Holsen’s views on TIF’s and Public Transportation in relationship to Affordable Housing

BusStop4

Holsen made some interesting observations recently on her blog.

First about TIF’s and the mayor’s conflicts of interest;

35.028  CONFLICTS OF INTEREST; ACTING IN AN OFFICIAL CAPACITY ON MATTERS IN WHICH AN OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE HAS A PRIVATE FINANCIAL INTEREST CLEARLY SEPARATE FROM THAT OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

   (a)   No officer or employee of the city shall knowingly have a financial interest clearly separate from that of the general public in any contract, transaction, zoning decision or other matter which is subject to an official act or services from the city. This provision shall not apply if the interested officer or employee discloses by written communication to his or her immediate supervisor, director and the appropriate elected official(s) and they reply with unanimous consent to the financial interest or if the person serves on a lay board and discloses to the city council the full nature and extent of that interest and disqualifies and/or removes himself or herself from consideration or future participation in the matter in any respect.
   (b)   The foregoing conflict of interest prohibition shall not apply if an interested officer or employee does not or will not act in the regular course of his or her duties and responsibilities, directly or indirectly, for the city as to inspection, any related performance issues or any operational oversight or work with the matter in question. Also, this prohibition may not apply if the interested officer or employee is an employee of a business involved in the matter in question and the officer or employee has no ownership interest in the matter and will not receive a fee or compensation related thereto.
Clearly, current TIF ordinance language does not speak to criteria or investors. Ordinance language in Chapter 37 should address criteria.  However, the conflict of interest ordinance (Chapter 35.028)  does speak to acting in an official capacity on matters where the official might have a financial interest. It is mindboggling to read the councilors responses to the disclosure about the mayor’s wife’s involvement in an approved TIF.  Do they not comprehend ethics or conflict of interest when they are elected officials?
Uh, not really. In fact, I think most of them are in cruise control, don’t ask any controversial questions, and just move right along. Just look at councilor Enteman, ever since he said he wasn’t running for re-election, you haven’t seen much of him. ‘Caring’ about what is ‘ethical’ and ‘right’ doesn’t seem to cross their minds much.
Holsen also brings up the gorilla in the room when it comes to public transit and affordable housing, and how they don’t match up;
The city says its nearly impossible to expand transit services to keep up with the growth rate of the city and federal funding just doesn’t keep pace with increased costs associated with transit fixed route costs. The city is growing outward from the core and many of the outlying areas don’t even have transit service. So, it’s kind of a head scratcher to learn that city is awarding funds to private developers to build affordable housing in an outlying area that doesn’t even have transit services and probably won’t get transit services.
More like banging your head against the wall, especially when a committee (of supposed experts) approved this loan and gave the loan to a developer who is the Planning Commission’s Chair. Besides the obvious conflicts of interest, shouldn’t he have known better? Doesn’t leave a lot of confidence in the man running our Planning Commission. But according to the Planning Department, they do no wrong, EVER!


2 comments ↓

#1 Tom H. on 01.30.14 at 9:50 am

There’s millions and millions available for new stoplights, 4-lane highways on the edge of town, and a frickin’ interchange at 26th & Southeastern. But getting frequencies on basic bus routes in the city up to acceptable frequencies? Can’t afford that! Half-hour headways on main routes, like 41st St, Minnesota Ave, and 10th/11th/12th streets, is just pitiful.

And did I mention that there is no service available on Sundays? Public transportation is an afterthought in Sioux Falls.

#2 pathloss on 03.17.14 at 8:29 am

There city guideline is that there should never be a day when a bus driver can take a bus to work. Likewise, city planning commission policy is development to gain or return favors that now or later pads our pockets.

Leave a Comment