RAPID CITY, S.D. — In her budget address to state legislators on Tuesday, Governor Kristi Noem outlined issues that she wants to allocate funding (a total of $5.7 billion) to help solve problems in public safety, the workforce and infrastructure in South Dakota.
I sat down with the Governor to discuss how these programs will solve issues, like work force housing.
“We have a lot of jobs open in communities of all sizes,” Gov. Noem said. “The problem is to recruit those workers, they have to have somewhere to live.”
Governor Noem proposed a new grant program that uses $200 million, including $150 million in state funding and $50 million in federal pandemic relief funds, toward a partnership between developers and communities.
“It’s a 150 to $250,000 house that most families in the state can realistically look at as providing for their family and what this grant does is by, you know, granting a third of the dollars to build it,” Gov. Noem said. “It’ll cut the cost dramatically. That makes it feasible for these families.”
The Governor also touched on cities and counties combing pandemic relief funds with the state to fund $1.5 billion in water and sewer projects.
The need for water in west river was something she acknowledged, but Gov. Noem is also stressing that the federal funds come with a time limit.
“We need to look at what part of those projects we can partner on that realistically can be accomplished in five years fully funding it would be impossible,” Gov. Noem said.
Governor Noem also elaborated on a $28 million proposal to legislators for a Women’s Community Work Center in Rapid City by giving closer-to-home care to women in the system and a way to alleviate a crowded state prison.
“Making sure they can get skills training while they’re there, making sure we have the space to do Addiction Counseling, Mental Health Counseling, too, so they can be more successful outside of those types of facilities,” said Gov. Noem.
Legislators will address these proposals and more at the next legislative session in January.