Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

A Mayor’s Soliloquy, May 3, 2016

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Jon Michaels Forum Podcast Stehly and Neitzert

Listen all here. Also hear ALL 4 newly elected councilors speak on Inside Keloland.

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Sioux Falls City Council Input, April 5, 2016

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Water Rate Increases, scripted in the bathroom stall

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Is the Pavilion enjoying a empty sense of security?

Stu Whitney thinks that Darrin Smith’s new job as President of the Washington Pavilion will be smooth sailing. because gosh darnit folks (since the Pavilion charges for everything now, including the Arts Center) it really has become a place for everyone;

Was the Washington Pavilion truly a building for the masses? And just how much public money would Sioux Falls pour into it? (referring to the rock concert of Collective Soul and the shaking balcony).

This really came down to one thing, poor engineering and design. A few years after the incident and the fix, Arturo Sandoval played the Pavilion, he had every person in that hall dancing on their feet to a sold out show. I looked over at my boss at the time (I was lead usher), Jeff Venekamp and said, “Are you thinking what I am thinking?” He was, if Arturo would have played the great hall before Collective Soul, how would the architects blame Rock & Roll for their bad designs? You know, because Cuban Jazz is hardly the devil :)

It wasn’t R & R at fault or even those evil Cubans. Which has been proven throughout the years.

Then there is the ‘funding’.

The annual contribution of about $1.5 million from the city’s entertainment tax – primarily for expenses such as maintenance and utilities – comprises just 20 percent of the Pavilion’s operating budget of $7.5 million, with the city also providing capital improvement funds as needed.

Okay, a little clarity. If you continue to read the article, you will see the Pavilion cost around $32 million to complete instead of the $20 million actually pitched to voters (actually it is over $50 million to date). The entertainment tax mentioned above was also supposed to go bye-bye after the bonds were paid off, you know, those BS sunshine clauses people always talk about. Didn’t happen, they continue to pile that money into the money trap it has become, with constant repairs and subsidies. Like a new roof on the Cinendome, the main roof, and hundreds of other ‘little fixes’ in the building. Their is also the millions from the CIP (2nd penny) for windows and malfunctioning sprinkler systems that ARE NOT part of the $1.5 million subsidy (you know, the reason why are water rates are going up). And of course this little tidbit, that always makes me chuckle, in a very dark way;

But it represents solid progress for the nonprofit Pavilion, which has been in the black six straight years after hitting rock bottom in 2009.

The Pavilion has never been in the black, let me repeat that THE PAVILION HAS NEVER BEEN IN THE BLACK! That’s like saying your lemonade stand made a profit after 3 people actually bought lemonade from you and your grand pappy bought your supplies (lemonade) and stand.

Same goes for the Events Center. A subsidy or a mortgage payment not tied into actual profitability, isn’t profit. No normal business runs that way. The money you take in should cover your expenses, or you are operating in the red. Doesn’t matter how much your uncle Bob gives you to stay afloat. In the real world, the Pavilion would have filed for bankruptcy years ago.

But there is still room for improvement, which makes Darrin’s job cut out for him.

Besides making the Visual Arts Center free again, the first thing President Smith needs to do is stop lying to the public, or at least tell us the truth about finances. Let’s face it, the Pavilion is an unprofitable organization that gets most of it’s funding from people who never use your facility. Invite them in, for FREE every once in awhile. And those elitists that use the place? Make them pay double.

FREE Hot Jazz Wednesday Night, Icon Lounge

jassbill

Sioux Falls city council tidbits

Holy 2nd readings BAT MAN!

Items 49-72 are all second readings mostly doing with rate increases. Looks like city hall is trying to pack two pounds of crap into a one pound bag before the new council rolls in. To be honest with you, I have never seen this many 2nd readings in one meeting.

Then fast forward to item #78, appointments to boards. In some strange bizarro world, 3 names popped up that I wouldn’t expect.

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So a congrats to local freelance journalist and preservationist Lura Roti for her appointment. Lura and her husband Shon own a darling little home in central Sioux Falls that is about historic as it gets (from the roof to the foundation). Lura will make a good fit on the preservation board.

Katherine is the daughter of Dell Rapids Mayor and State Legislator, Scott Fiegen. I believe Katherine works in the architectural drafting industry. She is also my neighbor.

And, it looks like John Paulson got the consolation prize of planning commission after losing to Theresa Stehly recently in the city council election. That didn’t take long . . . wink . . . wink.

The Always Affable and Tax Happy Mayor Huether

The little talked about Board of Tax Appeals got interesting last time around, especially when Mike Huether showed up;

I stated my objection to the increase and the mayor put his hand up for me to be quiet. He visited with Kenny Anderson, then asked me what I paid for my condo. I told them, and he visited with Anderson again. He asked me if my condo was the same as the one across the hall. I said, “Yes.” He informed me she paid $202,000. I objected, as her purchase included furniture. I also informed them they couldn’t know the actual cost of the unit because of that. (I later asked her, and she paid $10,000 less).

I started another statement of facts and the mayor raised his hand to quiet me again. He spoke to Anderson, and asked for a vote of the commissioners. All said, “Aye.” I said, “Excuse me, but I would like to know what you decided?” The mayor stated they decreased my assessment $4,000, which will determine my 2017 taxes. I informed the mayor I had owned property in South Dakota for 50 years, and never has the assessed value, the prepaid taxes and realtor fee exceeded the selling price of the property. As usual, the Mayor rudely raised his hand to quiet me.

I would not expect to be treated like that by an elected official. He is obviously more interested in acting important than caring about a voter or her problem.

He cares. About taxing the living crap out of you. Gotta pay for those play things.

 

Who will replace Darrin Smith? Or will there be a replacement?

While studying the city management salary increases over the past five years, we came across some interesting title changes. People were hop-scotching back and forth between the public works department and engineering. Not sure if this had to do with pay adjustments or what. It kind of looked like an accounting game.

Either way, there seems to be a discussion going on similar in the community development office. Will Darrin Smith have to be replaced or will restructuring of the department eliminate a Czar of community development?

With the new council rolling in, and the change of rules when appointing department heads (council must also approve the mayoral appointment of the director, no matter the size of the department). Could be interesting to see what kind of extra duties some of the other directors may have to take on to avoid a mayoral appointment.

Of course this wouldn’t be the first time the mayor would be playing hard and fast with the rules.

Stormland TV really needs to get over the late school start date

It was decided in a democratically held election that a majority of voter taxpayers prefer a later start date. Time to move on and do stories about how (AP) students can adjust (the only ones affected by the change).

Here comes the tired old excuses;

Due to a later start to the school year, Sioux Falls students lost three weeks of preparation for their Advanced Placement exams.

I’m still curious how they lost 3 weeks? Sure in actual class time, but with all the time students get off between the beginning of the school year and now, there is plenty of time to read and study on their own time to make it up. Three weeks is a drop in the hat. Last I checked no one forces these students to take AP courses. Why should a small percentage of HS students be determining the school start date for the large majority who don’t take the courses? Of course, the same people who are whining about this (the teachers) got a massive raise (working 9 months out of the year) from increasing the price of food on the same students who’s parents can’t afford it to begin with.

Want to be smart and go to the college of your choice? Study harder.