Entries Tagged 'Developers' ↓

Sioux Falls City Council should vote against Downtown Parking ramp based solely on what we learned from secret siding settlement

Last night at the city council meeting councilor Pat Starr chastised community development and parking for keeping the council in the dark about the proposed downtown parking ramp. The administration asked for an additional $30K for legal fees before the council has even approved the funding. (FF: 44:00)

This project continues to get delayed, and no one knows why, the public or the council. But they continue to ask for more and more money.

Councilor Starr complained about the secrecy involved, and rightfully so. I think with all of the kerfuffle yesterday about the secret siding settlement this should set a precedent moving forward that the council votes NO on all RFPs they are left in the dark about, as they have with the backroom negotiations with this project.

I think moving forward if the council and public are NOT receiving information about these projects before approving them, they should vote them down and demand transparency.

As I have said, if you are doing business with the public, that becomes public information, whether you are a private developer or not. This secrecy cannot continue, and we can’t wait for a new council and mayor to remedy this massive problem, the council must act TODAY.

Why is Sioux Falls paying for over HALF of 85th Interchange Upgrades?

You may have missed this item last week at the city council meeting, buried as an item at the end of a 3+Hour meeting.

FULL DOC: 85-th-pre-annex.pdf

As you can see, city taxpayers are paying for OVER half of the proposed upgrades. If you also include the SF residents that live in Lincoln County, you will see even more of Sioux Falls residents tax money going towards this project. Notice the State DOT is giving practically nothing, and the other neighbor that will benefit quite a bit from the project, Tea, is throwing in only $4.5 million. And as usual, the developers involved are contributing very little, even though they have the most to gain from the project. So why does the city continue to expand (annexation) like Flopdation Park and this project, when we are struggling to keep up with our current infrastructure? Sioux Falls should be dedicating that $30 million towards redeveloping our core and central part of the city instead of building interstate exchanges for rich developers in the middle of a swamp.

FF 3:29:00

 

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.

If you think McKennan Park has a problem house . . .

I think this story will really raise your eyebrows;

Building permits filed with the city called it “a remodel with a new addition.” But neighbors Thomas and Holly Ruether contend it actually was a tear-down and the building of a new, larger home.

Paint it yellow and it is all good.

UPTOWN Timeline

 

This was the presentation I gave last night to the city council meeting during public input about UPTOWN II TIF application.

I said I was NOT doing the presentation for council but for the public, since their minds are usually made up before the meeting even starts.

Phillips to the Falls – UPTOWN Timeline

2004-5 Completion of Phillips to the Falls

8/14/2006 – Uptown Presentation to the city council, 3-Phases, $2.582 million dollar purchase price for 3 parcels, promise to be finished by 2014-2015, Over $100 Million valuation, $4-5 million in property taxes a year. When Craig Lloyd from the Lloyd companies was asked when him and his partners anticipated purchasing the property by councilor Kermit Staggers, Lloyd responded, “Soon as you can give me title.” Purchase price at that time was $2,582,000 for all of the parcels. Development agreement was supposed to finalized in September 2006 according to city planner Erica Beck.

4/2/2007 (Land still NOT purchased) City Council awards TIF #8 for first phase of Uptown. Before approval city councilor Pat Costello asks why a ‘Needs’ analysis was NOT done for TIF and It concerned him going forward on future TIFS. Planning Department said they followed state statutes which did not require the analysis.

7/16/2007 – City Council approves purchase of land, Split into TWO payments. Lloyd promises to break ground in March of 2008 (They did not).

12/6/2010 – Land still not purchased. During a city council informational Council Chair Greg Jamison asks about (purchase/TIF) deadlines for the Uptown project. City Planner Erica Beck (at the time, now is the project manager for Uptown II for Lloyd companies) said they were working with the city attorney’s office to amend the agreements, they want to give the Lloyd companies until the end of 2011 to move forward with project since they have invested so much of their own capital so far (Yet the taxpayers of SF are still holding on to the land and receiving NO tax revenue).

12/11/2012 – Utility Easement finally released for Uptown Phase I – Purchase finalized for Uptown Phase I first parcel shortly after that for $1.1 million (Which should have left a balance of $1.5 million without inflation on remainder of property – (See original valuation chart above from first meeting/presentation in 2006).

It took Lloyd Companies over 6 years to purchase HALF of the parcels AND another 5 years to purchase remainder. Taxpayers held the land for a private developer for 11 years. This is unheard of in the private sector without a significant down payment. Why didn’t we open this land for sale to others instead of holding property for Lloyd? Why didn’t we clean up the land ourselves with the assistance of EPA Federal Grants (Remember we just got $27 million for the railyard).

The TIF passed 6-2 (Starr and Stehly voted NO saying it was NOT a good use of a TIF).

Myself and another citizen also pointed out that several of the councilors voting last night received campaign donations from Craig Lloyd. Erpenbach, Rolfing, Kiley, Selberg and Erickson and should not be voting on the TIF. It was also pointed out that Selberg works as an independent broker for Lloyd and should definitely be excusing himself from the vote, he did not.

