March 5th, 2015 — Developers, Development, Sioux Falls
You will have to watch the meeting yourself, but I got a good chuckle out of how they are claiming that ‘workforce’ housing is similar to affordable or low income housing. It’s NOT. It pretty much means they don’t have to charge low rents like affordable housing. They use a tax credit that makes them eligible to charge rents comparable to 60% of the median income. Make no mistake, this apartment building is just that, an apartment building, nothing special about it, and certainly not deserving of a TIF.
I also take issue with developers that live out of state getting property tax rebates. At least when Dunham or Lloyd get a TIF, they put the money back into our community.
I hope the City Council grows a sack and denies this TIF, it’s not a blighted area and it’s not affordable housing.
March 5th, 2015 — Michelle Erpenbach, Sioux Falls Parks and Rec
As I have been reviewing salary changes since 2011-2015 (post to come soon) I came across a ‘little’ nepotism. Seems former Parks Board member and City Councilor, Erpenbach was able to get her son a part-time job in 2011.
ERPENBACH I MAXWELL I 2011 I PARK & RECREATION I TEMPORARY ‐ SERVICE
That’s our tax dollars hard at work, paying city councilor’s kids to mow grass.
March 5th, 2015 — SF City Council, Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Parks and Rec
Kermit is asking for open government in Sioux Falls again and guess who doesn’t like it, again? Yup the old schoolmarm. She just doesn’t stop hating everything to do with open government. It’s as if we the people are too stupid or dense to understand the basics so she has to keep reminding us of her special place.
Kermit asks a very simple question about holding the super duper top secret Sioux Falls Park Board in the open in the Carnegie Town Hall so they could be broadcast for the Citylink viewers ability to watch.
Here we have a city department sucking and spending a major part of our city revenue with no oversight. We ask a question and they close down the meetings. The schoolmarm was once on the Park Board and still protects it from the Council. She still is so protective she doesn’t want Kermit to bring it up.
We also ask all to consider the questionably legal maneuver she has performed recently getting named to the Spellerberg Aquatics citizen committee. She got herself named to the committee to make decisions for her special interest then she turns around and votes as a councilperson on those very same proposals.
A few conflict of interest type issues to work out her and she does not want anyone to see it. Open government anyone? Next thing you know the schoolmarm will bring out her ruler to smack fingers for raising questions.
March 5th, 2015 — South Dakotans, State Funding, State Legislature, Taxes
Today is the day to weigh in on SB135, because the House State Affairs committee takes it up early tomorrow (Friday), 7:45AM.
This bill hikes the most regressive tax we have.
SB135 hits harder on the lower-income people, who already pay a greater portion of income than the well-off. Legislators like to tout what a low income state SD is. Well, we do have lower taxes overall, but only for some of us. People with lowest fifth of incomes pay a higher portion of income than the national average.
This bill would take more food off tables. Families with limited budgets for food already lose 3 weeks worth of food over a year to state and local tax. This bill would cost them 3-and-a-half weeks worth.
Talk about a tax increase! This one is a 50% increase in sales tax for cities! 2% to 3% is a 50% increase! This is huge, especially for Sioux Falls, where population is growing, and sales tax revenue too – much faster than the population. Yesterday’s Argus reports Sioux Falls has a reserve equal to 37.2% of its budget. Some cities may need new revenue, but this is the wrong way to raise it.
SB135 is for special projects and requires a local vote, and legislators love “local control.” But you know how a city can call just about anything a special project and bring out supporters in a low-turnout election. (streets for Sioux Falls. How special is that?)
Please help these Rep’s see that meeting basic human needs (food and heat) should have their higher priority than local control.
March 4th, 2015 — Sioux Falls, Washington Pavilion
Roofers are going to keep themselves busy at the Pavilion.
Over the past few days I started thinking about why ‘engineering services’ alone would cost $78,000 for roof replacement. These are JUST plans, not actual replacement costs. Remember the window replacement bid fiasco? Or how the tuck and point job was getting messed up by a local contractor and an out of state contractor had to be brought in to fix the mess?
Then I started to get even more curious when Councilor Staggers made the comments about ‘the several fixes’ the Pavilion roof has gotten over the years, and I personally recall when I worked there about the leaky roof.
Make no mistake, the roof probably needs to be replaced, and when we are spending $78,000 just for engineering, it must be pretty serious.
