UPDATE: The Huether Cat is out of the bag, we now know why he wants to increase user fees

At Huether’s budget address today he proposed his 2016 budget, a $64 million dollar increase over 2015 ($471 MILLION). In fact, when Huether took office in 2010 that budget was $337 million, a $134 million dollar jump in just 6 short years. Huether claims it will be covered by revenue, but my question is why not have a little bump from 2015 and use the extra revenue to pay off debt? (our debt service in 2016 will be $39 million). SEE THE DOCUMENT2016 Budget

I guess this explains why Huether has been clamoring to raise user fees, he has a huge wish list for 2016. Seems he is over promising to a lot of folks in town (mostly developers and businesses).

The other ironic part is that this increase could almost cover the county’s entire budget for next year ($71 million), yet they have to do an opt-out (increase our property taxes) to make ends meet.

This is what happens when you elect a marketing VP from the worst predatory CC company in the industry – out of control spending and more debt.

UPDATE: Steve Young updates us on some important quotes from today’s shananigans;

“I look back to when we first went to cameras in the cars and having the officers recorded. A lot of them weren’t real excited about that. I think they looked at it as ‘Big Brother is going to try to catch me doing something,’ ” Barthel said. “The fact of the matter is, a lot of times we’ll get complaints, people accusing our officers of doing something, and all we have to do is pull up the video and look at it. In 99 percent of the cases, it saves their backs. Now they’ve come to rely on it.”

Yet Chief Barthel will not release the audio from the Tuthill shooting incident. Why? Will some backs not be saved? As a County Commissioner said to me tonight, “The more officers the city hires means the more arrests that will be made. What does that mean for our budget?” He also added that the county has had the same number of employees for the past four years. The new 27 city employees will add almost $2 million to salaries next year.

In acknowledging the size of his budget proposal, the mayor encouraged city councilors “to feel good about what you’re doing. Feel good because the citizens, they’re doing well. They’re pleased with our progress.”

In other words, don’t look over here, nothing to see, go back to watching football and eating at Applebees, (and don’t read DaCola) we have this handled. If there was ever a time for more scrutiny of this city government, it is right now and Councilor Erickson nailed it;

“I think over the next few weeks, we’ll definitely be diving into this to see what is needed, what is maybe not needed. … and that we’re growing in a responsible way and not be proud that this is the largest budget in our history,” Erickson said.

I wouldn’t call myself a fiscal prude, I am all for money being spent on infrastructure and roads, parks and social services, but there is a lot of big ticket development projects that smell worse then the Big Sioux River in this budget. Take for instance the idiocy of tearing down and selling a parking ramp for $1 then turning around and building a $10 million dollar ramp.

Based on his first take of the budget, Councilor Dean Karsky acknowledged the large jump but said nothing initially seemed out of line to him.

SF Chamber Board member saw nothing out of line. Imagine that? Oh Dean:(

City of Sioux Falls uses Permanone for mosquito spraying

Let’s just say after reading this in a city press release I decided to do a little research;

The City will be using the product Permanone for spray treatments. Products used by the City of Sioux Falls are designed to break down in the environment quickly and are used at very low concentrations. Permanone is a product approved for use by the EPA in residential areas for adult mosquito control.

Sounds harmless, right? Unless you are a small animal, get it on your skin, fish or bees or a vegetable garden or have chickens. Here’s some fun facts about this poison they are spreading throughout the city;

This pesticide is extremely toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Runoff from treated areas or deposition of spray droplets into a body of water may be hazardous to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Do not apply over bodies of water (lakes, rivers, permanent streams, natural ponds, commercial fish ponds, swamps, marshes or estuaries), except when necessary to target areas where adult mosquitoes are present, and weather conditions will facilitate movement of applied material away from the water in order to minimize incidental deposition into the water body. Do not contaminate water when disposing of equipment wash waters.

