Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Sioux Falls City Councilor Rex Rolfing still delusional about public input

Rex just doesn’t seem to get it, even when it is explained to him in simple terms. Right before the joint Minnehaha County/Sioux Falls City Council meeting, Rex and Commissioner Chair Cindy Heiberger were having a short conversation about public input before the meeting (they were unaware their microphones were hot).

 

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For the most part, well over 50% of public input deals with property and individual rights which could effect them financially and their livelihoods.

Some one really needs to sit councilor Rolfing down and explain to him that in a democracy we are all ruled equally, with no special classes. If developers, pipeline builders and railroads are allowed to talk as long as they want about their projects, Joe Smith should be allowed to talk just as long about his garage expansion. Equality is one thing that makes our country great.

Clarifying Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly’s agenda

Stu Whitney wrote a great column about Stehly and her upcoming agenda on the council. I thought I would clarify a bit, since these are some of the things Theresa and I have discussed long before the election, in fact some of this stuff we have talked about for years;

At tonight’s meeting, she plans to discuss the possibility of a “town hall forum” to promote public feedback on borrowing $25 million for a new city administration building, tentatively approved by the council last month. Huether cast the tiebreaking vote for that compromise measure, which approved the bond ordinance but delayed the actual borrowing of the money until this fall.

The idea was to allow more time in case county cooperation with the project materialized. But Stehly sees the delay as an opportunity to encourage more citizen input, and maybe even a public vote, on the proposed 79,000-square-foot building at Eighth Street and Dakota Avenue.

This is something Stehly has pitched in the past, a threshold ($$$) on when the council should approve a project and when the citizens should. Stehly thinks after a certain dollar amount, it should be on the ballot. Not such a bad idea since citizens are already voting on ordinances and policy on the ballot through the Charter Revision Commission. While I like the idea, I think the number should be rather high, like over $50 million. Theresa thinks it should be lower. Either way, worth the discussion with the public.

Stehly also wants the city to revamp its Project T.R.I.M. tree inspection program to make it more citizen-friendly, passing on the labor to city crews rather than homeowners in some cases. “I’d like to see one season where they use their staff to do the trimming,” she said.

A little clarity on this one. The idea that has been thrown around is to NOT eliminate the notification process OR allowing people to trim boulevard trees. Some people prefer to trim their own trees because they want them to look a certain way, or they want to hire an arborist to do it. I think that this ‘priviledge’ could still be allowed. This would be for people who either can’t physically trim them or afford to hire someone. Instead of wasting resources on public works employees driving around measuring and writing letters, if they see something minor, just chop it off right there or ask the homeowner if they can do it. This is really no different then what Excel does when trimming trees around powerlines. Many communities across our state are finding it is just much easier to have city employees trim the boulevard trees. In the long run it pays off.

Also on her agenda is addressing crime-ridden areas of the city with vigilant neighborhood watch programs, a pet cause of hers since she started her own program back in 1997. “It’s a very low-cost way to bring people together to be the eyes and ears of this community,” says Stehly, who plans to meet with police chief Matt Burns on the issue.

This one is really just common sense. With all the recent vandalism and robberies alone in this city, it is smart for neighbors watching out for each other.

Will Stehly be 100% successful on these issues? Probably not, but starting a good discussion doesn’t hurt.

Public Input, Sioux Falls City Council, May 17, 2016

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Sioux Falls City Council votes on principals & ‘suitable persons’

I was pleasantly surprised last night while watching the Sioux Falls City Council meeting. The councilors were actually voting on principals and rules rather than rhetoric or pressure from the adminsitration. And not just the newbies, it seems the votes went in several different directions, even with the older council members.

The 4 PM meeting got off to an interesting start with open discussion. When councilor Neitzert brought up revisiting the administration building proposal, mostly crickets responded. Greg is persistent though, and don’t expect this to be the end of the topic.

Councilor Stehly brought up the thermostat (temperature) at the informational meeting and how it is turned down to low during the 7 PM meeting. She told me last night after the meeting that it seemed ‘more comfortable’ in Carnegie.

