- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 6, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The Sioux Falls City Council has approved a $22 million city office building downtown, but the project has one more hurdle.

Council members deadlocked in a 4-4 tie on Tuesday, and Mayor Mike Huether cast the deciding vote in favor of the three-story government office building. However, final approval won’t be official until fall, when a new City Council signs off on the project.

The city currently leases space for some of its workers because City Hall has no room to grow. A city-owned administrative building will save money in the long run, according to Finance Director Tracy Turbak. She encouraged council members to “look at this as a long-term solution to a need that will not go away.”

Opponents wonder if there are cheaper alternatives, or if the city could collaborate with Minnehaha County.

The sale of bonds to finance the project will be delayed until October. That will enable a newly elected council - it will see 50 percent turnover next month - to revisit the vote, and also give the county more time to consider joining the project.

“By Oct. 1, the county will know their budget as well as we the city know our budget, too,” Councilman Rick Kiley said. “It’s conceivable and it’s been communicated to us by members of the county that they would have a better idea of the direction they would like to go.”

Councilman Greg Jamison said he thinks the county needed to be part of the planning from the start.

“For this project you’ve already left the station with the train and you’re asking the county to jump on,” he said. “You’re a little too far down the tracks for them to jump on.”

If the new council in the fall doesn’t revisit the project, construction could start early next year, with the building completed by June 2018.

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