So how much did the levee circus cost Sioux Falls taxpayers?

I guess it never really crossed my mind until yesterday when Quen Be De praised Northside Davey in the informational meeting, “I just think Dave has done a great job of working with our Washington delegation in getting us funds for our projects in Sioux Falls during his administration. I just hope the next three mayors can even come close to what he has been able to accomplish.” (paraphrasing). After I puked in my garbage can I started thinking about that statement. First off, we still are waiting for Lewis & Clark and railroad relocation funds from the Feds, something Dave has not accomplished. Also, they are still in discussions with the Corp of Engineers as to how much money we are gonna get for the levees. And lastly the only reason the levee bonds were called off was because FEMA said that people in the affected area don’t have to buy flood insurance. Go figure. This was all about saving business men and developers insurance premiums not about our safety, because if they were really concerned about our safety, the project would still be moving forward.

Business as usual in city hall.

But how much did this runaround cost us, even if we ditched the bonds? Last Fall councilor Staggers asked the city to give him a list of consulting fees paid out in 2009. He still has not received the list and they continue to deny (a sitting councilor) the numbers. They say he wants to use it for political reasons. My guess is that the amount is so high, that it will for sure become a political issue if it is released. If I had to ballpark it, I would guess the city probably spend close to $12-15 million a year on consulting fees, which includes legal advice.

This has gotten me wondering how much it cost taxpayers to explore the bonds to begin with (including flying a consultant in from Minneapolis in an attempt to scare off our tax initiative petition drive). Just because we only took out a portion of the bonds for the bridge, doesn’t mean they weren’t charging us by the hour. Ironically, the bridge could have been paid for out of the CIP budget, so no consulting fees or interest would have been paid at all.

Why all the secrecy around consulting fees? Because I have a feeling if we knew the real numbers we would have to clean our drawers. I hope the next three mayors aren’t even close to accomplishing what Munson has done, in fact, I hope they go in a completely different direction.


#1 Plaintiff Guy on 03.18.09 at 2:56 pm

The next mayor should have business background. Politicians have no business or common sense and taxpayers fill-in by paying for consultants. Politicians take all the credit when something succeeds but (otherwise) disappear blaming the consultant. It’s what makes consultants expensive. Best to recruit and elect a productive and responsible person for public office. Unfortunately, a qualified candidate knows well enough to stay in private life.

#2 l3wis on 03.18.09 at 3:05 pm

Yeah, no shit. Munson was a ‘C’ student and it took him more than 4 years to complete college. He appointed all of his friends to jobs in the city (Eugene) who once said during a info meeting “This municipal accounting is all new to me, so it’s taking some time for me to understand it.” (paraphrasing) WTF! So the city’s finance director who is in charge of a $419 million dollar budget is learning on the job? Geez.

#3 Ghost of Dude on 03.19.09 at 6:45 am

Munson has a “business” background. He polished a chair at Citi for a long time.
What he didn’t have was any experience actually running anything… or apparently picking the best people for jobs.

#4 l3wis on 03.19.09 at 7:06 am

You don’t think Jodi was a good choice?

#5 Ghost of Dude on 03.19.09 at 8:01 am

Depends. If the mayor needed eye candy at the office, she fit’s the description. If he needed someone to actually fill the job description, who knows?

#6 l3wis on 03.19.09 at 8:17 am

“If the mayor needed eye candy at the office”

Then he should have hired De! Blahahahahahah.