support the project.
5. Team Policing is a huge success in keeping citizens safe!
The Police Department's reorganization effort and Team Policing Initiative resulted in many cutting-edge programs. Trust and communication between Police and community members have been enhanced along with providing education on personal safety and the security of property. The mayor noted the Pettigrew Heights neighborhood as a success story in 2012.
6. "Our new Events Center" is going up and taxpayers secured incredible interest rates
The official ground breaking for the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center was held on August 30. The foundation systems and on-site utilities were completed, and the McCart Park parking lot and the new gravity flow sanitary sewer main were constructed off site. We are ahead of our goal to have 85 percent of the work performed by local subcontractors and suppliers. An overall interest rate of 3.13 percent was achieved on two bond sales composed of taxable and tax-exempt bonds to raise the needed $114.5 million in financing.
7. Lewis & Clark water is flowing into Sioux Falls
The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, which draws water from the Missouri River, was tapped on July 30—and just in time as the drought drained water levels along the Big Sioux River this summer.
Construction was completed on a one-mile, 20-inch diameter water transmission main to connect the Sioux Falls water distribution system. Our maximum usage of Lewis & Clark water to date was 10.342 million gallons on September 26.
8. 200 miles of "SMOOTHER ROADS AHEAD" campaign
In the past three construction seasons, the city repaired, rebuilt, and replaced over 200 lane miles of inner core roads. Huether said that work improved the driving surface, reduces driver delay, creates safer roads, and adds capacity to the arterial street system.
9. www.siouxfalls.org website is completely redesigned and receiving rave reviews
The redesign of the City's official website, www.siouxfalls.org made the list for its more intuitive navigation structure, modern unified design, and an improved search function. Over 20,000 pages of content and 20 GB of data were restructured for maximum efficiency and aesthetic improvements
10. The City's "piggy bank" keeps growing
The City of Sioux Falls is expected to add revenues to its general operating reserves for the third year in a row. Although originally budgeting to use $3.8 million in reserves, the Mayor said the City's modest revenue estimates and strong budgetary management ensure Sioux Falls remains fiscally strong.