Transit Fares going up to raise $100K while the city spends $220K for alley cobblestone pavers

Oh, the fun stuff you find in the city council consent agenda (DOC: CONSENT.pdf). This week didn’t disappoint as usual.

While the city struggles to find ways to raise money for transit while limiting service, they decided that spending $220K on historic pavers in an alley was a wise use of tax dollars. I guess you could say it is a ‘form’ of transportation upgrades. Ironically the way they are downgrading paratransit these days, it might as well be compared to the horse and buggy days. I heard Huether’s Press Conference hug buddy, Mary Glenski was gunning for the project.

Moving right along, we have to make sure the demolition of the outdoor pool at Spellerberg looks pretty after we are done, so instead of just having the city parks workers do their job, we are hiring a private contractor for $10k to git-r-done.

Not sure what a ‘Master Plan’ is, but it is going to cost us about $70K. Apparently there isn’t enough managers and directors working in the Parks Department to come up with a plan themselves so we return to our old standby, consultants. I suppose you have to actually have a ‘master’ to come up with a ‘master’ plan.

And lastly we are handing over $160K to DTSF so they can hang up posters and stuff.


#1 Joan on 08.15.14 at 5:47 pm

This city keeps spending more and more money on things for the public to do, however, by cutting back on paratranist routes, and bumping some riders off of it, they are making it so that a lot of people can’t get to any of these things to enjoy them. That pertains only to the elderly and disabled that can afford to attend these things. Where will spending for more entertainment things end, and let people make their own entertainiment like they used to.

#2 JeniW on 08.16.14 at 5:24 am

What will the concern citizens do to help insure that the transportation needs/wants of individuals with disabilities and/or senior adults are met? Are there organizations and individuals willing to volunteer to provide transportation? Will anyone conduct fundraisers to raise money to purchase vouchers or passes for the fixed route system, ParaTransit, and private companies? To borrow John Kennedy’s quote, “Ask not what your country [city] can do for you, ask what you can do for your country [city.]

#3 ADA Advocate on 08.16.14 at 7:33 am

After watching the brave advocates at the city council meeting I am sure the mayor is not comfortable with people with disabilities. If the mayor’s disabilities were visible versus internal he would be fighting to save transit. Cutting a recurring expense like transit allows a scammer like huether to go back to a neighborhood with bragging rights. Its like putting up a building with is name on it or on the plaque inside the door.

#4 Dan Daily on 08.16.14 at 9:24 am

Joan has a point. This city has become a retirement oasis. There are a lot of people who must live on a fixed social security income. They can’t afford a car and older or disabled ones can’t drive. Because taxes are mostly derived from sale, they deserve economical transit with good schedules.

#5 Dan Daily on 08.16.14 at 11:15 am

It’s disgusting how the city spends the budget. Why use contractors when there’s city staff? It would be interesting to see time sheets with work performance details.
Next mayors’ campaign topics: Transit, cutting city staff in favor of contract services, install competitive bid process, repeal HOME RULE CHARTER.

#6 l3wis on 08.16.14 at 12:12 pm

Jeni, I hope you were being sarcastic? Why not hold a fundraiser for the EC? Why should I be expected to pay the mortgage payment? Our tax dollars SHOULD subsidize public transit. While ON it’s face it looks like a subsidy, it really isn’t. When people with disabilities can get to work, they actually contribute sales tax revenue to the city when they purchase things. Take away their transportation and they become a burden to Federal taxpayers and on top of that, they don’t have any paychecks to spend.

#7 Joan on 08.16.14 at 6:00 pm

The problem with volunteers transporting the people that can no longer ride Paratransit is that a lot of the elderly people and people with minor disabilities can only get int certain types of vehicles, that includes SUVs and vans and even some of the smaller cars. The last few years that I rode Paratransit I had to use the lift even though I am ambulatory, but I could no longer do steps. Even getting in and out of sedan type vehicle I have to do it my way. I know other people that have similar problems. From some of the things that I saw I think part of the problem with Paratransit at that time was inept scheduling. I also some some riders that were literally misusing the Paratransit buses. I don’t want to say any more about that publicly.

#8 Lemming on 08.16.14 at 11:53 pm

Just means some Richie Rich donor lives in that neighborhood so they don’t wanna ruffle any feathers.

#9 JeniW on 08.17.14 at 5:50 am

ParaTransit was meant to be a band-aid fix to meet ADA requirements until the transit system had buses that are accessible. For years the federal government provided subsidies/funding, with gradual reduction in funding, then ending the funding. Cities were required to make up the balance. When the feds stopped providing funding, the city is now responsible for the total costs. So the question becomes as to how will the city continue paying for ParaTransit without making financial changes? I have used ParaTransit in the past, and know well of its benefits, and the problems related to it. One of the issues that I have with ParaTransit is that it takes a lot of money, but so few of individuals with disabilities and/or senior adults are able to use it. The Event Center is accessible for everyone, ParaTransit it not. Should the city cut the spending to libraries so that the money can be used for ParaTransit? Should the city cut funding to the street department’s snow removal system so that the money can be used for ParaTransit? I know that the individuals with disabilities are financial contributors to the economy, I know that because I have disabilities and know about having to pay taxes. The big question is how do we provide ParaTransit services without raising taxes, or increasing fares? It is true that not everyone with disabilities can ride in cars, but some people can, so why not have volunteers who are willing to do so, or provide a stipend for people who are willing to provide transportation services? It is also true that regardless of the mode of transportation, except walking, there is a financial cost, be it taxi, buses, specialty services such as Wheelchair Express. Even ParaTransit’s $2.00 a ride is too expensive for some people, so why not have a fundraiser to help people to purchase ParaTransit tickets, bus passes, and vouchers for taxis or services like Wheelchair Express? I can understand the thumbs down on my opinions, but so far, I have yet to see any ideas as to how to deal with the financial realities of ParaTransit. How about the concerned citizens forming a group to come up with ideas to present to help support the ParaTransit system, and those who need help with transportation? We know that the the city is not going to be able to pay the total cost without making changes, so what should and can we do?

