Finance Top 10 Wins

  1. Living Within Our Means … Again: Once again, the Finance team led the successful efforts to manage City spending in line with slowing revenue growth. Before the year even began, the team went to work developing contingency plans for each City department with the goal of ending the year on target and not denting reserve levels. This was accomplished successfully without sacrificing the high level of quality services provided to the public. The City continues to find operating efficiencies to improve the quality of services while reducing cost to the taxpayers by leveraging the strength of its front-line personnel and technology enhancements, all supported by a strong team of Business Analysts.
  2. Prudent Debt Management: Under the leadership of the Finance team, a bond transaction was executed that refinanced bonds originally issued in 2007 for the Lewis & Clark Water Project. The transaction included prepayment of $25 million in bonds, resulting in a 10-year reduction of the final maturity. The remaining balance of $37.6 million was refinanced at an incredible true interest cost rate of 1.8 percent. The net reduction in future interest payments will exceed $24 million (net present value savings of $15.5 million) to the benefit of the Water Fund. These savings result from the ongoing collaborative efforts of the Public Works and Finance teams to increase operating efficiencies, maintain very competitive water rates, and better forecast future cash flow needs.
  3. Citywide Facility Condition Assessment: Working alongside our partners in Facilities Management, Finance led the effort to complete a citywide facility condition assessment. The assessment, completed by ALPHA Facilities Solutions, provided the City with a comprehensive register and base condition assessment of each component of City-owned buildings. This evaluation will allow the City to better forecast facility needs, target future repair and maintenance dollars, and avoid more costly repairs or replacements in the future. The Facilities Management team is already putting the study to great use in prioritizing 2018 projects.
  4. Golf Course Management: The Finance team took a central role in charting a new “course” for the future of the City’s three golf facilities . In partnership with the Parks and Recreation team, extensive research was completed prior to developing and executing a competitive process to select the City’s new golf management partner, Landscapes Unlimited. This change will be the turning point that will take these incredibly valuable City assets to an entirely new level of service, operations, productivity, and financial performance.
  5. Mixed-Use Parking Ramp Project: The Finance team played a critical role in reaching the key project milestone achieved when the City Council adopted the bond ordinance to finance the project and the ordinance approving the development agreement with the City’s private partner. The Finance team’s analysis of the parking system finances, project costs, and financing options was essential to confidently reassure the Council and the public as to the public parking system’s ability to afford this project.
  6. Entertainment Venue Partnerships: New management agreements for the City’s primary entertainment venues were negotiated this year with SMG , Spectra, and Washington Pavilion Management, Inc . The City’s partnerships with these three businesses have proven time and time again to be a winning formula. The success of the City’s entertainment venues continues to produce solid economic impacts throughout the community and meaningful fiscal impacts for the City. Of course, the most important impact these successful venues make on the community is to elevate the overall quality of life, making Sioux Falls an even better place to live, work, and play.
  7. Protecting Pension Plan Assets: Finance and Human Resources completed the remaining steps necessary to ensure excess assets previously set aside by the City to fund retiree health benefits would remain in trust to fund retiree benefits. Working through a myriad of internal revenue code regulations, the City ultimately received favorable determination letters on updating the City’s pension plans and the creation of a new fully funded retiree health care trust. In addition to strengthening the pension trusts by protecting the assets from being diverted to other uses, the due diligence and extra effort provided assurance that the City’s plans are in full compliance with current federal rules and regulations.
  8. City Administration Building Progress: For the first time since 1936, the City is moving forward with a new building that will provide administrative office space with the capacity to meet the needs of our growing community for decades to come. The Finance team has managed the project effectively keeping progress moving forward on schedule throughout the year. By bringing departmental teams together, the City will improve efficiencies and provide a much better customer experience in both the new building and at City Hall. The ribbon cutting for this wonderful new facility is expected in the second quarter of 2018. And the best news for the taxpayers, the project is on track to be completed under budget.
  9. Budget and CIP: Growth in sales tax revenues showed little signs of improving in 2017, requiring the Finance team to again lead the adoption of the 2018 Budget and the 2018–2022 CIP in a fiscally constrained environment. These documents reflect the City’s ongoing commitment to focus on priorities by making key infrastructure investments and funding competitive wages and benefits for our employees in an employment market that is increasingly competitive, all while maintaining the City’s solid financial condition. It is no accident that the City’s finances remain solid. It takes strong leadership by a talented Finance team willing to ask the tough questions and make the difficult decisions to keep the City on solid ground.
  10. 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report: For the 37th consecutive year, the Finance Department received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association. This award is the highest form of recognition possible for the City’s financial reporting , and it demonstrates the Finance team’s commitment to provide timely and comprehensive information to the public on the City’s financial condition and activities that goes far above and beyond the requirements of generally accepted accounting principles.