Two Black Hills projects would be funded with extra money from this year’s state government budget if recommendations from Gov. Dennis Daugaard are enacted.
During his final yearly budget address Tuesday at the Capitol in Pierre, Daugaard proposed spending $3.88 million to help fund construction of an Army National Guard aviation facility in Rapid City, and $1.66 million to renovate a building in Sturgis that would serve as the state Metrology Lab.
Those two projects and seven others around the state would receive a total of $18.65 million in appropriations from money available in the current fiscal year 2019 budget. Daugaard said much of the money for the projects has been freed up by fewer-than-projected Medicaid enrollees, lower-than-projected statewide school enrollment and higher-than-projected statewide property values.
The $3.88 million for the National Guard facility in Rapid City would quicken the funding pace for a planned $20 million National Guard Readiness Center at Rapid City Regional Airport.
The Legislature approved partial funding for the project last winter as part of a three-year plan. Daugaard said the $3.88 million in additional funding that he is proposing would cover years two and three of the plan.
Additionally, the state anticipates $15 million from the federal government to complete the funding for the project.
The existing Army Aviation Support Facility at Rapid City Regional Airport is crowded with aircraft and personnel, National Guard officials have said. The new National Guard Readiness Center would be built next to the existing facility and would provide space for offices, classrooms, training areas, storage and supplies.
The $1.66 million that Daugaard is proposing for a state Metrology Lab would move the existing lab out of what has been deemed an unsuitable space in Pierre, Daugaard said during a press conference after his speech. The lab would be moved to Sturgis, where an existing state-owned building on a Department of Transportation complex would be renovated to serve as the lab's new home.
Daugaard said during the press conference that the Metrology Lab validates equipment used by state employees to enforce standards for measuring devices, such as scales that weigh grain and trucks, and equipment that validates the octane rating of gasoline.
Daugaard said a new home for the lab is needed to keep it certified and in compliance with national standards.
Daugaard’s proposed expenditures of extra fiscal year 2019 funds are among his broader recommendations for the fiscal year 2020 budget. His recommendations are subject to consideration by the Legislature and the new governor when they convene for the annual legislative session next month in Pierre. Daugaard is term-limited and will be succeeded by Gov.-elect Kristi Noem when she is inaugurated Jan. 5.