Bunker Ramp extra funds approved 6-1 (Stehly dissenting, Soehl absent)

Part of the extra $1.5 million of the extra money needed, approved by the Sioux Falls City Council tonight was $467K in ‘Demobilization’ fees. What is this? We are being charged to take down the crane and for them to clean up the site because the hotel is NOT being built. First off, this ‘fee’ should have been in the final costs already, and we shouldn’t be paying for this with extra funding. The developer, contractor and CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) should be paying this, this is why we hire them – TO TAKE ON THE RISK. While I understand we have to ‘fill holes’ and provide safety issues at the facility to get it open, taking down a construction crane is NOT our problem. The CMAR, supposed developer and contractor can hash out that on their own.

Of course, the excuses were flying like the back blades on a manure spreader on an early Spring day, why WE should have to pay for this.

The finance director said the crane had to be taken down and site cleanup to open the ramp. Duh. This would have had to happen whether we built the hotel on top or not, and should have already been budgeted for.

Stehly said during the discussion, there have been very few answers about the demobilization fees. She tried to amend it by taking off the $500K and no one seconded the motion, so it failed.

Only councilors Starr and Brekke had anything to put in towards the discussion.

Towards the end, Brekke said that her ‘hands were clean’ in the matter. I guess Neitzert was making fun of her by whispering to Marshall asking for some soap as they proceeded to pretend to wash their hands (I didn’t catch it on camera, so I’m not sure what he was doing) but Starr commented before the vote, “. . . I wanted to tell Councilor Neitzert that I do have some soap and some hand sanitizer and if you want to sit in leadership and make fun of people while they are making a speech, go for it.” 

LOL.

There was NO response from Neitzert.

Sioux Falls Planning Commission Member Luetke has interesting response to parking ramp debacle on FB

I’m going to break his comment up into pieces since it is kind of long, and I will add my commentary. This is from Planning Commission member Larry Luetke responding to a post Councilor Stehly had on FB about the Bunker Ramp;

Larry Luetke I really think there is more to this story. The city cuts off communication with their partners two weeks before their deadline of 30 days to respond to changes with the project. It is stated in the contract that the city must respond within the 30 days. Either ok with the change, a modification or build what they were supposed too. There was no response back to them and contract was cut. It is fine if you don’t agree with the company that got it but there was a contract that was signed. Which puts us at citizens liable. Reading through the contract I don’t see where the city will win this one (I am not a lawyer). Which will put us liable for a lot of stuff beyond the 1.5 million that is short.

I’m with Larry on this one (I am also not a lawyer) but I do agree that modifying a contract is NOT unheard of, and when you cut off communication early, some wonder if something else was going on behind the scenes (not like that ever happens in city government 🙂

I think what is best for us is to allow the modifications to the project and allow the developer to start building. The lawsuit will cost us so much more.

He is absolutely correct, but we should have never taken out the bonds to begin with, and we should have halted this until we had substantial proof that the investment dollars were there from the developers. All we got was a lousy piece of paper that basically amounted to a IOU note in your piggy bank similar to when one of your older siblings stole from you.

Once finished it will bring in sales tax revenue and property tax to the city and county. Currently as a parking ramp it will pay no sales tax, no property tax and we will collect a minimal amount of parking fees.

As taxpayers, I never thought we would make much on this anyway, completed or NOT. This is why the city needed the 2nd Penny for collateral, because like most other projects we have bonded for over the past 20 years, we have had to have the 2nd Penny pay the mortgage. We have a very solid track record of multiple projects that will NEVER pay for themselves, such as the Pavilion, Events Center, MAC, Orpheum, etc.