This pesticide is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds. Do not apply this product or allow drift when bees are actively visiting the treatment area, except when applications are made to prevent or control a threat to public and/or animal health determined by a state, tribal or local health or vector control agency on the basis of documented evidence of disease causing agents in vector mosquitoes, or the occurrence of mosquito-borne disease in animal or human populations, or if specifically approved by the state or tribe during a natural disaster recovery effort. Applications should be timed to provide the maximum possible interval between treatment and the next period of bee activity.

Do not use, pour, spill or store near heat or open flame.

Do not allow spray treatment to drift onto pastureland, cropland, poultry ranges or potable water supplies. Do not use on crops for food forage or pasture. In treatment of corrals, feed lots, swine lots, and zoos, cover any exposed drinking water, drinking water fountains and animal feed before application.

I guess we got our answer to what the city is using to kill skeeters, but what other harm is it causing?

 

The Planned Conversion of the Former Horse Barn Arts Center at Falls Park is (literally) BS!

As the Sioux Falls Business Journal reports, they are looking at converting the once FREE arts center (not just to the public, but to the artists that displayed there) to an admission charge to see a museum dedicated to agriculture and the stockyard history.

First off, not opposed to museums about farms and killing cattle, but since they are already planning a ‘Stockyard Park’ next to JM’s, why not have the museum over there instead of in Falls Park? Seems like an ‘ODD’ location to have an ag museum that is surrounded by public art and the beautiful falls.

My bigger complaint is that there is NO reason why the Horse Barn could not be utilized AGAIN as a local and regional art museum that is FREE to the public. It was unfortunate that it was closed down and the Sioux Empire Arts Council was killed.

But hey, the past is the past. Moving forward, let’s return the Horse Barn to an arts center again, with visual art displays, poetry readings, concerts and even plays (I think a group of quilters met there also). We could also have the Sioux Falls Arts Council take it over again, or any other number of great arts organizations in Sioux Falls like JAM or DAPA, even an artist union of sorts could operate the facility.

It would be a much more appropriate use of the space then a museum about cows and what they taste like.

Is the City of Sioux Falls having a change of heart about ‘Washington Square’?

Not sure, but this press conference has me curious;

Come to the news conference to learn more about the Washington Square project and how City officials are proposing to support the project.

As I have said in the past, I was opposed to the massive TIF requested for this project, but I wouldn’t be opposed to something scaled back, like a low interest community development loan, financial assistance with cleaning up the alley and upgrading infrastructure in that part of Downtown, even some kind of lease agreement with the city on parking. But a large TIF for condos doesn’t float my boat.

PayDay Lenders using ‘hardball’ tactics against local business owner?

My cameraman asked Steve if we could come this morning and film and interview some of the people harassing him, and he didn’t want us to, then he calls a press conference and invites the ‘real’ media;

Hildebrand says for the last two weeks, his business has been visited by large groups of people who’ve disrupted staff and other customers.  Hildebrand believes the missionaries behind movement are connected to the payday loan industry.

Floyd Pickett is the organizer and says he’s here to do homeless outreach.  He says the people he’s bringing in are paying customers who aren’t doing anything wrong.  He has plans to bring in even more people.  On Wednesday, he says he’ll bring in a bus of 150 people.

Hildebrand says he believes Pickett works for the man who owns North American Title Company.

Of course there is ‘obvious’ reasons why this is going on, Pitty Patt Powwers couldn’t resist to spin this being about helping the homeless and elitism;

It seems more than a bit elitist and snobbish to complain that these paying customers are being hauled in by his political opponents who are buying them food there.

So Patt, how many bumper stickers your campaign store business sold to Planned Parenthood and The Freethinkers? You know the business you were ‘unethically’ running while working for the SOS on the taxpayer’s dime. That’s right, you are Republican, you’ll take money from a dead guy as long as the check clears, doesn’t matter if you earned it or not.

