Monday, September 12, 2011

When Commitments Don't Matter

We read another article in the ARGUS LEADER regarding the budget shortfalls at Minnehaha County and the hard fact that they won't meet their agreed upon commitments to city government. The City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County have entered into two important cooperative agreements; one regarding the shared obligation regarding the operation of Metro 911 Communications Agency and the other regarding the funding of Siouxland Libraries.

It is hard to imagine how Minnehaha County can just ignore those agreements and elect to not fund their share of operating these two shared governmental operations. When they do not fund their share of expenses regarding these two agreements, the burden falls to the taxpayers of Sioux Falls. When a government entity is faced with budget shortfalls or deficits, it must act appropriately and to just say they are not going to meet their financial obligation is irresponsible.

How Minnehaha County got to this point is certainly up for debate. However, funding their share of Metro Communications is an important budget priority that should not be shirked away, expecting someone else to pay. I realize that the county has made tough decisions regarding salary cuts and even staffing levels but clearly their obligations to fund their portion of the 911 Emergency center that supports the Sheriff's jurisdictions in the county must not be ignored.

Siouxland Libraries encompasses the operations of the branch libraries in the county. If the Minnehaha County can not live up to its fiscal responsibility as outlined in the Siouxland Libraries cooperative agreement with the City of Sioux Falls, then maybe those branch libraries should be closed down. The taxpayers of the city of Sioux Falls should not bear the agreed upon fiscal responsibility of the county because they are not able to keep their fiscal house in order. Same goes for the Museum.

Their dismissal of an opt out seems to indicate their disregard for their fiscal responsibilities related to their cooperative agreements and sends a message that the City of Sioux Falls can just pick up their responsibilities and pay their bills.

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