Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Sioux Falls City Council, 1st Budget Hearing for 2016

Of course, I couldn’t watch the meeting online, because the city’s central services still haven’t figure out how to fix the live feed with the meetings, big surprise. Either way, I was able to read all the PP/PDF presentations. Here’s a few that caught my eye.

So why is it that our city’s turnover rate jumped almost 6 points in one year? Could it be employees not happy with management?

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Why does the Pavilion suck so much of this ‘slush’ fund?

 

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I’m ALL for public safety and paying our firefighters well, but one has to wonder the ratio of personnel VS. operating expenses. WOW!

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Nothing to see in Heritage Park, move along

Seems Heritage Park still has some trouble;

Complaint calls about Heritage Park have ranged from illegal use of alcohol to fights, and even public urination. It’s a situation that has property owners in the area fed up.

We spoke with Dwaine Thill who owns two houses across the street from Heritage Park, and he says the indecent and illegal behavior at Heritage Park is only getting worse. He feels the close proximity to the Bishop Dudley House is leading to an increase of people at the park. Thill says he’s concerned not only for his property, but keeping his tenants as well.

Photos taken from a neighbor in the area show people drinking alcohol and even urinating on her property.

“It’s the scrud of the city, coming over here and they have a place to congregate, drink, shoot up, and whatever else they want to do out there,” Property Owner Dwaine Thill said.

But not according to the SFPD. Just ignore the number of calls, the neighbors, the violations and that we have a homeless shelter close by;

In June and July, police responded to 141 calls at the park.  Even though the crimes at the park are minor, Clemens says police are keeping an eye on the area to prevent any dangerous situations. While some people are calling Heritage Park the new Van Eps Park, Clemens says this isn’t the case.

I think Mr. Thill has the best suggestion to fixing the problem;

Even so, Thill wants the city to do something about it.

“If the mayor wants to have them up in his area, more power to him. I’d like to have him live beside them awhile,” Thill said.

The streets in that neighborhood are so nice, the homeless would be scared to walk on them.

So will the city meeting online videos work today?

The big promise from the City’s IT department today is that you will be able to watch the meetings online in any web browser besides Explorer. Well I’m not holding my breath, but hey, it just might work.

Note to the Sioux Falls City Council

This compiled short history of Sioux Falls Railroads is for you. Why is this important? (DOC: Sioux Falls SD Railroad history compilations)

The City Council and people of Sioux Falls, SD must understand legal ramifications surrounding a resolution vote item#44 on the August 4, 2015 agenda.

A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO ENTER INTO THE PURCHASE OF REAL PROPERTY FROM THE BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY

We citizens have had the TOP SECRET rail yard document in front of us since Friday afternoon. The preliminary reading shows many holes in data and legal descriptions. The 82 page document being presented by the administration does not adequately cover many issues surrounding Railroad Relocation.

We have heard about a TOP SECRET railroad project for many years with no details attached. We citizens should be able to see what is being promised in our names. We have known from the beginning we were not supposed to be part of this TOP SECRET project. As sunlight shines on this TOP SECRET project we are seeing many problems.

The citizens of Sioux Falls should at least be able to weigh in on this TOP SECRET project. Why must we have so much secrecy, for such little gain to go with the massive hype? We have learned through the documents posted on Friday the City of Sioux Falls is receiving a Quit Claim Deed. Why a Quit Claim Deed when it should be at the very least a Warranty Deed giving future generations and developers full property rights? This is a very serious question. The City of Sioux Falls could be a partner in a land fraud or other issues we know nothing about. We are gambling our city future by taking the word of vested interests. The reconstruction of the full land history would establish the city ownership rights. The railroads entering the city of Sioux Falls had reversionary rights, why risk the legal issues? This land will not be used for transportation operations once abandoned. This is a very risky proposal. It is not difficult. Land title companies do these searches every day. The city hires consultants for everything else, why not this?

So we ask, what is the hurry to spend the money without proper oversight? We are getting ready for major budget demands, ready to put the city of Sioux Falls in more debt for playthings and special interests. Can we take a couple of weeks to really examine this contract with public hearings to get real commitments and answers?

