Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce' ↓

Did Pheasant Fest even have a very big economic impact?

I’m sure some of the restaurants and vendors at the event had a little bump. But it certainly didn’t affect our sales tax much, (City Council is getting briefed on March Financials, the report document is to the right in SIRE) and it certainly didn’t affect lodging. The hotel tax is down over 14% from last year, which equates to the occupancy rates being down.

I was hoping Pheasant Fest would have a major affect on the tax rolls in Sioux Falls, but it seems like it really didn’t make a difference at all. Which I am very surprised about.

I would really like to hear from the CVB as to why hotel stays are down so much from last year.

UPDATE: Chamber says Entenman a life-long resident of Sioux Falls

UPDATE: The Chamber made the error, not the Entenman Campaign.

As I have been telling people, it is often the ‘little’ things you have to pay attention to in campaigns. Details that candidates will try to slip by you.

I have noticed that Entenman’s campaign is built on a lot of spit balling and approximates. Like how he kind of just guessed that 2017 ended well financially for the city. Or that he has the intention to serve 8 years, even though he only did one term on the city council after his bucket list of the Event Center and BID tax was marked off the list. Seems he is learning from his buddy MMM who he would emulate as mayor, it’s NOT a lie if YOU believe it.

He claims in the Chamber interview he is a life long resident of Sioux Falls. Never mind the time he spent going to college in Aberdeen or the over 15 years he lived in Brandon. It’s kind of like a certain legislator from SD that lives in Texas most of the time.

Brandon isn’t a sub-division of Sioux Falls (they probably wish they were with all the water problems they are having) It’s actually a separate community with a different zip code.

Dell Rapids, Canton, Tea, Baltic  . . . Sioux Falls? Close enough.

Keep selling the wage collusion in town

I will at least give Mr. Nasser props for trying to encourage professional careers but the argument is lost with Kiley and the Chamber with the constant push for affordable housing instead of higher wages.

Debra Owen new Public Policy Director for Sioux Falls Chamber

SIOUX FALLS — The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce announces that Debra Owen, J.D. has been named Public Policy Director. She succeeds Mark Lee, Ed.D. who is leaving to become market president of Reliabank Dakota.

Owen will provide leadership in the area of public policy and advocacy on the local, state and federal levels. Her background includes more than 27 years of experience in both business and government leadership positions, including public policy, advocacy, strategy, planning and implementation.

Congrats to Debra, I’m sure she will do a great job!

Mark Lee to leave the Sioux Falls Chamber

Mr. Lee, Public Affairs & Communications Director for the SF Chamber is leaving to run a Sioux Falls branch of his family’s bank.

While I disagree with Mark about 99.9% of the time, I will say I am going to miss him. I’ve enjoyed his multiple jabs over the past couple of years in his Chamber articles directed at me and South DaCola. As you know, I much more prefer criticism over praise, it keeps me on my toes. I hope the Chamber can replace him with someone just as sharp and sometimes biting.

Great idea for a database I thought already existed

At first glance, I thought, WOW! What a fantastic idea and tool for our community;

A new database, OpenSiouxFalls, will become a central repository for data reflecting the metro area’s workforce, economy, social services, education and quality of life.

Like I said, great idea. But one wonders why the Chamber, the City or the Development Foundation weren’t already using such a database? Maybe they have been, but by the sounds of the development of this site, you wonder how comprehensive it is?

Beta testing for the first phase of the project is planned for this summer.

So has this information been used in the past by organizations? And if so, who was the gatekeeper? Like the affordable housing study by Thrive, one wonders if anyone has been compiling such essential information or just flying by the seat of their pants?

I applaud the efforts to make this public, let’s hope they pull it off smoothly and actually make something public that seems to have been either stored in a safe for a very long time or didn’t exist at all.

The Chamber gives their SLANTED view of city government

Nothing like the Chamber Advocate for a little light reading about how the city of Sioux Falls is running like a well oiled machine.

First they would like us to know OUR rights when it comes to Public Input and the 1st Amendment;

However, if a public body agrees to hold public input sessions, then some limited constitutional rights are extended to the speakers. Still, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that a public body has the right to put time, manner and place restrictions on speech as long as those restrictions are generally content neutral and serve a governmental purpose. Courts have also noted that the purpose of these meetings, City Council for example, is to conduct city business and not to take public input. That recognized purpose permits the Council to legally restrict public input.

