Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Why wasn’t the Sioux Falls City Council in on the Pavilion/Orpheum contract negotiations?

First I want to say that I am NOT opposed to the Pavilion running the Orpheum, if you look at the financials of SMG running it over the past 5 years (DOC: Orpheum Theater Mgmt Transition Presentation – Council.pdf) you will see that the place has lost almost a cool half-million a year. Not sure why it is so expensive to run a place that is empty two-thirds of the year? I also find it funny that the operating losses come out now that the Pavilion is running the joint, go figure*.

But what has me puzzled is why wasn’t the City Council in on this? Shouldn’t they have either initiated this contract change or at least approached by the Pavilion instead of the Mayor’s office? They could have had open discussions about it at work sessions or in the public services committee meetings. What bothers me is that this contract negotiation was cooked up behind closed doors with the mayor with only the city council being aware of it. With SMG and the Pavilion running publicly funded facilities, this should have been an open negotiation. Instead it was pre-packaged behind the scenes to receive the council’s rubber stamp.

I’m still wondering when our council will start acting like a real legislative body?

*Makes you wonder how badly the Events Center is bleeding money if they allowed the Orpheum to take such a big hit for years.

Is the Levitt banking on a parking ramp at Sioux Steel site?

Someone forwarded this email to me today that was apparently sent to the city council last week AFTER the Levitt’s director gave a presentation to the city council at last Tuesday’s informational;

First Name


Last Name



Parking for Levitt at the Falls


Dear Council Members, During my presentation to the council on Tuesday, Councilor Stehly asked if I felt the 2700 identified free parking spaces were adequate for our expected attendance at Levitt at the Falls. As parking has been the primary concern I have heard from residents, I was hesitant to go too far in answering Ms Stehly in such a public forum. However, I am following up to voice my concern. This summer we are hosting 30 concerts, with an average expected attendance of 1500-3000 people per concert. I am concerned that parking will be an issue and see additional challenges as we grow to 50 concerts each summer beginning in the spring of 2020. I am working closely with Lloyd Companies and am delighted to know that they hope to add a parking facility within their new Sioux Steel Development. I hope that you will do what you can to lend your support to this much-needed facility to make our downtown more easily accessible to all. Thank you for your service to our community!

My first concern is that a director of a local non-profit that receives a ton of public funds doesn’t see the need to share this information at a public meeting, well at least she found it necessary to share it with them in an email.

Secondly, I don’t see 1,500-3000 people at these events. I wish it were true, but my guess is it will be closer to 300-500 people until people get a feel for what kind of concerts these are. I also don’t understand the cries for parking. There is plenty of parking, and I also think people can use resources like Lyft/Uber, the Trolley to shuttle them from central downtown or even better ride your bike or walk. Ironically, as someone pointed out to me the other day, the Walker parking study indicated that the best place to build a new parking ramp wasn’t at the current controversial site but in the spot just South of the Levitt where Raven is tearing down an old building. What a concept!

Lastly, I’m annoyed that the Sioux Steel development is using a Non-Profit to leverage for a TIF to build a parking ramp. I can hear the arguments already if the expected 3,000 a night don’t show, “People said they would come, but couldn’t find any parking.” Oh, poppycock. Isn’t it amazing that 40-50,000 people show up for parades downtown like Parade of Lights and St. Patty’s or the Sidewalk Arts Festival and find plenty of parking, but now all of sudden we can’t find parking for a couple thousand?

The fix is in folks.

This disappoints me even more since I am supportive of the Levitt and am excited about the first year’s lineup. Now I hear they are being used as a pawn in a multi-million dollar corporate welfare tax scheme. Doesn’t anyone in this town fight fair anymore?

Sioux Falls City Councilors are picking leadership next Tuesday

The Do-Nothing Leadership of Erickson/Selberg will be sent on their way and the gavel will be handed over.

I’m not sure who will be up for vice-chair. Logically it would be between 3 councilors, Starr, Stehly and Neitzert. I can guarantee that Theresa is not interested in the position, so it will be a toss-up between Pat and Greg. Fortunately the Mayor is NOT allowed to vote on leadership.

