Entries Tagged 'Darrin Smith' ↓

Is the City of Sioux Falls having a change of heart about ‘Washington Square’?

Not sure, but this press conference has me curious;

Come to the news conference to learn more about the Washington Square project and how City officials are proposing to support the project.

As I have said in the past, I was opposed to the massive TIF requested for this project, but I wouldn’t be opposed to something scaled back, like a low interest community development loan, financial assistance with cleaning up the alley and upgrading infrastructure in that part of Downtown, even some kind of lease agreement with the city on parking. But a large TIF for condos doesn’t float my boat.

Darrin Smith gets Tifilicious at the County Commission meeting

YouTube Preview Image

(starts at 20:30)

Funny how the commission gets to see this presentation before the council – or at least I can’t recall the council getting the presentation yet?

Darrin explains TIFs before the new TIF presentation. While he is correct that TIFs don’t cost taxpayers up front (even though we are footing the bill to administer them) we are losing property tax revenue for several years. Basically the developers are paying themselves property taxes and using the money to pay for the development.

What will the next Mayor’s race look like

Last week I posted about how our current mayor could pull off running a 3rd term. He had two options on the table, he could somehow convince the Charter Revision Commission (which currently has NO members) to introduce it on the ballot, then convince the voters to approve it, OR he could have a fill-in for 4 years then run again after that.

Well the second part sparked quite a few speculators as to who could be that fill-in, or at least, who was asked.

The possible prospects who are serious about running for mayor could be anyone of these folks;

Rick Knobe, Michelle Erpenbach, Dean Karsky, Darrin Smith and possibly even Greg Jamison.

But one name kept popping up last week like the popping sound of a loud piped Harley, Jim Entenman.

I find it odd that Jim would even consider it, first off, the mayor just can’t leave for a month to Mexico in the middle of the winter, well of course GW Bush was always on vacation while president, so maybe he can. Jim also didn’t run for a second term as councilor wanting to get back to transitioning his family business. He’s a busy man, running a mega-motorcycle empire in Sioux Falls is a tough job.

Do I think Jim was asked to run? Sure. Do I think he will run? Not a chance.

Q-Tip Smith is right, development by the new Events Center is starting


Of course, with the help of more tax subsidies;

City officials announced that Fairway Suites will develop a hotel on the southeast side of Elmwood Golf Course.

The City and Fairway Suites will begin negotiations on a lease agreement for the proposed site. A final agreement would then need to be approved before a project could proceed.

“We are very pleased to be working with the City of Sioux Falls to develop a hotel on the Elmwood site,” says Brian Burton, Chief Operating Officer for Fairway Suites, LLC. “With the opening of the new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center and efforts focused on the redevelopment of the surrounding area, we feel that the long-term outlook for the location is very promising.”

While I am not opposed to leasing the land to the hotel, the city in no way shape or form be involved with subsidizing or building this facility. The city should not be in the business of providing lodging. We have already given away millions (TIFs & River Greenway bulk head) to the DT Hilton. This a prime example of why hand-out Mike and his team (Smith) need to go.

Did Mayor Mike try to ‘Huether’ the Governor’s Economic Development (ED) office?

Don’t mess with the ‘Wizard’ of Sioux Falls (reader submission)

After knocking a few cans over, I finally got the torrid details of the pissing match that is going on between the mayor and the governor’s economic development office.

I must remind you that these events are ‘rumored’ to have occurred, by an anonymous, reliable source. I have had two other people verify the events as I am laying them out.

It all started with a lunch meeting the governor’s economic development office was having with a company interested in moving to Sioux Falls. Now this isn’t your normal, run of the mill, strip mall retail center, this is a research facility that wants to spend about $60-$80 Million building a facility in Sioux Falls. Also in attendance at the lunch was an ED rep from the city, and MMM.

Huether seemed to be confused as to why there wasn’t an ‘executive’ from the company at the lunch. The governor’s ED office informed Mike, during the meeting, that the Governor has already had ‘several meetings’ with the company in the past few months.

Mike was not happy (a temper tantrum ensued), and Mike left the meeting.

Mike then instructed his ED office to stop working with the Governor’s ED office representatives, and went as far to tell the governor’s ED office to ‘reassign’ certain reps.

Would have loved to hear the laughter in the Governor’s office after that request.

As I understand it, the Governor’s ED office reps are very good at their jobs, they also dot their ‘I’s and cross their ‘T’s. They probably also don’t care who gets credit for this, though preferably, they would prefer their boss to get the credit, since it seems the governor’s office seems to be the one doing all the legwork on this project.

It seems MMM is a little bent out of shape, because the governor’s office is stealing his thunder on this project. What is unfortunate is that Mike could screw this whole thing up because of his ‘ego’ problem.

The company is close to making a decision. They also admitted that 60% of the jobs they already provide are already from this region (I believe they are an Iowa company that is in the region) But have vowed to of course fill the remainder of the jobs from this region also. The main reason they want to move to Sioux Falls is they plan expansion, and they know they can only do it in Sioux Falls. They will also provide good wages, remember, as I understand it, this is a research facility, not a Walmart.

*As I noted, this comes from a very reliable source, but this is all second-hand accounts of the events.

Darrin Smith seemed to be on the lam a bit about naming rights & the Events Center

Councilor Staggers grilled Darrin about the groundbreaking deadline and how it is nearing (FF 44:00). He asked if a contract has been signed yet on naming rights. Darrin told him he hopes to have one before the groundbreaking ceremony. Darrin also said to just ‘trust him’ because basically everything is being handled just fine by him.