Theresa also brought up inviting a third rotating councilor to the Mayor’s leadership meetings that he occasionally has on Fridays, and if not possible a council staffer like Jim David to take notes to give to the other councilors, for the sake of transparency and communication.

Rolfing and Erpenbach were not having it. Rolfing claimed he could take good notes (God help us) but the real fight came from Michelle claiming that somehow Theresa was inferring some conspiracies were taking place behind closed door meetings with the mayor.

First off, that is NOT what Theresa said. Secondly, in order to stop the appearance of conspiracies is to let the sunshine in. That’s all Stehly was asking for. Michelle also went on some strange tirade about the two councilors in leadership were in some kind of special club with the mayor, and it was more of a social meeting then anything, and that is why she felt uncomfortable with staff being in the meeting.

WOW, she sure has a jaded view of how municipal government works and the duties of elected officials. First off, the chair and vice chair have no special powers. They do go to more meetings and chair some meetings, but they are equal to their peers when it comes to ‘power’ and ‘social standing’. Their votes count the same.

It was rather elitist of Michelle to claim there was some kind of special bond between leadership and the mayor. She sounded and looked ridiculous. The only conspiracy is the growing paranoia of the new council members.

Besides councilor Neitzert schooling everyone on the precedent of zoning and planning last night (I think he actually lead the vote on a couple of the issues). But one of the most interesting was an item he voted NO on that still passed. Him and councilor Starr both voted no to the new casino wall fiasco. I think for the same reasons. While the casino owner has finally complied to build a wall to separate two businesses, it doesn’t change that he has had to come back three times wasting hours of the council’s time and the planning department, lying about how he runs his other casinos (he got busted by councilor Erickson on that one last night and the mayor admonished him about it) he has also been in trouble for smoking violations. At the end of the day, Starr and Neitzert had enough of his half-truths. While Starr didn’t say why he was voting NO, Neitzert did, he said he felt compelled to deny the permit because the gentleman applying wasn’t a ‘suitable person’. A legal term in SD law that I assume applies to people who are dishonest.

The new council dove right in last night, that at times dumbfounded the older councilors. As I said before the election and in my endorsements, I supported certain candidates because they could hit the ground running. Starr, Stehly and Neitzert didn’t disappoint in their inaugural meeting.

 

Sioux Falls City Council Installation, May 17, 2016

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New councilors Starr, Stehly, Selberg, Neitzert

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Swearing in ceremony

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Outgoing councilors Anderson and Jamison

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City Councilor-Elect Greg Neitzert Reiterates His Priorities on Installation Day

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For Immediate Release

 

Release Date:  May 17, 2016

Contact:  Greg Neitzert (pronounced Nite-Cert)

Phone:  605-929-9118 

Web: http://www.gregforcouncil.com

Email:  GNeitzert@siouxfalls.org

 

 

City Councilor-Elect Greg Neitzert Reiterates His Priorities on Installation Day

 

“On the day I officially will be sworn in to represent the Northwest District of Sioux Falls, I felt it was important to reiterate and restate my main priorities as a City Councilor” says Greg Neitzert.  “These priorities were shaped by what I heard from the hundreds of citizens I met going door to door over the last several months.”

 

Greg Neitzert’s Main Priorities: Repair and Rebuild Roads, Explore Alternatives to the Current Administration Building Proposal, Fiscally Conservative Leadership, Affordable Housing, Quality of Life Everyone Can Afford, Transparency, and Zoning to Protect Neighborhoods

 

  1. Repairing and Rebuilding our roads is a top priority.  “I saw firsthand the condition of many of our local roads as I walked the neighborhoods of the Northwest district.  We need to accelerate the reconstruction of our neighborhood roads,” says Greg Neitzert.

 

  1. “We need to explore alternatives to the current administration building proposal.  We need to protect the taxpayer dollar and prioritize our precious second penny sales tax funds,” says Greg Neitzert.

