Who wouldn’t want to live here?
As the recession goes into full swing Sioux Falls will probably see an influx of outsiders coming here looking for jobs because of a still considerably low unemployment rate – BUT reports like this only encourage that influx. Is growth a bad thing? No way, we don’t want to end up like Sioux City, but I always tell people our model of growth represents Walmart more then it does Costco. A few years ago I read an article comparing the two big box stores and what a world of difference. Walmart grew fast, had a 50% turnaround a year and their average employee made $19,000 a year. Costco had slow, calculatedÂ growth, had a 1% turnaround a year and it’s average employee made $40,000 a year. I’m afraid Sioux Falls is turning into a Walmart;
Sioux Falls is among the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation and one of only two metro areas in the Midwest to make the top 50, according to a report being released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
From July 1, 2007, to July 1, 2008, the metro area grew by almost 6,000, to an estimated population of 232,930 people. The metro area includes Minnehaha, Lincoln, Turner and McCook counties.
The area ranked 19th in the nation for rapid population gains, with a growth rate of 2.6 percent. It ranked 36th the previous year.
This fast growth concerns me especially when we are over $80 million behind on infrastructure, almost $300 million in bond debt and several neighborhoods in the central part of the city are falling apart (not just Pettigrew Heights). But of course, Munson paints a rosy picture;
Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson said the area has much to offer: low crime, low cost of living and low taxation.
This statement is misleading. Transportation and food costs are actually higher in South Dakota and cost of living is comparable to Omaha and Kansas City. As for low taxation, this is true, for upper middle class and the wealthy because of regressive taxes on food and utilities which hurt the working class, the majority of people in our city.
Sioux Falls has been fortunate because the growth has been steady and stable, making it easier to plan and keep up with the challenges.
It has been steady, but like I said above, I question how stable when you are not keeping up with infrastructure youÂ risk splitting the town into different sectors of the haves and have nots. At the council meeting on Monday I noticed that the zoning commission and council approved a 433 residential single family lot development. I didn’t catch the area, but I can guarantee some corn field is getting dug up to build more crackerjack box houses. The next mayor and council need to to take a 40/60 approach to developement and growth over the next four years. Budgeting and focusing 60% of funds into infrastructure and neighborhood rehabilitation and 40% on new growth so we can catch up and still not jeapordize new growth.
“We can get out ahead of development and make sure we have the infrastructure in place,” he said.
But we don’t and that’s why I am concerned.