Bruce Danielson

 

Who let the dogs out? Apparently SD State Legislator Blake Curd

I am a little disturbed how this ‘non-justice’ is playing out, with our extremely wealthy Dr. Curd;

On July 31, 2015, at approximately 6:59 a.m., the Sioux Falls Police Department responded to the 1300 block of South Elmwood Avenue after Metro Communications received calls of a woman that had been attacked by a dog. As an officer responded to the scene, he encountered two dogs that were running loose in the area. After the officer exited his vehicle, one of the dogs, a Tibetan Mastiff, approached the officer and bit him in the right thigh. The officer attempted to free himself from the dog and after he was successful, he fired two rounds at the dog as it approached him again. The officer was taken to Avera McKennan and was treated for a minor injury to the thigh.

Both dogs were later located by Animal Control and taken into custody. The dogs were found to be current on vaccinations. The woman that had been attacked leading to the response from the Police Department had multiple injuries to her right arm and legs and was transported to Sanford Hospital by ambulance for treatment.

First off, the dog that attacked her and the officer (they believe it was just the male) should be euthanized, not returned to the Curds or put up for adoption, the Curds have stated that the dogs WILL NOT be returning to their home. The second dog should also not be returned, and maybe put up for adoption to a responsible dog owner.

This same incident happened to a friend of mine a few years ago. The neighbors had a dog that the city told them should be either caged or on a chain even if he was secured by a privacy fence because of his aggressive nature (The Curds said the dogs were fenced in, but escaped somehow). The neighbors ignored the warnings, the dog chewed through and knocked down the privacy fence and attacked my friends son (who I believe was 9 at the time) the dog had him pinned down and bit him in multiple places on his arm. Animal control later told her that if her son would not have been punching the dog in the face to get him to stop, he might have killed her son. Scary stuff. When animal control took the dog, they immediately euthanized it. No questions asked, standard operating procedure. They promptly told my friend that the dog would not be hurting anyone anymore.

So it puzzles me that #1, the Curds dog still hasn’t been put down (maybe it has by now), and #2 why he isn’t facing charges for allowing his dogs to run free or get out to begin with? Is there a different kind of justice for ‘the haves’ when they have unruly pets?

No doubt there will be a lawsuit filed against them. My friend told me her son had to go through several months of counseling because of the trauma, and had nightmares for weeks. He’s good now, and likes dogs again, but he was just a little boy, I can’t imagine what the lady and the brave officer are going through. Adults are harder to counsel then children on these matters.

I was also puzzled why it took several days to say who the owners of the dogs were. Something doesn’t smell right with the way this incident is being handled. What I don’t understand is why people have large, aggressive, high energy dogs in town. If you know anything about large dogs, unless they are exercised regularly, they get anxious, they want to run, and they want to cause mischief.

Best BBQ in town?

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Just a couple of thighs you don’t have to propose to.

Okay, I haven’t obsessed about this much, but after getting home today and smelling my chicken smoked filled t-shirt, I kind of flipped. I tried Mr. Ryan’s BBQ ribs a few weeks ago at Bro’s (it is a Sunday Night deal) Best smoked meat in town. I obviously will eat most anything, at least once, but his ribs were perfectly cooked, fall off the bone, and on top of that, no sauce required, even though he makes his own sauce that is fantastic, and the red cabbage slaw is to die for.

Railroaded in Sioux Falls (another gem from 2010)

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Looking for information on the railroads in Sioux Falls we found this jewel from November 8, 2010 City Council Informational.

When we listened to this talk it helped fill in several points in history but it also misses several others. Our town’s rail yard relocation project has missing details in this interesting talk. For some reason we are not allowed to see the entire set of details prior to the City Council meeting Resolution being voted on August 4, 2015.

There are a few issues not adding up to let us know why this is so important to jam down our collective throats so quickly before we can get all the data required. To start with land ownership issues not making sense. Plus there are still people thinking we are going to have less trains going through Sioux Falls when in fact will are getting ready to have more. If there is nothing to hide, what difference will it make to wait a couple of weeks so we can research the pieces not making sense.

This is similar to buying a house or any other building. We are not receiving clear title to this property. A Quit Claim Deed is not clear title. (Document resolution: Rail-Resolution)

The Council should not be voting to pass this resolution until a full list and audit of the parcels being transferred in this Quit Claim Deed is done. We need a list of the actual parcels with the history since first platting in the mid-1800’s. Why shouldn’t we know the actual ownership chain now, before money changes hands. Also, there are areas of the rail yard where service operations were done many years ago, where is the study showing these areas were tested? Are we getting another Pitts brownfield to deal with? There are Sioux Falls people who remember the contaminations of the past and wonder what was done to remediate them.

