Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

City collected $300K in ticket/parking fees at Events Center Site.

Today at the Audit Committee meeting of the SF City Council they will have an item in it about ticket/parking fees at the entertainment complex (EC, CC, Arena, Canaries Stadium) DOC (TicketParking)

While the city does raise quite a bit, I think the fee should be higher to help cover maintenance more. Dare I suggest $2 a ticket? When you have people pay hundreds of dollars per ticket to the artist/promoter or scalper, I think $2 per ticket is nothing;

INTRODUCTION

Approximately $300,000 in Public Facility Ticket Fees were collected in 2014. The Public Facility Ticket Fee is charged on all paid admissions to events at the Events Center, Sioux Falls Arena and Sioux Falls Convention Center and all other sports or entertainment facilities having a fixed seating capacity in excess of 2,500 people. The ticket fee is not charged on events held at facilities owned by any school district, county or non-profit educational or religious institutions. The City currently has agreements with SMG to operate the Events Center, Arena, and Convention Center and with the Sioux Falls Canaries Professional Baseball Club (the Club) to operate the Stadium.

CONCLUSION

The Public Facility Ticket Fees serve as a way for the City and facility operators to mitigate the cost of maintaining the City’s entertainment and sports venues. Updating the current ordinance and agreements will help simplify the collection and remittance of fees and allow operators the flexibility they need for day to day operations. City management appears to have a good working relationship with both operators and on March 17, 2015 City Council approved a resolution approving the change of control of the Sioux Falls Baseball Stadium Agreement from the Sioux Falls Canaries Professional Baseball Club, LLC to Mankato Baseball, LLC. We would like to thank SMG, the Sioux Falls Canaries, and City management and staff for their cooperation and assistance during the audit.

 

 

Should teaching English be considered a part of taxpayer subsidized job training?

Around $170K of the $500K the city is awarding in workforce development is going towards immigrants and refugees.

While I am not opposed to teaching them English and using taxdollars to do it, shouldn’t our #1 focus be on actual job training, when it comes to workforce development? When I think of teaching immigrants our language, I look at that as a social service, not a workforce development service.

What do you think? I think it is a very fine line;

Workforce Development Pilot Program Recommends Funding Eight Organizations – Applications Still Being Accepted

In January, the City of Sioux Falls launched a Workforce Development Pilot Program to support and explore activities to address workforce challenges and to drive workforce growth and development. Today, the City announced its intent to award funding to eight local entities that are well-positioned to address workforce development needs in Sioux Falls. Grant awards are proposed for:

  • Employment Edge—$25,000
    Program to focus on recruiting, screening, and finding jobs for nonviolent offenders recently released from state or federal custody
  • Forward Sioux Falls—$50,000
    Creation of a comprehensive community workforce action plan
  • Globe University—$100,000
    Development of individualized training programs for businesses that incorporate on the job and academic learning
  • Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire, Associated General Contractors of South Dakota, and Sioux Empire Manufacturers—$50,000
    Creation of mobile training labs to teach construction and manufacturing skills
  • Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls—$70,020
    Workforce training program for immigrants and refugees
  • Sioux Empire Society for Human Resource Management—$34,250
    Will host a community-wide workforce development conference
  • Sioux Falls School District, Career and Technical Education Academy—$12,250
    Electrical skills program that provides post-secondary credit for high school students
  • Training Solutions Institute, a division of Southeast Technical Institute—$99,408
    English language and job skills training for immigrant and ethnic populations

 

The eight awards total $440,928. The City has received 38 applications requesting a total of $1,932,715. An evaluation committee and the City Attorney’s Office reviewed each application. Ten finalists were invited to make a presentation to the group and were scored by the committee according to:

  • Level of impact
  • Investment made by the proposer to execute the program
  • Proposer’s qualifications to successfully deliver the program
  • Quality of interview

Are the same recycling requirements enforced on Commercial vs. Residential?

A few months ago I spoke to the SF City Council about my concern that NOT all (a majority) of restaurants are NOT recycling (besides cardboard and cooking oils).

Jessica Lantgen, Sustainability Coordinator for the city spoke about the topic of recycling enforcement yesterday at the Public Services Committee meeting.