I really believe though that council chair should be Starr with Janet or Greg as vice-chair. Normally the sitting vice-chair receives the position of Chair but I’m not sure why Selberg deserves the position. In three years Selberg has done absolutely nothing. The only legislation he has brought forward is a citizen award that has NO affect on the citizenry as a whole. He has been a rubber stamper of almost everything good and bad brought forward and has added little to the conversation. Saying only “I am listening” or “I agree with so and so.” He has been ANYTHING but a leader, but we know how these rodeos work.


Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, May 14, 2019

Informational Meeting, 4 PM

Presentations on;

Sioux Empire Leadership Council

Management agreement for Orpheum with the Washington Pavilion

SF Daycare registration

National City Survey

Regular Meeting, 7 PM

Pretty quiet meeting, only major item is #23, 2nd Reading for supplemental appropriations from surplus in 2018.

CALENDAR • Click to Enlarge

If the media is getting it wrong, maybe you should talk to the media

When I first started reading this story on SooFooBizzo I had to double check to see if I was on the Sioux Falls Headliner site, because some of the things said are laughable;

The new plan at 152 rooms represents an estimated $45 million in private development, “so we’re well above and beyond what the city approved for this project,” Lamont said.

Huh? Remember the last project that wanted to make changes to the pre-approved plan next to 8th and Railroad. It’s dead.

“AC has its own lounge, which is a bar with tapas-style appetizers,” Lamont said.

Someone should tell Jeff the word tapas means appetizers, I’m just saying.

“We’ve got clothing stores interested in the retail, coffee shops, office space, things like that,

You mean like every other strip mall in Sioux Falls, surprised he didn’t say pizzeria.

The project scaled back after two potential incentives didn’t materialize, including new market tax credits from the federal government. While the credits looked promising last year, the location of the project changed from what the government considered “severely distressed” to “distressed,” Lamont said.

Yeah, I’m sure it has NOTHING to do with one of your partners being investigated by the Feds. I doubt the two departments even talk to each other . . .

The developers also requested tax increment financing from the city, but city officials decided not to recommend it.

“They don’t think they can support it or that it would gain traction,” he said, acknowledging the parking ramp that supports the project was publicly funded.

“That definitely is nice,” he said.

That’s so sweet of him to compliment the taxpayers for getting bent over the barrel on this.

The city offered a property tax incentive that the project automatically qualifies to receive as well as a business improvement district tax rebate. The latter will need City Council approval.

Thanks for the ‘NICE’ $26 million dollar parking ramp, oh, and BTW can we get a tax rebate on a for-profit hotel on prime real estate? The city council would be absolutely insane to approve a rebate, but the track record lately of the rubber stamp 5 is less then stellar.

The city is reviewing proposed changes to the project scope to determine the financial impact to the city, said Erica Beck, the mayor’s chief of staff.

“Our top priorities are complying with the existing agreement and avoiding financial burdens to the taxpayers as a result of any proposed changes,” she said in a statement.

In other words, don’t f’ck us over.

The group has the financial capacity to make the project happen, he added.

What? Did he send another one page letter that said ‘Were good for it’ and ‘the check is in the mail’.

“The media reports keep alluding the project is in jeopardy,” he said. “That’s absolutely incorrect.”

Maybe if you actually talked to the media instead of a content marketing business website the media would be reporting the truth, even though I think they already are.

The city council approved the $50K to a law firm last night without discussion that specializes in ‘ironing out’ deals like this. I have a feeling this is going to get ugly before it gets ‘nice’.

Sioux Falls City Council Meetings, 5/7/2019

Mayor Paul TenHaken’s office plays the bait and switch again tonight, or is it less complicated then that?

I’m actually surprised a good X-Tian like PTH doesn’t know what the NT has said about hypocrites;

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22

So this has happened three times now;

Stehly and Starr suggest we fund pothole fillin’ more, resolution gets voted down yet the mayor sends out an army to fill potholes (a couple an hour).

Stehly and Starr suggest Events Center Book Club meetings are open to the public, resolution gets voted down (or thrown out) can’t remember. Mayor opens up the meetings (yet no recordings have happened yet).

Tonight, happens again, Starr and Stehly suggest the housing summit’s registration is FREE and video recorded. It fails in a 4/3 vote with mayor breaking tie. But during the discussion, Tea, SD resident and Housing Director for SF, Chellac Unruh announces the fee will be waived (for the poor folk) and it will be video recorded.

So if Stehly and Starr’s resolutions are so bad and fail to pass, why is the mayor implementing the policy anyway?

