PIERRE, S.D. — Plans to slash the budget of a facility that provides services to the disabled by $1.5 million and cut 30 full-time positions are part of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's 2021 proposed budget recommendations.
Noem's 2021 budget plans gut the South Dakota Developmental Center's budget by $630,835 in general funds and $875,460 due to "rightsizing initiatives, utilities, food service and operating expenses," she said Tuesday, Dec. 3, during her address in the House chambers at the Capitol.
According to information on the South Dakota Department of Human Service's website, which oversees the developmental center in Redfield, the facility is allowed to hire up to 350 full-time employees.
As of November, the developmental center had 98 clients whose disabilities range from very mild developmental disabilities to severely profound.
Of those 98 clients, 23% are female, 77% are male, 70% are white and 30% are Native American.
Noem didn't directly address the decrease in staffing and funding at the developmental center in Tuesday's speech, but did highlight her budget proposal of $2.6 million in total funds to help change the assisted living care reimbursement model to better equip providers to accommodate individuals.
"Additionally, I recommend funding for increases in Medicaid utilization and cost, as well as increases for home and community-based services for the developmentally disabled," she said. "Long-term care services continue to be a priority in this state. My budget includes a new funding mechanism for assisted living services. I am proposing rate tiers for these providers to offer a broader range of services."
Noem recommended an increase of four full-time employee positions, $103,842 in general funds and $121,669 in federal funds for the Divisions of Developmental Disabilities and Long Terms Services and Supports, “for additional staff to keep pace with increased caseloads,” according to budget documents.
The 2021 proposed budget totals of $4.935 billion.