Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Killing two birds with one stone; Should we convert the Kirby Science Center into the city administration building


“Watch closely kids, I will use science to show you how money disappears.”

Let’s first look at what we know;

The city (probably) needs more administration space.

The city OWNS the Washington Pavilion and spends millions each year maintaining the building.

The city is close to $400,000,000.00 in debt and we certainly don’t need to be bonding for a possible $24 million dollar building.

The Kirby Science Center has long been a financial drain on the facility. Some of said that if the Pavilion eliminated the Science Center, the remaining entities (The VAC, The Cinedome, Leonardos, The Belbas Theatre and the Great Hall) could be profitable and eliminate a subsidy.

There are also some great benefits;

Like I said above, we already own the building and dump plenty of tax dollars in it already each year for maintenance.

We already have a parking ramp that could be used.

The building is only 2 blocks from city hall, 1 block from Carnegie and in the heart of downtown.

We could leave the gift shop, the cinedome and the restaurant open and still have access to three floors and thousands of feet of square footage.

Converting the space to city offices would be minimal cost at most. In fact, auctioning off the exhibits would probably pay for the conversion.

There would also be some detractors;

What kind of sponsorship contract was drawn up with the Kirby Family? And can that contract be broken? We could rename it the Kirby Municipal Services Building.

There will also be a huge pushback from the Pavilion’s Board of Directors who will argue that the education provided at the Science Center is tied in with the total mission of the WP. I don’t disagree with that, but there has to be a point where we use some common sense. People also fear failure, and are willing to throw (tax payer) money at something long enough to cover up the problem.

The way I look at it, it would be beneficial to the Pavilion to cut ties with the science center, they could use the extra revenue to bring in more shows to the Great Hall and VAC. Of course the backwards thinking in the building by some of it’s directors probably enjoy being in the hole every year to give them excuse to come crawling for more money each year. They apparently need to spend some time over at the ZOO and learn how to make a great institution while slowly weaning themselves off the tit.

Also, our mayor who argues for fiscal prudence all the time should be falling over himself to secure such a great idea.

Once again though, the common sense of a blogger is usually trumped by the spend happy bureaucrats that run this city. Let’s face it, this isn’t about getting the best deal on an administration building we may or may not need, this about another handout to some local contractors who are buds with the mayor and some of the city council.

The common sense of the city of Sioux Falls trimming the boulevard trees

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(November 18, 2015)

Let’s talk trees. Especially the trees growing in the boulevard area between your house and the street. It is city property and in many cases you have been required to plant trees on it. They look nice and help cool the city but do you know the damage they cause?

The City Councils of Sioux Falls and Brandon got together for dinner at Leonardo’s Cafe on Wednesday evening November 18, 2015. Cameraman Bruce showed up also to capture the event for all to see and hear. There was a lot of talk about sewers, roads, car shows and more until closer to the end when Councilman Jamison talked of the boulevards. This part of the meeting is here for you.

We learn about Brandon’s determination to trim boulevard trees. To them, tree trimming is the responsibility of the city, not the homeowners. The city contracts with a certified arborist to trim the trees with branches below the safe height. As the Brandon members stated, it was cheaper for the city to hire the tree trimming on the city’s property than to leave it to inexperienced homeowners.

After the measurements, letters and ticketing the fines / fees were shown not be a cost effective program. They could hire the work done, have it performed properly and save not only the taxpayers but the city as well. At one point Rex Rolfing mentioned a Sioux Falls city plan to spend $1,000,000 to buy the equipment necessary to do the trimming plus hire employees to which a Brandon member stated they had other things they would rather spend a million dollars on.

Will the new City of Sioux Falls administration building cost us $24 million?

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Imagine my surprise (as well as the mayor’s) when councilor Jamison threw the $24 Million number out there last night at the city council meeting (FF to the construction manager at risk discussion towards the end). It was pretty obvious from the Mayor’s reaction (he literally flipped out on councilor Jamison for putting it out there) that Greg may not be to far off the mark, or someone within the city or private development gave him the numbers.

Last night they were discussing hiring the construction manager at risk, and many people have been concerned that we are putting the cart in front of the horse on the project, because still don’t have a ballpark figure, or do we?

So was the mayor mad that Jamison knew the magic number and put it out there ahead of time, or was the mayor mad because Jamison was completely wrong in his estimates?

Folks, there is a reason this ‘number’ has been hidden from us, and it’s not because they are going to build this office building on the cheap.

Sioux Falls City Council Meeting Public Input, 11/17/2015

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Residents of Hartford, SD want to recall mayor for limiting public input

I have been watching this issue over the past week, and to say it has peeked my interest would be an understatement;

More than 300 residents agreed with Randall, believing that Mayor Campbell is not a good fit for the city of almost 2,700 people. But Randall says this hasn’t been the first time Mayor Campbell has behaved like he did last Tues.

“Numerous times folks have gotten up to approach the podium to ask for permission to speak and before they got to the podium the Mayor’s motioned them and say you’ll need to sit down, we’re not going to hear from you right now.”

