Why even charge anything?

Some fees don’t even make sense;

Renting the park does carry a fee, but it’s not particularly large. The tournament is charged a fee of $45 per field for the duration of a soccer tournament. There are 21 fields in Yankton Trail.

So the total rental fee is $945. The organizers also helped purchased the new soccer goals and with other park improvements, Juhnke said.

The vendors have to pay for permits, too.

The fees are marginal compared to the return in sales tax revenue and exposure the tournament brings in through thousands of visitors, Juhnke said.

Organizers expect the tournament to bring $17 million into the city.

I would agree, the $17 million dollar impact definately offsets whatever support the city provides. But in all fairness, do you think $945 even comes close to the cost to maintain and water these fields for a week? Not only that, but the overtime paid out to the SFPD and the traffic engineers to help control traffic. If I had to guess, I bet the city pays out between $20-40,000 extra to help with the tournament, then ironically lets the tournament organizers keep the parking fees. I can also bet their are some organizers that are making thousands of dollars from their efforts. It’s kind of hypocritical when you consider the mayor not wanting to give handouts to special interest groups, but I guess soccer (councilor Rex Rolfing) and tennis (Mayor Huether) are OK. No conflicts here, move along, nothing to see. Now lets worry about Stehly’s nine inch grass.

Street Talk #3: June 25, 2017 – No Mow Policy

The AL did story today about using mediation between neighbors instead of a system of anonymously turning in neighbors for the purpose of being vindictive;

City council members Michelle Erpenbach and Theresa Stehly both see potential in mediation, a process that supplements or sidesteps the courts with negotiation through a third party.

“It takes some of the pressure off of the people that are involved and it creates the opportunities to find out ‘what’s really going on here,’” said Erpenbach. “You can’t force people to be good neighbors, but hopefully we can walk down a path where we can learn to live with each other”

In Dayton, Ohio, there’s a mediation center inside city hall. Larger cities use housing court – which Erpenbach calls “glorified mediation” – as a less adversarial forum to sort disputes between landlords and tenants and deal with code violations.

Stehly thinks a more personal approach could stave off more serious issues in some cases.

“Sometimes when people get boxed in, they’re pigeonholed with their backs against the wall it doesn’t help,” said Stehly, herself a target of overgrown lawn ticketing. Judges in some states won’t set a court date without an attempt at mediation through a third party.

First off, I am a little shocked Theresa and Michelle are in agreement on something (bravo). But they both make a good point. Put our efforts in trying to get along instead of trying to tear each other down.

Now if the city can just figure out how to mow their nasty weeds;

The property across the street from Rick Larsen’s western Sioux Falls home was well kept for most of the 35 years he’s lived there.

But since the city bought the property in 2015, weeds and grass have grown unkempt around the former greenhouse at Madison Street and Harlem Avenue.

The lot has prompted calls to City Hall from neighbors wondering why it’s not being mowed and better maintained.

“Eight inches means eight inches,” Larsen said, referring to the grass length limit spelled out in city ordinance. “The city seems to be the worst slum lord of them all.”

They are a ‘Lord’ alright. Surprised the city didn’t come back and say they don’t have to mow their weeds because they are an ‘Act of God’.

UPDATE: Mayor Huether to give his 2018-2022 Capital Program Presentation on Tuesday

This of course is really just a big waste of time. Nevermind the fact that besides Mike’s VETO power, he really is just a lame duck. But it really has nothing to do with that. Sioux Falls mayors before Huether have had there capital programs squashed in their last year in office, simply because they won’t be around to see it to its fruition. Take that and the fact we could see 2-4 new city councilors come this Spring and any capital program Mike puts forward is pretty much just a very nice wish list, kind of like when your a kid and you want a new bicycle for Christmas and all you get is new underwear.

Lalley also talks today about his very dim political future;

It may also signal something greater: Maybe he’s done with politics altogether.

I realize that seems hard to believe.

Only Mayor Mike knows for sure – and maybe he doesn’t – but looking at the landscape it seems a distinct possibility.

The two-term Sioux Falls mayor can’t run for his current job again.

There just aren’t that many potential political spots out there for someone with his ambition.

Like I said recently, if Huether doesn’t announce something by the end of July, he probably won’t run for higher office and sit it out until the next mayoral election. I do think though that a guy with such a huge ego will take a shot at Governor. Guess we will have to wait and see.

UPDATE: There is also one more factor, Rob Oliver officially retiring and leaving Augie. I believe if Mike runs for Governor, Oliver will chair his campaign, or be closely involved with it. As I understand it, Oliver will not be done at Augie until July.

The obvious is staring them in the eyes

Bob Kolbe explains why some people speak at Public Input

Sioux Falls City Council Public Input, Bob Kolbe, June 20, 2017

“You know sometimes people like myself come before you and people say why do they always come forward? They always are criticizing and always pointing at things that are not necessarily the highlight of the activity of the city, county or the state. Part of it is because the good things that are done by the people on that side of the bench will take credit and publicize what they feel are the good things and the people on this side of the bench are those who are looking at things and trying to see with joint mutual concern for the city and the county, whatever, that they are trying to make it better.”

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.

