Entries Tagged 'Minnehaha County' ↓

UPDATE: Is Med-Star Ambulance Service in Financial Trouble?

UPDATE: as I understand it, Med-Star may be going thru a rough patch, but they vow to stay in service and have no plans to shutdown.

I guess Med-Star missed an important expense report with Minnehaha County this week, and now the rumors are stirring.

I do know that Med-Star passionately asked for some more money from the Minnehaha CC not to long back, and when denied, owner, Jay Masur cussed them out.

While I have heard some ‘interesting’ tales as to why this is happening, that’s none of my bizzo. I’m just saying let’s keep our eyes open.

This is what it looks like when you hire someone with qualifications

I about fell out of my chair when I read the new 911 Director’s resume;

The Metro Management Council has selected Scott McMahon to serve as the Director of Metro Communications Agency 9-1-1.

McMahon will be responsible for managing the operations of Metro Communications Agency 9-1-1, a consolidated public safety communications center responsible for the dispatch of all emergency services within the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County.

A native of Big Stone City, SD, McMahon received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Mount Marty College, a master’s degree in criminal justice from American Military University, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.  For the past 25 years McMahon has served in various leadership roles within the Watertown, SD Police Department including Assistant Police Chief.  Most recently, McMahon served as Captain of Support Services which included management of the department’s 911 communications center covering Watertown and a six-county area of northeast South Dakota.

“McMahon brings a wealth of knowledge, training, and experience to this position,” said Paul TenHaken, Mayor of Sioux Falls.  “The Metro Management Council looks forward to working with Scott and his team in their vital role in our community.”

Finally, someone working for the city and county that actually has experience and proper education, you might even say he is ‘overqualifed’. See how easy that was.

Minnehaha County/Sioux Falls Zoning Board & Joint Planning Meeting • 4/22/19

Another Funeral, uh I mean, Wedding Barn

Here we go again (Presentation at the beginning of meeting above) another Wedding Barn. This one is near the new Veterans Cemetery. I guess quite a few neighbors showed up to say they didn’t want it there (Joint jurisdiction with the county and city even though those opposing the barn do NOT live in city limits).

One of the reasons is noise from bands, and the fact it is a heavily traveled gravel road already and people are wondering who will pave it and pay the cost. One of the biggest complaints the neighbors had was that they were never notified or asked if they wanted to live next to a cemetery (they were not notified of the re-zone from ag land) and they were pretty perturbed that the cemetery is going in so close to their residences. I guess when the city wants to rezone they don’t have to get permission from the county, but it seems it is the other way around when the county wants to rezone.

While I wasn’t opposed to the cemetery I still think the Feds or the State should have paid the good taxpayers of Sioux Falls for the land.

Property tax reduction program ‘Questionable’

The more we look into the property tax reductions over the past ten years, the more questions we have. While we are still researching this, some things that stick out so far;

DOC: Historical – Tax Reduction Program.pdf

Tax Reduction Program – Informational Jan. 8.pdf

How was the mayor(s) (Munson & Huether) able to sign off on these, through the Planning Department without the review of the city council? Or even the County Commissions and School District? Were there any state laws violated?

One of the biggest recipients was involved in many LLC’s and ownership groups related to Legacy Development. Ironically one of the persons who would have known about the reductions, Daren Ketchum, now works for Legacy.

Many of the recipients are long time established, successful Sioux Falls businesses, like Raven & Gage brothers. Why would they need tax incentives?

Some of the recipients also received TIFs on top of the reduction, for example Washington Square.

Ironically Midco received a 2018 reduction of $129K. This is just a year after announcing a sponsorship of our Aquatic Center.

Did the TenHaken administration decide to blow the lid off of this to 1) wash there hands of the practice and 2) to see if the media will do some digging around? COS Erica Beck worked in the Planning office when some of these reductions were handed out.

Like I said, we are still researching the ‘many’ connections between the reduction recipients and the previous administration and will have more findings coming soon.

Is the State dropping the ball on property tax values?

I guess the rumor going around it that the counties across the state are waiting for the state information on property values. Counties need this information so they can collect property taxes. But what makes this important is that this time of the year (especially for ag land owners) they need to know what their property tax bill is before they file Federal Income taxes.

Here is an explanation from the County (FF: 1:07:30)

I guess the only excuse the state has is that they are ‘Short Handed’.

Maybe they can send Kennedy Noem over to help out?

‘Innovation’ could fix the Metro situation

I think an ideal situation would be for the city to take over Metro 911 100% and have Minnehaha and Lincoln County to pay a service fee to the city, like other communities do for water and sewer from Sioux Falls.