This is truly hardball politics that have nothing to do with helping the homeless or missionaries. There is a part of me that feels sorry for Steve, but I also believe in KARMA. Steve’s political sins of the past may finally be catching up with him (you know, like getting Huether elected). BTW, why don’t you give your old meal ticket a call and see if you will help you out, or better yet your pal Barry in the White House.

I also find this ironic on another level, it doesn’t hurt to have a homeless shelter a few blocks away from his establishment for easy access to them, I have always felt that was a bad location for the shelter, and I bet Steve is thinking the same thing now.

At the end of the day, I will admit, this is fun to watch, gutter politics at it’s best.

Is the FREE Youth Bus Passes a Success?

I guess time will tell, but the first numbers seem promising, considering there has been pretty much zero promotion by the city except for a few news stories, an online flyer and a press conference;

“It’s really been going pretty well,” Sam Trebilcock with the city planning office said. “We have about 433 tags that have been provided this year. Where as in comparison to other years we’ve had more like 200-225. People certainly are taking advantage of it.”

Trebilcock says bus drivers haven’t had any issues so far. Kids ages 11-18 can get on a bus without a parent while those between 6-10 need an adult with them.

“We know where some of the routes, where they are being used the most. East side we see quite a few people using that on Route 7. And then they’re using several of the other routes too,” Trebilcock said.

On June 30, Sioux Area Metro had 114 dog tag riders for the day. Last Wednesday, that number was up to 143. The top route on both days was Route 7 in the northeast area around Washington High School and Dawley Farm Village.

When the program ends, it will be interesting to see the ridership numbers. If the current numbers continue, SAM could see over 8,000 rides for the summer!

Street Talk w/Theresa Stehly – Boulevards

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Is the Taxpayer Funded Events Center concerned about Patron safety?

There have been complaints about ADA compliance, possible drugging by bartenders and even complaints about moldy buns for sandwiches being served. One wonders how many more things we have to hear about before we get solutions, or dispel these rumors;

Just like other employers in Sioux Falls, the PREMIER Center says they struggle to find enough part time staff to work these kinds of events and are always looking to hire more part time staff.

Are they using temp agencies? Is there anything wrong with using them to clean up garbage? Not at all, but they may also be using them for food and beverage preparation, security and other functions.

Let’s face it, it doesn’t take long to train someone how to put garbage in a bag or how to sweep a floor. But safe food and beverage preparation isn’t a 2 minute course. It’s time our city council starts asking some serious questions about the workforce our Events Center is using, and why they are NOT hiring more PERMANENT properly trained part-time help like the Washington Pavilion does.

After the stories and accusations I have heard over the past year, I will NOT eat or drink at any event that is being managed by SMG or OVATIONS, and several of my friends feel the same way, until I get an explanation from them about their training procedures and workforce development.

Sioux Falls City Council Tidbits, 7/28/2015

There is only three fun meetings this week (excluding the regular meeting);

• 3 PM Land Use meeting, finally an update on the Billboard Ordinance changes.

• 4 PM Informational, Indoor Aquatic Center Update, whatever that is.

• 5 PM, Joint City Council/Minnehaha County Meeting, FEMA Map update, complete with 100 new homes in the flood plain in Northeastern Sioux Falls.

Let me scoop you on those secret meetings . . .

Okay, so this is the whole press conference of the mayor on the RR relocation, but if you (FF: 44:00 – sorry for all the background noise, it settles down a bit) you will get to hear him brag it up with Stu about all the secret meetings.

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We’ll be giving more thoughts on this weird land deal in the near future, like when the city finally lets us see it. Here is the Presser given in Sioux Falls City Hall Commission Chamber on July 22, 2015. It was the usual speeching by a master speecher.

Have you heard the expression “hot mic”? Apparently some people don’t know much about it. In our latest video we are given inside scoops on city hall inside scoops from mmm and his press secretary.

If you are going to talk insider stuff, don’t do it next to a hot mic…