Entries Tagged 'Minnehaha County' ↓
January 4th, 2014 — Bob Litz, Minnehaha County
I can’t speak for Mr. Litz, because I don’t work in the county administration office. But several people who do, say that they don’t see much ‘office time’ by Mr. Litz. There are plans for the auditor’s office to hire another employee. I can’t find the specifics of that position, but I was told that it was a ‘finance’ manager.
Now, I am not going to rail on Litz about perfect attendance, because I don’t know all the details (but if someone does, please forward it to me) but I would like to give some advice;
1) When you are you are an elected official who manages a very important department for the county, my advice would to at least put in 40 hours a week in that office. With the long lines in the department across the hall from you, can you imagine if our county treasurer didn’t show up very often? You would have a VERY irate public.
2) Why are we considering hiring another manager for the auditor’s office when we can’t get it’s head honcho to show up?
If his attendance is an issue, Mr. Litz needs to realize that this isn’t like his private business, he works for the taxpayers now. Show up. Work. Thank You.
I would also like to give a H/T to the county for posting their meeting videos online. Not sure how long they have been doing this, but I have been doing catchup. The videos are a little grainy, but the audio is perfect, and unlike SIRE, when you push play, the meeting starts immediately. BRAVO!
December 30th, 2013 — Democrats, Jeff Barth, Mike Huether, Minnehaha County, US House
I have been noticing several reader comments on media websites (that I assume are plants by Republicant’s trying to dis-credit Robinson’s campaign). So I set the record straight tonight while attending a Minnehaha County Democratic fundraiser at the Falls Overlook Cafe. Sorry, I am a little hazy, I had a couple of glasses of Moscato at the event (and I thought they only served kool-aid at Republican events, my bad).
I asked Corinna if she was running (after telling her the rumors swirling around). She said definately, in fact she already has a West River and an East River director working for her (I met the East River fella tonight) and she plans to make the big announcement in January sometime.
So detractors, knock it off already.
While I am not sure if I am totally sold on Corinna, I will say that the BS smear campaign on her is uncalled for. We know the real reason the SD GOP is swinging low and early, because when you match Corinna’s credentials with Noem’s, Noem’s campaign is quickly distracting the electorate with Mitchell hair, barrel roping stories, hoop earrings and mail order college degrees. If Noem is dumb enough to debate Robinson, Corinna will pound her into submission, I can’t wait for this matchup.
Other highlights of the event was meeting Democratic Candidate for Governor, Joe Lowe.
I am usually hard to impress when I first meet a political candidate, but not only is Joe intelligent, and has great economic, public safety, and leadership skills, he is very funny, incredibly funny. He shared many personal ‘war stories’ with GP and I about his employment with the state.
Rick Weiland also talked about the benefits of a buy-in to Medicare being offered to all citizens (woot-woot).
In other news, county commissioner Jeff Barth confessed to me he is NOT running for mayor.
And a chuckle for the night, I was looking for Mayor Huether to be at the event tonight. Not only Minnehaha county’s most powerful Democrat but the state’s most powerful Democrat, according to some peeps (sorry Bernie Hunhoff). But he was a no show. I didn’t ask anyone about it, but was offered the information from an attendee. I guess he didn’t attend because he believes the Jamison campaign has a ‘tracker’ on him. Luckily I wasn’t drinking my Moscato Kool-aid, because the person telling me would have been splattered with it. I do know that in Huether’s final ‘Listening and Learning’ session before the election that someone was doing an audio recording of the session, like it matters because you can listen to it here. But if that is what Paranoid Mike considers a tracker, I want to tell him there are bigger turds and tracks in the forrest to worry about.
And the final word on Jarding, get ready for this, No one knows what the heck he is running for. He is scheduled to teach classes next Spring at Harvard, so many are puzzled as to what he is up to.
December 19th, 2013 — Brandon, Minnehaha County, Property Taxes, Sioux Falls, Taxes
Commissioner Jeff Barth sent this information to me from the county’s equalization office;
The combined worth of TIF’s in Minnehaha County is $91,326,856. Of this number the base value (Number that is taxed and distributed to all entities) of $28,861,936 is subtracted from the total leaving $62,464,928 that is considered increment value and is taxed and used to pay off the Increment Districts. I can show you individual projects if needed. TIF’s are in the County, Sioux Falls City, Brandon City and Dell Rapids City.
December 18th, 2013 — Homeless, Minnehaha County, Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls/Minnehaha county saw an almost 30% increase in homeless in one year;
In South Dakota, more than 1,100 people don’t have a place to call home, and over half of them live in Sioux Falls. Monday, the results of the one day homeless count in Sioux Falls were released.
“We had 618 homeless, and 218 of them were children,” Maria Krell, Executive Director of Good Shepard Center said.
