Our traffic engineer hard at work

KELO-TV screenshot

I bet his desk is clean! Good thing we are building a $25 million dollar administration building so our city directors have room to stretch out!

South Dakota GOP doesn’t even bother hiding the body bags anymore

Just tell Pitty Patt it’s Soylent Green and it’s all good.

Director of Metro 911 wants more of your personal information

I thought at one point Metro Communications Director Paul Niedringhaus was going to call a whaaabulance during the joint budget meeting with Sioux Falls City Council and the Minnehaha County Commission. Hopefully a REAL one shows up in REAL time 🙂

Paul said he was frustrated (FF 47:00) that since 2012 the SD Department of Revenue was not giving them revenue trends (personal records) on individual phone use expenditures.

While the SDDR was still giving them the actual revenue trends, it seemed Paul was miffed he wasn’t getting the individual numbers. While he never said it, he made it sound like he didn’t trust the SDDR.

Not sure why since 2012 the SDDR stopped sharing that information with Metro, but I’m OK with that. Since the state government agency is seeing the information, and using it to disperse the proper funds to municipal agencies, there really is NO reason the municipalities need to see that information also. If Paul doesn’t trust the data he is receiving from the state, he should take that up with the state legislature and the AG. Not much the county commission or city council can do but offer a tissue.

What I found IRONIC about Paul’s request was that the city, the state and especially when it comes to ambulance service, Metro, hides information from the citizens consistently. His cries for having the freedom to view this PRIVATE information about individual citizens wreaks of hypocrisy.

Did we miss a BIGGER opportunity with Arc of Dreams?

First off, I’m not one to tell rich peeps how to spend their money. If they want to give to charity, I think that is great. I’m also one to NOT discourage giving money towards public art projects.

It seems lately though that people are questioning the whole point of ‘Arc of Dreams’ and mainly it’s location.

No criticism towards the artist, he does large, beautiful pieces across our state, including Dignity in Chamberlain. It’s his life and living. Also, no criticism towards those willing to help pay for this large scale commission . . .  but . . . does it seem a bit shortsighted and lacking the vision of the whole picture of downtown’s artistic image?

Instead putting all of our eggs in one basket in one (overcrowded) area, why not spread the wealth around?

One of the main arguments made to put ‘Arc of Dreams’ downtown was for a needed tourist attraction Downtown. Nevermind SculptureWalk, a replica of David, oh and that little cute waterfall at Falls Park.

But if we really wanted to bring ‘tourism’ downtown, why not invest that cool million used for ONE public art project to fund several projects that would be a combination public art/infrastructure?

During the downtown design meeting I attended one of the concerns people had about downtown was the dead zones, areas along Phillips Avenue and various side streets that have areas that have really nothing to look at while walking around downtown.

So what could WE have done with that million besides just building one large project?

First of all, I would use only local contractors and artists for these projects. Economic development starts at home.

Here is a brief list of what we could have done;

At approximately $20K  a piece we could have erected 50 permanent sculptures downtown in these dead zones. We could have also spent approximately $50K a pop for  20 mini gardens/parks/benches in these areas. And if we really wanted to get a bang for our buck we could have commissioned 200 murals at $5K a piece to help beautify some of those drab building walls downtown.

There is probably a whole host of other things we could have spent the million on that would have really boosted visitors to our downtown.

Let me hear your ideas!

Did the Soccer tournament fall short for economic impact predictions

We were told that the tournament would have a major impact on the economy;

The soccer tournament is estimated to bring $17 million to the Sioux Falls area.

Lets test this prediction against July’s monthly financial report (Full Doc:7-17-monthly-fin-report).

We should have raised an additional $510,000 in sales tax revenue (3 pennies) from the year before if the economic impact was actually $17 million. But if you look at the numbers, it seems we didn’t bump up much from the month before.

For example, in June (MAY) we saw a $73,172 sales tax bump from the year before (3 pennies). Let’s say we were predicting the same bump in July (June). We had a $204,088 bump from the year before. Subtract the June numbers and you come up with a $130,916 bump from the tournament which would mean approximately a $4.3 million dollar bump. The biggest increase was in the 3rd penny entertainment tax and lodging (BID) tax which does not contribute to the city’s general fund.

$4.3 million dollar impact is nothing to shake a stick at for about a week of visitors, but it is certainly a long ways from the $17 million prediction.

Mayor Mike talks out of both sides of his mouth once again

How fitting after our Little League team just gets done playing in the LLWS the Mayor appears on the B-N-B show catching softballs from Greg.

Funny how in under 50 minutes the mayor can contradict himself, several times. Whether he is talking about how God has enlightened him or how he continues to fight the Parks Districting idea (doesn’t matter now, that decision is now up to the next council and mayor, your opinion on that is of NO consequence).

But one of the best parts of the interview was when he started blabbing about TIF’s. He said that TIF’s are NOT handed to people’s wives friends. LOL, nope, just to your wife. Mike’s wife invested in an apartment project that got a TIF. And in order to save his ass on it, he had Mark Cotter sign off on the TIF.

He also went on to scoff people (developers) who asked for TIF’s to develop around the Events Center (which ironically has yet to get any development that will stick around). But has NO problem with having taxpayers subsidize a PRIVATE hotel on Elmwood, setting a precedent by putting the taxpayers of Sioux Falls in the lodging business.

But his comments at the beginning of the program and at the end are a doozy. He starts out by defending the TIF for Lloyd’s Uptown project, saying it is needed to clean up this area and make this project a reality. Than at the end of the interview when a caller asks about the Sioux Steel DT property, the Mayor talks about, almost giggling, that he wishes he would have bought DT property early on because it is so valuable now.

So which is it Mr. Ed? Is DT property ‘valuable’ or is it so ‘worthless’ we need to hand out millions in TIF’s to multi-millionaire developers?

I would like to thank the mayor for agreeing with my argument against the Uptown TIF, that the property is SO VALUABLE, why on earth would we be handing out tax incentives?

You would think after 7 years, the mayor would get better at the game? Thank goodness he wasn’t pitching at the LLWS, otherwise it would have been two perfect games against them.

He finishes the interview by talking about his bi-annual South Dakota mayor’s conference he will be attending today in Chamberlain. He talked about how the mayors share ideas. We know Mike, this is where you are rumored to brag about your use of the VETO pen when you have an uncooperative council.

Have fun! Keep sharing your brilliant (fascist) ideas!

Pull up your belts and tighten your bootstraps

Not sure if the Argus screwed up this quote or if councilor Erickson actually said this, but it made me chuckle;

“The administration is really tightening their bootstraps and so we need to do the same thing,” Council Vice-chairperson Christine Erickson said during a recent budget meeting at Carnegie Town Hall.

Don’t tighten your bootstraps to much, you might hurt your feet 🙂

South DaCola Podcast V: Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr

Pat talks downtown parking ramp, higher education, wages and city budget, and much more.

Clint Eastwood announces DSU donation

That was nice of Mr. Eastwood to make it to little old South Dakota to announce such a big deal, Sanford putting his name on another building.

Strollers & Dogs; RiverFest 2017

Click to Enlarge