I am wondering why the council has not been let in on these negotiations? At least before the public knows. We are a month away from groundbreaking and SOME councilors don’t have a clue who is being considered. This is uncalled for, especially for an administration that calls itself ‘open’ and ‘transparent’ and has launched a Facebook page (8 people as of today ‘LIKE’ the events center).

Huether basically backs up Darrin by saying negotiations are taking a long time because they want the best value for the citizens. I would agree about the value, but I think these negotiations could go a lot better if there was more transparency. The mayor seemed uncertain about whether or not a naming contract would be singed before August 30 but they were shooting for it.

Oh, boy.


Naming rights and Reindeer Games

As I reported about a month ago, there were changes in the naming rights game. But I did leave out a few details, we will get to those in a moment . . .

I asked a city councilor last week when he thought the naming rights would be announced, and he suspected right before the ground breaking in August, I guess, to keep that element of intrigue and surprise with the public. Heck he doesn’t even know, but let’s just say him and the mayor are not real ‘close’.

I am just not sure how ‘surprised’ the public will be when they hear the ‘S’ word for the the 1,000th time. Christ, what some people will do to buy their way into heaven or at least into the pocket books of the sick and dying.

Now, back to the naming rights.

As I reported on June 16, there was a little switcheroo on the naming rights contract. The city decided to terminate their contract with Superlative and hire Legends to help with the naming rights. Which seems odd since the company(s) that want to put their name(s) on the building may have already been chosen.

What I did not tell you is on June 15 I had a very ‘colorful’ talk with Myles Gallagher, owner of Superlative. We had an intriguing 45 minute phone conversation about Sioux Falls, the Events Center, and his ‘disagreements’ with Darrin Smith and Mike Huether. While I would love to share most of the conversation with my South DaCola readers, I cannot.

I can say this, it seems two companies are possibly vying for a naming rights deal in a quasi-partnership.

But does the city have other competitors? Even if they were still going to go with the ‘S’ word in partnership with the ‘F’ word. Wouldn’t it help to drive up the bid?

Is this why Superlative was dropped over Legends? Did Superlative give advice that would be beneficial to the taxpayers? I guess we will have to see if ‘S’ & ‘F’ come in first place and if their offer is golden, that will be tell tale heart.

I’m pretty sure this will not come up at the groundbreaking ceremony, but I’m sure there will be several punch bowls of kool-aid being served.

UPDATED: Director Smith mocked during Land Use Committee meeting

Full-time director, part-time court jester

During the meeting, Dunham asked for a TIF to build affordable housing. After his presentation, Director Smith explains the city’s involvement with affordable housing. (starts at 24:30).

He pretty much admits that the city loses money on the deal, and tries to defend it by saying it is an ‘investment’ because if they wouldn’t build these homes, the city would lose money on code enforcement actions.

While I do understand his argument, no one is forcing the city to help pay to tear down older homes. The property owner should be responsible for those costs, not the taxpayer. If they cannot afford to fix up their property or tear down a home, it should go into foreclosure and become the bank’s problem.

Kermit then says to Director Smith, “So all these houses the city has built, we have lost money on?”

And Smith says, “They are investments.” in which the entire chamber busted up laughing.

Staggers points out, “Most people who invest money and they lose money, they call that a bad investment.”

Darrin reiterates his original argument about code enforcement, and didn’t seem to pleased that no one understood his argument.

Karsky and Anderson defend the practice. Staggers points out that the argument of investment is anecdotal information, because no one knows if we are saving money by making this ‘investment’.

UPDATED: I’m starting to wonder if Darrin even understands his department’s budget and how it works? And does he even understand prevention? Prevention shouldn’t start at demolition. As I have pointed out in the past, there are ways the city can provide assistance to property owners without giving them a handout, such as community development loans and even considering TIF’s to private property owners. By seizing and buying a foreclosed piece of property, all we are doing is bailing out the bank that owns the property. As taxpayers we are not benefiting from this lost CIP revenue that could be better spent on roads, sewers or parks actual INVESTMENTS in our community.

Who is handling the naming rights of the Events Center?

As you can see from these three documents, the city hired Superlative to handle the naming rights of the Events Center; superlativenr-reportproposal

But are they handling it? I think we paid them around $60,000 to do this for us.

I’ve been told by a source that the Superlative Group was told to only work on naming rights in the interior of the building and the Economic Development office would handle the name on the side of the building. Not sure if this is true, but if it is, it could be why the naming rights search is so secretive.

We were told by Darrin Smith and the Mayor that we had to hire Superlative for their ‘expertise’. So why are we not using these experts?

How is the Economic Development office doing with their search? Rumor in the business community is ‘not so good’.

They may have already disenfranchised one applicant and there may only be one other one on the table, and that table is a little wobbly. I hope this is all rumors and speculation, I would hope we could garner more then just ONE applicant. How do you have a ‘bidding war’ when there is only one country fighting the war? True or not, the bigger question is why so few applicants?

I would like to know;

1) Is Superlative handling the negotiations or is the Economic Development office handling them?

2) And if Superlative is not, WHY!?


Write your own caption

I saw this while watching the Stormland-TV video on the Royal River Casino proposal, and took a screenshot. LOL!