Not sure if many of you remember, but I was involved with the successful recall of a mayor in Yankton a few years ago (doing editorial cartoons about the issue).

What is shocking is that the small town of Hartford is flexing it’s 1st Amendment rights and recalling a mayor based on free speech. I revel in their activism. We have a mayor in Sioux Falls who not only has tried to limit public input, he has jailed people before they could even show up to testify. He also keeps as many contracts and settlements as secret as possible, even hiding the documents from the city’s legislative body, the city council. If Hartford is successful recalling a mayor based solely on his acknowledgement of the 1st Amendment and Constitutional rights of citizens, it seems Sioux Falls has a strong case to send our current mayor packing. Who is with me?

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, November 17, 2015

Another fun filled Tuesday evening at Carnegie. It all starts with the Land Use Committee meeting. The Agenda is posted online, but of course there are no linked documents to the presentations, so I am just as baffled as you.

A. Social Media and Bed & Breakfast establishments (Like I said above, I am truly baffled, sounds like the making of another unneeded regulation).

B. Multi-Family Housing Land Uses (This one is a head scratcher to).

At the informational meeting we get the monthly finance report, an update as to what the multi-cultural actually does with our tax dollars and CYS (whatever that is).

The Regular Council meeting is full of odds and ends.

Item #21, forcing businesses in the Northern Netherlands to build sidewalks on streets that no one walks on.

Item #33-35, Hey, it’s not a water rate increase, it’s a surcharge! I wish someone, anyone, on the council would call out this bullshit. They are charging city water customers an extra ‘fee’ to take out a loan to build our water/sewer system. Sounds logical, right? Except for the fact that there is F’ing GOBBS of money in the CIP for these projects, and we don’t need to take out loans based on surcharges.


Item #36, The Bumpback. I am still on the fence about this, not sure what to think. I will pop the popcorn on this debate. Both sides have great arguments.

Item #43, Food truck regulation silliness, 1st reading.

Item #44, So we don’t have a price tag on a new city administration building (even though the question has been asked a million times) but we find it necessary to hire an architect and construction manager first? When is the council going to call out this BS? They have had plenty of opportunities, but continue to vote for this project.

Mayor’s Neighborhood Brickwalls Summit, 11/14/2015

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Our intrepid mayor of Sioux Falls seems to think the US Constitution, Charter and written laws are brick walls to overcome. Listen to him discuss his quest to make over the city into his image at the Neighborhood Summit on November 14, 2015. His “to hell with the laws, Council and citizens” must be overcome if we are to have a clean and safe city for all.

The brick walls he is upset with are based on rights guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution, South Dakota Constitution and the Sioux Falls Home Rule Charter. Why does no one challenge hizzoner when he defends his administration’s lawbreaking actions?

In this Summit part 1 Mayor Mike let’s us in on his lawless vision of government by and for the specials at the expense of the rest of us.

Since the city of Sioux Falls heavily edits or blocks meetings videos we now offering a direct link to our collected city videos through www.siouxfall.org.

So we ask “Neighbors are only good if they conform to his vision?”

SIRE Broke again, we need to depend on the Mayor Cam

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Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, 11/10/2015

Another thrilling Tuesday at Carnegie (this time back to the regular schedule. I guess there were no music award shows or chamber events to attend :)

• During the Informational meeting Director Mike Cooper is asked to play defense on ‘Shape Places’ as many citizens over the past few months have been questioning how it is supposed to work.

• During the Public Services meeting, the administration is playing defense again on an access road that has yet to be built in a subdivision.

• On Thursday there is another Charter Revision Meeting. Expect some public input from some South DaCola foot soldiers.

• During Tuesday’s regular council meeting, the agenda may be short, but it’s packed full of all kinds of ‘fun stuff’.

  • Items 7-8, our sewer and water rates are going up again (hey, I thought we were rolling in money? Why a rate increase again?)
  • Item 9, 1st reading of Councilor Rolfing’s ‘bump back’ ordinance. I am on the fence on this one. Part of me thinks that if you are bumped for a political appointment, tough cookie, but I also have an issue with losing a knowledgeable city employee because of a political appointment. But, hey, the city fires qualified/valuable city employees all the time because of politics.

Looks likes a hot, and quick mess to me.

UPDATE: Apparently Sioux Falls City Councilor Karsky won a CMA award?

UPDATE: As I suspected, the tickets for the CMA’s were bought privately by the Erickson’s and no taxpayer expense. Just to clarify.

Foolish me, I thought outgoing councilor Karsky was going on his last junket to the National League of Cities conference in Nashville to learn more about municipal government that he could share over the last 5 months of his term. It was all a ploy to receive his CMA. (snark)

Notice the conference started on Wednesday, but the councilors needed to move this week’s meeting to Monday so they could go to the conference on Tuesday. But Tuesday night they took in the CMA’s.

Our tax dollars hard at work! Now if we can just get them to unlock the doors at the Huether Family tennis center.