I talked to a local contractor this morning and asked what their thoughts are on a project like this. They said that the leaky roof doesn’t surprise them, because as they understand, they had to join a new roof with the old roof on all 4 sides (remember the only part that was gutted was the center for the Great Hall). He said you would automatically have issues right off the bat, joining an almost 100 year old roof with a new roof, also take into account, it’s a flat roof, so during the winter/spring when thawing and freezing occurs, ice dams most likely happen at the openings of the downspouts.
He said the project will probably get even more expensive if they replace the balustrades (those buldgy pedestal thingies on the edge of the roof) with fiberglass replicas. I guess the terracota balustrade should be replaced because they could crack and break due to their age and fall on people below.
That wouldn’t be good.
Make no mistake, the Pavilion roof replacement is probably long overdue, but like the siding on the Events Center, it should have been done right to begin with. Can’t wait for the maintenance bids to start coming in on the Events Center in the next 10-14 years. Grab your ankles folks, this is gonna hurt.
March 4th, 2015 — Brandon, SF City Council, Sioux Falls
I’m told the meeting is NOT at Carnegie or being recorded because this is an ‘informal get to know each other’ meeting.
I’ll bring the snacks and handycam, who is bringing the beer?
March 4th, 2015 — SF City Council, Sioux Falls
March 3rd, 2015 — Music
Her voice reminds me of the lead singer of ‘Dead Can Dance‘. Haunting.
March 3rd, 2015 — Media, Sioux Falls
As you know, way back in December I posted about how the Mayor and his best buddy Jay went to a Green Bay game together;
I was also shown photos of the mayor attending a Greenbay game at Lambeau with the general manager of KELO-TV, Jay Huizenga. I guess it didn’t shock me too much
As you know, by reading the post, Jay said he doesn’t comment on his ‘personal life’. So I decided to ask his employer about his activities. This is the email I sent to Media General (December 30, 2014);
I have some concerns about one of your properties/news organizations.
KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, SD.
I have been a resident of Sioux Falls since 1991 moving here to attend technical school, I grew up in rural South Dakota and have watched KELO since I have been a child. I also follow state and city politics very keenly. I am very familiar with many local journalists and elected officials.
Recently I was shown photos (I believe acquired from Facebook) of the General Manager of KELO, Jay Huizenga attending an NFL game at Lambeau field (Greenbay) with the mayor of our city, Mike Huether. There were also photos of the mayor attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party and announcing at the party that it was ‘Jay Huizenga Day’ in Sioux Falls in celebration of Jay’s birthday.
Mr. Huether is an elected official and acts as a full-time city manager, he is not ceremonial, and acts under a strong mayor form of government and home rule charter. Recently he has been proud of getting a new Events Center in Sioux Falls built, KELO-TV is one of the naming sponsors.
Out of fairness, I asked (emailed) Mr. Huizenga why a GM of a news organization would attend a very public event like an NFL game with an elected official and invite him to the Christmas party. I questioned the journalistic integrity of such decisions.
Jay did respond to my email, telling me, “I don’t comment on my personal life.”
I’m not sure what Media General’s policies are on relationships between journalists/news managers and elected officials, but Jay seems to be implying he is ‘personal’ friends with the mayor, and since he is, it is OKAY to attend these events with him. This kind of relationship concerns me because it puts into question the purpose of the 4th Estate, and it’s duty to perform those duties with the highest ethical standards. I think journalists and news managers should avoid those kind of situations and not encourage them so there is no ‘appearance’ of conflicts of interest.
I thought you should be aware of the situation AND await your prompt response.
Scott L. Ehrisman
Courtney responds to me (January 7, 2015):
I apologize for the delay in responding, I was out of the country. I will look into this with our Operations Mgmt Team.
Director, Marketing & Communications
I have not heard from them since, I even sent this email (February 11, 2015):
Courtney, do you have any updates about this?
Apparently, Media General condones Jay’s behavior. Now back to scaring old people with weather reports! Carry ON!
March 3rd, 2015 — Public Works, Sioux Falls, snow removal
This is something that has been tossed around for awhile, and I highly recommend the city budgets in 2016 for these units;
Sioux Falls Street Fleet Galynn Huber says the city is in line to update technology on their trucks that will make your life easier the next time it snows.
“When we eventually go to putting GPS units in our trucks so that people can see where we’re at, it’s going to be key,” said Huber
The GPS would track the snow plows as they cleared the roads.
It would also help residents see when snowplows are in the area, for parking, driveway scooping, etc.