Entries Tagged 'Public Works' ↓

Mayor justifies $25 million dollar admin building by overcharging us on water rates

Boy, the man can spin.

Recently the city re-financed the Lewis & Clark bonds with a supposed $25 million in interest savings. But how this was accomplished was under the guise we were paying higher water/sewer rates for infrastructure upgrades.

We have been told over the past 7-10 years that we had to increase these rates and turn them into their own fund (enterprise) so we could upgrade our aging water & sewer infrastructure.

Sounds reasonable . . . if the city was telling the truth.

They actually have been putting the money in a savings account, $25 million to be exact. In order to save the $25 million in interest for the L & C bonds we had to make a $25 million principal payment. That money came from the ‘savings’ account.

During the Listening and Learning session the mayor justifies the $25 million dollar admin building because we saved $25 million on the L & C bonds. What a stretch.

Okay, let’s break down his illogical argument;

• We never needed the $80 million dollar hookup to L & C. In fact we only get about 10% of our water from the pipe (contract requirement) while we continue to buy land for more wells. I believe all along that we bailed out L & C and if they would not have gotten the $80 million from us they would have struggled to stay afloat. How was that the responsibility of Sioux Falls taxpayers? Our genius DC reps should have stepped up, I guess they were busy trying to get $27 million for Warren Buffet.

• We were lied to about increasing water rates. We were told this was for fixing infrastructure. It was never mentioned to us at ANY TIME over past 7 years that this money was going into a savings account, let alone a savings account to pay for an administration building.

• We didn’t need an administration building. In fact it would be more fiscally responsible to continue to lease property instead of adding more capital that we have to pay off and maintain. We essentially traded a $100K a year lease payment for $1 million dollar a year mortgage payment. There is nothing in the charter that says the city needs to own it’s own office space for employees. Even our finance director said over 2 years ago it made more sense to lease. The city should also concentrate on using more technology to reduce the number of city employees. They should also work on home work spaces.

Like paying for the indoor pool with a Federal levee bond repayment the mayor has justified an unneeded city building by overcharging us on water rates.

Always on the spin cycle.

 

UPDATE: Spot the Jesus Snowplow on Saturday!

UPDATE: No Jesus Snowplows! I repeat NO Jesus Snowplows! At least the ones that were on display did not have any reference to Jesus. One of the Catholic schools had their logo on it, that is kind of a sacred heart in a flower, but that was about as close as it got. Even the Lutheran School refrained. They had the message ‘Choose Joy’ on their plow, which I thought was kind of cool. The big theme this year was Van Gogh. One of the plows was a combination of Starry Night with a silhouette of the Statue of David. I’m sure this probably stems from the killer movie coming out which is entirely made from animated paintings;

Now becoming a yearly holiday tradition for DaCola, see if you can find the unconstitutional snow plows;

The Eighth Annual Paint the Plows event will display 22 plows painted by area students this Saturday, October 21, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The plows will be on exhibit at the Empire Mall in the JCPenney east parking lot.

But, hey, when you want to go against constitutional law, all you need is a disclaimer;

The City of Sioux Falls does not censor the content or any viewpoints on the artwork. Any messages or views expressed are not those of the City or endorsed by the City.

It’s NOT censorship when it’s unconstitutional. But the mayor isn’t going to let some blogger tell him how to practice his fake Christianity.

If I don’t find any Jesus Snowplows this year, I think I will present the Mayor and City Council with a ‘Constitutional Achievement Merit Award’.

Actually, the Jesus snowplows actually got me in hot water at work when one of the cry baby candidates in the last municipal election called our sales manager and complained about my blog post about his relationship with the topic. Doubt he will run for office again anyway after he got his ass handed to him.

Mayor throws councilor Stehly under the bus at water summit

If he is not flat out lying, he sure knows how to twist a story to make himself look good. (FF:57:20). During the Mayor’s water summit (in which he talks 90% of the time) they were talking about investing in water and sewer infrastructure and it’s importance. Hey, who wouldn’t agree? Then he proceeds to say a councilor the night before (It was Stehly) chastised him for raising water rates. Oh the tangled web you weave Mike just to get your jollies. Stehly as well as myself during public input were voicing our concerns that our water rates were hiked NOT because we were upgrading CURRENT infrastructure but that the city used the additional funds to build up a $36 million dollar reserve fund (savings account). Stehly was concerned we are building up large reserves in the enterprise funds instead of actually SPENDING the money on it’s intent; upgrading infrastructure.

The man takes no shame in using Stehly to sell his snakeoil. What a loser.

Huether went on to say he was proud of the council to allow him to raise rates (taxes). He felt those rate increases were needed for upgrades. Not true. If mayor Huether was really fiscally responsible he would have spent our CIP money on infrastructure upgrades instead of mortgage debt for playthings.

