The obvious is staring them in the eyes

Bob Kolbe explains why some people speak at Public Input

Sioux Falls City Council Public Input, Bob Kolbe, June 20, 2017

“You know sometimes people like myself come before you and people say why do they always come forward? They always are criticizing and always pointing at things that are not necessarily the highlight of the activity of the city, county or the state. Part of it is because the good things that are done by the people on that side of the bench will take credit and publicize what they feel are the good things and the people on this side of the bench are those who are looking at things and trying to see with joint mutual concern for the city and the county, whatever, that they are trying to make it better.”

Great idea for a database I thought already existed

At first glance, I thought, WOW! What a fantastic idea and tool for our community;

A new database, OpenSiouxFalls, will become a central repository for data reflecting the metro area’s workforce, economy, social services, education and quality of life.

Like I said, great idea. But one wonders why the Chamber, the City or the Development Foundation weren’t already using such a database? Maybe they have been, but by the sounds of the development of this site, you wonder how comprehensive it is?

Beta testing for the first phase of the project is planned for this summer.

So has this information been used in the past by organizations? And if so, who was the gatekeeper? Like the affordable housing study by Thrive, one wonders if anyone has been compiling such essential information or just flying by the seat of their pants?

I applaud the efforts to make this public, let’s hope they pull it off smoothly and actually make something public that seems to have been either stored in a safe for a very long time or didn’t exist at all.

Someone needs to tell Representative Schoenfish there is no ‘I’ in Teamwork

I have done a lot of things for SD, except answer key questions about the GearUp program

Kyle wants you to know all the great things HE did in Pierre this last year (notice he leaves out his stellar performance as GearUp’s auditor);

I have been appointed to the workforce housing summer study by the legislative executive board. My experience as a CPA working on muncipal audits and housing/rental components of income taxes will be beneficial on the committee.

Maybe these are some things that Kyle should be answering;

1)How long has Schoenfish and Company conducted audits of Mid-Central Educational Cooperative?

2)How many years were you Kyle Schoenfish personally involved with doing the audits and what years where they?

3)What was your response Kyle as an auditor to the discrepancies in the monthly balances shown in Mid-Central’s financial reports from June 2011 through March 2014?

4)What other irregularities did your audits find in Mid-Central’s finances that might be related to the improper use of funds that has led to criminal charges for Mid-Central personnel?

5)When did you first become aware or suspect in your audits of businesses associated with the  Westerhuis’s of what SD Attorney General has described as misappropriating “at least” $1.2 Million from the state and federally funded GEAR UP program?

6)When, to whom, and how did you report these $1.2 misappropriations?

7)When did you first become aware or suspect what SD Attorney General describes as 17 illegal secret contracts let by Dan Guericke, worth $3.8 million, that were not lawfully approved? 

8)When, to whom, and how did you report these $3.8 million worth of illegal contracts?

9)When did you first become aware or suspect what SD Attorney General reports was evidence in the Gear Up  financial records of over $300,000 of “…misuse, or misapplication of monies designated for Native Americans and their education.” By Stacy Phelps, Dan Guericke, and Stephanie Hubers? 

10)When, to whom, and how did you report $300,000 of “…misuse, or misapplication of monies designated for Native Americans and their education?”

REMSA supports transparency, fooled me

All of a sudden Gary Meyers and The Bride of Franken are claiming they are all about transparency, even B-N-B chimes in and says ‘It sounds like you are being transparent’ (Greg had to call a city official the night before for questions to ask Franken and Meyers).

I call BS on both of them, heck, all 3 of them.

Franken has said to councilors and the public in the past when asked to explain the new 980 policies that it was ‘too complicated to explain’ and buried herself in a hole. It is also rumored she was ushered off to Texas for a brief period to learn the NEW system.

Meyers says he has NO idea who Commissioner Barth is, even though Barth sits on the county medical board.

Meyers says you can come to their meetings that they are open, yet they often change the schedule of the meeting at the last minute and REFUSE to have the meetings recorded (with the backing of the mayor) so the public can view them later online or in replay on Channel 16.

As I have told the mayor during public input in the past, saying your transparent and ACTUALLY being transparent are two different things.

Here is a transcript of the show (it gets interesting at about page 8); 2017-06-22-belfrage-show

Huether announces he will not be running anymore errands for the rest of the week

In a press release he said that the ‘dry cleaning is done’ and the ‘dishes are washed’. He went on to say that since he finished all his errands by the end of the day Wednesday, it will give him time to be fully prepared for the weekend.

“Not sure what NEW errands will arise come Monday, but myself and the good folks of Sioux Falls will be ready for them.”

Huether has also asked for privacy over the next two days before the weekend so he can truly contemplate and absorb the impact of getting his errands done early.

