UPDATE: Sioux Falls end of the Year Financials, did we end 1.8% up from the year before?

Ironically I talked about this last night at the city council meeting before the Finance Director, Tracy Turbak lost his marbles. I figured we could get the end of the year financials from the State Department of Revenue. But that wasn’t my point, my point is that we should get that information from our Finance Department, especially before voting on a re-finance or spending $3.3 million in surplus.

A concerned citizen sent this to the city councilors yesterday after doing his own research. As I have been predicting we came in somewhere between 1-2%;

Subject: January 2018 2% Municipal Sales Tax

February 8, 2018 the local January 2018 2% municipal sales tax report was published on-line by the SD Dept. of Revenue.  The twelve month rolling growth rate is now 2.05%, an improvement from December 2017’s 1.8%; November 2017 was also 2.05%.

The most improved sector was retail trade (53% of the total), 0.93% 12 month rolling growth rate (Dec. 2017) to 1.41% (Jan. 2018).  The net dollar amount of this nearly 0.5% increase was $ 331,000 in 2% municipal sales tax.
Six of the eight retail trade sub-sectors contributed to the month to month gain.  Rank order of gainers: food stores, miscellaneous retail, apparel & accessory stores, eating & drinking establishments, furniture stores and auto dealers (about $ 394,000). Two sub-sectors of retail trade were a drag in January: building materials, general merchandise stores (about – $ 83,000).

Source: SD Dept. of Revenue, “Statistics for All Cities by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Major Group and Division,” Sioux Falls General Recap, Tax Due, p. 935.

Finance Director, Tracy Turbak ‘FREAKS’ on city council

If you FF to the discussion about the re-finance of the city’s bonds (1:03), you will see a very disturbed and angry finance director freak out on the council accusing them of not trusting him and not being able to figure out why they won’t approve one of his re-finance plans.

First off, like most things coming from the administration, the cards are held tightly to the jacket until the last minute when something needs to be ramrodded through. Turbak didn’t give the council the option of spending the surplus until the 2nd reading last night.

Secondly, most of the council wants to spend it on something else or NOT at all. They just haven’t had a discussion to determine what that is yet.

And lastly, as councilor Stehly pointed out, their probably needs to be proper public notice before that happens to follow open meetings laws, and the city attorney kind of agreed and said he needed to look into it.

So the council DID approve the refinance and told Turbak they will get back to him with a decision about the surplus hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

The council seemed bewildered why Tracy freaked out, but it was no surprise to me, because with the assistance of the mayor’s piss poor attitude towards the council, Tracy has often shown a great deal of contempt towards them, and has often ‘lipped off’ at councilors when they ask questions. In fact one councilor (I think Kiley) pointed out to Tracy that they WILL ask questions of him and expect answers.

Tracy was completely out of line last night, especially when following chain of command. While MMM may be his boss, Tracy does work for the ELECTED city council also and the more importantly the citizens they represent. And while he doesn’t have to take orders from them, they DO have to approve or disapprove his proposals.

He didn’t do a very good snow job on the council last night, and like MMM, Tracy’s days are also numbered.

*Tracy also made the comment that the end of the year financials usually are NOT released until the end of February each year. While that may be true, I think this year is unique due to the election and the fact Turbak was asking for a re-finance. It seems he has the information already, so why not release it early before asking the council to spend the surplus. It would be helpful.


#1 Warren Phear on 02.14.18 at 9:18 am

First off, I want to do a shameless plug for someone’s Twitter account. There are a lot of people in and around SF who do not have Midco cable service. Count me as one. Our smart devices also do not support the city’s antiquated viewing option. So, I rely on a Twitter feed to keep me abreast of what is going on down there. That belongs to one Joe Sneve. If you don’t follow, do yourself a favor and follow along.

Some questions based on last nights meeting. Someone lay out why we seem to be swimming in sales tax surplus money, when the city has failed to meet sales tax expectations for at least three years now. This whole discussion is a scam.

