Council readies for 2020 Census, facility upkeep


BROOKINGS – The United States Census can tell a lot about a town and the Brookings City Council wants to get the most accurate reading it can in the 2020 Census, so councilors will discuss ways to encourage residents to take part in the Census this year.

That’s one of the topics the council will tackle in a study session that begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the City & County Government Center.

2020 Census

“The Census provides important data for lawmakers, business owners, schools, and many others to provide daily services, products, and support for our community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding is distributed to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on Census data,” according to a memo by Mike Struck, director of Community Development, attached to the agenda.

“As an official Census partner, the City appointed community members to a 2020 Complete Count Committee. The Complete Count Committee represents a wide cross-section of the community and is charged with creating a marketing plan for Brookings and being a local champion of the 2020 Census,” according to Struck’s memo.

The City of Brookings budgeted $7,000 toward the 2020 Census marketing campaign.

There is a schedule of important dates: 

• March 12: Census Bureau starts mailing invites/information to households;

• April 1: Census Day observed nationwide, all households have received the Census invite;

• April: Census workers visit senior centers, on-campus students, other group living quarters;

• May-July: Census workers visit households that have not responded. 

New in 2020 is the ability to complete the Census questionnaire online or via the phone. The traditional method of completing a paper copy and mailing it back to the Census Bureau exists. The invitations contain a reference code which will be required to complete the questionnaire online or via the phone, according to Struck’s memo. 

“Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. The answers provided are used to produce statistics,” according to the attachment.

SDSU Visitor Promotional Fund 

The council will revisit the South Dakota State University Visitor Promotional Fund to evaluate the 2019 3B (bed, booze and board) revenues to potentially increase the fund, which was decreased to $10,000 from the historical $50,000 level. 

The 2019 revenues were greater than expected mostly due to a onetime increase, which led to surplus funds. That said, the council can determine an increase to the SDSU Visitor Promotional Fund if desired, according to an attachment to the agenda.

“The SDSU Visitor Promotional Fund expended $17,500 in 2017, $42,000 in 2018, and assumed $50,000 in 2019,” according to the attachment. 

“(The) 2019 3B revenue saw an $87,500 surplus vs. budget, of which $61,000 is a one-time revenue from previous year amendment true up. Thus, this large increase will not be realized in the future. However, the increased revenue provides excess revenue and meets the overall expenditures with the augmentation of the Liquor Store transfer,” according to a memo by City Manager Paul Briseno. 

“Excess funds do exist to fund the SDSU Visitor Promotional Fund to the city council’s desired amount or the requested $50,000. … However, the funding level is not sustainable unless other agencies decrease, or a revenue increase is realized matching expenditures,” according to Briseno’s memo.

Swiftel Center

Swiftel Center staff, VenuWorks Corporate Team, and the Swiftel Center Advisory Committee will present the mission, vision, opportunities, and future direction of the Swiftel Center at Tuesday’s council meeting. 

The discussion will go into the history of the Swiftel Center and the benefits provided to the City of Brookings and surrounding area.

Facility maintenance

The council will get an update next week on the current plan for the maintenance of city facilities over the next 30 years.

The project list recommends repairs to the Brookings Public Library, 22nd Avenue fire station, the Activity Center (60s Plus Dining), Brookings Regional Airport, Larson Ice Arena, Dakota Nature Center, Edgebrook Golf Course, Parks & Forestry sheds, the Public Safety Building; and a schedule for the repairs.

The list says no money should be put into the Research & Technology Center because it should be demolished, and the Public Safety Building is under analysis.

“The intent of this study is to provide a review of the existing conditions of the physical assets, which will contribute to the development of a long-term, capital replacement budget. The information provided in this report can assist in avoiding costly emergency repairs and other unplanned renovations and enables the city to more effectively plan for future capital projects,” according to an agenda attachment.

Other items

The council will consider:

• The Comprehensive Financial Management Policy;

• The 2020 compensation package for the city manager.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]

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