 

  1. I will bring fiscally conservative leadership to the city council,” says Greg Neitzert.  “That means keeping our debt in check, as well as holding the line on user fees and taxes.  Our citizens, particularly those on fixed incomes, have been pinched over the last several years.”

 

  1. “We need to do what we can to address our shortage of affordable housing in Sioux Falls,” says Greg Neitzert.  “While many of the factors are market-based and out of the control of city government, there are factors we can control as a city.  We need to remember that every time we raise user fees and taxes, we make the problem worse.”

 

  1. “As a city, we need to provide a quality of life everyone can afford,” says Greg Neitzert.  “Our city has a river greenway and bike trail system that is the envy of other cities throughout the nation.  We need to expand the bike trail and protect and enhance our river greenway.  We need to add more parks and outdoor pools in the outer areas of the city, including the Northwest district.”

 

  1. “Transparency in government builds trust with the public, there is nothing to hide and there is no reason for secrecy.” says Greg Neitzert.

 

  1. “We need to protect and preserve neighborhoods with zoning,” says Greg Neitzert.  “We need to provide a business friendly climate that promotes growth and prosperity, while at the same time providing residential uses with maximum protection.  As existing commercial development expands, we must preserve the unique character of our neighborhoods and provide appropriate and sufficient land use transitions and buffering.”

 

NOTE:  The Installation Ceremony will take place at 2pm on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at Carnegie Town Hall, 235 W. 10th St, Sioux Falls, SD.

Thermostat Wars! The 1st Major Clash between the mayor and city council

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Mayor Huether’s new attire at the city council meetings (IMAGE: SouthDacola)

Got a good chuckle while listening to Neitzert and Stehly on Knobe’s show today. The council is moving to take control of Carnegie Hall’s thermostat away from the mayor on Tuesdays. There has long been complaints by other city employees, constituents and city councilors that it is too cold in Carnegie at the Tuesday night meetings. Apparently the mayor controls the thermostat after 5 PM on Tuesdays. I’m assuming he turns the thermostat down so he can wear a suit and not sweat (appearances are everything with this guy). I guess a majority of the council is in agreement that he will no longer control the thermostat. I’m wondering what kind of resolution that will take or if just a swift slap on the wrist will do?

Sioux Falls city council swearing in ceremony, Tuesday

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Join the Fun!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

City Councilwoman Elect Theresa Stehly to be sworn in Tuesday May 17th at 2:00 at the Carnegie Town Hall.

Councilwoman Elect Stehly is committed to helping the citizens and the local Government work together to make Sioux Falls a better place for all people to live.

SOME OF HER CUSTOMER SERVICE PRIORITIES INCLUDE:

–Preserving the Public Input time during council meetings.

–Working to put more of the 2nd penny tax toward infrastructure projects like streets and sewer line upgrades.

–Implementing a City-wide cleanup day.

–Pouring more energy into developing the Neighborhood Watch program throughout Sioux Falls

–Reducing the Water and Sewer Rates by reevaluating the budgets of these departments.

–Keeping the public more informed about upcoming issues and helping them to find solutions in concerns that they have with the City.

–Reworking Project Trim to utilize city workforce to do the labor and become more supportive of the citizens.

–Improving Snow Gate Service by implementing a Snow Gate Hot Line.

–Giving citizens more representation on the Park Board by having a member from every district of the city included on it.

Councilwoman Elect Stehly will be available to answer question before the 17th event at 1:45, or by appointment.  332-1363 or 929-8783

 

Public Input is not broken

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– Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings written by G.R.R.M

Sioux Falls City Council Elect Theresa Stehly met with Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen

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They met on May 10th to discuss municipal issues. Stehly is interested in learning about how other communities handle 2nd penny expenditures, public input, citywide cleanup day, park board decisions, perspectives on city debt and openness to input from council members on projects included in the budget. She will be visiting with other mayors throughout our state in the months to come to continue to dialogue.