Entries Tagged 'Minnehaha County' ↓

Tony Bartholomaus for Minnehaha County Auditor

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Why doesn’t the city just cut Minnehaha County a check?

This has been in my craw for awhile, as you may know.

The county wants more money from the state in alcohol taxes.

The mayor wants the county to have the power to raise sales taxes.

While I do agree with the county getting more alcohol taxes, I don’t agree with the sales tax increase.

My solution all along has been, “Why not just cut a check to the county from the city?”

Local historian and all around clock repairman spoke at the council’s public testimony, former county commissioner Bob Kolbe talked about county expenditures (and ribbed county commissioner Dick Kelly, which was well deserved), he also talked about sharing revenues.

So I cornered Bob after the meeting. I asked him, “What is preventing the city from cutting the county a check each year, for let’s say 20-30 million dollars a year, for law enforcement and prosecutions? Is it against state law for the city to give the county money?” He felt it was not.

The irony of this is while the city spends a shit ton of money on attorneys employed by them to go after people criminally with fencing in their yards, the State’s attorney is begging for money to help prosecute REAL criminals, you know, rapists, murderers, thieves.

If this mayor and city council had any backbone, conscience, or even an inkling of community spirit, they would budget a supplement to the county budget each year for crime and prevention.

But hey, we got ‘toys’ to build, and putting a rapist away isn’t as fun as playing indoor tennis on a January afternoon.

 

Minnehaha County Dems meet tonight!

The Minnehaha County Democratic Party will hold its regular monthly meeting  on Tuesday October 7th at the Minnehaha County Administration building at 7 PM.  

Volunteers are working hard on the various campaigns but every one  can always use more help. Our gubernatorial candidate Susan Wismer and her running mate ,our own Susy Blake, as well as Denny Pierson, Rick Weiland and our local candidates can all use as much time as you can give. 

Meet Tony Bartholomaus, Candidate for Minnehaha County Auditor

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Tony is first and most importantly a husband and father of two. His family is his strength and greatest joy. He has a beautiful wife Ashley, who is a successful Realtor. Two sons Nolan(6) and Lincoln(3). “There is always some sort of excitement going on at our house.”

He was educated in the Midwest at Winona State University in lovely Winona MN. He has lived in Rochester MN and Minneapolis as well, but now calls Sioux Falls his home. “Sioux Falls is the perfect place to raise a family. Good schools, Good people, the town has everything you need, and family friendly.”

“My goal I to make Sioux Falls an even better place to live. The longevity of the city and the county is important to me and my family. As auditor my goal is to help get the county back on track fiscally. We need to find new means of income that won’t burden the home owners with more taxes, we need to spend wisely, and make sure every area of county governance is held accountable.”

Why is Tony the best candidate for auditor?

He has years of experience in the financial sector. Working with budgets, credit, and finance is his day to day job. “The success of the county moving forward is going to depend on the financial stability of the county. Understanding finance is a must for this position.”

Putting extra time and effort is a trademark for Tony. Each week he puts in extra hours to make sure his clients and customers needs are being met. This work ethic wont change when he begins working for the county. “Getting things back on track in the Auditor’s office is going to take a lot of work, but for the citizens of Minnehaha County it’s a job that needs to get done.”

Tony believes that every ones’ vote is important. ” The mistakes in the election process need to stop. Confidence in the electoral process needs to be restored. Minnehaha County has the best people helping with elections, the leadership and vision is what is lacking.” – Help me change this by voting in November.

Thank you for interest in my candidacy.

No Walking allowed to the George McGovern School

In one of the strangest decisions that I have seen the SF School District make, they seem to be sending out ‘walking’ police if kids are ‘trying’ to walk home from the McGovern school. Maybe they are afraid they will get ran over by those pesky rabbits and deer we have roaming on the outskirts of town;

The end of the school day is carefully orchestrated at George McGovern Middle School.

About 12 buses pull up alongside the school, and teachers help make sure each of the about 740 kids gets on one of them. While they do that, they also keep an eye out for students trying to walk home — which isn’t allowed at the new middle school in the northwestern corner of Sioux Falls.

