City outlines plan for spending nearly $6.4M in 2020 savings

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By Elisa Sand – With $6.39 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding covering personnel expenses for public safety employees, Aberdeen officials have outlined a plan for the use of resulting unspent city funds.

That money can be spent on unbudgeted COVID-19 expenses and budgeted public safety personnel expenses, according to city council meeting documents.

With nearly $6.4 million unspent in the city budget thanks to the federal money, City Manager Joe Gaa has outlined a plan setting aside city funds in the following categories:

  • $1 million for expenses related to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.
  • $4 million for future capital equipment purchases.
  • $1 million for future public safety personnel expenses.
  • The remaining balance for special projects.

A resolution outlining the plan was discussed and unanimously approved by the council during its Monday evening meeting.

According to the resolution, $500,000 has been set aside to reimburse city budgets for COVID-19-related expenses like personal protective equipment or plastic barriers. Just prior to discussion about that item, the council approved budget supplements for the 2020 budget, including $220,000 for COVID-19 expenses.

Anything unspent after March 31, 2021, will be placed in a special projects fund.

Another $500,000 will be used for COVID-19 related expenses in 2021. Anything unspent by March 21, 2022, will go into a special projects fund.

Of the $4 million designated for capital fleet purchases, $1.5 million is for police vehicles, $1.5 million for Aberdeen Fire & Rescue vehicles and $1 million for other city vehicles.

And $1 million is set aside for public safety personnel costs as a budget supplement for the police and fire departments.

Approximately $380,000, plus any unspent funds set aside for COVID-19 related expenses, will be put in a special projects fund for capital projects or economic development initiatives to be identified later.

Gaa said the plan will help provide a dedicated source of funding for some of those annual capital expenses that can be difficult to fit into the budget.

COVID-19 marketing plan

Gaa also briefly outlined components of the city’s marketing plan to encourage the use of masks within the city. The council discussed implementing more marketing encouraging the use of masks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gaa said $5,000 has been allocated for the broadcast of radio advertisements. A dozen sanitation stations have also been purchased, which will be distributed to area businesses with assistance from the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Gloves were purchased for distribution to businesses and efforts continue to increase the city’s social media presence.

According to a news release from the chamber, businesses interested in face masks and hand sanitizer available for distribution through the chamber are asked to fill out a brief survey at

The products are available at no cost and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis as quantities are limited.

Masks and hand sanitizers for personal use are available individually to Aberdeen citizens at the chamber office, 516 S. Main St., while supplies last.  Call 605-225-2860  or email for more information.