If you watch the above meetings and how this played out over the last 11 years, you will see a lot of secrecy, conflicts of interest and insider baseball being played. Even if the TIF was a good idea for this project, how they got to the end game certainly was questionable.

UPTOWN II Tax Increment Financing (TIF) DOES NOT benefit the public

You can watch the whole Sioux Falls Planning Meeting,

notice how there is almost ZERO discussion before approving the Lloyd TIF. How ironic, our planning commission will horse trade for 45 minutes over the timing of a church’s electronic billboard but spend only a few seconds on giving away a $4.1 million dollar tax rebate to a wealthy developer.

Heck, even after George Hahn came and pointed out their tax valuations were incorrect and the TIF should be deferred until those numbers can be corrected, they still marched forward.

Hey, what’s a few million here and few million there when we are short changing public education? They will just raise taxes on the worker bees to make up for it.

What is going on with the OSHA investigation of the Copper Lounge collapse?

As you can see, the OSHA investigation case IS STILL OPEN on the Copper Lounge collapse. The fines are being contested and nothing has been paid yet.

But it still leaves a lot of unanswered questions;

• Did or Will the city conduct their own investigation, and is Hultgren Construction paying for the disaster recovery?

• What have the insurance companies determined and will any claims be paid out? To either the victims and their families or to the city.

• Will there be any reimbursements for Downtown businesses that lost business for over a week due to the collapse.

• What repercussions are there for Legacy Development that was tied to Hultgren construction. What happened to the agreement between Lewis and Legacy to build them a new store downtown?

The public has heard very little from the city, the states attorney’s office and the attorney general about what charges may or may not be brought forth. The only government entity giving us any information is OSHA at this point.

I hate to say it, but like the secret siding settlement on the Denty, it looks like the city is looking to sweep this under the rug, or at least keep it off the radar until they can give a contract to Legacy to build a new parking ramp.

Hopefully the parking ramp contract will be voted down and we can start at square one with justice to the victims of the building collapse.

Here we go again

It’s too bad the neighborhood just doesn’t pool their money and develop the land they want to, like a private park or plot it for homes;

Owners of properties that surround an urban farm in northeast Sioux Falls have filed paperwork with the City Clerk’s Office to protest a decision by the City Council to allow apartments to be built there.

City Clerk Tom Greco said Friday that 17 properties in the Oakview neighborhood near Sixth Street and Bahnson Avenue were included in petitions submitted this week to force the council to reconsider a vote it took last month to rezone six acres of urban ag land at that intersection to a “live-work.”

The new land-use designation would allow several different types of development, including apartments, but neighbors have been vocal in their resistance, citing density, traffic and safety concerns throughout the months-long saga.

I actually thought the Live/Work designation was fine, and I supported the council on their last decision. I guess the neighborhood wants more conditions on the property before selling. I also believe that the Brown’s held onto the property way to long as agriculture land, they should have rezoned 10-15 years ago.

Lloyd Companies asks for TIF next week

They will request the TIF during the Planning Meeting, next week (Wed, Sept 6 – 6 PM).

If you read the attached documents you will see that the Lloyd Companies was probably seeking $5.1 million to begin with, the ‘proposed’ cost of the soil cleanup (still am struggling with the fact that cleanup is this much).

I could say many things about my opposition to this TIF, but you have probably already heard it. I will say this though, we need as many people from the public at this meeting in opposition to get it on public record. I’m not naive, the planning department recommends approval and the commission will probably approve it, I would be shocked if they did not.

My main opposition is that it takes money from the public schools and county. And with all the opt-outs lately, this is NO time to give tax discounts to wealthy developers on prime downtown property.

UPDATE: Minnehaha County Commission has NO objects to Lloyd TIF

Erica Beck from Lloyd Companies with taxpayer compensated Dustin Powers (filled in for Brent) from the City of Sioux Falls did a presentation today to the Minnehaha County Commission about the proposed $4.4 million dollar TIF. (FF to 46:00)

Lloyd Companies is saying they need the TIF for cleanup. But, that is kind of a stretch. Whether they need to clean up contaminated soil OR not, they still have to dig a hole for a parking garage. Instead of the TIF for cleanup, I have suggested FREE tipping fees for the project – the entire project. This wouldn’t cost the taxpayers much and we would still be able to receive full property taxes (approximately $450,000 a year) instead of $8,000 a year for approximately the next 13 years (Life of TIF).

My other suggestion would be for the city to actually contract the removal of the contaminated soil before turning over the land. There would probably be some Federal EPA grants to do this.

Lloyd Companies is maintaining they NEED this TIF to do the project. I find this a little hard to swallow.

Not only did the County Commission NOT object to the project and TIF, commissioner Dean Karsky had to inform the public that Lloyd Companies are the largest property tax payer in the county. I’m not even sure how this equates to being able to get a tax discount. What this tells me is that they have attained an enormous amount of wealth and property, and can certainly float this $44 million dollar project without this corporate welfare. It’s like saying Bill Gates deserves to eat a free meal at the Banquet everyday because he has attained so much wealth.

Once again Karsky defends who butters his bread, the Chamber and their esteemed members.