Ron is proud of his accomplishments while he was on City Council. When he took office he created a list of goals for his first term in office (much like the list above). This is a partial list and the progress he made toward each goal. Though there are many other things he accomplished during that time, these were goals that he specifically set out to accomplish. To see Ron's accomplishments during his term in council, click here. His campaign promises were kept.

1. Pass an ordinance that will effectively address the quality of our roads by ensuring that core samples are done and that the finished product reasonably matches up to the development plan.
COMPLETED: This was a major undertaking that went through very quietly and effects every road that gets built in Rapid City. ORDINANCE 5793, PASSED UNANIMOUSLY on February 6, 2012. Additionally, Ron worked with City staff from the Public Works Department to make sure that more information is available for council members prior to accepting a road. The Public Works Director and his staff have done an outstanding job in this regard, leading to more transparency and better roads.

2. To implement travel restrictions on council members who are in the last four months of their terms. This was ATTEMPTED as an amendment to a travel ordinance but failed. Again on August 6, 2012 he attempted to make an amendment to the revised travel policy to include the following: Approval of out of state travel in the last three months of a term shall require 2/3 vote from council with the exception if the traveling council member is running unopposed for re-election. He pointed out that this would still allow travel as needed but would require more support from council. His motion failed on a 4-6 vote.

3. To prevent excess spending and to reduce spending where possible. Ron proposed cuts to the 2012 City budget in some areas (particularly Destination Rapid City which was planned to be independent). The motion failed but Destination Rapid City later came back to the City and decided to eliminate their $100,000 subsidy. Ron proposed cuts to the 2013 budget but a vote was taken to decide if there would be any support for cuts---it failed on a 4-6 vote.

4. Improve our government so that it is more open and transparent (see his "Open Government" page). Ron is in favor of state legislation to allow taking minutes in executive session (the minutes would not be public unless there is a lawsuit). After the 2011 election, Ron pointed out the absence of financial interest statements to the mayor. He agreed that information should be on the city's website and it was added. Ron made additional recommendations regarding the City's website to further improve openess. As a result, Rapid City received an "B" grade for openess by the Sunshine Review group. Rapid City was the only South Dakota municipality to score higher than a C grade.

5. Continue moving forward with the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan, with the goal of seeing most of it implemented. Ron continue to support the installation of sidewalks in areas where they do not exist and their addition would be reasonable. Ron has pushed to make sure these changes and improvements continue to happen. Ron also brought forward an ordinance change to repeal the mandatory bike registration fee. This repeal PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

6. Be fiscally responsible and reduce the budget where possible. See # 3 above.
Ron Sasso's City Council Goals/Accomplishments for 2011-2013
Ron Sasso
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Cell # (605) 593-3759
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Ron's City Council Goals
"A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy." - Theodore Roosevelt
"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." - Calvin Coolidge
"By 'radical' I understand one who goes too far; by 'conservative' one who does not go far enough; by 'reactionary' one who won't go at all. I suppose I must be a 'progressive,' which I take to be one who insists on recognizing new facts, adjusting policies to facts and circumstances as they arise." - Woodrow Wilson
© Copyright Ron Sasso
Ron Sasso's City Council Goals
Many people running for office often talk in generalities, such as "I want to fix our infrastructure." Often it ends up being nothing more than political rhetoric. If you look at Ron Sasso's history, you can see that he made major changes to improve our infrastructure when he was given the opportunity.

When he was running for office, Ron had a list of goals he wanted to accomplish. He hopes that someone will one day take on these worthy challenges and improve Rapid City.

What did Ron plan to accomplish?

1. Ordinance Changes - Ordinance changes are the way to make positive changes that last. Too often policies can shift quickly depending on who is mayor. For example, in a five year span the City of Rapid City utilized three different budgeting styles. Each one had their own strengths and weaknesses. Each one required extensive training with hidden staffing costs. Making changes that go beyond a two or four year window makes sense.