Still, some slip through during the rush of pickup, and when they do, officials call their parents.

Oh My! Kids are walking and getting exercise! I thought we needed to build an indoor pool because kids don’t get enough exercise? Hope they remember to build sidewalks by the new indoor pool.

This has to be one of the dumbest things I have heard the school district do. Of course, they are a little nervous considering no one thought of building sidewalks to the new school. So who would be liable if one of these gung-ho fitness freaks decides to walk home and gets hit by a car? Well that’s a very good question McFly;

But more than the debate about walking to school is the argument about who is responsible for what when the city annexes an area such as McGovern — sometimes called a flagpole annexation. The new territory, 40 acres for the school, is connected only by a thin strip of land.

Another genius move by our planning department (they are often making genius moves, like trying to allow a 85,000 square foot super-center retailer build on a parcel of land that will have ONLY ONE access point).

Minnehaha County commissioners worry the annexation took away county money in the form of building permits. The city argues they invested millions in improving infrastructure in the area. Meanwhile, the school must wait to see about sidewalks in the area.

District and Minnehaha County officials are not responsible for putting in sidewalks — that’s the city’s job, they say. And as for the strip of Maple that falls under the city’s purview, it ends at the school. City officials say they have no immediate plans to make the road more pedestrian-friendly.

Of course, this could all be alleviated easily if the District and the City ponied up and built a simple asphalt trail (similiar to the bike trail, offset from the main road about 5-10 feet). It could easily be a walking or bike bath that would be relatively inexpensive, and our public works department has the equipment to install it. Heck, the District’s policies even require it. But who follows rules these days? That’s just silly talk.

District policy asks officials to “provide safe walking routes to school throughout the district” and “accommodate growth and change” when determining a school’s attendance boundaries.

No plans have been made for a sidewalk along Maple or that section of Marion, City Planner Jeff Schmitt said.

“We’ll build it as it gets built up out there,” Schmitt said.

Oh, but we had to make sure we plowed ahead with the flagpole annexation so we could get that building permit money and skirt rules (mostly to skirt rules), because if the city is good at one thing in the planning department, it is having a separate set of rules for each development, as Jeff ‘Malt’ Schmitt has said before, planning and zoning in Sioux Falls is ‘fluid’ (in the alcohol sense of course) and we just don’t see the need of flowing money into a poorer neighborhood to build sidewalks for the kids. Heck, people would start thinking we are making these decisions when they are drunk.

Then comes the pesky hippies and their talk about ‘exercise’ and ‘walking’;

McGovern students might benefit from their new building, but sidewalks ensure safety, promote healthy activity and give them a face-to-face interaction with the community, Orcutt said.

“They have a shoulder and then they have ditch,” Orcutt said. “With George McGovern, it’s addressed one issue, but it needs to address another one.”

Oh no, don’t start using logic with the city and school district, that will confuse the f’ck out of them. Their only logic is ‘if someone can make money from building sidewalks out there, then we will approve it.’ This isn’t about whether kids are safe or healthy, this was about city greed, plain and simple.

Studies show a correlation between students walking to school and faring well in class, said Lenore Skenazy, author of the book “Free Range Kids” and a blog by the same name.

Did the study include how much money is being made for the city when these kids walk to school?

Parsley, 39, said he wants to push for a “complete streets policy,” which would require all new buildings be made accessible to walkers and bikers.

“I would love to keep banging the gong for McGovern, but what it really boils down to is changing the policy for the entire city,” Parsley said.

Another logical fellar chimes in, as I have said, this wasn’t about a Walmart coming in, it was about a school, and there is NO opportunity for the city to make money from building sidewalks. Though I do totally agree with your idea, even if the city implemented it, they may not always follow it, it goes back to them picking and choosing what rules they want to follow, and if they have been drinking that day.

Complaints from community members caught the attention of at least one Minnehaha County official, even though the county is not responsible for sidewalks.

Commissioner Jeff Barth brought the matter up at an Aug. 26 meeting, deflecting blame from some comments he saw online.

