Does anyone get the feeling the city is being run like a subprime credit card company?

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So now the city is considering charging $25 to appeal a parking ticket, they already charge $50 to appeal a code enforcement violation and now, if you don’t scoop (their) sidewalk, they will not only charge you to have a contractor remove the snow they are also going to tack on an additional $100 fine (this has never been done in the past).
This goes back to something I have seen over the last couple of years at city hall; A move to increase user fees, fines and enterprise fees in order to have more money in the CIP for ‘other projects’ Like paying off a EC bond.
If I were running a for-profit business, this would be a nice little way to make extra money for my business, in the name of ‘service fees’. But should any of this surprise you? What was the name of that Credit Card that would have a $250 credit limit with $200 in fees on it when you received it . . . hmmm.


31 comments ↓

#1 Dan Daily on 10.31.13 at 2:49 pm

Ignore the whole process. Appeal fees are unconstitutional and you’ll not be reimbursed. They’ll take you to small claims. Show up and address the judge stating you want to be heard in circuit court. It’s your option. If they file in circuit court, file for dismissal because the city does not comply with SD civil procedures per case 08-2478 and Code 2-66. To get back our rights, enough of us must do this. When it costs them more to try and snooker you, then maybe they’ll become citizen friendly and return to democratic means.

#2 anonymous on 10.31.13 at 3:48 pm

Did the Council have any role in approving a $100 fine for not having your sidewalk cleared within 48 hours or was this solely MMM’s decision?

#3 Helga on 10.31.13 at 4:08 pm

But the mayor wants to spend $47,000 of city money for pictures to push his swimming pool point of view. A lot of people need to be fined to make up that $47k.

#4 Poly43 on 10.31.13 at 4:14 pm

Our local fee harvesting credit card does the best it trying to polish turds. There former marketing director is now our fine mayor. Turd polishing is what he had darrin smith doing today on the front page of the Sanford leader. Polishing the turd called ncaa div II? We’ll all find out what a turd this fiasco will be. What happened to the ncaa div I the turd polisher promised?

#5 scott on 10.31.13 at 6:55 pm

NCAA division two? What about all these “major” tourneys the self appointed sports authority was bragging about getting?

#6 scott on 10.31.13 at 7:25 pm

Jamison should make this an issue should he decide to run.

#7 LJL on 10.31.13 at 8:05 pm

Its the wonderful new world of selective democracy.

NCAA Divsion II.. catch all the action on ESPN 8 the Ocho.

#8 Scott on 10.31.13 at 8:09 pm

And they don’t even have that contract yet. I hate when the local media goes nuts because they have a press release saying they’re working on a deal.

#9 anominous on 10.31.13 at 8:54 pm

Why not host the Summer and Winter Olympics?

#10 Winston on 10.31.13 at 9:39 pm

Maybe the City will eventually add a poll tax, it could work like an annual fee except you pay part of it each month to lessen the financial blow… I got this idea from a particular credit card company, which I heard does it that way….

#11 hornguy on 10.31.13 at 11:41 pm

Sioux Falls will never land a D-1 anything, maybe a super-sub-sub-regional at best. Too small, too hard to get to, not enough flights, not enough rooms. Summit League tournaments and D-2 events are the best it’s gonna get. The Pentagon is a new facility and it’s a good size for most of these bids. (For those who don’t want to wade through the list, three of the five bids – M/W basketball and W volleyball – are for the Pentagon. The others are wrestling (Arena) and track and field (USF).)

Also, it’d help if there was actually a D-1 school in Sioux Falls, or if USD and SDSU weren’t completely irrelevant. But I’ll be darned if my fact parade will stop some of our leaders from their delusional, pie-in-the-sky nonsense.

#12 Lemming on 11.01.13 at 12:31 am

I see this got hijacked into the Olympics, but if we don’t get that, can we at least get a decent concert! Ok, back to the topic at hand….I guess I’m all for the penalty if you don’t scoop snow. They even give you 48 hours to do it. I walk every day for exercise and in the winter there are some folks in my neighborhood that refuse to shovel.
Also, I recall last year the sad media story of some dude trying to roll his wheelchair down Minnesota Avenue right after a snowstorm and complaining the city didn’t keep the sidewalks clear (Yea, personally I’d of recommended he wait to get to Sids a day or 2 later when the snow melted…but anyways). I guess you have decide if you are going to whine about park chains or snow covered sidewalks…do you really want the city to do anything about it or ignore the complaints?