Oh, right, that thing about being a hypocrite, I forgot.

Stehly responds to ED Board

I couldn’t have said it better myself, and for the record I never saw this response until I read it online a few minutes ago. I know some people think that I ‘feed’ Theresa stuff, but I have often contended she is her own person;

I will continue to make decisions and take actions to support, inform and protect the citizens I am pledged to represent.  I refuse to go along to get along as the Editorial Board suggests. I will continue to promote constituent concerns while reaching out to help the taxpayers. They are the boss and taxpayer revenues are theirs. I will strive to make prudent, informed decisions, even if my colleagues don’t agree with me.

Yes Theresa, unfortunately it’s all about the Reindeer Games in Sioux Falls.

Mayor TenHaken proposes new budgeting process

At first glance I like the direction of this new process, especially the first tier;

It’s a two-page summary of the request that is then scored by committees of city staff from all 11 departments based on five criteria:

  • Does it meet the goals of the city?
  • Is it innovative?
  • Is it sustainable?
  • Does it foster partnerships with other organizations and agencies?
  • Is it measurable?

After scoring about 50 of those “RFRs,” which Pritchett declined to share details about, the ones with the highest score are prioritized. That’s when the public engagement aspect of TenHaken’s budgeting process comes in.

This is really how department heads SHOULD be submitting their budgets through a scoring process. I also like the 5 questions, but where it gets wobbly is the 2nd tier where they say the ‘public’ would be involved;

“We want to engage people that may not have been engaged in the process in the past,” said Pritchett, who this month will bring the highest-scored proposals to a citizen group of Leadership Sioux Falls members to get even more feedback.

While having the public leadership group involved is also a great idea, I would apply it a little differently. As I have mentioned in the past, the City Council, the legislative body of the city should really be putting the budget together after the 1st tier is implemented and the leadership group weighs in. After that I think the COUNCIL not the MAYOR should introduce a preliminary budget that is presented to citizens in at least 2-3 public meetings/open houses where citizens can tell councilors what they like and don’t like. And during the process there should be an online participatory budgeting website that people can leave comments (an idea council candidate Weiland suggested). After that process is finished the council can present there final budget to the mayor and public.

Why shouldn’t the mayor be involved? First off, under charter, the council controls the purse strings, and secondly the mayor’s office is really just another department that can put in it’s requests like the other departments.

The city needs to get back to having our citizen representatives draw up a budget that reflects citizens instead of corporate welfare and play palaces.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • May 7-8, 2019

City Council Informational • 4 PM • Tuesday May 7

We will get an update on the Levitt Shell, Future Growth areas and a Water Connection Fee ordinance. There is also an executive session, and if I was a guessing man it’s probably about the parking ramp.

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM • Tuesday May 8

Item #7, Approval of Contracts/Agreements

There is an item to renovate the baseball fields at Terrace Park. Wondering when they are going to reset the walkway stones?

There is an item for $50K for legal counsel pertaining to the parking ramp. The FIRM handling it has a division in construction;

We help drive real estate and construction projects forward using innovative strategies to ensure smooth completion and mitigate risk. Our deep bench includes lawyers who advocate when real estate and construction disputes arise,

Item #29, Beer license, new brewery at the Cascade

Item #50, 1st Reading, $1.875 million in surplus going towards 2019 road projects. Interesting, when Stehly suggested extra money for potholes she was told they had enough money budgeted. Now all of sudden roads are getting another big chunk of money.

Item #51, Resolution, Stehly is asking the housing summit doesn’t have a registration fee and be recorded by CityLink. With the current attitude of the council towards Stehly, this will likely fail, but it will be interesting to hear the excuses from the majority. I understand that there should be a fee for food, but that can be separate from the registration fee. The timing of the event is also troublesome. People who need affordable housing the most probably won’t be able to attend on a weekday.

Item #59, Resolution, Jeff Eckhoff will be appointed director of Planning. I believe Jeff will get full support of the council.

Mayor’s State of the City Address • 2 PM • Wednesday May 8 (at the Hub on SE Tech Campus – Correction)

Not only will this meeting NOT be a Carnegie Hall, it seems it will be live streamed on FB instead of on Citylink or via SIRE on the city website. Not sure how I feel about that. The mayor is probably doing the SOC at the Hub to talk about the proposed community college, which I think is a great idea if they can keep tuition and education debt low.