I feel that it is our best interest in allowing the developer to move forward with their project. Some questions I would ask our city officials. If there was a meeting at one of the country clubs about another downtown hotel project in which a person said that we need to keep this quiet for a couple of weeks (which is the same time frame of when the city was not responding to their partner). Also a rumor is that the hotel project that I was just talking about was also in question of not being done because of the Village on the River project would be finished first and the other hotel would saturate the downtown hotel market. So because of that a certain project downtown would not move forward. The information I just stated is third hand but really has made me question what the real issue of why the city did not respond to their partner Village on the River.

I have no idea what project Larry is talking about, but if I was going to bet my ass on a guesstimation it would be the hotel and convention center Sioux Steel in partnership with Lloyd is proposing on that redevelopment project. But at this point, just pure speculation.

Also based on the contract the contractor is the one responsible for the performance bond. What I have heard from a partner of the developer is that this project is still a go with the modifications once the city agrees to their modifications. With the modifications they have more hotel rooms then proposed even without the extra two stories. Just as a disclaimer I have nothing to do with this project but feel based on my research and hear say we as citizens will be the burden of costs if we don’t allow this project to move forward.

Well, I hate to break it to you Larry, but the taxpayers were and are getting stiffed on this project either way. We were never going to get the parking spots we needed publicly, we paid too much for the spaces and foundation, the lease was a steal, and it is being built in the wrong place.

I will stay with my original emotions on this project – it was a bad idea out of the gate and should have NEVER even made it to a city council agenda. Thanks to Mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut, another money sucking project he cooked up that is screwing over the constituents.

It took the Pavilion 20 years to break their own attendance record

And I’m about to tell you why it took so long;

More than 100,000 visitors have passed through the Pavilion’s doors this year. That’s 4,000 more than the previous record which was set in 2000.

So why did this take 20 years?

When the Pavilion opened they hosted many FREE events, such as various community concerts. They also had special deals to get into the Kirby Science Center. But one of the greatest things that encouraged attendance was a FREE visual arts center (except for special and international exhibits). It was a promise they made to the public who was helping to fund the facility (we still do, to the tune of millions each year in an operation’s subsidy and maintenance – we own the building).

But this wasn’t just for the people who appreciated visual art, this was done to get people thru the door and exposing them to the arts who normally would not. Then they might stroll over to the Kirby Science Center or buy a ticket to a show or movie, or visit the gift shop.

Currently, the Pavilion holds very few FREE events. I think First Friday is the only time you can walk thru the VAC for free. Heck, it has been so long since I have been enticed to go there, I couldn’t tell you. I do know they have special deals for seniors and veterans to.

The Pavilion needs to reopen the VAC for free again, but I doubt they will, since they wouldn’t want to break with their tradition of only catering to a the ‘specials’ in town that can afford it, while the rest of us foot the bill and hope some crumbs fall to the floor for us once in awhile.

5G is faster, if you have the right phone, software and are standing on top of the 5G antenna

Sioux Falls Sings • 2019

Is TenHaken the Mayor or a Public Lecturer?

There has been a lot discussion in the local media about the lack of communication and openness from Mayor Paul. Recently, instead of holding a press conference to discuss the parking ramp ordeal and answer questions from the media, Paul shot a YouTube/Facebook video.

Some in the media were not to happy about it. And getting information from his secretary, or two chiefs of staff is next to impossible (all with a combined salary of over $300K – Now that’s our tax dollars hard at work).

A friend said to me today at brunch something intriguing. He first asked/stated that there probably isn’t that many people in Sioux Falls that follow city government that closely. I told him my guess is around 3,500 adults (I won’t get into how I came up with that number – that’s a whole other topic). Then he stated the obvious (and this is coming from a conservative). “Why not just put the information out there? With so few people even following city government, how would this hurt TenHaken?” I agreed, and said it wouldn’t, it would actually make government better and put more trust in our local elected officials, even if you disagree with their policy decisions, you can at least respect them for telling us the truth.

But folks, it is hard to get the back room deals done when you do them in the front room. (Remember, PTH is the one who assisted Pitty Patt in trying to hide his campaign consulting business website using musical computer servers. Pitty was working for the SOS Gant as Deputy SOS at the time and PTH was running ClickRain and we saw Pitty’s political business as a conflict of interest).

