Huether’s State of the City address, “We got oodles of money for a new Events Center”

But let’s raise rates on water and sewer to pay for new pipes. Makes sense? Right?

The city last year came in under budget, had $41.7 million in general reserves and another unobligated $4 million in its capital budget.

“Those are extra dollars in the cookie jar,” Huether said.

Reserves are important, he added, because they’re on hand to pay for emergencies or rising costs – or for potential “large investments.”

This has often puzzled me, not just about Huether, but many politicians pull this crap. Doogard pulled it during the campaign, he claimed SD was in great financial shape then slashed education. Huether claims we have all kinds of reserves to help pay for a new EC, which is most likely true, but at the same time we are told we must raise water and sewer rates to pay for new pipes. Shouldn’t we be using that money instead?

Fucked priorities.

 



36 comments ↓

#1 l3wis on 04.14.11 at 8:52 am

I will give Mike credit on one thing, his speech was interesting enough that I didn’t want to search for a pillow for sleepy time like I did with Munson’s address.

#2 Scott on 04.14.11 at 9:15 am

Did you count the cliches?

#3 Sy on 04.14.11 at 9:36 am

I think he’s right that this City can walk and chew gum at the same time.

However, his Events Center plan is in no way bold nor does it deliver the best possible return on the investment.

I think it’s the height of cynicism to on one hand say this City is ready for a bold move and at the same time push a flawed plan because you think it’s the only one that the City’s elderly and Joe Six-packs can get their brains around.

#4 Sy on 04.14.11 at 9:40 am

Scott: “Did you count the cliches?”

No, but his “rocket fuel” line is sounding awfully close to a Charlie Sheenism.

#5 Scott on 04.14.11 at 11:19 am

If only he walked around with porn star Goddesses.

#6 rufusx on 04.14.11 at 11:24 am

@Scott – that of course, can be arranged.

#7 Poly43 on 04.14.11 at 12:13 pm

The good mayor failed, once again, to tell us WHO is going to fund this white elephant. He did hint at it though. Per Capita debt now stands at $1753. That would rise to $2350 with a $100,000,000 project. The good mayor ‘forgot’ to mention street, parking, and utility upgrades that will go hand in hand with such a venture. Plus, based on the company we’ve hired to consult us on an EC, I just don’t see how it is possible to built an EC for $8333 per seat. $11,000 per seat might put us in the ballpark for the amenities promised. This project will be much closer to $200,000,000 before all is said and done. That would be debt in the $3,000 per capita range. Per Capita means Joe SixPack is going to ultimately fund it. Guess what mr. mayor? That idea will never pass the smell test. Enjoy your one term in office.

#8 Poly43 on 04.14.11 at 12:46 pm

When it comes down to how this city spends the money in it’s ‘cookie jar’, I’ll take the opinion expressed here.

http://jenholsen.blogspot.com/2011/03/general-fund-and-cip-healthy-reserve.html#comments

#9 l3wis on 04.14.11 at 1:27 pm

Besides the money issue, we really don’t need the place, and it is sad he dedicated an entire address to it. He is obsessed.

#10 l3wis on 04.14.11 at 1:28 pm

Poly – And you are right, this $100 million number he has been throwing out there is irresponsible. This is probably why a funding plan has yet to be revealed, because they will have to actually show the real numbers.

#11 Snooki Palin on 04.14.11 at 8:55 pm

When’s the next order of snowgates arriving?

#12 l3wis on 04.14.11 at 9:06 pm

SP – I think those may be nixed to SACRIFICE for the EC.

#13 Scott on 04.14.11 at 9:22 pm

…and they’ll be counted as “savings” although they were never budgeted for purchase.

#14 Sy on 04.14.11 at 10:40 pm

The Mayor stated in his first EC presentation that we would “trust the experts” on site selection.

At the Cherapa site presentation he also said that he’s “Not an expert event center builder or designer”.

So again, I’ll ask..why is the Mayor deciding the site?

#15 l3wis on 04.15.11 at 5:35 am

Sy, wouldn’t we all be surprised if he picks DT 🙂

#16 scott on 04.15.11 at 10:20 am

after having snowgates on my street this year, i would rather pay for more snowgates than an event center.

#17 Sy on 04.15.11 at 10:31 am

Right…because as we all know the primary role for City investments should always be aimed at your personal level of convenience.

Sadly, once again North Dakota is eating our lunch in this regard:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-strip-mall-of-america-stretches-over-16th-of-n,1150/

#18 Scott on 04.15.11 at 10:56 am

Funny parody, but what ever happened to that real-life version of a Sioux Falls Mall of America that was going to be built just off the interstate in the northern part of town?

#19 l3wis on 04.15.11 at 1:02 pm

Sy – For some, sure, personal convenience. For others. Public safety. Wind rows created by the plows create hazardous intersections that damage vehicles. Also, alot of the elderly who are on fixed incomes and have trouble staying in their homes to begin with can’t afford to hire the neighbor kid to scoop out the driveway. But besides the logical arguments, I’ll leave you with the most logical. WE PAY TAXES FOR SERVICES.