In 2012, the homeless in Sioux Falls totaled 435 people.
Krell said, “It’s really a lack of affordable housing.”
Stacey Tieszen, who serves on the Sioux Falls Homeless Advisory Board, agrees. She said Sioux Falls did a study in 2010 that showed the city was 1,000 affordable housing units short, and we would need to build 250 units each year from there on to keep up with the growth of the city and the wages being paid.
“We’re not building that, we aren’t even remotely keeping pace with that, so we are behind the eight ball already,” Tieszen.
Tieszen said in order to afford a two bedroom apartment that costs around $800 a month, a person would have to make $14.61 an hour.
In Minnehaha County, for 44 percent of people surveyed in this count, this was their first time being homeless.
We have a combination of low unemployment, and the jobs that do exist are low paying, forcing many to have multiple jobs. Pile on the constant property tax increases, rate increases for utilities and the lack of affordable housing and what happens? People are forced to hit the streets. What’s even more scary is the amount of people who are ‘borderline’ homeless, and teetering on the edge.
There are things ‘Businesses’ can do;
- Pay workers more, but hire quality employees and train them well so you don’t have to have as many. It will balance out in the end.
There are things ‘Government’ can do;
- ONLY award TIF’s to affordable housing projects.
- REVOKE all other TIF’s that have nothing to do with affordable housing, and start charging them the proper property taxes.
- Reduce property taxes for individual property owners, especially those on fixed incomes.
- REVOKE the food tax, for everyone! Or on at least raw & fresh foods.
- Implement a corporate income tax
These constant tax breaks to those who can afford to pay the most in taxes has to end. We need to take the burden off those who can least afford it. Sadly, as Janoct Adja pointed out when running for mayor the first time, ‘even the homeless in our community have to pay taxes.’
This culture of working the poor to death without providing them affordable housing has to end. But the culture of handouts to the special interests at city hall has to end also to make this work. Once city hall has done everything it possibly can to make it more appealing for contractors to build enough affordable housing in our community, then, and only then, can we start talking about hotels on public golf courses, pickleball courts, and private indoor tennis courts for the mayor and his buddies.
December 5th, 2013 — Minnehaha County, Property Taxes, Taxes
Interesting that we were just talking about this the other day on the blog, and our ever increasing property taxes. But this puts a new twist on it;
A lawsuit rising from a disputed property tax assessment involving Minnehaha County could set a troublesome precedent, county officials say.
Hutchinson Technology is suing the county, claiming the sale of a 300,000-square foot building to Sanford Health in 2009 showed the county greatly overvalued the building for tax purposes. The site at 2301 E. 60th St. had been the Hutchinson Technology campus. Sanford acquired it to be its research headquarters.
The most recent assessed valuation before the sale was $18.6 million. But Hutchinson Technology sold the site to Sanford for $12 million. Now Hutchinson Technology is challenging tax assessments from as far back as 2005 and possibly to 2001, according to Kersten Kappmeyer, Minnehaha County state’s attorney chief civil deputy.
Make no mistake, I have often thought state and local governments are greedy when it comes to taxing individuals, nickel and diming us on higher utility rates and fees. Continuing opt-outs for crime prevention and punishment (when changing state laws for non-violent drug offenders would fix the problem) while handing out TIF’s to the big boys and not taxing profits of corporations.
If the County loses this lawsuit, the ripple affect could be devastating, for their coffers anyway.
December 1st, 2013 — County Commission, Developers, Development, Minnehaha County, Sioux Falls
This quote from County Commissioner, John Pekas, pretty much sums it up;
“We are the constant underfunded entity in the state of South Dakota,” Pekas said. “This is the perfect poetic situation. The state has a surplus, the city has a surplus and we are out of money.”
I have often felt that there should be a shift in property tax dollars towards the county, I have also felt that the School Board, the County Commission and City Council should all have to approve a TIF with a 60% majority.
Trust me, if the law changed to allow this kind of approval process, no more TIF’s would be approved, and ironically, development would continue.
November 27th, 2013 — Minnehaha County, Sioux Falls, Taxes
A friend dropped off a print out of her property tax increases since 2009 to me yesterday.
Since 2009 she has done little to no improvements to her property. In fact this past year, the city had to tear up her boulevard for water issues and remove a tree due to the icestorm.
Her home has not increased in value since 2009. It is valued at $96,000 by the county.
From 2009-2010 her taxes increased $4
From 2010-2011 her taxes increased $3
From 2011-2012 her taxes increased $70
I suppose the sudden bump has to do with the county & school district opt-outs.
The part that is disconcerting is that while the city is handing out property tax cut incentives to wealthy developers, we are sticking it to the little guy to help pay for the needs of the county, city and school district.