Have you noticed that Paul hasn’t really held a press conference (where he talked about a city issue and ANSWERED QUESTIONS from the media) in a very long time. The only exception would be the tornado press conferences that he was kind of forced into doing. All his other ‘speaking engagements’ have been to ‘special groups’. Whether that is the Chamber Annual Meeting, a tech conference, or reading to school kids. And hey, who am I to tell the Mayor he shouldn’t do those events? I think he should. But he also should have regular press conferences, at least once a month where he fields questions from reporters and citizens. He seems to like to do a lot of videos from his garage and talk to business leaders in town, but I find it extremely ‘odd’ that someone who is supposed to be our ‘cultural leader’ of our city can’t face the public and the 4th Estate when tough issues arise, and what is even more troublesome is that he has three capable communication folks working for him who can’t do it either.

As mayor of this city or any city your main purpose should be COMMUNICATION & TRANSPARENCY, after that everything else is a cake walk. And Mr. Mayor, you are failing miserably at it.

It’s back to the well and is the well is drying up?

Guest Post by Bruce Danielson

Here we go again, let’s build up hysteria and then spend millions of dollars under the table, over the table and in closed back rooms but claim transparency. It’s now 2019 and let’s remember and discover what’s new in the city of Sioux Falls. We see the same things in every project of dubious or questionable value to the town.

Let’s review a few:

The City Center Administration Building had to be built because a planning department employee claimed he had pee running down his City Hall basement office wall.

An indoor swimming pool our town could not live without so it was built on land loaned to the City of Sioux Falls and could be repossessed by the real land owner, the Federal government at any time (and probably will once the VA expands some more).

An event center designed to suck every bit of money out of the community to the benefit of the construction and the out of town management companies. Then to top it all off, put it in a location guaranteed to NOT help the struggling locally owned businesses of Sioux Falls.

The different emergency for sewer and water infrastructure bonding of over $300 million dollars to benefit a set of special developers and to hide the disastrous City Center HVAC system mistakes.

The parking ramp that had to be built, even if it does bleed the Parking Enterprise fund down to nothing keeping us from having properly maintained streets to drive to the parking spots. To do this we saw illegal asbestos removal, a building collapsed, a man die, and a developer defaulting, what a trifecta all in the name of ___________ (you fill in the blank). Now we have to spend $1.5 million of 2nd penny infrastructure money to protect the building that should have never been built. WE have to protect our investment but whose head will roll because of this? By the way, where is the Parking Director Matt Nelson these days?

Now have you seen the strange looking new machine being hauled around town lately? (At the top of the page)

This recent Vermeer Grinder – Shredder purchase for $964,270 by the city is for use in grinding trees at the landfill and around Sioux Falls. Do you know what is wrong about this purchase? Sioux Falls has an agreement to have a private business do this for FREE. Hidden in plain sight (if you can find the Consent Agenda of the July 5th, 2019 Council meeting) is contract 19-4165. Our administration spent almost $1 million dollars of 2nd penny without any discussion. Not only do we take away money from the pothole budget, but we take work away from a private business who was doing the city’s shredding to undercut the limited market the business has developed.

Once again, a city of Sioux Falls administration, pretending to be legitimate, upstanding, honest, trustworthy (is it an “and” or an “or”) TRANSPARENT is screwing all of us and trying to hide the evidence.

It’s 2nd penny be damned, full steam ahead on bonding everything. Get ready for the next bonding project(s) that never were bonded before. This is to keep the bonding companies and their supporters happy. You even see it in the Charter Revision Commission this year. Now consider the new Southeast fire station, street projects (remember the 2nd penny was created so streets would NEVER be bonded), the new training center and more are going to be in the next go round of bonding coming to a city council near you. So say good bye to getting your potholes repaired. Expect to see your locally owned employer or your privately owned business going down with city hall’s wall pee as more of the city’s limited funds are taken over by the bonding companies, all for another edifice coming to you.

