Did the city lose a longtime building inspector?

I guess I don’t see a lot of job postings from the city for this position. I think many of the inspectors work for the city for a long period of time.

Councilor Neitzert misses the mark on the Lloyd TIF

Sioux Falls city councilor Greg Neitzert was doing the 2nd half of his SE Podcast stint this Sunday.

He was asked about TIFs and specifically the Lloyd TIF. He did a fantastic job of explaining how TIF’s work (it is essentially a property tax rebate). He also made great arguments as to why the TIF for UPTOWN II was for good reasons. On the face he is correct. We are using the TIF money to clean up soil, old buildings, asbestos and constructing some minimal public parking. Like I said, on it’s face it sounds like a great use.

But let’s look at reality. First off, we have NOT collected a penny in property taxes on the land for over 11 years. Nothing. Zilch. ZERO.

The TIF (Tax rebate) will last for 13-14 years. We will essentially be getting little to no tax revenue from the property for almost 25 years.

But what makes this TIF controversial is the fact that Lloyd promised to buy this property in 2006 and for some strange reason we let it sit for 11 years, and the only real reason I can come up with is that we were HOLDING it for the developer (with no major retainer of down payment). One developer in a city that has dozens of high profile, successful developers that would have loved to get their hands on that land, some of said that.

I guess I will never know the reason why we held the land for Lloyd Companies (I was looking for it in the Siding Settlement, but couldn’t find it).

I do know this though. Within those 11 years the city did NOTHING to either sell the land, clean up the land (with EPA grants) or even send out any RFPs. Why? Doesn’t it seem strange that while we were getting $27 million in Federal Dollars for a plot of dirty RR land we didn’t set aside a few bucks to clean up this property, put in curb and gutter and parking and sell it?

While Neitzert makes some good points about the usage of TIFs, the deal with Lloyd stinks.

*Also an important note. All of the councilors who voted for the TIF (besides Neitzert) received campaign donations from Craig Lloyd and councilor Selberg earns his living as a broker for the Lloyd Companies (he did not excuse himself). Councilors Starr and Stehly (who have never gotten campaign donations from Lloyd) voted against the TIF.

My REAL feelings on the Siding Settlement? A SAD EVENT.

You would think with all the contradictions in the contract and what we were told, Mayor Huether would have had better things to do yesterday besides dressing like Howdy Doody.

I have to be honest with you, when the city released the settlement yesterday, I was a little surprised. I was also surprised by how bad it was.

When I present my theories I usually give ‘worst case’ scenario. So when the truth comes out and it is worse, I’m not sure what to think. I’m still in shock.

Bruce and I have been pursuing this for over two years, and quite honestly I never expected the AL to win their case in the SD Supreme court. But I still wasn’t going to give up. Over a month ago, I reminded Bruce we need to do some more siding videos (we have lots of footage that has never been published).

I still think someday it will need to be repaired, sooner rather than later.

But in some ways, this wasn’t about the siding (or the roof) it was about the administration, lying again. I have been pointing out for over seven years the lies that come from the administration, so when you have vindication like this, it’s shocking, like I have already mentioned.

But I still am not in ‘celebration’ mode. Even when Bruce shook my hand last night congratulating us on this, I still have a lump in my stomach over it. Over the past three days I have had a sense of sadness. Pity not only for the taxpayers of Sioux Falls, the Media and the Council, but for the mayor. I don’t take much joy in this. I just wish at least our local elected officials and the public employees who work for them would use a little integrity, honesty and common sense. This did not take place. It is a very low point in Sioux Falls city government, and I’m sure once the contractors start talking, this is going to get a whole lot messier.

So what do I think should happen? Well barring the mayor is not willing to admit guilt and apologize, I think he should resign and take any public employee involved with this with him. As we know, his head is so large, it probably won’t happen.

But that won’t stop ethics complaints. Either way, any political capital the Mayor thinks he might have all got flushed down the toilet on Thursday. It’s probably best if he just holed himself up at his swamp cabin until May.

Vermillion, Gear Up and Kolaches

First off, a big shout out to Frank Kloucek for the excellent Kolaches, and the Old Lumber Company in Vermillion for the drinks and food.

CMB (Cameraman Bruce) and I headed to Vermillion last night to see the Folklore of the Gear-Up Wall for ourselves and the explanation of ‘what might have happened’ by the USD senior poli-sci class. While the students were NOT there, their gracious professor worked us through the yarn.

Hopefully we can edit this video to make everyone understand, somehow.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Sep 26, 2017

This week is a little less enduring than last week’s meeting.

