Entries Tagged 'Developers' ↓

Cooper’s retirement is no surprise, and neither will be his replacement

There has been plenty of public and private conversation about Mike’s retirement;

After a 32-year career with the city of Sioux Falls, Director of Planning and Development Services Mike Cooper Monday announced plans to retire from municipal government next spring.

Before the TenHaken was even elected, there were plenty of people saying Mike would retire in 2019. You can’t blame him, he put in his time. I also don’t think he was forced out. I think this was a planned process that Mike had full control of.

His retirement isn’t the grand mystery surrounding the announcement, this is;

The city will conduct a national talent search to fill the Cooper’s position as director of Planning and Development Services. The director is appointed by the mayor with advice and consent of the City Council.

Why waste the taxpayer’s money? I have said all along that former city planner and now COS, Beck, was going to replace Cooper. Maybe I am wrong, maybe she likes signing Paul’s executive documents and baby sitting TJ NelsOver, but I’m guessing someone who has spent a lifetime in planning and development and went to the same school Cooper did (Metli-Lloyds Planning Academy) is gearing up to take the job. The planning/community development re-org, the rah-rah sessions about TIFs and various other policy decisions Beck has been behind make it pretty clear who is ‘seeking’ that position.

Of course, the administration will put on a big show, but seriously, just spare us the smoke and mirrors, appoint Beck in April when Cooper leaves, and save us the drama.

Further proof TIFs produce NO economic growth

Once again, we are probably going to break building permit records;

With one month left in the year, the valuation of building permits in Sioux Falls is $4 million shy of the 2017 record.

Permits through November totaled just less than $735 million. At the same time in 2017, it was $663 million. That year ended with a total of $739 million. In 2016, the total was $702 million, which also was a record.

As I have pointed out, further proof that the development community doesn’t need tax incentives like TIFs, they are flourishing on their own. Some would even argue our fast growth may hurt us in the long run.

So another TIF study, this time in Missouri (St. Louis and Kansas City) shows there is very little economic impact from TIFs;

Overall, the analysis conducted in this study finds no support for the claim that TIF generated tangible economic development benefits in either Kansas City or Saint Louis. In other words, we do not find evidence that the use of TIF generated economic development opportunities that would not have arisen in the absence of TIF.

This article I think says it best;

Until cities and states adopt meaningful reforms, we can expect developers to continue asking for taxpayer subsidies whether the need is real or imagined. And as long as politicians are willing to oblige the developers, taxpayers will be all the poorer.

I couldn’t agree more.

Was the RR Relocation project really the biggest accomplishment of the last mayor?

As we have been seeing, there have been some kinks in process. The only prospect to bid on the property so far is having issues with the quartzite and may either pull out all together or drastically change the project.

I have NO information on either.

But recently it has come to light that Bucktooth & Bowlcut may have killed it all together by asking for impossible demands from the Railroad. Of course, as I am finding out, the RR does whatever they want to.

The project was pretty much dead until some other big shots intervened and all the demands were dropped.

Maybe B & B getting the project totally killed would not have been so bad after all? Nothing really has changed for DTSF residents. Still tons of train traffic and noise and questionable storage of cars by the river and parks.

I still maintain that the RR Relocation project was one of the worst negotiated projects in the history of our city.

Is Jodi Schwan working for the City again?

So I’m reading the latest update about the private/public partnership, Village on the River;

Journey’s work has been a “key, pivotal piece” of making the project happen, said Erica Beck, chief of staff for Mayor Paul TenHaken.

“They have excellent professionalism. They’ve done a great job of creating a safe site within an urban area, which is incredibly important,” she said. “We’ve received a lot of positive comments about that – it’s a safe site and a screened site, and it’s been well-received by the public.”

So why was I not reading this on the city’s website or watching it at an informational meeting presentation? Instead I got this information on Jodi’s website in which the contractor had to pay to present it.

Am I the only one that thinks it is a little odd that after the city gave over $20 million towards this project we are not being given timely updates at public meetings? Oh, that’s right, somebody may ask the ‘Legacy’ question again, and we just can’t have that in a public setting, someone may have to either answer the question or lie. Better just to pay Jodi to get it out there.

More reasons why we don’t need TIFs

There was a couple of stories today that show when developers in the Sioux Falls area want something, they suddenly have the money to pony up.

First the 85th exchange;

The project got through the IJR at the speed it did because the area landowners upfronted the money to pay privately for the report to be compiled.

They are committed to investing $4 million to get the project through federal approvals and initial design.

“You have a consolidated group of motivated businesspeople who own a massive piece of ground that’s going to open for commercial development,” said Jake Quasney, vice president of real estate and investments at Lloyd Cos.

Isn’t it funny, when there are millions to be made, the developers have all kinds of upfront cash to get what they want done and pushed through.

Just look at Journey’s $1 million land ‘Donation’ to the SFSD;

The district’s school board made the decision Wednesday for about $4.3 million and accept a $1 million donation from the company, bringing the total cost closer to $3.3 million.