Annexation Fairness

As a longtime reader of DaCola pointed out a few days ago;

Warren Phear;

Speaking of foundation park. Something I would love to see the Argus follow up on. This I know. 820 acres were purchased by whoever for $24,000 an acre. The anchor tenant just bought 54 acres for $106,000 an acre. How did this land come to be worth so much? It came to be worth so much on the backs of SF water users. Getting the needed infrastructure to foundation is costing tens of millions of dollars. To pay for water and sewer to foundation the city raised those rates. Not once, but each year. The gift that keeps on giving. In the 2018 CIP the city allocated $29,000,000 to just get sewer to foundation. Stop and think about it. That is more than the admin building. 5 million more than the indoor pool. All for what? So somebody, don’t know who for sure, can make $80,000 an acre in profit. For 820 acres. Not a bad deal, once you consider who made that land worth that much.

I’ve been following the Annexation study group meetings lately, and one of the main points of the people that may be affected is, “How will this benefit me?”

As you can see from Warren’s comments, annexation was essential to launching Flopdation Park, and the benefits are numerous. The park is receiving millions in corporate welfare in the form of city infrastructure. Of course, the city ‘thinks’ they will recoup these costs in property tax revenue and platting fees. There is also the economic impact and job growth. I don’t think those costs will be recouped for decades, if ever.

So why would we charge annexation neighborhoods directly for these same kind of infrastructure upgrades? Shouldn’t the city just absorb these costs since they would essentially recoup some of this with new frontage fees and property taxes? While I am on the fence whether to NOT charge them nothing, I don’t think the current proposals are equitable, especially for properties that are older. I think maybe an additional fee of $500 a year for the next 20 years may be more palatable, or less.

But there is the bigger question here. If the city feels that they would have to charge homeowners directly for the annexation upgrades, is the annexation even worth it to the city coffers? I guess what I am trying to say is if the city can’t just absorb these costs equitably, is it really worth annexing them? Show to me that it will make our city stronger financially by annexing these islands than I would be all for it, if not, like Flopdation Park, it’s just a handout that benefits no one, and maybe that is why they think they should charge for the upgrades upfront. Now if we could only apply that philosophy to tax dodging Iowa ice cream makers.

Huether Family Match Pointe; Still a polished Turd

I see the Tennis community in Sioux Falls received another innocuous National award;

Sioux Falls’ own Huether Family Match Pointe is one of 12 winners in the 36th annual United States Tennis Association Facility Awards program, which recognizes excellence in the construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country.

In 2015, the City of Sioux Falls invested $500,000 in equipment for the indoor tennis facility. Public/private partnerships make a difference in the quality of life of our community, and this investment allowed for more year-round recreation offerings for Sioux Falls and the region.

I still question what our investment has done to better the community. As you know, the parking lot is often blocked during events at the Sanford Sports Complex. I have yet to hear anybody who has used the facility. I still think we should be paid back, especially after a sitting mayor plastered their name on a non-profit facility that was subsidized by taxpayers. It just doesn’t smell right.

It is time Minnehaha County Commission has its meetings at night

Don’t think they have not tried. Commissioners Barth and Kelly made an attempt to change the meetings to 5 PM a few years ago. The vote failed 2-3. My suggestion would be a 5:30 or 6 PM meeting on Monday nights.

The reason? Well there are several. For one, the working class of this county could attend the meetings. One complaint I hear from several people is that no one knows what the county is up to. If you watch the meetings in replay (which usually takes 2 days to post to YouTube) like I do, the County makes some pretty serious decisions when it comes to how your property taxes are spent and criminal justice. While the city is the road builder of the city, the county is really the caretaker.

So why the opposition? I could use the ‘Republican’ excuse and their desire to keep government as closed as possible, but that excuse doesn’t hold much water since Uber Republican Kelly supported the night meetings. But I do think there is a strong desire by leadership on the county to keep the meetings during the day when the public struggles to attend.

I think they should take another shot at it.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Erpenbach; We’ll get you coming or going

This kitty likes dry and moist cat food both.

Michelle shows her true colors once again. When the Republicans speak of the ‘Tax and Spend’ Democrats, you only have to point your finger at the wine and cheese peeps in the group, or as I refer to as the ‘elitist’ Dems. Huether was part of the club, and just because he changed his registration doesn’t mean he still doesn’t wear the badge with his bestie Erpenbach.

Last night at the SF City Council meeting they were hearing the 1st reading on the fee increases for zoning applications (Item#32), during the discussion, Stehly said this;

“I will be voting NO on this, I’m committed to affordable living . . . (she was the only one to state this).

Erpenbach quickly responds by saying;

“I encourage my colleagues to vote for this. Continue to require people to pay the fee, that covers our cost, helps keep our taxes down. This is a user fee only.”

In other words, if we can’t nail you when you build, we will get you after it is built. Ironically, it seems Erpenbach supports both ways since she has NEVER voted against a property tax increase in the 7 years she has sat on the council, or for that matter a fee increase. So which is it Michelle. Seems you want your cake, and you want to eat it to.