Egyptian Delegation Press Conference

Isn’t it amazing what ONE Democratic Legislator can accomplish.

UPDATE: Is Kasey Olivier going to be our next Minnehaha County States Attorney?

At first glance, I would say, PLLLEEEESSSSE! You can’t go nowhere without people telling you how awesome she is. I’m on the middle-aged guy fence.

But the rumor mill is she is going to run for the job, and Aaron ‘Goo’ McGowan is not.

My sources are separate and not from the same ‘team’.

One tells me that Kasey will run. The other tells me that Aaron is out.

Honestly, not sure who would want the job, and even if I would run, I might get it.

Will be interesting to watch.

UPDATE: I have been hearing since this post that Olivier does want to run for public office again, and I encourage her to do so, she would be excellent at it. I’m just not sure what that will be at this point. I have also heard it is NOT the state legislature.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Nov 12, 2019

Sioux Falls Informational Meeting, 4 PM

Some really good presentations, this will probably be better than the regular Council Meeting.

The first presentation is on light pole corrosion. Here is the full report. I found this statement interesting;

Corrosion damage noticed when replacing poles hit by vehicles

So it seems there have been NO regular inspections of the light poles. Hopefully a councilor will ask about this during the meeting.

The 2nd Presentation is on the upcoming Municipal election this Spring. City Clerk Greco will give the presentation. Here is the full report.

Some important dates are circulation of petitions and turning them in. You can pick them up on Friday, January 31, 2020 and turn them in by Friday February 28, 5 PM. Take note David Zokaites.

They also split a precinct in half in Lincoln County.

There is also a handy website link for all of us local government nerds. Notice there are NO links to the candidates intent to run forms. So far three candidates have filed.

The last presentation is juicy, it is questions about the Bunker Ramp. Here is the full presentation.

In the PDF, you will notice there is NO designation on who answered these questions from the administration. I have been told it is COS Erica Beck. Here is some highlights.

There is parking demand for nearby tenants downtown, and we want to meet those needs with a safe property.

LOL. The parking ramp across the street to the South is often NOT full.

Oh, and the city has determined that we need to take the ‘Contractor’s’ advice. Isn’t that interesting. A contractor who had to take down a crane and get screwed out of building a multi-million dollar hotel all of sudden is advising us on how to fill the holes.

We also need a generator to run needed safety lights, signage, etc. This could all be done by solar polar, and they know it. Instead of investing in this, they should invest in a solar system.

Question #3 is an interesting one, and the answer is even more intriguing;

Question 3: Can you provide the change order requests clarifying services to be covered?

No. Formal change orders for the $1.5 million are expected to be submitted, reviewed, and noticed to the City Council sometime in December and available for inspection at that time. The City is unable to officially move forward with change orders until after the effective date of the increase in the capital budget.

The administration is ALSO suggesting there will be MORE change orders. Oh, GOODY! And there is NO allocated monies for improving the facade. Maybe some artists will submit an another Third-Eye Deer Mural FOR FREE that will be painted over?

They also guarantee that the parking enterprise fund is sustainable. That one made me keel over in laughter. They also say they don’t expect further legal costs. Yeah, and monkeys will fly out of my ass.

Regular City Council Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts.

HR wants more money for ‘Leadership’ training.

I guess we are paying Sanford for child care educational training. How nice. Are they also giving training on Medicare fraud?

Item #14, Resolution to approve the extra money for the parking ramp. I think this will pass, but I also think there may be an amendment to reduce the amount (Which I think will fail).

Item #16, Ordinance, 2nd Reading. Adding s supplemental appropriation of $3 million for snow removal and operations thru the end of the year. Now they may have the money to sand the streets when a 1/4″ of ice on them.