Below is the separate set of ordinances for recycling requirements;

Commercial Recycling

57.028 states that commercial and business establishments, governmental facilities, entertainment facilities and schools must separate from the waste stream materials banned from landfill per 57.050 and the recyclables must be removed at a minimum of twice per month

  • 57.030 (b) states nonresidential sites may use either single-stream, dual-stream or source separated for the collection and management of recyclable materials
  • The collection of recyclable materials from businesses, industries and institutions is provided by private haulers licensed by the City
  • Commercial generators contract for collection service from the hauler of their choice and pay the hauler directly for the service

oThe City of Sioux Falls regulates the licensed waste haulers’ recycling rates. The waste hauling community is the connection between the City and individual residents and businesses

 

Residential Recycling

 

  • 57.027 states that licensed waste haulers must collect separated, required recyclables from residents at least twice per month. Required recyclables collected shall not be deposited at the sanitary landfill
  • 57.030 (a) Residential sites shall use a single-stream methodology for the collection and management of recyclable materials
  • 57.022 Residential recycling containers shall accommodate single-stream recycling
  • The ordinance states that required recyclables include office paper, corrugated cardboard and chip board, plastics #1 and #2 and metal containers, newspaper, electronics, magazines, and bulk rate mail. These materials are also banned from the landfill per 57.050
  • In addition, 57.032 allows garbage haulers to not collect solid waste containing visible required recyclables for disposal as long as they leave a note about why it was not collected. Residents and businesses must remove these materials before the waste is collected

 

I find it interesting that residential have specific requirements for materials but commercial does not. And this may be why enforcement is not as strict on commercial properties?

What I also find even more interesting is that if these ordinances are in place, why are they NOT being enforced on commercial properties?

Lantgen talked about trying to increase that enforcement and has a goal of higher recycling rates, and that is wonderful! But my question is why hasn’t it been done up until this point? I think I have been recycling as a resident in Sioux Falls since the late 90’s.

Once again, the rules may or may not be the same for residents and businesses, but it also seems residents have to follow stricter rules then the commercial properties.

The supposed ramped up enforcement on commercial properties will be intriguing to watch.

What about ‘Mental’ evaluations?

While the city does physical evaluations of our firefighters, you wonder if there is any ‘mental’ evaluations? (Item #1)

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I have been told “Fitness assessments” listed are part of the firefighter’s labor agreement where they are required to annually participate in a non-punitive assessment of their fitness. It includes tests like body fat measuring, BMI, push-ups, and cardiovascular fitness, etc. This was in place before the annual incumbent physical agility test (IPAT) was being used, so it seems unneeded (the IPAT annually shows the employee’s ability to perform essential job tasks) except it mentions behavioral health and then mental health on the program link, which IPAT doesn’t cover.

An overview of the program can be found here:

http://www.iaff.org/hs/Well/index.htm

There’s only been one scientific study done nationally (by Chicago Fire) and their results showed that the suicide rates for firefighters are 5x the national average.

What happened to Mayor Huether’s ‘communications’ presentation

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On Friday, I noticed in the SF City Council’s informational meeting agenda, that Huether was scheduled to do a presentation entitled ‘Communications’ it has since been removed.

Not only can’t he communicate with the council, he can’t even communicate about the lack of communication. But hey, we have another billboard with his face on it, what more do we need?

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I may be a ‘Hard Ass’ but at least I am not a ‘Dumb Ass’

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Nothing like being scolded for using the word ‘ass’ by the guy who is rumored to drop the F-Bomb quite frequently to whoever is in the room. As for a grammar reference, the term ‘Hard Ass’ refers to a stubborn mule, you know, the mascot of the party you belong to, Mike? The F-word refers to sex. So Mike, I think the people of Sioux Falls would appreciate you refrain from using the word from now on.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

callcenter

Joe Sneve, the new city reporter for the Argus Leader wrote and article about the under hand moves of the Mayor and his Sidekick, Darin Smith;

The city already had spent more than $35,000 building the website and buying advertising to promote it before City Council members or the public learned about the project.

“You talk about transparency in government. You talk about saving money. You talk about building trust in government. What (Huether) has done violates a lot of the principles that I think most of us live by,” Councilor Greg Jamison said. “I’ll be proposing to change the language so we can prevent things like this from happening again.”

And it seems as of 7AM this morning, people are ready for a new mayor or is it an indoor pool? Elections and polls are so confusing these days. I think we should act quickly like we did with the indoor pool and hold the next mayoral election next week. And who are these 13% anyway?

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Brand New Events Center ADA compliant?

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The Events Center was built for people or the vendors? Which is it? Why must disabled people be the last to be considered? Oops we forgot? How do people who can’t see or understand a map supposed to find out how to enter or exit a building?

It is always a training issue. Our speaker is training the mayor and council.

Joy Tuscherer talks about the T Denny Sanford Events Center ADA  Non-Compliance problems during the Public Input session of the Sioux Falls City Council April 7, 2015. Why is this important? The City of Sioux Falls had a new Events Center built for $117 million without real consideration for the needs of the handicapped people using the place.

