Sunday, March 22, 2015

Let's change back the vision fund process, says alderman

"Rapid City's drainage and streets need repairs, Alderman Ron Weifenbach says, so the city should revert to its former policy of directly devoting city sales tax money to them.
Not so fast, Mayor Sam Kooiker says. By shifting back to the old ordinance dictating use of the sales tax, he says, the city will miss new opportunities to issue bonds for ambitious projects.
Just as they did in the recent voter-rejected referendum on spending $180 million for an expansion of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Kooiker and Weifenbach have opposing views on what the city should do with the proceeds from a 1-cent sales tax.
By a previous city ordinance, half of proceeds of that tax went to the Vision Fund, which has paid for Main Street Square, among dozens of other amenities scattered throughout the city, and half went to the Capital Improvements Project, which funds such citywide public-improvement projects as street and drainage repairs.
Weifenbach, whose top priority is spending on roads, infrastructure and drainage, wants the city to revert to that split.
As part of the expansion project, however, the city council passed a new ordinance combining the proceeds from the Vision Fund and CIP. That combination, expansion proponents argued, would secure a low interest rate on the $180 million in bonds that would have financed the expansion."

This article brings up a question for me. What other huge spending project is Mayor Kooiker thinking we'll need this new fund method for?

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