Four years as Mayor of Rapid City has been productive:
Successfully proposed to City Council ordinances 6078 and 6079, an act to lengthen terms of elected officials in Rapid City. The City Council changed from two year, to three year terms beginning in July 2016. The mayor’s term will change from two year to four years beginning July 2019.
Successfully proposed to City Council ordinance 6092, an act to simplify, clarify and make efficient the process for declaring a “Snow Alert” for downtown Rapid City. This initiative added a text alert feature whereby residents, business owners and employees can subscribe by texting 898211 to RCSnow.
Initiated monthly meetings between City and County elected officials and staff. This has resulted in the transfer of drainage lots, new ownership and maintenance agreements, and a new stop light at the intersection of Sheridan Lake and Dunsmore Rd. Current discussions range from City/County fireworks enforcement to future land use. Meade County and the City of Box Elder have been added to the list of attendees.
Formed the Civic Center Resolution Task Force. A new and improved effort to examine the deficiencies and possible solutions to the Barnett Arena. The findings were presented in late 2017.
Led the effort to gain a positive public vote on a new Civic Center Arena. The arena construction will start in 2019 and be complete in 2021.
Achieved ADA compliance in all areas of the Civic Center with the exception of the Barnett Arena. Handrails, bathrooms, access doors and parking lots were all updated and are now in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Completed a new City website. A modern and efficient look that is also compatible with mobile devices. Better data storage and archiving are behind the scenes benefits of this improvement.
Customer service surveys and training for Public Works and Planning Department employees. Customer service training was completed in July 2016. Now, an ongoing focus on institutionalized policies is underway.
Made all official correspondence from the Mayor to the City Council public, with copies going to all interested local news agencies.
Consolidated economic development efforts by eliminating Black Hills Vision and reinvesting in the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership. This has led to significant changes in how we address workforce development, has created an economic gardening project (growing our existing businesses rather than just recruiting new) and will help economic development efforts become more self sufficient in the future. I have worked along many community leaders to bring ELEVATE Rapid City to life. ELEVATE will be the new and sole source for economic development in Rapid City. Read more about it here.
Attended the 63rd National Security Forum at the Air War College to learn how to best support Ellsworth Air force Base and national security generally. Importantly, Embrace the Base has sprung out of ELEVATE Rapid City and will provide much needed support to Ellsworth Air Force Base.
Eliminated the Code Enforcement Board of Appeals and replaced it with a simple, administrative appeals process.
Led the effort to bring an end to the President’s Plaza project. A new process will be formed and progress will occur on the lot in the 500 block of St. Joseph Street. Look for news on this project in 2019!
Led the effort to allow Rapid City youth to ride the RapidRide public transportation system for free. This has resulted in increased school attendance and will provide safe, efficient transportation options for current and future Rapid Citians.
Led the passing of a resolution to adopt the principals of CDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Approved and led the passing of a resolution to allow winter clothing to be placed on downtown statues, to bring greater awareness to homelessness.
Initiated Priority Based Budgeting which will transform our current line-item budget to a program budget system. This will allow us to articulate costs of virtually everything we do, to give us the tools we need to stop funding of outdated programs and increase funding of top priority programs. I continue to refine the budget process with sustainability in mind.
Led the effort to host a shop local campaign and provided training to local businesses to rebrand in order to become a destination in order to increase local sales.
Passed a resolution making Rapid City a “Hidden Heroes” city in collaboration with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. This brings much needed recognition to the families of U.S. veterans suffering with physical and emotional wounds.
Became a Collective Impact board member. Studying how to energize the community to better work together with existing resources to find solutions to on-going community problems such as homelessness. Look for news on Collective Impact’s One Heart Campus in 2019!
Defunded the Compass Program. A well-meaning audit program that was ultimately incapable of producing results. This resulted in an annual savings of over $200,000.
Offered a retirement incentive to retirement-eligible City employees which will result in an annual savings of over $300,000.
Added two engineering technicians to the Public Works Department, resulting in an estimated reduction in consultant expenses in 2017 of $400,000.
Adding an agriculture component to Rapid City’s economic development efforts. Somehow we have forgotten our economic roots. South Dakota is an agriculture state first. I am proud to live in a state where cattle outnumber people by more than 5 to 1.
Rapid City has experienced over $300 million in construction over the last three years, confirming people want to live and work in Rapid City. Our slow and steady growth has advantages over the boom/bust cycles seen in some other communities.