Someone needs to tell Representative Schoenfish there is no ‘I’ in Teamwork

I have done a lot of things for SD, except answer key questions about the GearUp program

Kyle wants you to know all the great things HE did in Pierre this last year (notice he leaves out his stellar performance as GearUp’s auditor);

I have been appointed to the workforce housing summer study by the legislative executive board. My experience as a CPA working on muncipal audits and housing/rental components of income taxes will be beneficial on the committee.

Maybe these are some things that Kyle should be answering;

1)How long has Schoenfish and Company conducted audits of Mid-Central Educational Cooperative?

2)How many years were you Kyle Schoenfish personally involved with doing the audits and what years where they?

3)What was your response Kyle as an auditor to the discrepancies in the monthly balances shown in Mid-Central’s financial reports from June 2011 through March 2014?

4)What other irregularities did your audits find in Mid-Central’s finances that might be related to the improper use of funds that has led to criminal charges for Mid-Central personnel?

5)When did you first become aware or suspect in your audits of businesses associated with the  Westerhuis’s of what SD Attorney General has described as misappropriating “at least” $1.2 Million from the state and federally funded GEAR UP program?

6)When, to whom, and how did you report these $1.2 misappropriations?

7)When did you first become aware or suspect what SD Attorney General describes as 17 illegal secret contracts let by Dan Guericke, worth $3.8 million, that were not lawfully approved? 

8)When, to whom, and how did you report these $3.8 million worth of illegal contracts?

9)When did you first become aware or suspect what SD Attorney General reports was evidence in the Gear Up  financial records of over $300,000 of “…misuse, or misapplication of monies designated for Native Americans and their education.” By Stacy Phelps, Dan Guericke, and Stephanie Hubers? 

10)When, to whom, and how did you report $300,000 of “…misuse, or misapplication of monies designated for Native Americans and their education?”

REMSA supports transparency, fooled me

All of a sudden Gary Meyers and The Bride of Franken are claiming they are all about transparency, even B-N-B chimes in and says ‘It sounds like you are being transparent’ (Greg had to call a city official the night before for questions to ask Franken and Meyers).

I call BS on both of them, heck, all 3 of them.

Franken has said to councilors and the public in the past when asked to explain the new 980 policies that it was ‘too complicated to explain’ and buried herself in a hole. It is also rumored she was ushered off to Texas for a brief period to learn the NEW system.

Meyers says he has NO idea who Commissioner Barth is, even though Barth sits on the county medical board.

Meyers says you can come to their meetings that they are open, yet they often change the schedule of the meeting at the last minute and REFUSE to have the meetings recorded (with the backing of the mayor) so the public can view them later online or in replay on Channel 16.

As I have told the mayor during public input in the past, saying your transparent and ACTUALLY being transparent are two different things.

Here is a transcript of the show (it gets interesting at about page 8); 2017-06-22-belfrage-show

Huether announces he will not be running anymore errands for the rest of the week

In a press release he said that the ‘dry cleaning is done’ and the ‘dishes are washed’. He went on to say that since he finished all his errands by the end of the day Wednesday, it will give him time to be fully prepared for the weekend.

“Not sure what NEW errands will arise come Monday, but myself and the good folks of Sioux Falls will be ready for them.”

Huether has also asked for privacy over the next two days before the weekend so he can truly contemplate and absorb the impact of getting his errands done early.

Annexation Fairness

As a longtime reader of DaCola pointed out a few days ago;

Warren Phear;

Speaking of foundation park. Something I would love to see the Argus follow up on. This I know. 820 acres were purchased by whoever for $24,000 an acre. The anchor tenant just bought 54 acres for $106,000 an acre. How did this land come to be worth so much? It came to be worth so much on the backs of SF water users. Getting the needed infrastructure to foundation is costing tens of millions of dollars. To pay for water and sewer to foundation the city raised those rates. Not once, but each year. The gift that keeps on giving. In the 2018 CIP the city allocated $29,000,000 to just get sewer to foundation. Stop and think about it. That is more than the admin building. 5 million more than the indoor pool. All for what? So somebody, don’t know who for sure, can make $80,000 an acre in profit. For 820 acres. Not a bad deal, once you consider who made that land worth that much.

I’ve been following the Annexation study group meetings lately, and one of the main points of the people that may be affected is, “How will this benefit me?”

As you can see from Warren’s comments, annexation was essential to launching Flopdation Park, and the benefits are numerous. The park is receiving millions in corporate welfare in the form of city infrastructure. Of course, the city ‘thinks’ they will recoup these costs in property tax revenue and platting fees. There is also the economic impact and job growth. I don’t think those costs will be recouped for decades, if ever.

So why would we charge annexation neighborhoods directly for these same kind of infrastructure upgrades? Shouldn’t the city just absorb these costs since they would essentially recoup some of this with new frontage fees and property taxes? While I am on the fence whether to NOT charge them nothing, I don’t think the current proposals are equitable, especially for properties that are older. I think maybe an additional fee of $500 a year for the next 20 years may be more palatable, or less.

But there is the bigger question here. If the city feels that they would have to charge homeowners directly for the annexation upgrades, is the annexation even worth it to the city coffers? I guess what I am trying to say is if the city can’t just absorb these costs equitably, is it really worth annexing them? Show to me that it will make our city stronger financially by annexing these islands than I would be all for it, if not, like Flopdation Park, it’s just a handout that benefits no one, and maybe that is why they think they should charge for the upgrades upfront. Now if we could only apply that philosophy to tax dodging Iowa ice cream makers.