Entries Tagged 'Event Center' ↓

Déjà vu?

Makes you wonder how much water the walls of our EC are holding back?

Minnesota Vikings stadium officials say they’re concerned about leaky walls and loose panels at the new $1.1 billion facility.

The Star Tribune reports that stadium executives said Friday that zinc panels covering the entire exterior of the building are being tested and that the panels’ durability are a health and safety concern. U.S. Bank Stadium has been open only nine months.

The facility’s general contractor, M.A. Mortenson, is working on the northwestern facade of the stadium after water seeped through and created puddles in various places, including a concourse.

Oh, but it gets better;

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says it doesn’t expect to have to pay for repairs. A Mortenson executive says the company will bear its responsibility for repairs.

I guess we will never know how much Mortenson has paid us or if it was sufficient. Because 1) we have no idea what damage could be behind the walls and 2) the settlement has been kept secret. If I were the next mayor, the first thing I would do is cut a hole in the wall, and see for myself.

Did they finally fix the siding on the Denny?

Nope, I realized it’s just a hockey puck graphic . . .

Graphic; KELO-TV screenshot

Argus’ new entertainment reporter writes puff piece on ticket sales at the Denny

Here we go again, breaking in another new reporter at the Argus that allows city hall and it’s minions to buffalo them into a puff piece.

It was so nice of Chris to tell us this;

“I don’t think you’ll find a market of our size with a venue of our size that has had the number and the level of touring events that we’ve had the last two and a half years in the country,” said Chris Semrau, assistant general manager for SMG, the management company for the Premier Center.

Pollstar, an international touring publication that collects venue ticket sales, ranked the Premier Center as No. 88 in the world for tour ticket sales in 2016. That does not include sporting or special events. Usually new venues decrease in rank their second year, but the Premier Center rose 12 slots from No. 100 in the world in 2015. The facility is already doing better in 2017 than consultants for the city had projected.

And that sales number are what? Still a highly guarded secret apparently.

Chris also added this;

“We have hosted many country tours for multiple reasons, first financially. They do very well in this market.”

Just how much have the artists made at the EC?

More smoke and mirrors to cloud what we really want to know. Stop with the BS and just give us the actual numbers. How much money is going straight out the door.

The Chamber says I am wrong, but offers NO evidence

Just like most of our shallow leaders in Sioux Falls, the head mouth piece of the Sioux Falls Chamber, Mark Lee, had this to say about my city council testimony Tuesday night;

We often hear interesting things at City Council during public input, but on Tuesday we heard a new argument. The Premier Center is harming the economy of the City of Sioux Falls. You can listen to it if you choose by going to the City’s website and listening to public input between 12:34 and 15:21. The premise, if I might summarize, is that paying acts to come here and promoters to promote and SMG to manage means all our money is “going out the door.” Thus, there is no economic benefit, but rather harm.

Virtually all the empirical evidence is to the contrary and we’ve heard no other such contention, but we began to wonder. Has Omaha come to grips with how the CenturyLink Center is harming their economy? Or, how about the financial disaster must be happening in Kansas City due to the Sprint Center?  The Target Center and the Xcel Energy Center in the Twin Cities has to be bringing the metropolitan area economy to its knees, right? Why do communities build these money draining facilities?

Anyway, the City Council agenda was light on substantive issues Tuesday so this seemed to be the most interesting thing to report. Still, we’ll stay alert to the financial challenges our successful Premier Center imposes on our city.

Empirical evidence? We are not Kansas City or the Omaha. I WANT economic evidence from Sioux Falls. I actually have been asking for it since the Events Center has opened, and city councilors have asked also, with no avail. I guess the over 20 employees in the Finance Office don’t have the time to put together some simple tables;

I say prove me wrong and give us the numbers, because I have only guessed from extrapolating tax revenue that the EC had around $25 million in sales last year (but they couldn’t even give us those numbers).

So some would ask why I think the EC is a drain on the economy.

• While we have had continued sold out shows at the EC, sales tax revenue is down more then before we built the facility.

• The only development that has occurred at the site was a pawn shop that went out of business and a tax payer subsidized hotel.

• We take around $9 million a year directly OUT of 2nd penny road funds CIP to pay the bond mortgage on the EC. This is $9 million a year that won’t be spent with local contractors building our roads. That’s a lot of lost labor.

• We don’t use the net operating revenue to pay down the debt.

We can make the EC economically beneficial to the community though. If we start promoting the majority of the shows ourselves (like the Pavilion does) instead of just being a rental facility. We could probably inject enough money into the community to not only operate in the black but pay down the mortgage. SMG has argued they are not in the promotion business, OK, then we hire a management company that is, and we pay them a commission on the shows.

This isn’t rocket science folks, and it is hardly a steep request to ask for the sales numbers. But just like the secret siding settlement, the City, and it now seems the Chamber have something to hide. So instead of coming clean or even proving me wrong, they do what they know best, kill the messenger.

Is the city making ANY money on the Events Center?

It looks like we are going to get some more smoke blown up our butts tonight on Metli-Land TV (are they still calling it that, hard to keep track);

“A lot of the on sales we do, we have some of the highest grossing, out-of-the-gate sale of just about any building around the country of our size,” Torkildson said.

Ever notice when we ever hear anything about the EC it’s always about breaking records, but we never hear how all that record breaking is benefitting the community, in the form of revenue coming back into the town.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are some positive numbers somewhere, but why are we not seeing them?

As a tax paying resident of Sioux Falls, sorry to say, I just don’t see much sense on paying the mortgage on a building that I will never use because I still have to pay another $100 dollars for a ticket just to walk through it’s doors. From my perspective, I have to take VALUE in the Events Center in how much it’s existence benefits my community as a whole, and that means in dollars and cents.