#13 rufusx on 11.01.13 at 12:34 am

Fees and Fines are aimed at collecting from the source of problems – vs. spreading the burden onto taxpayers as a whole. They are a way to provide the community services while keeping taxes low. It’s the embodiment of the whole “personal responsibility” mantra that is so popular with “conservatives”.

#14 anonymous on 11.01.13 at 6:11 am

Did Kevin Smith give the details for what happens when the City fails to take care of their own sidewalks within 48 hours?

#15 scott on 11.01.13 at 6:28 am

Or how about when they don’t clear the streets within 48 hours.

#16 Poly43 on 11.01.13 at 8:36 am

While fee harvesting is the topic, one more comment on the turd polishing. Back when our good mayor was stumping for a larger “event” center, he promised things like D1 men’s basketball tourneys. Knew then that was a pipe dream and so did the argus. Did they call him on it? Then they lowered their dreams to womens D1 tourneys. Also an impossibility, unless of course a summit champ is magically seeded 4 or higher. So now we dive even deeper into this basketball tourney rabbit hole and come up with D2? Some numbers to think about. There are 338 D1 schools that averaged over 4900 fans per game. The top 30 of those schools also greatly inflate these numbers. D2 has 278 schools that averaged 750 fans per game last year. D2 averaged 1366 fans per session in their tourney last year. Conclusion? Any game involving Augie can be played at the elmen center. All the others can be played in the Lincoln high school gym. Numbers are also even more dismal for womens BB.

#17 Craig on 11.01.13 at 9:20 am

DL, I hate to be the voice of reason, but it seems I’ll need to play that role again.

Do you honestly believe the city is making money from $25 and $50 fines? Seriously?

If you appeal something, it requires paperwork to be filled out, there is red tape, there is a group that has to review the appeal, and a final decision has to be made. Even if you are conservative, how much time will the city spend on one single appeal when you add up everyone involved? I sincerely doubt it takes less than a couple of hours to do anything no matter how small when you factor in the time of everyone – and after you factor in postage and documentation costs you really think the city is making money here?

I’ve got news for you – when someone appeals I can almost promise you that the city is actually losing money each and every time. I doubt $25 or even $50 even covers their costs much less turns a profit. That being said, if someone wins their appeal I suspect they are refunded the cost of the appeal, but I would need to verify that with someone in city hall.

Same holds true with the fine for cleaning sidewalks. The city sub-contracts the work to private contractors, but they don’t collect a profit on that. They do however have to pay the contractor whether the property owner pays the fine or not, so the city is out that money regardless. Sure they city can just add the fine to a future tax bill or put a lien on the property right? But there is a pile of red tape to make that happen and you have people like Dan that will state they never need to pay it which just convolutes the entire system. There are costs involved there – this stuff doesn’t get done for free.

Then you have the costs of enforcement to send someone out there to take pictures (which they always do), and they need pictures after the contractor cleans the property to prove they actually did it. You have notices mailed to the property owner, the employees responsible for documenting and processing everything, and if the property owner does appeal it is heard all the way up to the city council which again takes time and effort.

So honestly – you think the city is making cash by fining these people? Really? After everything is taken into consideration, they would be lucky to make $10. Are you really so cynical to think the city as a whole is out to screw over the citizens and potentially create an anti-city backlash over $10? Really?

I swear some of you never bother to think these things through. I am quite certain if you were to take a poll of those involved – at all levels – they would prefer to never have to send a fine to anyone. They would much rather have an entire winter where everyone either cleaned their sidewalks, or where they took care of it after the first warning without the city ever having the need to pay a sub-contractor to do it for them. However if you feel someone in the code enforcement office or even the Mayor is sitting in front of a fire rubbing their hands together just thinking about all the piles of cash they will be collecting from these fines… then something tells me no amount of logic will change your view on the matter.

#18 rufusx on 11.01.13 at 10:01 am

Similarly to when a property owner pays a $50 fee for a variance or conditional use hearing. It typically costs around $40 just to advertise the hearing in the paper once. The remaining $10 doesn’t even pay for the employee posting on the property – the notification of neighbors by mail ends up being a city expense – as does the hearing itself, and the filing/admin. of any records related.

