Budget plans add up to more than $70 million in Brookings

(Metro photo)

Proposal first of several steps in 2024 process

BROOKINGS — Budget season has arrived in Brookings, and city councilors got their first look at the proposed numbers for 2024 at a study session Tuesday evening prior to the regular City Council meeting.

The total budget request clocks in at $70,193,858. That’s an increase of $8,446,018, or 13.7%, from the current 2023 budget of $61,747,840. Much of the increase comes from proposed spending in the general and enterprise funds, but along with that also comes projected revenue increases. So, long story short? Proposed expenses are up, but so is proposed revenue and, taken together, it means the city’s 2024 budget is balanced.

If it helps any, the city doesn’t plan to add to its staff numbers next year, either.

“While this budget is personnel-focused, we’re not proposing to increase any personnel numbers for 2024,” Deputy City Manager Jake Meshke said Tuesday night. “We’re going to hold our staffing numbers flat — this is really focused on retaining the employees that we do have, as well as filling any open positions as they become available.”

Together, the general fund and the enterprise funds account for 66% of next year’s proposed budget, at $21.19 million and $25.34 million apiece. The remainder is found in the CIP at $13.30 million, or 19%, and special revenue/debt service/TIF at $10.36 million, or 15%.

“The increase (for 2024) is primarily driven by your enterprise funds, which account for about $6.2 million of that increase,” Meshke noted. “This is driven by large projects at the landfill, the airport, as well as the golf course.” 

He said those projects include:

  • $3 million worth of work at the Brookings Landfill, including leachate system improvements, equipment, equipment storage and small paving projects.
  • At Brookings Regional Airport, a large driver in its near $2 million increase from 2023 is a large taxiway project but, as noted by Meshke, only $127,000 is the responsibility of the city, with the remainder of the money coming from state and federal revenue sources.
  • Meanwhile, Edgebrook Golf Course’s increase of $800,000 is because of planned water source improvements in the coming year.

The city’s revenues are, as mentioned earlier, also expected to increase, with boosts foreseen in sales and property taxes, along with the 3B (bed, booze and board) tax, among other areas. The subsidy for the Dacotah Bank Center isn’t expected to be as high as it has been in recent years, either, so that frees up a bit of funding for other uses as well.

“Our planned and requested subsidy for 2024 is at $260,000,” Meshke said. “This is down significantly from previous years. We had reached a high of about $500,000 back in 2019 and 2020.”

Turning back to taxes briefly, Meshke noted that, on a home in Brookings valued at $350,000 which pays $5,665 in taxes, the government distribution breakdown goes like this:

  • The Brookings School District receives 59%, or $3,344.
  • Brookings County takes in 26%, or $1,463.
  • The city of Brookings gets 15%, or $858.

Budget discussions will continue in the weeks ahead. The next workshop is set for Sept. 26 with an optional recap/discussion on Oct. 10. First reading of the 2024 budget ordinance is currently planned for Oct. 24, with the second reading on Nov. 14.

— Contact Mondell Keck at [email protected].