At their Sept. 20 meeting, the Pierre City Commission passed the City’s 2023 budget, and they eliminated an expected utility rate increase in the process.
The $62.5 million budget includes no increases to wastewater, water, or electric utility rates. An eight-percent water rate increase was voted in by the public to help pay for the City’s new water treatment facility. However, that project is coming in under budget which means the increase is unnecessary.
“One of our biggest challenges as elected officials is providing the wants and the needs to the community without increasing the financial burden on our constituents,” said Mayor Steve Harding. “We dread increasing utility rates, and we’re pleased we don’t have to raise them in 2023!”
Buoyed by strong sales tax receipts and a modest property tax increase, for 2023 the City kept an extra million dollars in the budget for street projects, is upgrading primary electric distribution lines, replacing lights at the Griffin Park baseball field, and resurfacing the aquatic center indoor pool, as well as funding departmental and equipment needs for City operations.
City budget priorities have remained consistent under Mayor Harding’s leadership. Throughout his administration the commission has focused funding on infrastructure, equipment, and building improvements. These efforts are resulting in the modernization of Pierre’s three largest utilities –electric, wastewater, and drinking water – street improvements, and a new outdoor swimming pool.
“In the last several years, we have undertaken some large and long-awaited projects. The new drinking water process will be online soon. The rehabilitation of the wastewater treatment plant is underway, and the outdoor pool is starting to take shape,” said Mayor Harding. “These projects can’t happen in one construction season, but their benefits are well worth the wait.”
The City’s budget runs on a calendar year. The majority of the City’s funds comes from sales tax, the rates paid for utilities, and a small property tax allotment.