#10 l3wis on 08.17.14 at 8:40 am

Jeni – you make some great points. Where do we cut the money. Lets go!

City keeps around a 30-40 million dollar surplus each year. We have given $1.5 to Hockey and $500K to indoor tennis. We used money paid pack to us, around $13 million for an indoor pool instead of infrastructure. We continue to subsidize the development foundation and DTSF. We have an exploding Parks and Rec budget that could easily be cut to fund paratransit.

I could go on, but as you can see we have millions of dollars floating around we could use. It is a matter of priorities.

I agree, we could use volunteer resources, and the hospitals could actually give rides to their patients, and those are great money saving things to do. But to say we can’t fund paratransit because there is no place to cut and we don’t have the money, is simply not true.

#11 ADA Friend on 08.17.14 at 1:33 pm

You do make some interesting points Jeni but you are so far off base you might as well not be in the game.

On what planet do we live? Let’s see, we force people to give birth to individuals with lifelong disabilities. These people cannot exist without special considerations to sustain life. You are saying these people should be locked up in attics if society cannot afford to help them have a satisfying life. We should have raffles to see who can ride the next bus, taxi or carpool?

You apparently have mental capabilities allowing you to escape the need for Paratransit. Most do not. I would much rather have a real functioning Paratransit system than an over priced grain bin you refer to called an events center. If you have taken disabled people to the complex as I have you find out how unfriendly the place was and still is.

Quit bragging about how good you are and actually get in the mix helping fix Paratransit. Some of us have been trying to educate council members and users. There are vested interests in this town who think we should find other ways to ‘move those’ people around. No we should be considering how to help them have the fulfilled lives many were cheated out of at birth or in war or due to accidents.

This discussion of being cheap disgusts me. Righteous people who have never had to look a family member in the eye and say they will never live the same as me, no matter what i do to help. You have never had to hold a family member when they seizure just because something made them joyful. How would like to be put on a strange bus and not know how to get off of it? Be afraid, too slow or unable to tell the driver you missed your drop off?

How would like to be the driver of a city transit bus and not know what to do if a rider goes int a full blown seizure or slide out of the special wheelchair on to the floor. You righteous and pious peons disgust me. Go run a fundraiser to pay for your events center and let my taxes help the least amongst us.

#12 JeniW on 08.17.14 at 4:40 pm

Wow, ADA. Attacking me and making assumptions about me is not going to fly.

Were you able to participate in the Task Force meetings regarding ParaTransit system?

There were individuals with disabilities who were members of the task force, including individuals who use ParaTransit.

If people expect the city to fully fund ParaTransit without making changes to the system, that is fine. But I doubt that will happen, and there will still be transportation issues for those who qualify, and those who do not qualify for ParaTransit. I guess they are not important, so I will give up.

Best wishes to each of you, and I hope that you will be successful in your attempts.

#13 l3wis on 08.17.14 at 5:39 pm

Well, Jeni, I certainly was not attacking you. I agree, changes need to be made, a lot of changes. BUT, I was simply pointing out, that even if NO changes were made, the city can afford to subsidize paratransit as is.

#14 Dan Daily on 08.17.14 at 5:53 pm

Dispatch Drones for ParaTransit? Not funny.
Doesn’t seem to be an answer except it’s necessary service, it’s going to cost, and more of the budget should go for it.

#15 JeniW on 08.17.14 at 7:36 pm

l3wis, I did not say that you attacked me, I wrote that ADA attacked me and made assumptions about me.

At the end of the day, it is the decision that the City Council will be making, not me.

Best wishes in your efforts.

#16 ADA Friend on 08.17.14 at 8:57 pm

Jeni some of us were working several avenues in this process. Some of us may know how the issues of the lack of scheduling was brought into the discussions. It is a lot of working with people to teach and not preach.

As soon as the city hires qualified ‘paratransit’ drivers for all their buses and gives them a living wage so they stick with it, we might be able to have a system without paratransit. Until then, we can do without millions of dollars wasted on entertain complexes for the special entitled people of the area. It is amazing to me how much money is wasted on people who do not even live in Sioux Falls proper. They live on the outskirts and want us to pay for their entertainment. Screw’em.

I want my family member, roommates and their friends to be able to survive as human beings before we waste anymore money on the mayor’s entertainment complexes.

#17 teatime on 08.17.14 at 10:40 pm

Joan – you are absolutely right about the city being pre-occupied with entertainment. I’ve felt that way a long time. Priorities are totally upside down. The important infrastructure and other necessities are not very fun to discuss and plan, compared to something like the EC. But, whoever said being a mayor or councilor was about having fun?

#18 Joan on 08.19.14 at 7:50 pm

The people connected with the transportation/paratransit services seem to think that just because a person is ambulatory they should be able to ride the fixed route buses. They don’t seem to realize that just because a person is able to walk, they are unable to walk even one block. Now that I no longer ride paratransit when I go for my doctor’s appointments, it now costs between $12.00-$15.00 one way. When I have my regular doctors appointments(two or three) a year, I have to go to the lab one or two weeks ahead of time, which I have to use a cab to get to the lab too. Then, during the school year the cabs are busy transporting kids to school, during the time that a person that is fasting would want to be going to the lab.

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