Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Thursday, 02 November 2017 17:13

IN HISTORY: Deadwood Legalizes Gambling in 1989

On November 1, 1989, gambling was officially legalized in Deadwood, South Dakota. As the casinos reopened, gamblers placed approximately $145 million in bets during the first eight months legalized gambling. Although there was an early snowfall which made driving conditions difficult, Deadwood’s Main Street was filled with tourists looking to win big in the newly-opened saloons.

Gambling was legalized in Deadwood in an effort to diversify the town’s economy. The largest employer was the nearby Homestake Gold Mine, which provided a few hundred jobs to area residents. Tourism was Deadwood’s next largest economic contributor, which ebbed and flowed alongside the seasons.

Canvassers sought enough signatures from registered voters across the state to allow a state constitutional amendment to approve limited gambling in Deadwood on the November 1988 ballot. South Dakota voters approved the amendment by a wide margin. The state legislature drafted and passed the requisite legislation to approve gambling during the following legislative session early in 1989. Finally, the last step required Deadwood residents to approve gambling in a town election

Prior to the legalization in 1989, gambling had been banned in Deadwood since 1905. While many residents of the town were pleased with the ban, miners who lived in town lost gambling houses as places to relax and enjoy a drink after a long day in the mines.

To learn more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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Following stable growth over the summer months, gaming revenue in Deadwood took a fall in September. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, gaming numbers declined by nearly two percent when compared to September 2016. However, September 2017 revenue was down nearly 12 percent when compared to September 2015.

Nearly $6.2 million in revenue was reported from table games in Deadwood, representing an increase of 8.6 percent from September 2016. However, the total slot machine handle for September 2017 of $95.2 million accounted for a 2.6 percent decline from September 2016.

For more information about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

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The Fall River County Commission recently approved its 2018 budget, according to the Hot Springs Star. The 2018 budget was set at $7 million. The county’s mill levy for the general fund was also reduced from 4.593 to 4.557 for the upcoming year.

To read more news from Fall River County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

Published in News

The Spearfish Planning Commission has recommended establishing a tax-increment financing district for the Jackson Boulevard redesign project, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. Funds from the TIF district would go toward design updates including landscaping, enhanced sidewalks and crosswalks.

The request to create a new TIF district will now head to the Spearfish City Council on October 2 for approval.

To read more news from Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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Deadwood City Commissioners are currently looking into tax incentives to spark economic development in the city, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. At a recent city commission meeting, commissioners discussed the possibility of a housing incentive plan that would implement a tax rebate for single-, two- and multi-family dwellings. The rebate would not apply to hotels or other forms of temporary or vacation lodging.

The proposed rebate would last for five years. Rebates would be calculated by dividing the valuation of the property by $1,000 and then multiplied by the Deadwood city levy.

Commissioner Gary Todd expressed concerns about the tax rebate benefitting non-residents of Deadwood. Planning and Zoning Administrator Bob Nelson responded that his staff often find potential buyers online or receive complaints from neighbors when properties are not purchased by full-time residents.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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At the September fifth Rapid City Council meeting, Mayor Steve Allender proposed alterations to city sales tax revenue allocations, reports the Rapid City Journal. Under the proposed changes, the percentage of revenue given to the City’s general fund and capital improvement plan will be increased while the amount given to the Vision Fund will be decreased and the utility support fund will be eliminated.

Out of the four funds that receive sales tax revenue, the general fund currently receives the most and will be raised to receive fifty percent of income, a four percent increase. The capital improvement plan will receive a six percent increase, bringing it up to twenty-nine percent while the vision fund will be decreased two percent and the utility support fund will receive no allocation of revenue at all, eliminating the fund.

The changes passed with an eight to two majority by the council but still need to be passed by the city finance and legal committee as well as voted on again by the council in order for the changes to take effect. The projected loss for the Vision Fund, which sets aside money for any future renovations to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, would see a decrease of about $1.1 million while the general fund would increase by $2.2 million and the capital improvement plan by $3.4 million.

For information on previous and upcoming City Council meetings, visit the City of Rapid City public meetings page. To read more news about Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

Published in News
Thursday, 07 September 2017 14:56

Property Taxes to Increase in Rapid City

The Rapid City Council approved a one percent property tax increase earlier this week, reports the Rapid City Journal. Rate increases, based on property valuation assessments that will be finalized in November, are currently estimated to be $3.20 per $100,000 of valuation. This would net the city an additional $161,405 in 2018. The rate increase is based on the Consumer Price Index and has been included in previous city budgets without debate.

Alderwomen Darla Drew, Lisa Modrick, and Laura Armstrong and Aldermen Ritchie Nordstrom and Chad Lewis voted for the increase while Aldermen Steve Laurenti, Jason Salamun, and Becky Drury voted against.