Actually he said comments he saw on ‘South DaCola’ but gawd forbid the Argus gives me any promotion for starting a community conversation about it (actually, KDLT did the original story, or was it KSFY, I get them confused). Immediately after I watched the meeting, I called Commissioner Barth and we discussed what can be done, and that is when Barth mentioned the asphalt path. Jeff also had this to say about the city in the meeting;

 “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me,” Barth said. “We’ll just have to keep an eye on their activities better.”

Yes, after watching the city council meetings for over 10 years, I have learned you have to watch them like a hawk, they are constantly trying to slip things by, the EC siding is a great example of them trying to skirt transparency and informing the public, and they pulled it with the sidewalk issue.

Meanwhile, the district was able to pay the city $50,000 for a building permit, instead of paying the county’s rate of 1 percent of the project cost, Barth said. The 177,000-square-foot middle school cost about $20 million.

“That befuddles me,” Schmitt said. “The school district might have a concern about the value of a building permit. We don’t.”

The district might have saved on permit costs, but the city spent more preparing the rural site for the new school, Schmitt said. Workers installed water mains, street lights, sewers and storm drainage. They also repaved Maple, adding a turn lane, all for a combined cost of about $1.2 million.

And after doing all of that infrastructure improvements it didn’t occur to anyone in the Planning Department to build either a sidewalk or a walking path to the school? As even Scooby Doo would say after the first week of school started, ‘What Whoa Waggy.”

And the planning department’s mental (midget) counterparts have also chimed in with a solution (that makes no sense);

“So what the school district has done is we have made a commitment to bus 100 percent of the students to school,” Alberty said.

Which is costing them an extra $29,000 a year, which would pay for a lot of asphalt.

So what is the city, the county and the district’s solution to the current problem?

District officials are counting on similar growth near McGovern, which they say will bring sidewalks and conditions safe enough for students to bike or walk to school.

Give it time. Maybe the sidewalks will grow themselves. I think Menard’s has some sidewalk seeds on sale right now. Now that’s an education system at it’s finest finding a solution. But we must forgive them, their job is really to teach NOT TO learn (from their mistakes).

Worth watching

This Minnehaha county commission meeting is worth watching, FF to about 37 minutes, the fight over money and how the city of SF is crapping on the county is astounding. 600K in lost TIF revenue, WOW!;

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Sioux Falls City Council DRAFT Provisional Legislative Priorities

A quick guide and review of this year’s city council ‘priorities’

1) That the Sioux Falls City Council, in conjunction with the South Dakota Municipal League, opposes any legislation which would inhibit municipalities from providing services requested by citizens in whatever form the citizens approve and opposes any legislation that restricts local control over taxation and spending.

Ah, nice wording Fiddle-Faddle. This is a ‘sticky’ one. What does it mean? Well since the days of councilor Quen Be De the city(s) have been trying to get permission from the state to raise our own sales taxes so they can build ‘things’. Of course, they always bring up that the voters will have to approve it and the tax will only be temporary (so when is the entertainment tax going away now that we have paid off the Pavilion?). I think it is wise that the state regulates this, it protects citizens in any community from municipalities to become ‘tax happy’. The city already ‘fees (taxes)’ the crap out of us. They continually raise property taxes, and every year, like clockwork, the city increases revenue. We don’t need any ‘special taxes’ what we need is a corporate income tax to pay for special projects. Corporations are always crying there needs to be more quality of life projects to attract ‘professional’ workers. Well then, pony up.

2) The Sioux Falls City Council supports legislation allowing municipalities alternative publication options.

This was a battle councilor Bob Litz begun, he thinks the Argus charges too much (and they do) and that public notices, etc. should be published in ‘other papers’ like the Shopping News. Even though the SN is only a weekly paper, it is FREE and is distributed to more homes then the Argus. Maybe it is time.

3) The Sioux Falls City Council opposes any legislation that would reduce, remove, repeal or reallocate the municipal sales tax, liquor tax reversion or any other municipal revenues to any other unit of government or that would expand the power to impose a sale or use tax to any other unit of government.