Yeah, I get that DLs REAL underlying argument is toward the elimination of regulation altogether (as I read the T.E.A. leaves anyhow).

#19 anominous on 11.01.13 at 12:09 pm

The bike trail cops threaten to fine you for using the trail with no bike light.

#20 l3wis on 11.01.13 at 12:52 pm

Really? I wish they really would work on crime prevention instead crime invention.

#21 l3wis on 11.01.13 at 1:07 pm

During MMM’s lastest Listening and Learning session (October 19) he went on a rant at the end about people not complying with code enforcement and basically how judges give these people too many chances to correct an issue. Hey Mike, guess what, in America you are innocent until proven guilty by either a jury or a judge, not by some kangaroo court compiled of attorneys who get paid by the city, or a code enforcement officer, or neighbor who use their positions to harass people. Sorry Mike, my yard doesn’t look like yours. Deal with it.

#22 Craig on 11.01.13 at 1:26 pm

Innocent until proven guilty (the presumption of innocence) only applies in criminal action DL – not civil proceedings.

#23 anominous on 11.01.13 at 1:42 pm

l3wis:

Really? I wish they really would work on crime prevention instead crime invention.

Yeah, the worst hazards on the bike trail are the things the city has installed. Those giant solid iron trail map signs that abut the very edge of the trail, and also the singular solid quartzite block of dental reconstruction that was paved around with concrete into the trail, gracing the riverfront promenade of the new CNA building. That thing will really fuck someone up some day.

#24 testor15 on 11.01.13 at 7:45 pm

Craig, that is warped and wrong. In civil proceedings of al kinds, the accused is innocent until proved guilty.

#25 rufusx on 11.01.13 at 9:00 pm

Sorry testor – you are wrong on that one. Oh wait – I see you said “al” proceedings. Well – I suppose – if “al” says so.

#26 LJL on 11.02.13 at 12:10 am

50 dollar court fee if you lose the appeal to the parking ticket. Na that makes to much sense for you grinder monkeys to grasp.

Honestly Craig. Do you read some of the shit you write? The city looses money writing tickets? The city doesn’t profit for hiring cleaning contractors? The city isn’t suppose to profit on anything, that’s US goverment 101.

This is about our rights. If we based appeals on cost, our prisons would be full of innocent people as well. If we can’t pay for our basic needs(a fair system to petition your goverment for appeal) then we should not be spending money on wants like an events center or TIFs for Costco.

Maybe you and Rufux could create your own Utopia where the city doles out it’s justice, dictates how your to act and what you will spend money on. There will be no appeal or vote or say. You’ll get what you get if the gov says you can have it and if Walmart sells it.

#27 Detroit Lewis on 11.02.13 at 10:06 am

🙂

#28 Craig on 11.03.13 at 11:33 pm

LJL: Honestly Craig. Do you read some of the shit you write? The city looses money writing tickets? The city doesn’t profit for hiring cleaning contractors? The city isn’t suppose to profit on anything, that’s US goverment 101.

I actually do read what I write but apparently you don’t. If you had read my post would’ve noticed I said the city doesn’t make money by collecting those fines, and likely doesn’t even recoup costs. I also said they don’t profit from hiring snow removal contractors. You on the other hand, seem to be mentioning something about the city losing money writing tickets… which is something I never stated.

You can go on your nice little rants all day long if you wish, but you might want to try actually reading the posts before you start bitching about them.

#29 Craig on 11.03.13 at 11:39 pm

Testor: Craig, that is warped and wrong. In civil proceedings of al kinds, the accused is innocent until proved guilty.

Nope. I couldn’t going to great detail, but I’ll just let you in on a little secret. In civil proceedings there is no “innocent” or “guilty” party. There is liability assessed but nobody is “guilty”, therefore there is no presumption of innocence as that isn’t what is being examined.

#30 Testor15 on 11.04.13 at 8:46 pm

in a civil proceeding is a finding of fact for one party or other by the court. This is a civil equivalent of a criminal guilty verdict. Someone has won the finding and the loser was guilty of the wrong.

Prior to the finding, the defendant is innocent.

#31 Craig on 11.05.13 at 10:04 am

Keep trying testor… but the “civil equivalent” isn’t the same thing as guilty or innocent no matter how hard you try to spin it.

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