Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Further proof TIFs produce NO economic growth

Once again, we are probably going to break building permit records;

With one month left in the year, the valuation of building permits in Sioux Falls is $4 million shy of the 2017 record.

Permits through November totaled just less than $735 million. At the same time in 2017, it was $663 million. That year ended with a total of $739 million. In 2016, the total was $702 million, which also was a record.

As I have pointed out, further proof that the development community doesn’t need tax incentives like TIFs, they are flourishing on their own. Some would even argue our fast growth may hurt us in the long run.

So another TIF study, this time in Missouri (St. Louis and Kansas City) shows there is very little economic impact from TIFs;

Overall, the analysis conducted in this study finds no support for the claim that TIF generated tangible economic development benefits in either Kansas City or Saint Louis. In other words, we do not find evidence that the use of TIF generated economic development opportunities that would not have arisen in the absence of TIF.

This article I think says it best;

Until cities and states adopt meaningful reforms, we can expect developers to continue asking for taxpayer subsidies whether the need is real or imagined. And as long as politicians are willing to oblige the developers, taxpayers will be all the poorer.

I couldn’t agree more.

Stehly Report, Winter Edition

This is the lastest Stehly Report appearing in the SF Shopping News this week.

Click to Enlarge

Former SF City Councilor Howes shares my frustration

See, I’m not crazy folks. Former city councilor Andy Howes tweeted this morning about the stupidity of the trains crossing Cliff Avenue at the worst possible time. But as I have been told, you can’t do nuttin’ to stop the trains.

City of Sioux Falls has had no internal auditing activity for 9 months

I guess the first question I have is, what has the remaining staff been doing after they lost leadership?

Besides the fact they were collecting a pay check for doing nothing for 9 months, one of the audit committee members expressed dismay in this revelation. I think his words were, “That’s not a good thing.” Especially with the change of power at city hall, not having an internal control like that doesn’t bode well for the taxpayer.

I was glad to hear they are back on track, but this should have never happened.

Sioux Falls & Minnehaha County Joint Planning Commission Meeting

I guess they have been filming these for awhile.

November 26, 2018

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda Dec 3-5, 2018

All I can really say is that the first week of the last month of the year is going to be super busy for the Sioux Falls City Council.

One of the first things you will notice while perusing the council agenda is that SIRE after years of being horrible has finally been upgraded. My first reaction is that it really isn’t much different, in fact some things are worse.

• It looks as though the video is NOT working on my MAC but is on my I-Phone and PC.

• While some docs seem to appear in the upper right side when you click on agendas, like before, some don’t. You can look at the total agenda doc or PDF which is troublesome because you have to scroll through the whole document to see certain supporting docs. The city council’s doc alone is 741 pages. Dumb. They also changed the numbering system using more lettering as sub items.

Like most things in city government, it seems like things related to openness and customer service can be broken for years and once they do ‘fix’ it, it’s only worse.

Audit Committee Meeting • Monday, December 3, 2018 at 4 p.m.

Eide Bailly will be using their team from Fargo to conduct the city audit this year.

There will be a staffing update and how the hiring process is coming along for a new internal auditor.

Great Bear Audit determined that the GM signs checks to himself for payroll and reimbursement and had no written policy in place for the card purchasing program. Those items will be corrected. It amazes me that the city who heavily subsidizes Great Bear would leave such trust to one person, wait a minute. It doesn’t surprise me.

Here are some charts from the Financial Conditions Assessment; Notice the top five property tax payers in SF only make up a small percentage. Why? Because some of the biggest landowners of the city are the city itself, the school district and non-profits. There is also a per-capita city debt chart, which is extremely misleading, because this is ONLY current city debt. It doesn’t include Minnehaha County Debt, School District Debt or future sewer plant debt, which I believe would put us well over $10K per person. I found the city employee ratio chart encouraging, and one of the reasons I argued against the admin building. I think with more technology we will need less city employees and more of them can work from home.

Updates of Audits in Progress.

2018 Audit Plan. You will notice that many audits were either moved to 2019 or eliminated. This is troublesome.

2019 Audit Plan includes SMG and Ovations who run the Denty. Still haven’t heard why Terry left?

Informational Meeting • Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 4 p.m.

Update on E-Bikes being allowed on the bike trail, which I think is fine.

City Council Employee Management. I found this line a little funny;

Internal Audit Manager, City Clerk, and City Council Operations Manager Compensation Need To Be Increased To Preserve Integrity Of Organizational Chart And Hierarchy.

In other words, if one of them gets a big raise, they all deserve one. I have often argued that pay isn’t the issue, it’s over staffing. I have suggested we eliminate our head city clerk and give that position to the Operations Manager and also eliminate the budget analyst and have the two assistant city clerks handle it together. Not sure if anyone noticed but before Greco took over as Head city clerk, the assistant city clerks used to answer Carnegie’s phone. Now when you call there, Greco answers. You would think a person we pay around $90K a year could have his assistants (two of them) answer the phone for Carnegie (We know they more than he does when it comes to ‘clerking’). Seems like someone is on a power trip.

Fiscal Committee Meeting • Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 4:30 p.m.  (or after the Informational Meeting)

Update on City Grants and Awards.

Regular City Council Meeting • Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Item #7 Approval of Contracts.

