City councilor Kenny Anderson Jr. Plans to discuss proposed changes to arterial street funding. Anderson and Public Works Director Mark Cotter will be making a joint presentation.
This of course all stems from the 6 year anniversary (2008) of raising the 2nd penny tax to a full penny after developers and city administrators made false promises to the city council in order for the tax increase. The developers haven’t even came within striking distance of their promised 60% input. The entire tax increase was based entirely on lies and a failing economy that was evident at the time of the increase.
One proposal would be to keep the tax increase in place and simply ONLY match developers platting fees for arterial road expansion. Any additional money from the tax increase would go towards existing road maintenance, not expansion.
When the city council decided to raise our taxes last Semptember they promised two things. 1) That the extra revenue of .08% would go into a special fund that would only be spent on arterial roads 2) That the developers would be paying 50% of that tab through platting fees. Even with the economy down and the city not being able to raise $10 million for the roads doesn’t mean that developers should be off the hook for their half of the bargain. But it seems like they think they are, and the city isn’t doing a damn thing about it.
In my interview yesterday I reiterated that the night of the increase vote that we told councilors a recession was coming, they didn’t care. It was pretty obvious that night as it is today that the four councilors who voted for the increase, Knudson, Brown, Jamison, Litz and Mayor Munson, were bought and paid for through campaign donations by the developers, one of which I busted cracking jokes about citizens testifying against the increase in the bathroom that night. The same guy who was crying and blaming the recession and the economy last night on the boob tube. Pretty funny now, isn’t it?
Here’s some highlights in the story that seem to prove they knew all along that the developers were not going to pony up;
“There’s a good supply of land platted and until that land becomes to be matured, meaning there is rooftops on it, additional land does not need to be platted,” Cotter said.
So, then, why did we need to increase taxes in 2009 to build roads we may not need until 2010 or 2011?
“We have a million dollars more in the fund today than we would have had before. We can always take the negative approach to everything and it really wouldn’t matter in the long term. We don’t build our company and I don’t think Sioux Falls builds their city, and I don’t think any bona fide business person is going to say, ‘Well, I build my company one year at a time,’” Craig Lloyd of Lloyd Companies said.
Craig’s comment is very revealing. 1) He is right, we have a million in the fund, money we, the citizens, put in the kitty, you know, the same people you belittled that September night while taking a leak. Where is your share? I agree, a city doesn’t build itself one year at a time, but when the city and developers tell us there will be a 50/50 partnership, you better hold up your end of deal, and if you don’t, why should we?
But let’s just look at the figures;
$1,000,0000 – What the city has raised so far
$78,000 – What developers have put in so far ($70,000 was added in June to the fund)
Now lets scenario the economy turns around and those numbers triple by the end of the year;
$3,000,000 – City
$234,000 – Develop
$3,234,000 – Total December 31, 2009
But this is where it gets interesting and the city gets caught up in their lies. The CIP has $5.4 million budgeted for arterial streets next year. Where is that additional money coming from? Most likely us.
$2,166,000 shortfall (that will have to be taken out of the regular CIP fund)
That would mean while taxpayers will have to pony up $5,166,000 for arterial streets next year, developers will only be putting a fraction of that aproximately $234,000, unless of course they win the lottery.
Does that sound like a 50/50 partnership to you? Kind of sounds a bad restroom joke to me.