He finished the forum by ripping on the ‘loud minority voices’ and how the media gives them a platform. It’s funny, because these ‘loud minority voices’ actually have quite a few of followers. 6,500 of them signed a petition against the City Administration Building (the $25 million dollar bond was implemented by a super minority, the mayor). Oh, and that other minority that approved snow gates by over 70% of the vote. But please, don’t listen to them.

ADAPT This!

I have driven from I-229 to Downtown twice on Minnesota Avenue since these new signals have started. My wait times were about half as what they were before, so that is an improvement, BUT I felt like I was stopping at more lights. Either way, I usually try to take Phillips Avenue Downtown if I am traveling from 41st Street. Very few lights, more scenic, and faster.

Citizen street striping job gets painted over

Remember this?

While the city claims that it is legal for Zach to do this because of the 80% approval from the neighborhood, one has to question the liability of the city and and safety concerns of having a citizen buying his own paint and standing in a public street painting stripes?

It’s bad enough citizens risk their safety trimming city owned trees in the boulevard now they have citizens striping the streets, something public works and the traffic department should have paid for and contracted after Zach did the legwork of the approval process. Are we so destitute for money in the city we now are having citizens buying and painting city streets?

I guess the city recently re-striped North Main, somehow they were able to scrape the money together, but ironically it wasn’t to touch up the job Zach did. The city repainted the parallel parking spots taking away the angled parking Zach created. So I guess the city has money to stripe the streets when they are covering up citizen’s hard work.

The city’s chief traffic engineer claimed they decided to go back to parallel parking because the Bakery closed. Huh? I guess they don’t think the place is ever going to reopen. Let’s face it, the real reason they painted over Zach’s work was to cover up the embarrassment of having a citizen do their job for them. Lazy asses.

Big Brother is watching you?

These cameras have been lining the lights on Minnesota Ave. Pretty scary;

Two different systems, one on Minnesota Avenue and another on 41st Street, will go live this summer.

Troy Miller, traffic engineer with the city of Sioux Falls, says that two adaptive traffic systems will be activated in the coming months.  One will encompass eight intersections on Minnesota Avenue between Interstate 229 and 18th Street; another will span 13 intersections on 41stStreet between Marion Road and Minnesota Avenue.

The adaptive traffic systems control lights based on traffic. Miller says the systems identify traffic and make adjustments to shorten travel time.

I wonder how these cameras will hold up in a high wind storm? I also wonder what else they are ‘detecting’.

I guess the city snowplows have been moth-balled for the summer

This morning, I was finally glad to merge on to the interstate on my way to work. It seemed the State DOT snow plow operators remembered to set their alarm clocks, I can’t say the same about the city.

Yes, I understand that the snow will probably be gone by 5 PM today, but would it have hurt anything to go out at about 5-6 AM this morning and plow the main arterials like Cliff, Minnesota, Marion and 41st Street with just one pass at least? The ridges down the middle of the road were so high, my car was hydro plaining at times, and the ridges were also holding back the water from flowing into storm gutters. A horrible mess that could have been corrected over a couple of hours by our Public Works Department.

I know money is tight, but it could not have cost that much to call in workers a couple of hours earlier to do a job they are already punched in to do on a normal Monday anyway.

Public Works Department; HUGE FAIL!

How does your street score?

I was actually surprised at my rating of 72%, I thought it would be higher.

Check out your street rating.

You wonder how often this happens?

Something I have been suspicious about a long time, picking favorites and winners and losers at city hall;

A Sioux Falls contractor says his company has been unfairly blacklisted from city building projects after a dispute over payment on an earlier project.

No other contractor currently carries the “non-responsible” designation.

Maybe the contractor could claim all of the bad things happened because of an ‘Act of God’. If the city can use it as an excuse for damaging personal property, why can’t a private contractor? What’s sad about this is the unlimited legal resources our city has to fight these kinds of things, with our money.

Portland Mayor sticks up for residents in tree trimming debacle

To bad we don’t have an administration like this in Sioux Falls that actually looks out for residents when city directors get a wild hair;

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler plans to quash an effort by city bureaucrats to quietly expand homeowners’ responsibilities to care for trees on city-owned land.

The proposed new rule would have required Portland property owners to cut down dangerous trees on city property adjacent to their land, even if the trees were located far from the private property.

A spokesman for Wheeler says he plans to pull the proposed rule and have city employees rewrite it before bringing it back to the City Council for a vote.

Notice how they tried to slip in the rule. Makes you wonder if that is how Project TRIM (tree tax) got started in Sioux Falls.