Was this a ‘donation’ or just incentive to secure building a $90 million dollar High School (and possibly other facilities?).

With record building permits again this year, and all this CAPITAL the developers have to help secure future projects, one has to wonder if TIFs are even needed anymore in Sioux Falls?

Short answer; NO.

Record Building Permits only prove TIF’s are NOT needed

Here we go again, record growth and record building permits;

The city of Sioux Falls has surpassed $700 million in building activity through October, continuing a record-setting pace.

In the first 10 months of the year, the city has issued $701.3 million in building permits, up from $624.6 million for the same period in 2017.

The record for building activity was set last year at almost $739.3 million.

It is further proof that developers in Sioux Falls don’t need incentives like TIF’s, which are gigantic, long term, tax rebates. If anything, with this kind of growth, we should be raising fees and taxes on developers and putting that money towards technical education or better yet tax cuts for the rest of us stiffs.

Just a thought.

Drainage Issues? What Drainage Issues?

FF: 1:57:40, as councilor Stehly introduces video of the drainage issues around Item #34;

The neighbors of this potential project have asked that a serious drainage study be done before approval and that the building face the opposite direction. It has all fell on deaf ears so far. This was the 1st reading last night, 2nd reading will have final action.

While I feel for these people, I just don’t see 5 councilors voting against a project headed up Mark Mickelson, Former Head Dude in the House of Lords in Pierre and CAFO King. Peasants be damned!

City News, Rumors, Odds & Ends

The Glory House rehabilitation apartments are one step closer to opening with the tearing down of the old ice rec center.

BLACK IRON PUTS RAILROAD REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT ON HOLD

I kind of saw this coming;

The couple deferred the final vote to review costs.

Power’s say the Billion’s are revising their plan and changes will be made.

As I understand it, it was going to be very costly to provide underground parking due to quartzite issues, so I’m sure they are trying to revise the parking situation to include it above ground in the planned structure. But I’m not sure. I do know that the city requested the building be a certain amount of stories (6?) due to density and there may me a disagreement on just how that may be done with including above ground parking. I never understand why developers want to get involved with private/public partnerships with the city.

SHOULD THE SIOUX STEEL REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT GET A TIF?

There has been rumor floating around from city hall that a TIF may be applied to this project. Now while you may argue that the land Sioux Steel currently sits on is probably contaminated due to decades of manufacturing and this would be classified as ‘blight’ do you think it is fair to give a tax rebate to developers who contributed to that blight to begin with? Kind of a philosophical/ethical question. While we know clean up will have to occur before redeveloping the site I suggest applying for EPA grants and NOT taking away money from public education in the form of TIFs.

PLANNING DIRECTOR MIKE COOPER PLANS PRESENTATION ON JOINT JURISDICTION

Mike is going to address the Sioux Falls City Council about the purpose of joint jurisdiction after the recent fluff up over the wedding barn. The city must be getting nervous that the Minnehaha County Commission may be planning to withdraw from the ‘Polite’ agreement.

AFTER YEARS OF STRUGGLING WITH SIRE TO WORK PROPERLY, CITY DECIDES TO RENEW CONTRACT WITH THE CRAPPY SERVICE

Not sure why the City Clerk decided to renew this contract with all the problems with the service?

PARKS DEPARTMENT MOVES AHEAD WITH $200K CONTROVERSIAL CONSULTING CONTRACT AFTER ALL

Even after the city council told them to explore other options the Parks Department (director) convinced the TenHaken administration they still needed the studies done. So much for the legislative body’s input on this one. I also find it ironic we are seeking a parks accreditation but don’t seek the similar credentials for our police department. Because you know, green grass is far more important than public safety . . .

GENERAL PUBLIC INPUT RETURNS TO PLANNING COMMISSION MEETINGS AFTER CHIDING FROM DETROIT LEWIS

I posed this question to Head City Attorney Stacy Kooistra this week in an email;

Stacy,

I noticed after state law changed concerning public input that the planning commission started having public ‘general’ input at the end of the meeting. They did it for a couple of meetings than in last week’s meeting they did not do it (only on agenda items).

While I understand that maybe NO ONE came and spoke that doesn’t mean it can be eliminated. In fact in my 12 years or more of attending city council meetings there were several meetings in which people did not speak, but it still is offered.

I am wondering why they ended offering this at the planning meetings?

Stacy responded to me that he would meet with planning staff to discuss. I got this response today from Jason Bieber, Urban Planner in the Planning department;

Scott,

Thank you for the email regarding the agenda item for Public Input at the monthly Planning Commission meeting.    As indicated in SDCL 1-25-1, “The Chair of the body shall reserve at every official meeting by the public body a period for public comment, limited at the chair’s discretion, but not so limited as to provide for no public comment.”  Therefore, our Planning Commission Chairman made the decision to remove the agenda item for Public Input on non-agenda items at our monthly Planning Commission meeting for the simple fact that it had not been utilized by citizens so far.  He also felt that we allow public input at our 12:00pm Planning Commission Briefing the day (Tuesday) before the Planning Commission meeting and that may be a better opportunity for Citizens to provide public input.  In doing public input this way we do comply with SDCL 1-25-1.