We do know some things. The EC’s mortgage is around $9 million a year. The EC operations are covered and then some, a net of over $2 million this past year. We also know that we paid (mostly the state) $1.5 million in taxes.

But here is what we don’t know or only speculate on. Where does the net revenue go?  Back to the city to help pay the mortgage or in a secret SMG fund they get to play with for promotions, etc.

If the EC had approximately $20 million in sales last year, how much got redistributed in the community, and how much went straight out of town?

When will the CVB give us an educated estimate of how much money is spent in Sioux Falls by out of town concert goers? And how much tax revenue is generated?

While there are some positive things going on at the EC, I just don’t see how the city is benefitting financially from building the facility? Some would say ‘quality of life’. Sorry, but my life hasn’t gotten any better in respect to entertainment due to the EC, just more expensive.

I think it is time the city and SMG show the citizens just how much we are getting reamed while SMG and it’s associates are raking in the dough which never get’s redistributed in our community.

Representative Greg Jamsion introduces law to curb government secret settlements

I guess it takes a former city councilor becoming a Pierre lawmaker to get our city to stop with their secrets;

District 12 Rep. Greg Jamison’s House Bill 1166, introduced on the House floor Wednesday, aims to bolster South Dakota’s open records laws by making it more difficult for municipalities, school districts and any other governmental entity in the state to keep settlements of civil or criminal proceedings confidential and shielded from the public.

In 2015, the city of Sioux Falls did that when it agreed to keep secret a $1 million settlement it entered with contractors involved in the construction of the Denny Sanford Premier Center after some exterior paneling began to warp before the facility’s opening in October 2014.

“The bill is reflective of that,” Jamison said Thursday. “Clearly that was a problem and I saw an issue that needed to be addressed and here’s my chance.”

I wish Greg luck in getting this passed.

Events Center Cheerleading still leaves us with unanswered questions

Cash cow or cowardly boondoggle?

Stormland TV tried to polish the turd called the Events Center tonight, but still left us with more questions;

• The GM of the EC said tonight that people coming to SF for shows generate (private business) revenue and sales tax revenue throughout the community besides what is generated at the EC itself, but could not give us a solid number of what that revenue is, only saying it is a lot. There are formulas to determine these kind of things, in fact the Convention and Visitors Bureau has produced these numbers in the past. Have they been stifled because of the BID tax fiasco?

• The EC admitted they had a net operating revenue of $2.1 million, which is great, BUT;

  • Who gets this money? Does it go back to the city, put in the general fund to help pay the almost $10 million dollar mortgage each year? Does it go to help pay for maintenance of the building? Assuming the EC is ran like the Washington Pavilion (city owned building – privately managed) that all maintenance expenses come from the CIP not from the net revenue. And if the money doesn’t go back to the city (and citizens) where does it go? Who has control of it? SMG or the tax payers of this city?

• The EC paid in $1.5 million in sales taxes (assuming) that is from the 7.5% total tax rate that is almost $20 million in sales from the EC. Where did this money go? Promoters? SMG? Artists? Out of state suppliers? How much recirculated in the community or did it go straight out the door of SF? Can we get the breakdown of these sales?

While I am very pleased the place is entertaining people and is not sucking us dry on operations, I’m concerned the money the EC is generating is leaving our community while lining the pockets of a lot of people who couldn’t even pick SF out on a map of the United States while the citizens foot the bill for the mortgage.

 

The Denny has about $20 million in sales last year and ONLY nets $2.1 million?

No matter how you look at it, the EC did not finish in the black. Even if you add the $2.1 million with the tax revenue, you still come about $6 million short on the mortgage, that gets sucked out of our 2nd penny (meant for roads and infrastructure, not mortgage payments on play things).

Net operating income, which is revenue minus expenses, came in at $2,145,904 for the venue.  Attendance increased by about 25,000 over the previous year to 671,098.

Besides the fact that the center can’t even cover a 3rd of the mortgage each year, I found this little tidbit a bit alarming;

The venue also wrote a check for almost $1.9 million for sales tax from the entire complex and Orpheum Theater Center. Of that amount, $1.5 million came from the Premier Center.

Now let’s assume that is total taxes (state + city + entertainment, 7.5%), that means the EC had about $20 million in sales last year! $20 million! and they only had $2.1 million left over after paying for operations? Where the F’CK is the money going? How big of a cut is the promoters, SMG and Ovations taking? And is that money staying in our community? Most likely NOT!

I told people before the vote, this venue is being built to make promoters, contractors and SMG a lot of money while we are stuck with the mortgage payment.

The irony of all this is that the mayor announced today he would not sign the Glory House resolution, and made some absurd statement about the city giving to non-profits.

Giving away a very valuable and useful City asset to any organization, even a nonprofit organization, is setting a very bad precedent for Sioux Falls City government, and I will not support it.

I wonder if that means we will get our $500K back from the Huether Tennis Center, or $2 million back from the Development Foundation, or monies back from Children’s Inn, Compass Center and Bishop Dudley house?

Argus Leader VS. City of Sioux Falls (Secret Siding Settlement)

Here is the audio of the arguments today at the SD Supreme Court.

South DaCola 2016 year in review (Part I)

art-maze-mower-lrArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016

2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.

READ ABOUT 2015 REVIEW HERE.

But locally there were three things that stood out;

• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.

• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!

• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.

Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;

• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.

• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.

• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.

• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.

• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”

• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .

• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive’ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.

• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.

• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.

• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?

• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.

• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.

• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .

• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.

• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.

• A state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?

• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?

• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.

• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.

• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.

• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.

• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.

• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.

• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.

• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.

• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.