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Deadwood's historic preservation budget wins approval from state board of trustees

PIERRE -- A state board approved a smaller budget Friday for Deadwood historic preservation in 2017. The budget is funded by an estimated $6.95 million from Deadwood gambling tax revenues and taking about $1.975 million from reserves for capital ...

PIERRE - A state board approved a smaller budget Friday for Deadwood historic preservation in 2017.

The budget is funded by an estimated $6.95 million from Deadwood gambling tax revenues and taking about $1.975 million from reserves for capital improvement projects.

The amounts spent from reserves last year and being spent this year are significantly larger than the reserves used in the 2017 plan, according to the data presented by Kevin Kuchenbecker, the city's historic preservation officer, to the State Historical Society board of trustees.

The capital improvement portion of the budget used more than $2.8 million from reserves in 2015 and is targeted for more than $4.6 million from reserves this year.

Kuchenbecker told the state trustees that the reserve fund's balance would dip to about $4.5 million as a result of the proposed 2017 spending.

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He said the target for the balance has been about $7 million, equivalent to the preservation office's operating budget.

The 2017 operating budget of $6.95 million would be about $50,000 smaller than this year's amount and $122,000 less than the 2015 amount.

Two of the spots facing reductions are the $25,000 trolley reserve, which would be eliminated, and decreasing promotions and marketing to $400,000 from $480,000.

Kuchenbecker said the hope is the state Department of Tourism could help cover the $80,000 cut in promotions and marketing.

He said the city's bonding program for historic preservation project expires in 2019 and a new comprehensive plan should be assembled. The last one dates to 2001.

"We need to plan for the next 10 years," Kuchenbecker said.

Tom Blair, a former mayor of Deadwood, told the state trustees that state government receives $4 million annually and the Department of Tourism gets $5 million annually from Deadwood gambling taxes.

Blair, who was part of the campaign to win South Dakota voters' approval in 1988 to legalize gambling in the city, said Deadwood has done a lot for tourism.

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"The impact of two million people on a town of about 1,500 is substantial," Blair said. "What we do for South Dakota is bring another million people to town."

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