If we feel like we need to continue these kind of increases, fine. But let’s eliminate TIF’s and have a triple approval process with the county and school district.
November 1st, 2013 — Mike Huether, Minnehaha County
I wanted to post about the mayor’s lake home because it is a question I get quite often. There seems to be some confusion on how he attained the property, and as far as I can tell, has the only lake front property (there is a farm on the other side of the lake adjacent to it).
Okay, I can’t see that the mayor attained the property in any sort of nefarious way, this from the SD GFP;
Ownership of Lake and Adjacent Lakeshore Properties
Diamond Lake is listed as meandered public water in the State of South Dakota Listing of Meandered Lakes. Game, Fish, and Parks (GFP) owns the majority of the lake basin as a Game Production Area and manages the fishery. The remainder of the shoreline is privately owned.
As you can see from the Google map images (2012) a special road had to be built to the home. I know many people who fish on that lake, and have witnessed the mayor having ‘get togethers’ at it.
While I commend anybody who is successful to build lake homes, it befuddles me that he would want to have the only home on the lake and when does he find time to stay at it? (it is located in Minnehaha county in rural Colton).
So just for the record, as far as I can tell, it’s his place, free and clear. Just trying to dispel any rumors.
August 21st, 2013 — Bob Litz, Minnehaha County
As we just discussed in June, county auditor, Bob Litz (was doing his job) by shopping around for better interest rates on county bonds. Since Dougherty has pretty much a monopoly on bonds, not only in the county, but the city and state, it was wise for Bob to do some shopping around. But it seems, according to a story in the AL today, the CC (or should we say Dougherty) decided to vote on a bond consultant while Litz was out of town. Only ONE commissioner, Pekas, questioned what the hurry was to vote on this.
I have a feeling this had NOTHING to do with a ‘rush’ to get it done, or getting the ‘best deal’. This had to do with Litz being out of town and Dougherty continuing their monopoly on bonds in this state.
Can’t wait to hear Litz’s reaction when he returns to Dodge.
August 5th, 2013 — Minnehaha County
Here we go again, another (SIN) tax idea from Jeff Barth and the Minnehaha CC;
County commissioners across the state have favored the idea. Jeff Barth says it’s legislation Minnehaha County has unsuccessfully lobbied on for years.
“Although they have plenty of money for drinking, they don’t have plenty of money to pay for defense attorneys, prosecutors, prison, and jail,” Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth said.
Barth says more and more the financial burden of offenses, including alcohol, is falling on counties who see no benefit from existing drink taxes. He believes any amount would ease the county coffers.
“Right now we’re looking at putting two additional floors on our county jail at a cost of $10 million and grandma isn’t drinking and driving. We’re going to make her pay,” Barth said.
While I am not entirely opposed to his idea, I often wonder when the county is in a financial bind they want to raise taxes without looking for cuts. Their lack of creativity is frustrating. They say everyone should pay more on alcohol taxes, even responsible drinkers. Well guess what? Why should I have to pay more in taxes because someone is irresponsible with alcohol? Good drivers get discounts on their car insurance, irresponsible drivers do not. It’s like telling people who drink in moderation and responsibly they need to pay for the ones that don’t. It’s not a fair form of taxation. If someone breaks the law and is irresponsible, you fine them. If they need more money for convictions and jails, they need to raise the fines, substantially, not taxes.
1) While they have lobbied for years to get a bigger cut of state taxes, they need to lobby harder and demand a fair share. I will agree with them on this point, they are getting the shaft when it comes to sharing the tax revenue in our state.
2) Stop putting non-violent offenders in jail, fine them, bracelet them, garnish their wages, make them pay for rehab, court costs, attorneys, etc. but for god’s sake stop jailing them, it is a waste of taxpayer money. Jail is NOT rehabilitation and never will be. If you want to stop these people from becoming repeat offenders, offer them rehabilitation and hit them in the wallet.
3) Have a say in the TIF process with the city. While the city is handing out TIF’s like candy to already wealthy developers they are raising our property taxes on ‘grandmas’. If I can’t get a TIF to improve my home, developers shouldn’t get them either. I say put a stop to them altogether, they are literally draining millions of dollars from the property tax rolls every year, and developers are literally ‘cashing in’ on them.
4) Make cuts to unneeded programs, this is what responsible leaders do in a money pinch. I still remember shortly after the property tax opt-out was approved, the first thing the CC did was hand themselves a raise. This was one of the most irresponsible things I have ever seen a commission do.
I am sure there is about a 100 other ways to make cuts and improve tax revenue, but please stop running to the media every time you have a cost increase you need to alleviate. It lacks vision and quite frankly is fiscally irresponsible.