Ron plans to make ordinance changes that will streamline city processes and to make it easier for people to do business with Rapid City. This simple (but time consuming) aspect of government is how long term improvements can be made. Many of Ron's subsequent goals will involve ordinance changes. The three ordinance changes he brought forward while serving in his previous term all passed unanimously. Change does not have to be contentious or scary.

2. City Planning - Implementation of recommendations from a second floor review of city planning that was completed in 2010 is still lagging. One of the main recommendations was to limit the number of items needing approval. It was noted that cities that are similar in size to Rapid City have approximately 10 items going to their planning commission each month. At the time the study was completed, Rapid City was averaging 80 items per month! Though the last three administrations have made progress in this area, more can be done as the monthly average is still over 40 items requiring approval each month. Ordinance changes will be the way to make these changes that will lead to more economic development.

3. Reducing Parking Requirements -
It is ironic that Rapid City's downtown area does not require parking spaces for businesses but Rapid City has stringent requirements outside of the downtown area. Private sector businesses should know their parking needs. As it stands right now, the parking requirements are designed to address the parking needs on the busiest day of the year---and there are still empty spaces on the busiest day of the year. This adds to the cost of doing business and stifles economic development. This is one example of a simple change to spur economic development. To add insult to injury, the additional parking requirements also increase a businesses' taxes as they need to pay more for the drainage utility fee because they have a larger covered surface preventing drainage.

4. Reduce Outside Consulting and Unnecessary Studies - Yes, there are times that outside consulting or an outside study is warranted---but often there are more cost effective ways of getting the same information. For example, a downtown parking study will likely reveal that there is one block downtown that has a shortage of parking. With our sales tax revenue currently down significantly, I believe we should be very careful with how we utilize our funds. How else can we get information? A request for proposals (RFP---which is free) for newer technology parking meters might provide some insight instead of an RFP for the downtown parking study. Also, the city of Deadwood is currently using newer technology parking meters. I would suspect that they also explored options for their city. Additionally, the Black Hills Council of Local Governments can provide studies (with local expertise) for a fraction of the cost. For some reason Rapid City has not been utilizing this valuable and cost-effective resource.

5. Improve Infrastructure - I have done this before and plan to do this again. Improving infrastructure requires money, planning, and prioritizing. By reducing unnecessary spending in other areas (such as outside consultants/studies) we can free up more money for infrastructure. We absolutely need to invest more in our roads. We are currently $25 million behind in our roads and it gives visitors a negative impression of our otherwise beautiful city.

Some related things that we need to be looking at, is gradually switching over our street lighting and interior building lighting to more cost-effective and energy efficient LED lights. Why? This will gradually reduce our ongoing cost for electricity. Currently we pay over $800,000 a year in electricity for street lighting alone. The electricity for the lighting for city-owned buildings is also a significant expense. It's important to look toward the future as allocating money to change lighting will save money in the years to come. The cost of LED lighting has diminished significantly from where it was several years ago, making it a cost-effective move and will eventually free up more money for other infrastructure projects.

6. Economic Development - Economic development is critical to our future and will improve our economy and ultimately the economic opportunities for our citizens. Though government does not create economic development, we have the ability to create an environment that encourages economic development. The goals listed above are tied to this goal as well. Reducing barriers to development and the red tape at city hall will help with encouraging development. Growth is critical to generating more sales tax revenue which can fund infrastructure improvements as well as other community enhancements. City government does not create business---but it should remove barriers that prevent businesses from coming to town.

7. Reduce Money Lost from Downtown Parking - On average Rapid City writes off over $50,000 each year in unpaid parking fines. We need to utilize better technology and advanced parking meters to minimize these losses.

8. Repeal the Roofing Permit Requirement - This is an item I would plan to bring forward within my first 30 days on council. Roofing permits were designed to protect homeowners and insure that roofs are shingled properly. Unfortunately, many roofs are not inspected (particularly flat roofs or commercial roofs) and city staff do not have the time to do inspections when we have a hail storm and a lot of roofs done at one time. Instead, the city can do public service announcements reminding homeowners to hire responsible contractors for roofing after hail storms come through the area.
Ron Sasso - Real Estate Professional