This meeting of course, while open to the public, is at city hall with limited parking in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. The meeting is also NOT recorded or live streamed.

After receiving your comments as well as those from Councilmember Stehly, Planning Staff and the Planning Commission Chair have decided to add the Public Input Agenda item back on the Planning Commission Meeting agenda.  Our intent was not to limit Citizen Involvement at our Planning Commission Meetings, but to provide the best avenue for Public Input.

As I mentioned in my original email, doesn’t matter whether anybody shows up or not, as long as an opportunity is provided. The irony is even if NO ONE speaks it only takes a matter of seconds to ask if anyone is present to speak and is little inconvenience to the Planning Commission or their chair.

Thank you for bringing your concern to our attention and we look forward to Citizen Public Input at the November 7th Planning Commission Meeting.

That kind of sounds like an invitation to me. I’ll keep my calendar open that night. I always have plenty to say about planning in this community.

*I would also like to thank Councilor Stehly for looking into this for me initially. We kind of tag teamed this effort.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken getting closer to the Dawn of the TIFs

So he makes this announcement today;

“Taking care of citizens is job number one for the City,” said Mayor Paul TenHaken. “Our economic and workforce growth is dependent upon a healthy construction and housing industry, and this reorganization will help industry thrive as well as our citizens who are the housing consumers in Sioux Falls.”

In other words get ready for TIFiliscious 2.0. They are trying to slowly smooth us into this. But as I have said about city government many times, it is extremely predictable.

I asked a city councilor when this press release came out at 4:50 PM today if they knew about the reorganization. You know the answer.

UPDATE: I also find this video below of Dusty Johnson talking about ‘welfare’ while the company he works for took a ‘corporate welfare’ in TIFs. So it is OK for YOUR parents to take welfare, and it is okay for YOUR company to take welfare, but gosh darn it, you are going to crack down on all the other people? It reminds of Leslee Unruh who had an abortion but doesn’t want anyone else to have that right.

Republicans; Do as I say, NOT as I do.

UPDATE: Is the TenHaken Administration getting ready to get ‘TIFaliscious’?

Well, that wasn’t to tough, they got Brian Allen at KSFY to roll over and talk about how great TIFs are. Funny, the important part missing from Allen’s story, the actual economic impact;

A KSFY review of active Tax Increment Financing projects in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota shows there is a dramatic drop-off in TIF usage.

You know why? Because several studies have been done showing they have very little economic impact. I also find if comical that Allen only interviewed PRO TIF folks and NO one who is against them. I also like how some in the interview talk about how South Dakota does them ‘different’. Good stuff. Yet there has been NO extensive study done in South Dakota showing the actual economic impact of them. Why? Because the results would be grim.

What other people don’t realize is that when we give wealthy developers TIFs we all pay more in property taxes to supplement them to fund things like our counties, cities and public education.

I think the TenHaken administration is gearing up to start handing them out, literally like candy. His COS, Beck, wrote the Sanford Sports Complex TIF while working for the city (the largest in state history) and she also wrote the most recent one while working for Lloyd Companies for the Cascade project that is mostly marketplace apartments.

Tonight the city is hiring a finance director who worked for the Costello Companies (a major developer in SF) who is also an expert in TIFs.

It is pretty clear to me they are getting us prepped and they are probably chiding our local media behind the scenes to talk about the ‘positivity’ of TIFs.

Let’s face it, they are simply a tax rebate for private developers who could easily pay the taxes with or without the TIF. We don’t have a growth problem in Sioux Falls. In fact we are developing so much and building so fast we can’t hire people fast enough. The city council even gave SE Tech $100K for more job training programs. This tells me we don’t need to be subsidizing growth and development in Sioux Falls, it actually tells me we need to find ways to slow this growth and concentrate on SMART-STEADY growth not FAST URBAN SPRAWL.

The TIF model in itself isn’t a bad idea, but I think it should be applied to cleaning up neighborhoods. Giving tax rebates to single family homeowners and small apartment owners to clean up the neighborhoods would be a better approach, and it would be a visible economic impact. When individuals have to spend less on taxes and divert that money to improving their properties and lives that means they spend more money on other things that help with sales tax revenue that truly impacts our community. Businesses who use TIFs to expand their businesses don’t pay sales taxes, they just collect them. Give the rebates to individuals who will actually use them to improve lives and contribute to sales tax revenue.

Let’s face it, TIFs right now are truly ‘Corporate Welfare’ and not much else.

UPDATE: Did anyone catch Dusty Johnson in the interview? Mr. Fiscal Conservative ANTI-WELFARE wants to raise the Social Security age gladly preaching the ‘WINS’ about TIFs? We know exactly what Dusty would do in Congress, handout to big business while stepping on the little guy. If I was the Bjorkman campaign I would be clipping this little piece of corporate welfare pie for a future TV commercial.