Apparently the city needs to hire an interior designer?

We also are doing a structural engineering study on ‘Entertainment Facilities’ they don’t say which ones? Does this have to do with the siding on the EC? Or does it have to do with the North side of the Pavilion’s rumored issues with the foundation?

Item#14-16, Falls Landing is transferring it’s liquor license to the ‘Village on the River’ group, effective January 7, 2018. Falls Landing then will request to go only beer and wine. While it isn’t uncommon for bars to sell their licenses to other bars, I find this transfer interesting. First off, the dates throughout all the docs are wrong, it should be 2019. Secondly, the address listed of the transfer to 140 East 10th will be a construction site for the next two years. Are they planning on having a full-service bar in the construction crane? Maybe sidewalk patio seating this summer while you can watch the construction in progress? I’m wondering why the city would allow this group to park a liquor license for two-years while it collects NO tax revenue? Is the holder getting special breaks because of the public/private partnership?

Item #35, 2nd Reading of Public Input ordinance. I expect some surprises on this one either before the meeting or during the meeting.

Item #38-40, 2nd Reading, Public Utility rate increases. This should be an interesting discussion. Wondering if anyone will bring up that our Pleasure Palaces are not paid off with user fees.

Planning Commission Meeting Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 6 p.m.

Item #3A – Rezone for a NEW Banquet on the West side of Sioux Falls. I was actually surprised this was in the ‘Consent agenda’. It would be nice to hear the details as to why this is needed in a town with so many great opportunities and low unemployment.

Item #6A, Looks Market Restaurant is asking for alcohol licenses.

Joint SF City Council/MCC meeting about homeless study

Sioux Falls Weather Peeps: HUGE FAIL!

I sometimes wonder if our grocery stores are secretly giving money under the table to our local weather peeps? I drove around tonight at 8:30 PM. Thirty-four degrees, streets completely clear and barely a half-inch of snow on my sidewalk. I saw very little traffic. If I was the hospitality industry in SF I would threaten to sue the TV stations for killing weekend business. Stop telling us that it ‘could’ be a blizzard? Your forecasting not only sucks, you are doing a disservice to the retail and hospitality industry in Sioux Falls.

Why are sump pumps running so damn much in Sioux Falls?

Lora Hubbel warned us well over 16 years ago when running against Munson for mayor, she said Sioux Falls will continue to have ‘water issues’ because it is flat. Who knew the voice of reason was the Hubbel-Craft?

So this has been a topic I have been hearing a lot of side talking about. Not just poor, middle-class or richer neighborhoods, but many neighborhoods in Sioux Falls have to run their sump pumps constantly. Some have had to install multiple pumps, some have said they run all the way into December.

I have also heard from developers, plumbers, contractors, city employees, residents even police about why this may be happening (usually in developments that are from the past 20-30 years or older developments that get taken over by big retail and big parking lots).

There has been even multiple reports of city employees even police officers with warrants asking OR telling residents they need to re-plumb.

Why might this be happening?

• There may be as much water running along side the piping that is in the ground as there is in the pipes. When you dig in the ground you make a great path for the water to run. Water always runs along the easiest path. When you dig thru the clay and then backfill with gravel you make a waterway. If your water supply or sewer breaks the water will run the easiest way. When the break is in the street the water may follow your water supply or sewer piping under your house. If you have a sump field, that is a easy path for it to follow.

• When the city looks for sewer leaks. If you watch the sewer department look for a leak they dig a hole and find which way the water is running, Then they dig another hole, and another hole, and another hole until they find where the water quits running outside the piping. Then they go back and dig between the wet hole and the dry hole and repair the leak. When the frost starts to heave the ground or when it goes out is when most of the breaks happen. With this wet year this may be a busy year for water and sewer line breaks.

Is our sewer system upgrades way behind?

Remember Bruce talking about the ’emergency’ of the sewer upgrades? Maybe it is past that point. As we have pointed out, over the past 8 years it was hush, hush, about the sewer upgrades so Bucktooth & Bowlcut could build his palaces of pleasure.

Many residents are being told that the sanitary sewer system just can’t handle all of the water anymore. When the sewer pipe blew up by the prison well over 7 years ago, wasn’t that our freaking warning sign? Instead, they raised water rates so they could hoard $25 million to make a re-finance payment on Lewis & Clark. Shouldn’t we have spent that money elsewhere?

With global warming and all of these 100 year rains almost every weekend during the summer, we best get our water problems under control, or we are screwed.

Was the RR Relocation project really the biggest accomplishment of the last mayor?

As we have been seeing, there have been some kinks in process. The only prospect to bid on the property so far is having issues with the quartzite and may either pull out all together or drastically change the project.

I have NO information on either.

But recently it has come to light that Bucktooth & Bowlcut may have killed it all together by asking for impossible demands from the Railroad. Of course, as I am finding out, the RR does whatever they want to.

The project was pretty much dead until some other big shots intervened and all the demands were dropped.

Maybe B & B getting the project totally killed would not have been so bad after all? Nothing really has changed for DTSF residents. Still tons of train traffic and noise and questionable storage of cars by the river and parks.

I still maintain that the RR Relocation project was one of the worst negotiated projects in the history of our city.