Some community members in attendance, representing a local conservative organization the Citizens for Liberty, encouraged the Council to refer the decision to a public vote. According to the city finance officer, a referendum election could cost the city $60,000 based on the March 2015 Civic Center referendum expenses.

For information on previous and upcoming City Council meetings, visit the City of Rapid City public meetings page. To read more news about Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

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Revenue and enrollment numbers have been declining for the Lead-Deadwood School District, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The decline in revenue for the locally-funded district is largely due to a decline in local property taxes.

A strategic planning meeting was held in late August to discuss long-term projections concerning the district’s budget. A change in state regulations require districts to reserve no more than 25 percent of the general fund annually. By April or May of 2018, the district may face deficit spending up to $1.9 million for Fiscal Year 2019 or cutting up to $1.5 million from the budget.

To read more about Lead and Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profiles. Learn more about education and training in the region at the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

Mayor Steve Allender recently made his 2018 budget proposal to the Rapid City Council. The budget continues last year's priority-based budgeting, a system where the budget is based on the cost of services and the value they provide to the community. The Rapid City Journal reported on some of the mayor's concerns,  including the city’s reliance on sales tax for most of its revenue.

Rapid City’s sales tax has remained relatively stable, and increased slightly  in recent years. For Calendar Year 2016, Rapid City generated $59.6 million in sales tax, the same amount the city generated in 2015, when adjusted for inflation.  In 2014, the city produced $57.4 million in sales tax (in 2016 inflation adjusted dollars).  

Currently, sales tax comprises 43 percent of Rapid City’s budget. The second largest contributor to the city’s revenue is property tax, with the remaining portion comprised by a revenue gained through fees and permits. In order to mitigate some of the city’s reliance on sales tax, Allender suggested that city fees could be increased, as many had not changed in 25 years. If the fees were keeping up with inflation, a $10 fee in 1992 would have been $17.11 in 2016.

Mayor Allender has also suggested a reallocation of the city’s sales tax. Today, the two percent sales tax is allocated into four funds: .92 percent toward the General Fund, .16 percent  to Utility Support, .46 percent to the Capital Improvement Plan and .46 percent to the Vision Fund. Under the mayor’s proposal, half of the sales tax (or 1.0 percent) would be allocated to the General Fund, .58 percent to the Capital Improvement Plan, and .42 to the Vision Fund. Proposed allocations for the General Fund for 2018 can be viewed in the chart below: 

2018 General Fund Proposed Spending

The mayor’s 2018 budget proposal also calls for funding reductions to several programs. Under his proposal, funding for the Retired Senior Volunteer (RSVP) program would be completely eliminated, while the Journey Museum’s funding would be reduced by $30,000. The Human Services and Allied Arts Fund Community Investments would also be reduced by $52,000 and $27,000, respectively.

The Rapid City Council will discuss the budget further on August 15. The budget requires approval at two separate council meetings.

Learn more about the Mayor’s 2018 Budget Proposal on the Rapid City website. More stories on the budget are linked through the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.

Published in News

Two proposed initiated measures for 2018 are looking to increase the tobacco tax, reports KOTA News. One version increases the tax on packs of 20 cigarettes would be raised by 50 cents, while a second version raises the tax by one dollar.

In order for the measure to be placed on the ballot in 2018, petitioners will need to gather almost 14,000 signatures of registered voters before November 2017. In nearby North Dakota, voters rejected increasing the current 44 cent tobacco tax to $2.20 cents last year.

You can read the South Dakota Attorney General’s statement on both version one (50 cent tax increase) and version two (one dollar increase) on the SD Secretary of State’s website.

To read more news about government and citizenship, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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One year after South Dakota passed the half cent sales tax to increase teacher pay, the state is seeing lower levels of open teaching positions, reports the Rapid City Journal.

The numbers show that teacher retention has improved, and that candidate pools have increased.  Most industry officials say that its too soon to say these changes can be attributed to the passage of the sales tax. Although in areas where vacancies have not decreased, teachers believe that the sales tax has stopped the shortages seen last year from getting worse.

For more information on education in South Dakota, please visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network news archive, and issue hub.

Published in News

In May, slot machines in Deadwood posted increased numbers when compared to May 2016, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. According to data from the South Dakota Gaming Commission, machine and table gambling increased by 7.6 percent, marking the only increase for the industry so far this year.

Gamblers placed over $99 million in Deadwood’s slot machines and tables in May, resulting in a total of $432 million bets for all over 2017. Nine percent of the $99 million was collected for state sales tax.

Slot machines were the primary contributors to revenue gains in May at $93.7 million, a 8.4 percent increase when compared to May 2016. However, table games were slightly down when compared to May of last year at approximately $5 million in wagers, or 5.3 percent less than May 2016.

Visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile to learn more about Deadwood. Read more recent news from Deadwood at the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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 In November 2015, citizens from Raritan Township in Day County petitioned for the township to repair and maintain two roads near their lands or to show why the work couldn't be done, according to the Rapid City Journal

The township had been responsible for repairing the roads in the past, and from 1995 to 2010 had spent around $256,000 to keep the roads passable.  In 2011, the nearby lake flooded, rendering the roads unusable.  The lowest estimate for current repairs would be 19 times the annual road budget, so maintenance would require a special tax levy.

This past Thursday, the South Dakota Supreme Court handed down its decision, unanimously deciding for the township.

For more information on legal issues in South Dakota, please visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.

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South Dakota's Obligation Recovery Center has successfully collected $1.25 million in unpaid fees and taxes, which has been given back to various state departments and agencies, reports the Rapid City Journal.

The Center is responsible for tracking down money that is owed the state through unpaid taxes, university tuition and fees, and court costs owed by criminal defendants.  Those who owe can find themselves blocked from getting hunting/fishing licenses, or unable to renew drivers licenses or vehicle registrations.  Once repayment has been made, or a payment plan agreed to, the block will be lifted.  The Center is funded from the fees collected on past due obligations, which average around 20 percent.

For more information on state taxes, please visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.

Published in News
Thursday, 20 April 2017 18:44

Rapid City Institutes Hiring Moratorium

Rapid City is taking steps to make up for reduced sales tax revenue. In a letter to the council, Mayor Steve Allender presented a hiring moratorium for all city departments. For the remainder of the year, city departments will have to wait 30, 60, or 90 days based on size to advertise vacancies. Based on vacancy numbers last year, the mayor expects the plan to save $337,969.

More news stories about Rapid City's mayor are linked in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.

Published in News

In February, new state revenue estimates were adopted by the state legislature when it became clear that South Dakota was looking at a $43 million shortfall.  After reviewing revenue for February and March, it appears that the state is falling short of even those revised estimates, reports the Rapid City Journal.

Contributing factors include slow e-commerce and a lack of inflation, but also the slow downturn of the agriculture economy, which has been falling over the last six years.  The estimates were off by the most in the category of insurance company tax, and state sales tax.

For more information on the 2017 legislature, please visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.


Published in News

In its first year, Lawrence County collected $314,000 through the wheel tax, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. February 2017 saw the largest collection with over $36,000 collected. The large sum was attributed to an Enterprise facility in Montana which registered 867 vehicles in the county.

Lawrence County assesses $2 per tire with a maximum assessment of $24. The wheel tax was adopted in 2015 by Lawrence County to be eligible in the state’s road and bridge repair grant program. Revenue assessed through the wheel tax remains at the county level and is used to repair roads and bridges.

To read more about Lawrence County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile

Published in News
Thursday, 09 March 2017 19:41

State Advances Online Sales Tax Battle

A loss in court may lead to a win for a South Dakota law at the United States Supreme Court. Senate Bill 106 was passed in 2016, instructing online businesses to collect sales tax for South Dakota purchases. Although Amazon has recently begun collecting taxes, South Dakota sued four other companies. The Rapid City Journal reported this week that Judge Mark Barnett ruled in favor of the defendants, citing Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, a decision requires a business to have a physical address in a state if the state is to collect taxes from it. There is hope among state leaders that this court case will reach the Supreme Court, who may overturn the Quill Corp ruling.

To read more news about taxes impacting the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive

Published in News
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 15:55

South Dakota Tax Revenues Lower than Projected

Lawmakers on a state budget subcommittee believes that revenue streams for the state will be $27.8 million lower than projected in December of last year, reports KOTA News. Lawmakers are also projecting approximately $25.3 million less in ongoing receipts for the current budget cycle.

Jim Terwilliger, the state’s economist, cites low inflation and a decrease in spending in the farm economy as possible contributors to the lower revenue. The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations will formally announce budget levels.

For more legislative information, visit the 2017 South Dakota Legislative Issue Hub page. To read recent legislative news, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

Published in News
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 00:09

Amazon To Collect SD Sales Tax In February

This February, Amazon will begin collection South Dakota sales tax, reports Keloland News. South Dakota will be the 35th state which receives sales tax revenue through Amazon sales.

The new agreement was announced by Governor Daugaard during his 2017 State of the State Address. He also noted that the agreement with Amazon was voluntary. Remittance of the sales tax is slated to begin in late March.

 In December 2016, the Black Hills Knowledge Network conducted an analysis of sales tax revenue lost through online sales in the Black Hills region. The analysis found that in the Black Hills alone, internet sales may be costing South Dakota $13.8 million annually.

To learn more, read the full analysis of the impact internet sales have on South Dakota Sales Revenue. Visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s sister site, the South Dakota Dashboard, to learn more about the economy in South Dakota

Published in News
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