We already know how our city legal department deals with Quit Claim Deeds. Think about the subtle differences in 2 types of deeds (from Wikipedia):

“A warranty deed is a type of deed where the grantor (seller) guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has a right to sell it to the grantee (buyer). This is in contrast to a quitclaim deed, where the seller does not guarantee that he or she holds title to a piece of real estate.”

In a sense the attorneys for the city are giving the Council another Quit Claim deed property deal because the ownership of the property is actually in question. The Ellis & Eastern and BNFS railroads probably were given Quit Claim Deeds as the land transferred to them, so they could take over the property and use it after the several railroads went out of business. Do we have copies of these papers attached to this resolution? Of course not.

Even Governor Janklow in 1980 and after was not sure, so it was understood the state bought the Milwaukee Road track equipment and assumed the land easements during the abandonment process to be able to continue to operate on the rail beds. The rail right of ways were important to takeover in the early 1980’s to keep operational. Many researchers are still not clear as to what land is owned or just controlled by easement to this day. Reason? No one wants to actually see what is buried in the original papers or they would be attached.

Why shouldn’t we citizens get a warranty deed for this property before we waste any more time on it? Why is it when we see these proposals, some of us only see the things NOT making sense like who actually owns the land?

A Blast from the Past – Events Center Debate 2010

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Where am I in Sioux Falls?

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UPDATE: The Huether Cat is out of the bag, we now know why he wants to increase user fees

At Huether’s budget address today he proposed his 2016 budget, a $64 million dollar increase over 2015 ($471 MILLION). In fact, when Huether took office in 2010 that budget was $337 million, a $134 million dollar jump in just 6 short years. Huether claims it will be covered by revenue, but my question is why not have a little bump from 2015 and use the extra revenue to pay off debt? (our debt service in 2016 will be $39 million). SEE THE DOCUMENT2016 Budget

I guess this explains why Huether has been clamoring to raise user fees, he has a huge wish list for 2016. Seems he is over promising to a lot of folks in town (mostly developers and businesses).

The other ironic part is that this increase could almost cover the county’s entire budget for next year ($71 million), yet they have to do an opt-out (increase our property taxes) to make ends meet.

This is what happens when you elect a marketing VP from the worst predatory CC company in the industry – out of control spending and more debt.

UPDATE: Steve Young updates us on some important quotes from today’s shananigans;

“I look back to when we first went to cameras in the cars and having the officers recorded. A lot of them weren’t real excited about that. I think they looked at it as ‘Big Brother is going to try to catch me doing something,’ ” Barthel said. “The fact of the matter is, a lot of times we’ll get complaints, people accusing our officers of doing something, and all we have to do is pull up the video and look at it. In 99 percent of the cases, it saves their backs. Now they’ve come to rely on it.”

Yet Chief Barthel will not release the audio from the Tuthill shooting incident. Why? Will some backs not be saved? As a County Commissioner said to me tonight, “The more officers the city hires means the more arrests that will be made. What does that mean for our budget?” He also added that the county has had the same number of employees for the past four years. The new 27 city employees will add almost $2 million to salaries next year.

In acknowledging the size of his budget proposal, the mayor encouraged city councilors “to feel good about what you’re doing. Feel good because the citizens, they’re doing well. They’re pleased with our progress.”

In other words, don’t look over here, nothing to see, go back to watching football and eating at Applebees, (and don’t read DaCola) we have this handled. If there was ever a time for more scrutiny of this city government, it is right now and Councilor Erickson nailed it;

“I think over the next few weeks, we’ll definitely be diving into this to see what is needed, what is maybe not needed. … and that we’re growing in a responsible way and not be proud that this is the largest budget in our history,” Erickson said.

I wouldn’t call myself a fiscal prude, I am all for money being spent on infrastructure and roads, parks and social services, but there is a lot of big ticket development projects that smell worse then the Big Sioux River in this budget. Take for instance the idiocy of tearing down and selling a parking ramp for $1 then turning around and building a $10 million dollar ramp.

Based on his first take of the budget, Councilor Dean Karsky acknowledged the large jump but said nothing initially seemed out of line to him.

SF Chamber Board member saw nothing out of line. Imagine that? Oh Dean:(