This is a blatant pissing match with the County Commission. When commissioner Jeff Barth suggested the county needed more of this tax income, I kinda balked. But now when I look at it, it makes sense. Barth’s proposal is simple; Alcohol related crimes are about 90%+ of related crimes in our county, why not use that tax to combat those crimes in our court system? Who funds the court system? The county. It’s one thing to quietly not support the county getting more of this tax base, it’s a whole other ball of wax calling on the legislature to oppose giving them more money. But doesn’t surprise me. Not that I’m not a local government nerdy enough, I started watching the County Commission meetings a few months back. They conduct business so much more professionally then the city council, and while they don’t always agree with each other and the public, they have sincere conversations about the people they govern. The best was when they were questioning the purchase of new vehicles when the old ones ran just fine. I thought I was looking at room full of Staggers. It was refreshing. The city could learn a lot from how these folks govern. ALOT!

4) The Sioux Falls City Council supports legislation extending owner occupied status to income based rental housing for property tax purposes.

5) The Sioux Falls City Council supports legislation to raise the threshold for requiring a performance bond to $50,000.

While I am a little murky on these two, I kind of understand them and support them. But maybe I am missing something? Help me out soldiers.

6) The Sioux Falls City Council strongly encourages the legislature to direct that any available water development funds be used to support completion of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System in South Dakota.

7) The Sioux Falls City Council supports legislation appropriating funds from the general fund for the purpose of providing advance federal funds on a zero interest reimbursable basis for construction for Lewis & Clark Rural Water System facilities in South Dakota.

I have never been a fan of Lewis & Clark, and while the $80 million we have spent is already a done deal, I am suspect as to why SF should care when or if this project gets done? We already got snookered by these folks, why encourage more snookering? While it is true other communities NEED this project, Sioux Falls only uses our required amount (around 11% a day) and as told by Public Works director Mark Cotter that it is an ‘emergency backup’. I kind of wonder if the $80 million would have came from the feds instead–if more smaller communities would be hooked up instead of SF, which doesn’t really need it, especially in light of the great conservation numbers we have been having lately.

In conclusion, we had to hire a full-time council staffer to come up with these awesome seven priorities. I wonder how many consultants we had to hire to come up with the wooden dog fence at the council podium and the self-locking security doors at Carnegie?

Water, uh, I mean, money under the bridge.

Who says local government doesn’t do some things right?

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Well, I guess, mostly me. HA! Well not today, Minnehaha County and the City of SF are considering changing the zoning usage of solar panels. The County Commission has already approved this on their end, but they have to have a joint agreement with the city. Can’t wait to see if there will be any detractors to this. I wouldn’t think so, but who knows, especially after reading about those anti-winders in the Canton and Beresford area. Renewable energy is hazardous to our health, didn’t you know?

So is it Gant or Litz that messed up? Makes you wonder?

Interesting the letter is dated June 6, then he spoke before the county commission on June 10 about still trying to resolve this.

Postmarked June 11.

and he didn’t even bother to sign the letter

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Still issues with voting

As I have pointed out several times after the municipal election and the run up to it, there were many issues with voting.

Besides the musical polling places every time there is an election, there are still problems with registration.

Last Friday someone told me that him and his wife recently moved into a new home and checked their voter registration to make sure it would be current. They are supposed to be registered in District 11, but were told they were in District 9 and voting at MariCar. This person pointed the problem out to Bob Litz and nothing was really done about it except they were told to still vote in District 9.

Last night they checked online, and they were still listed in District 9. So they went to vote at 7:30am this morning.  Fortunately, all the precinct workers knew him because his name (and his wife’s) was not listed on the voting roster!

They called the Auditor’s office to confirm that he was registered, but couldn’t explain the omission.  He had to fill out an Emergency Voting Card in order to vote.  He told me he felt sorry for the precinct workers as all the power – except lights – was shut off in there … no AC and the clock was stuck on 11:10.  He shared his story at public input this morning at the county commission meeting. (The video is not up yet, but I hear the CC was not to happy).

My conclusion all along after the municipal election fiasco is that heads need to roll on these mishaps, saying an election went ‘smoothly’ when it was an absolute disaster is just sugar coating the problem. We’ll see how things go tonight. Let’s just say, if Bosworth wins the Republican Senate ticket spot, we know something isn’t working correctly in the auditor’s office.