Joy calls them out and the dais did not look happy. You would think for $117 million you could ordered and bought a separate freight elevator?

Is City Incompetence to blame for uncollected landfill fees?

Many people may or may not know that the city has an internal auditor. Mr. Rich Oskol is probably (as I tell many people) one of the most valuable city employees. I have often told city councilors and residents he does a fine job with such a small staff, especially with his enormous workload.

But does Mr. Oskol make mistakes? Not sure, but I would guess once in awhile he misses a decimal point. Accounting isn’t an easy task, especially reviewing other people’s work. It was the only HS course I dropped out of. Maybe that is why it has taken me almost 42 years to get my finances in order?

I think it would be safe to assume that Mr. Oskol and his team have audited the Sioux Falls landfill finances at least once since 2009 (When Dan’s garbage service fees started piling up). If this is the case, did Rich make them aware that they probably should be collecting fees from Dan’s Service because they are mounting? Not sure if he did, but I have read several of Rich’s audits of city departments, if anything, Rich is very thorough. He also has the power, granted to him in the city charter, to look at any department’s books without permission, at any time. He reports only to the city council. If the city council called Rich on Monday morning and asked him to start an audit immediately of the city landfill, all Rich would have to do is walk into their office with a two-wheel cart and haul away the filing cabinets, and that department couldn’t do a damn thing to stop him.

Hopefully that phone call will be made Monday morning.

But there is a bigger issue here. Let’s give Mr. Oskol the benefit of the doubt, and let’s say he did recommend that the uncollected fees troublesome and the Landfill should act immediately, that doesn’t mean they have to. Oskol reviews and advises, he may have the authority to wheel off filing cabinets but he can’t make any department head fix a problem. In fact, I do recall a few times where they didn’t, or they tried a different solution.

So it comes back to a question of competence. Who in the city landfill department, or even in the finance or attorney’s offices let this go for so long? And if they haven’t already been terminated, they probably should be.

Sure we can blame Dan, but that’s a whole other story. I think it would be safe to assume the city will not be able to collect all of those fees. The best approach at this point would be to wipe them off the books and put Dan out of business. A court battle will only drain more city resources and really isn’t worth the effort.

The irony of all this is how the city has handled other cases of uncollected ‘fees and fines';

• An over 8 year court battle which ended up in Supreme Court (in which the city lost) over a couple hundred dollar fine and a cement pad. I can’t even begin to fathom what that costed taxpayers in city resources to fight. In fact two of the city attorneys who worked on the case have been terminated.

• Jailing a resident for 6 hours over a pile of shingles IN HIS FENCED OFF YARD. (of course the county paid that incarceration and court bill) That person also beat the city in court.

• Fining a city employee’s private business over a dumpster enclosure.

• Warning a retired veteran and his wife about a potential fine if they did not remove day lilies from the boulevard.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking, these are code enforcement issues, but isn’t over $250K in unpaid landfill fees a cause for some kind of authority in city hall to do something about it? How are flowers in the boulevard and piles of shingles more concerning then this enormous amount of unpaid fees?

They are not. It is about city employee’s priorities. They seem to put vindictiveness and vendettas against residents over collecting fees.

If I sat on our city’s fine legislative body, the city council, I would be in an uproar. If you think that department heads are tired of swatting away the flies when it comes to the EC siding, they would see a full on bee attack from me as a councilor.

The city council needs to demand an immediate review and presentation from the landfill department as to how this happened, and how the problem will be corrected  and lastly who will be reprimanded or terminated over the incident. It’s called ACCOUNTABILITY, something city hall thinks they are immune to.

It also makes you wonder if Dan is the only one that has delinquent fines? That’s a whole other can of worms.

As far as I am concerned this may have nothing to do with Mr. Oskol missing a decimal point, this may have to do with blatant and rampant incompetence. Instead of city directors knocking off at 3:50 PM on a Friday afternoon to enjoy a delicious micro brew at that local watering hole*, maybe they need to take an accounting of there day, week, month, heck decade in the final hours of their work week?

*About a month ago I saw four different city directors/managers drinking beers at a downtown bar at this time, and a manager of a city owned entertainment facility. Even more troubling was they weren’t even drinking together (well maybe that isn’t such a bad thing).

Changes to city board appointments?

Yeah, a lot of mumbo-jumbo squishy attorney language, but am I the only one that thinks these changes (Item #40) are kind of far-reaching?

“Ah, Yeah, thanks for your volunteerism, and in 3 to 4 more months, we’ll cut the chains off.”

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