We of course have had this debate here before, and I have come to the realization that the city council CAN restrict public input. I get it. That wasn’t my point. My point is, that IF the city is going to allow Public Input, which they do, then they shouldn’t restrict our 1st Amendment rights during that time period by chastising us for speaking. If you don’t want us to ‘redress our grievances’ than eliminate public input, which I think would be difficult. As pointed out above, these meetings are for the city council to conduct business, a lot of decisions are made, based on input from the public, or at least should be.

In other Advice from the Advocate, they would like us to believe an OPT-OUT by the school district is for our own ‘safety’;

In other words, increasing the opt-out puts a safety net in place and ensures the District is able to provide a high-quality education for all students for years to come.

Make no mistake, if a governmental entity has the power to increase your taxes, they will use that same power to spend that money. Their is no such thing as a ‘safety net’ or ‘savings account’ in government. They WILL spend every last penny that they suck out of us, and you can almost guarantee that $5 million dollar ‘possible’ increase is already spent. The Chamber of course advocates for property tax and regressive increases on food taxes to help fund education because they are protecting members from an income tax.

The Chamber also decides to weigh in on the ambulance service in town. They have determined that it is what we are willing to pay for that determines what kind of quality of care we are getting . . . imagine that, always about the bottom line with the Chamber;

We will close with this. It appears our emergency medical response system is working when the objective data is considered. Also, the REMSA Board, not an elected lay council, is the right way to manage the system. The Council, by Charter, is a policy setting and legislative body and is to avoid administrative and management issues. It also appears that six of our councilors generally agree the system is working and the structure in place is valuable while two spearheaded the critical questioning.

However, we also understand that if your 911 call is one where there is a delay, you will have a concern. The provision of public services is always a balance between resources and expectations. If we expect (as an exaggerated example) a two-minute ambulance response for every emergency call, we can probably achieve it – but you won’t want to pay for it. Quality assurance conversations are important and we encourage them using the right data and in the right context.

We wouldn’t need more than two mutual aid agreements if PP would just staff more ambulances, but they won’t, as the Chamber has pointed out, too expensive. Yet, ironically our first responders, the SFPD and SFFD seem to show up first, subsidized by the tax payers while PP rides to bank with the profit from the transfer and delivery of a patient. All the more reason showing us a PUBLIC ambulance service not only would save patients money, it would probably save tax payers money (because we would be reimbursed for those calls), but more importantly, it would probably be 10X faster and more reliable than a FOR PROFIT ambulance service.

The Chamber has members to protect, we get it.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls School Board’s Property Tax increase sneaky move

UPDATE: President Tholke asked for a two week deferral of the opt out and the motion failed. So they all voted for the OPT-OUT anyway.

UPDATE II: While watching the School Board meeting, and they are arguing about being transparent about the OPT-OUT discussion, in fact so transparent guess when they posted the OPT-OUT discussion video from April 10, 2017? April 11? April 12? Nope, they posted it TODAY! That’s transparency folks!

UPDATE III: A group is planning to circulate a referendum on the opt-out that passed tonight.

Only one week after a completely dismal school board election turnout, where they bragged about saving $16,000, and now they want to rob you out of $5 million.

SCHOOL BOARD MEETING TONIGHT AT 5:30 PM, IPC

They couldn’t wait until the new board member got sworn in, they had to slip it in now.

Sioux Falls homeowners could miss out on state property tax relief as school board members look to pad the district’s dwindling reserve funds.

Board members will vote Monday night on a recommendation to opt out of local property tax limits. The move would bring an extra $5 million into school coffers over the next 10 years.

And technically your taxes won’t INCREASE, they just basically wiped away the tax relief you WOULD have gotten from the state legislature;

Homeowners wouldn’t see taxes go up in 2018, but they would miss out on state property tax relief, a direct result of the new education funding formula passed last year.

The worst part about this besides their very sneaky method* of putting this on the agenda (surprised anyone from the media even caught it) is this isn’t even for a capital project, it is for a savings account because gosh darn it, they just can’t trust Trump or Pierre. Tax increases to pad savings accounts are NOT the way to go. I have often said government should spend what it has and keep an even keel. That is why I have often supported tapping into the education investment fund dividends and interest to actually FUND education instead of these constant tax increases.

*NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG

As for the sneaky way they put this on the agenda. I had to read it three times before catching the clever language, Item #10 under Reports of the Superintendent, A. Finance Action Network Opt-Out Recommendation. Doesn’t sound like a property tax increase unless you read the attached documents.

And look at the esteemed members that want to increase your taxes;

The Finance Action Network (FAN) met on Thursday, May 25th. The meeting started at 11:30am. Those in attendance were:

-Sara Andrews (Beck & Hofer)

-Jason Ball (SF Area Chamber)

-Keith Severson (Eide Bailly)

-Bob Thimjon (Ramkota Companies)

-Becky Wittrock (Geo Tek)

-Doug Morrison (Citibank/SF School Board)

-Todd Vik (Sioux Falls School District)

-Brian Maher (Sioux Falls School District)

Once again, the Chamber looking out for the little guy . . . NOT!

And what is the irony in all this? The final statement on the report;

The additional $5 million Opt Out is recommended for 10 years. The district would only access the portion of increase as needed.

In other words if it is approved IT will be accessed, make no mistake.

What’s up with siouxfalls.com?

Last week, the media was telling us about siouxfalls.com, a site that will be used as a resource for . . . ? The site seems to be a Chamber driven site, and is managed by Forward Sioux Falls. I don’t take issue with the site, many cities have these types of sites. I do have some concerns though.

The site shares a name with the city’s site, with the change of .com to .org, this may be confusing for some people separating our business community from our local government.

Also, I am wondering if the development foundation used the $2 million we gave them to produce the site or if this comes from the CVB’s bid tax fund? I think the Chamber should pay for their own business (membership) driven sites not the taxpayers.

I have asked a city official to look into the funding of the site.

Sioux Falls Chamber tries to ‘Shame’ the most ‘Honorable’ of city councilors

Like clockwork, the Chamber tries to kill the most prudent and aware city councilors;

Forward Sioux Falls Agreement Approved – Three Councilors Dissent

In recent years, the City has required signed agreements with those organizations it invests in to help develop our community. That includes, for example, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Downtown Sioux Falls and, for the first time, Forward Sioux Falls. We agree that good agreements make for good partners and this is an important way for the City to do business.
During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the agreement between the City and Forward Sioux Falls was on the agenda for approval. The agreement includes the terms, conditions and responsibilities of the parties, the planned $400,000 per year the city will invest and the notation that funds must be approved each year by the Council. Forward Sioux Falls and City leadership supported the agreement.
After the City presentation and comments by FSF Co-chair Mark Shlanta, a motion was made to defer approval to September. That motion failed 3-5. More dialogue ensued and a motion was made to approve the agreement which prevailed on a 5-3 vote. Yes votes included Erickson, Kiley, Rolfing, Selberg and Erpenbach. No votes included Starr, Neitzert and Stehly.
A main concern expressed was the idea of a multi-year pledge. It was noted that the City does not regularly express funding support in this way for other programs. However, the structure of Forward Sioux Falls is as a five-year program. Private enterprise understands this and that is how they pledge their investments so it seems logical all partners would do the same. Further, FSF needs funding certainty for starting and developing programs with long-term time horizons. Finally, this is nothing new for the City. Prior FSF campaigns have also included multi-year pledges from the City as well as other investors. Some councilors seemed to treat this as a new idea when it has been this way for preceding campaigns.
We respect the fact that lawmakers need to vote their conscience and each of those voting no did express their general support for Forward Sioux Falls. I’m always reminded, however, that in legislative matters words do not count—only votes do.
We thank the five Councilors who voted to approve the agreement and we thank the City Administration for working with Forward Sioux Falls to continue a program with an unprecedented track record of economic development success. We look forward to working with the Council to convey the important work of Forward Sioux Falls and our progress over the next years. The next step for the City will be, of course, the 2017 city budget.
The sick irony of all this is that whether the Chamber wants to admit it or not, they need the full support of the council throughout the year, on many projects, some worthwhile, some not. And by shaming three of them publicly in this matter was not a good call, in fact it was wildly childish.
All the three were asking for was a year to year accounting (Erpenbach also asked for it, but voted for it anyway), something Forward Sioux Falls was not willing to give. So yes, their votes did count. They told them that arrogance, attitude and elitism would not be tolerated. I applaud the three councilors for standing up for our public treasury and asking the right questions about a program that has yet to prove itself.
And BTW, some words do count; The Sioux Falls Chamber look like egotistical fools.