Council trims $19,500 from 2021 promotion fund

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By Elisa Sand – The Aberdeen City Council trimmed additional funds from 2021 promotion fund allocations Monday, but not all were in favor of the decision.

City Councilman Clint Rux questioned the need to cut the 2021 allocations.

The council resubmitted funding allocations for 2021 based on total estimated revenue of $1.1 million. A plan approved last week adjusted 2020 funding requests with a $75,000 supplement using city sales tax revenue and running a $40,000 deficit .

Because of that deficit, additional cuts were needed for next year.

Aberdeen’s promotion fund includes sales tax receipts from the city’s 1% bed and booze tax. It’s charged on hotel and motel stays, alcohol sales and restaurant meals. Much of the revenue is driven by events that happen in Aberdeen, but COVID-19 has led to many events canceling or postponing this year.

Rux said he provided his recommendations based on a total of $1.1 million, not $1.06 million, a total that accounts for this year’s deficit.

He said the cuts proposed Monday were “a cut, off a cut, off a cut.”

While some council members referred to the cuts as about $17,000, which was the estimated amount shared at the Sept. 8 meeting, Monday’s cuts ultimately amounted to $19,500.

Knowing they are a reduction from an already reduced amount, Rux asked if it was necessary to cut down to $1.06 million or if the council should simply adopt the numbers presented last week.

City Manager Joe Gaa said he wouldn’t recommend that, but said he anticipates reviewing promotion fund numbers several times.

While Rux said he understood that, he added that other city funds are coming in higher than anticipated. And the city hasn’t even addressed the stimulus funding awarded through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Securities Act, he said.

Others on the council understood that position, but still felt the additional cuts were needed.

Councilwoman Tiffany Langer said her goal is to cut as little as possible from 2020 allocations because those totals were already promised. She also anticipates continued evaluation of 2021 allocations.

In response, Rux also categorized the current situation as extraordinary times.

“We need these organizations here for another year,” he said.

Councilman Dave Lunzman said he’d rather start with smaller allocations for the organizations and approve more at a later date.

With the exception of Rux, all on the council approved the following promotion fund changes:

  • A $1,500 reduction for the Aberdeen Area Arts Council, dropping funding from $20,000 to $18,500.
  • A $1,500 reduction for Aberdeen Community Theatre, dropping funding from $17,500 to $16,000.
  • A $4,000 reduction for the Aberdeen Downtown Association, dropping funding from $100,000 to $96,000,
  • All $5,000 for Wylie Park fireworks.
  • A $3,500 reduction in marketing funds for the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce, dropping funding from $107,500 to $104,000.
  • A $4,000 reduction in funds for the Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, dropping funding from $435,000 to $431,000.