During the INFORMATIONAL besides staff reports and open discussion, they go into executive session over an employee. Not sure what this is about, but I think it relates to a NEW audit department employee.

The city council than has their joint meeting with Lincoln County at 5 PM to discuss zoning changes and regulations.

At 6 PM, they go at it again with the Minnehaha County Commission to discuss a joint conditional use permit.

If you think McKennan Park has a problem house . . .

I think this story will really raise your eyebrows;

Building permits filed with the city called it “a remodel with a new addition.” But neighbors Thomas and Holly Ruether contend it actually was a tear-down and the building of a new, larger home.

Paint it yellow and it is all good.

Why didn’t Garth & Trisha spend this last week in Sioux Falls?

In all fairness, we knew from the beginning they weren’t going to spend the week here, but it seems Bruno Mars was more important;

The country star turned 53 on Tuesday, and in honor of her special day, her husband, Garth Brooks, adorably surprised her with a trip to Louisville, Kentucky (to see Bruno Mars).

So I guess our town is good enough to suck $7.5 million dollars out of, but not quite nice enough to spend your 53rd birthday in.

Poetry Club w/Charles Luden

Imaginary Diary Entry Thursday  

Some of the old guys here are younger than me.

My shirt is unbuttoned.

I’m hot or nervous.

It’s not the weather.

It’s not you either.

Who are you?

I’m ordering another cup of coffee.

It’ll make my arms feel better.

Charles Luden • 9-14-17 at Dunn Bros Coffee

Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly on FORUM

Theresa talks about government secrecy in light of the recent settlement release.

UPDATE: Events Center Settlement Released

9/22/2017 – 1ST POST: 1:30 pm, 1ST UPDATE: 2:29 PM, 2ND UPDATE: 3:01 PM, 3RD UPDATE 4:03 PM

I just did a quick read of the settlement, because I was a little surprised it was released this early. (FULL DOC: Events-Center-Settlement-Agreement).

My  impressions by a NON-LAWYER, Speed Read of the document is;

  • If the siding ever goes bad, we can never go back and sue any of these parties for the repair. The taxpayers of Sioux Falls will be fully responsible moving forward with the repair UNLESS it refers to the general warranties (of materials) that were set in place before the settlement.
  • As I predicted last night, about half of the settlement (coming from Mortenson) is money coming from the constingency fund that Mortenson planned to keep for a bonus. There promised portion of the contingency fund was SHORTED to $514,996 and Mortenson had to pay a $160K settlement.
  • MJ Dalsin was actually fined/agreed to settle more for a roofing issue than the siding. It had to do with a new membrane on the Convention Center and connecting the roof of the EC to the CC. In return of paying their settlement* of $125K, they received full payment on the work they did on the EC/CC and the Liens against them were dropped. *As I understand it, Dalsin’s insurer actually paid the settlement, not Dalsin.
  • The rest of the settlement was paid for by architects and suppliers.
  • McGrath (who I think actually installed the panels) was at no fault. Mortenson assumed responsibility for their work.

As you can see from a quick look, the taxpayers were poorly represented on this. We really only got about $444K which doesn’t even come close to an amount to fix the siding if it were to leak and needed repaired. The ‘Good Folks’ of Sioux Falls were left in the dark on this settlement, because quite frankly, we got SCREWED!

I find it a little strange that a man who says he ‘Gets things Done’ and calls himself a leader has made NO statement about the settlement. That figures.

So what do the actual numbers look like? Besides the fact this seems to be about a roofing project/disagreement and NOT about botched siding, it seems we didn’t even get half of the million dollars.

IMETCO (siding OR roofing provider?) paid $40K

Dalsin (actually their insurer) paid $125

SCD (Sink Combs Dethlefs)/Koch Hazard paid $118,719

Mortenson paid $160,000 (not from contingency fund)

Total of $443,719

Mortenson did pay $160K from pocket but they were ALSO actually SHORTED on the contingency fund balance which was $1,071,277. Mortenson was shorted $556,281 of that fund to make up the $1 million dollar settlement balance and still received the remainder in that fund of $514,996 (That is if you do the math, because none of this is laid out in the settlement agreement).

As you can see, we never really got the entire $1 million, and the settlement wasn’t even about siding. And you wonder why they wanted to keep this secret?

This of course is still developing and I hope to give you a better idea over the weekend. **As a disclaimer, these are my educated guesses on the figures since many of the figures were left out on the remaining balance.