The first reason why I think the city should take it over is because, well, we have the money. I get so tired of the city saying we don’t have money for transit or 911 but have oodles of money to subsidize play palaces. If we can drop $10 million a year for a mortgage payment on a facility that generates virtually no revenue for the city besides some scraps in sales taxes, we can afford to subsidize 911. Besides, they already get funding from cell phone usage*. Thirdly, I think 911 operators deserve a living wage and the same benefits as other city employees. The rumor is starting pay at Metro is $13 an hour. If this is true, it is unacceptable. These people may not be driving patrol cars or chasing down drug dealers, but they have a very stressful job. If we can’t start them out at least $18 an hour, how can we expect to get good people and keep them? Bring them under the city umbrella and let them have union membership.

*As for the cell phone tax to fund 911, I think the city is missing a great opportunity to fund 911 even better with the use of 5G. Instead of charging the communications companies such a low licensing/lease fee, they should make it much more substantial and put that money towards 911. These companies make MILLIONS in Sioux Falls, have them pony up for public safety. Just look at this language in the licensing agreement;

b. An annual charge of $175 per pole shall be paid each year in advance for use of City light poles for small cell equipment; and

c. Subject to approval of the City Council, the foregoing fees and charges may be decreased or increased from time to time based upon cost studies conducted to determine a reasonable approximation of the objectively reasonable and nondiscriminatory costs incurred by the City that are specifically related to and caused by the application and plan review and for deployment of small cell equipment on City’s streetlights. Such studies, and any fee adjustments will be subject to applicable laws, including, without limitation, applicable FCC rulings and regulations.

Only $175 per year! I pay almost $100 a year just for a tag on my car. The city council needs to explore a different fee structure.

County Gives $50K to Gloryhouse.

The MCC has a confusing conversation about the topic, and it seems only Karsky and Beninga support giving the money, then at the end, they add the money to the supplemental budget and approve it. I am still baffled by it. BUT, they did the right thing. This was a one-time donation for the new building. Ironically, $50K is what the Gloryhouse paid the city for the land. Isn’t it funny how your tax dollars from one entity just gets passed to another entity. The taxpayers are ALWAYS holding the bag.

Metro Council Meeting Update

Councilor Stehly’s Notes on Facebook about the meeting;

Resigning 911 Metro Communications Director Paul Niedringhaus discussing the future structure and governance and oversight of Metro Communications.

Sheriff Milstead now discussing why Metro 911 went independent from the County.. now apparently, they want to come back to the County because of lack of funds. Sounds like the City might be asked to cough up some money as well.

Should Lincoln County come in?…now the Mayor wants to know how the other communities in Minnehaha will feel if the City of Sioux Falls takes over. I say..this needs public scrutiny, discussion and common sense spending.

Beninga now is stating that the Hope was for a regional effort. Surrounding counties might be “turned Off” if this was a Sioux Falls,Minnehaha project.

heriff talking about Metro being on probation…years ago..Gary Hanson time as Mayor..

Four members deciding what the future of Metro 911..I Hope they open this discussion up to the community and all of us on the Council and County…

Barth now talking about a new location..first time I heard about this..How much Jeff and who will fund it?Also Barth inferred that s having the Mayor of Sioux Falls leading the Metro 911 could be a turn off for other communities.

Beninga now asking about the City of Sioux Falls talking on the health care costs for these 911 employees..(a side note..City Council members can’t join the city’s health care.plan. I even offered to pay the total premium, but they said no).

Metro Communications Director Paul Niedringhaus states that health care costs are the number one concern for metro 911… Unfortunately, we all have those concerns in our lives.

Barth is proposing that all governing bodies have one payroll department.

The Argus also covered the MEETING.


UPDATE: Metro Council has sudden meeting

The only place we could find the meeting posted was on Minnehaha County Administration Door. There are a lot of rumors swirling around why the ‘Special’ meeting was called. The obvious one is that the last Metro manager just resigned. I guess the job was posted, and not sure if there was any takers, but look at the sentence in the yellow highlighted area “Discussion on future structure”.

Recently the Emergency Manager for Minnehaha County resigned after there was talk to merging the job into the Sheriff’s office. Doubt he will be replaced. Is Metro looking to merge 911 into the sheriff’s office also? I guess we will have to see the results of the meeting.

UPDATE: The meeting was posted on Wednesday by the City Clerks office, but many people, including the mayor seem to be confused who the council belongs to (City or County). Let’s see, the Mayor is the Chair, and councilors Kiley and Erickson sit on the council with Commissioners Barth and Beninga. Seems to me both entities are involved. The meeting should be posted by both of them. Someone who is attending the meeting this morning told me that everyone showed up except Erickson. I will talk to them after the meeting to see what happened.

Sioux Falls city council approves raise for RC Police?

The local TV stations are at it again.

First we have a recent story about the Triage Center with a shot of the Minnehaha County Commission. Shows you how long it’s been since Stormland’s TV cameras have been at a meeting, Pekas and Kelly haven’t been on the MCC in over two years.

I also enjoyed the story about the SF Police getting a raise. Apparently they are now wearing Rapid City badges.

Images: Kelo TV