The charter revision vote thing? Could someone lay out some real life examples of why 3 votes would be better than 4? I have been following city politics and this blog for a long time now, but seem to need some clarity on this one.

#2 l3wis on 02.14.18 at 9:22 am

My view is I think it should be easier to put stuff on the ballot, not harder. The CRC doesn’t approve amendments, they just approve them to be voted on.

I think Neitzert said it best last night, it’s just a philosophical difference.

#3 Warren Phear on 02.14.18 at 9:30 am

Forgot to add one comment. Anecdotal. Is it just me, or do we now have a full council who appear to be all about the needs of their constituents, Joe and Jane Sixpack? There are a minority of councilors who are truly in it for their constituency. What’s going on now is lame ducks who think they can go out with a conscience, and candidates trying to firm up a base they never had, or never cared about til now.

#4 Michael Wyland on 02.14.18 at 10:16 am

I watched the City Council meeting live on TV last night. The City Attorney was in a real bind that threatened to put him on conflict with Tracy Turbak. Tracy was encouraging the Council to amend the resolution to name the amount of additional funds to accelerate repayment of the new bonds. The city attorney was saying that such an amendment might be considered “significant” or “substantive” (I forget the exact word) and would require a new first and second reading of the ordinance, thereby delaying the process beyond Turbak’s desired end of the month timeline.

In the end, the best solution probably happened. The bond refinance was approved as submitted, with the potential for additional funds to be dedicated, but no specific amount named. The city attorney is going to look at ways to legally modify or clarify the ordinance to add a specific figure for additional funds dedicated to refinancing. Meanwhile, the city council members need to think about a desired additional amount to dedicate, with an agenda item added to the council’s informational meeting agenda no later than Friday. [Turbak suggested zero, $3.3 million (all the unanticipated surplus) or $1.5 million (a middle ground).] The council can then discuss both the amount and the parliamentary process at their informational meeting next week and agree on an agenda item for consideration later that evening.

If the council takes no action, perhaps because parliamentary procedure doesn’t allow them to do so while maintaining the end-of-February deadline, the effect will be to add zero dollars to the refinance package, leaving $3.3 million for the mayor and council to haggle over in the new city budget.

#5 Warren Phear on 02.14.18 at 12:25 pm

These are the five CRC members.
Susan Aguilar – Term Expires – March 2019
Jill Entenman – Term Expires – March 2019
Robert Thimjon – Term Expires – March 2020
Justin Smith – Term Expires – March 2019
Pauline Poletes – Term Expires – March 2020

How are they commissioned to this position?

3.3 million? Greg asked where this number can be found in the books and exactly what is its source? When turback said 2nd penny the conversation could have ended. What again was the original intent of 2nd penny?

Thank you Bruce for making the video available. Thank you Scott for your 3 appearences last nite. All very informative. The awkward silence and the mayors comment after your last input was hilarious.

Tim Stanga also brought up an interesting discussion. If you go to the city website concerning snow removal practices, you will see they state they do not ticket til AFTER the plow has been by. I have personally seen this to not be the case. A few years ago, before my then 90 year old parents lived in a retirement community, they lived a block rast of 26th & Minnesota. After an overnite snowfall of about 4″ I told my Dad I would be over at 9am to snowblow his driveway. Dad moved his car to the street at 8am so I could do his driveway. At 8:30 when I arrived a police car was just leaving with a ticket Ttached to my dads car. The plows gad not been by yet, and did not cone by til well after I’d removed the snow from his driveway. Put his car back in his driveway, the plows went by, unimpeded, yet my Dad was stuck with this bill. Total BS.

#6 The D@ily Spin on 02.14.18 at 1:17 pm

Interest rates are hedging up. It’s very possible they’ll be 5% by year end. The 3.3 million should be used to pay down debt. Hence, bond payments will be less and the city has captured a favorable interest rate. This will be a good gift to the next administration and prevent Huether from blowing more millions on play places.

For Huether’s future, I recommend he be the passenger in the next Tesla shot into space.

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