Councilor Neitzert misses the mark on the Lloyd TIF

Sioux Falls city councilor Greg Neitzert was doing the 2nd half of his SE Podcast stint this Sunday.

He was asked about TIFs and specifically the Lloyd TIF. He did a fantastic job of explaining how TIF’s work (it is essentially a property tax rebate). He also made great arguments as to why the TIF for UPTOWN II was for good reasons. On the face he is correct. We are using the TIF money to clean up soil, old buildings, asbestos and constructing some minimal public parking. Like I said, on it’s face it sounds like a great use.

But let’s look at reality. First off, we have NOT collected a penny in property taxes on the land for over 11 years. Nothing. Zilch. ZERO.

The TIF (Tax rebate) will last for 13-14 years. We will essentially be getting little to no tax revenue from the property for almost 25 years.

But what makes this TIF controversial is the fact that Lloyd promised to buy this property in 2006 and for some strange reason we let it sit for 11 years, and the only real reason I can come up with is that we were HOLDING it for the developer (with no major retainer of down payment). One developer in a city that has dozens of high profile, successful developers that would have loved to get their hands on that land, some of said that.

I guess I will never know the reason why we held the land for Lloyd Companies (I was looking for it in the Siding Settlement, but couldn’t find it).

I do know this though. Within those 11 years the city did NOTHING to either sell the land, clean up the land (with EPA grants) or even send out any RFPs. Why? Doesn’t it seem strange that while we were getting $27 million in Federal Dollars for a plot of dirty RR land we didn’t set aside a few bucks to clean up this property, put in curb and gutter and parking and sell it?

While Neitzert makes some good points about the usage of TIFs, the deal with Lloyd stinks.

*Also an important note. All of the councilors who voted for the TIF (besides Neitzert) received campaign donations from Craig Lloyd and councilor Selberg earns his living as a broker for the Lloyd Companies (he did not excuse himself). Councilors Starr and Stehly (who have never gotten campaign donations from Lloyd) voted against the TIF.


#1 Emoluments Clause on 09.24.17 at 4:34 pm

“We are using the TIF money to clean up soil, old buildings, asbestos and constructing some minimal public parking.”

But if the soil needs to be cleaned up, then why does the grass grow there? Now, I am not some type of “climate change denier,” but it seems to me to be a controlled problem and if we can live with it for more than 11 years, then how can it all a sudden be “blight.” Not to mention that the City, in their Powerpoint presentation, mentioned the “blight” contention separate and equal to a concern for the soil, which makes them equal but separate contentions, does it not? And, “old buildings” themselves, especially with asbestos, are “blight?” Well then, doesn’t a good chunk of our city qualify for a TIF as well?…. And where does that leave us?

TIFs were initially created to address issues of “blight” and spur development in such areas, but what is “blight” appears to have become a qualifier of subjective rather than objective means, where the subjective qualifier appears to be chased down. “Blight” should scream at you. Allowing you to easily mark off its checklist. It should not be a qualifier with a checklist of wondering or hopeful endorsements or legitimacy, especially when it is discovered that components of the alleged checklist are listed independently of the “blight” contention itself in a presentation…. As a City, we need to develop an actual definition of what is “blight.” And until we do this, any TIF is merely an act of political convenience and not an act of political sincerity.

#2 l3wis on 09.24.17 at 7:16 pm

Also, in no way would this have happened in the private sector. No one in the private sector would have held blighted land for 11 years without some sort of down payment, retainer or payment plan. The taxpayers of SF held this land for 11 years and got NOTHING in return. No taxes were paid (they bring up the $8,000 amount) that is the ‘tax value’ of the land, but since the city owned it for the past 11 years, we have gotten $0.

#3 The D@ily Spin on 09.25.17 at 1:05 am

Councilors bought by Lloyd have no shame. When there’s a new mayor, there could be a stream of ethics complaints. However, by then, the city attorney will have rewritten ordinances taking ethics violations and removal from office out of the equation.

What’s especially wrong is there’s no criminal remedy and citizens have no voice in their government.

#4 Reliable Voter on 09.25.17 at 11:38 am

So……I was told by a former city official that if you walk around the old Pitt’s (sp?) site on a hot day, you can see what appears to be oil bubbling up. Anyone know if this is true?

#5 l3wis on 09.25.17 at 1:24 pm

Some say it’s oil, others say it’s MMM’s frustration.

#6 Emoluments Clause on 09.25.17 at 1:47 pm

Is it “a bubbling crude?”…….

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