#20 l3wis on 04.15.11 at 1:04 pm

I’ll also say Quality of Life means different things to different people. To you, it means blowing a wad of taxpayer dollars on an EC that will never be filled for 20 years, to others it means not spending an hour everytime it snows chipping ice out of the end of our driveways.

#21 Scott on 04.15.11 at 4:47 pm

I don’t think the purchase of snow gates will have anything to do with the failure of a EC.

#22 Pathloss on 04.16.11 at 10:14 am

The ‘4 million in unobligated large investment’ is set aside for the camera case award. These reports are important so we know the city is solvent for pending legal awards. Lawyers used to line up to get city business. Now, they line up to organize classes against the city. How much do you owe private lawyers who fight against citizens rights and the constitution?

He wouldn’t know what to do with a porn actress. He does have similar insanity traits. OK, Charlie Sheen but ‘LOSER’ instead of ‘WINNING’and ‘WORM’ instead of ‘WARLOCK’.

#23 Sy on 04.16.11 at 11:06 am

L3wis:

“I’ll also say Quality of Life means different things to different people. To you, it means blowing a wad of taxpayer dollars on an EC that will never be filled for 20 years, to others it means not spending an hour everytime it snows chipping ice out of the end of our driveways.”

I get that, but like you pointed out already: our tax dollars pay for services and they pay for things like parks and bike paths. An EC as an economic generator will make the pie bigger without having to raise rates, but only if you do it right.

How? Well, again you are talking about half a billion $$ worth of potential investment that’s looking to go in downtown. An downtown EC means we see it go in the next 10 years as opposed to 30. Our assessed property values downtown went from roughly $80 million to $150 million in the last 8 years, a $100 million EC and what follows it in equates to $36 million in Sales tax & $12 million in excise tax revenues directly from the construction activity alone. Property taxes on that $650 million means less pressure to raise rates on the other parts of town.

Compare that to the Arena neighborhood, where you’ll see a $500K remodel of Big Jim’s Sports Bar and Harley Mueseum and maybe a hotel or two spending some coin on updating their rooms. That’s it, that’s your indirect payback out at the Arena and that’s friggin’ pathetic.

Omaha subsidizes the Qwest Center and will even work with promoters to assume some of the risk. They spend between $1 and $2 million a year and they get back more than 10x that amount in economic activity. Council Bluffs subsidizes Mid America to about the same amount and they have a hard time competing with Qwest..why? Because no one wants to go back to MAC and no one wants to build hotels or bars around there, the area sucks ass just like our Arena area does.

#24 Sy on 04.16.11 at 11:15 am

L3wis:

“Sy, wouldn’t we all be surprised if he picks DT”

HisMan had lunch yesterday with a well heeled potential donor. They had a frank conversation about the EC. Paraphrasing Mike’s reply to the same basic things I posted above:

“I get all that, I do. I really do. But, the thousands of old people I talked to will never support it downtown and all the hillbillys from Presho and Murdo and such are too easily confused by our downtown and will never come back, we just need to get it built”

So L3wis, maybe you could design the new plaque that will hang over the front door of our new EC that will read:

“Don’t blame me, we just got it built” MyManMike

#25 l3wis on 04.16.11 at 10:38 pm

No doubt the EC will generate some income, but not for the peons in this city. I have lived here long enough to know that the trickle down economic impact isn’t worth diddly. Let’s take the $50 million dollar Pavilion, yup, that is what it has cost taxpayers so far. You and your construction buds may get a couple of golden anal licks out of the deal but all us peons will get is a golden shower from a trickling pee-pee. And we will still have to pay to go thru it’s doors. Sorry. Sioux Falls is growing and continues to grow and prosper WITHOUT an EC. It’s not even a part of the equation.

#26 rufusx on 04.17.11 at 1:19 am

lewis – hmmm, please re-read your last rant. In one sentence you claim that your experience of living in SF is that it is a city whose economy is based on trickle-down peonage. And then, in the next sentence you claim the city is “growing and prospering”. Which one is it?

What are you working toward with your philosophy? Just more of the same? Sounds to me like you are on the road to becoming nothing so much as yet another grumpy old SD “conservative” nay-sayer to the very notion of progress in any form. Been drinking a lot of TEA lately?

#27 l3wis on 04.17.11 at 5:43 am

Rufusx – Now that I reread it, I agree, I didn’t really phrase it right. What I meant is that us peons will do the same economically with or without a new EC.

#28 rufusx on 04.17.11 at 12:04 pm

Okay – so it (the EC) makes/will make no difference to you economically one way or the other.

And so economically your beef is?…….NOT with the EC -at least not on the basis of its economics.

Which I guess means it’s simply the convenient target of the moment for your general PO’dness. Excuse me in advance if I’ve stepped on your muse’s toes.

#29 l3wis on 04.17.11 at 5:13 pm

Not mad about it all. I have said all along, if a majority of the public votes for it, then we build. But I don’t think the taxpayers should foot the entire bill. Why? Because like I said, won’t impact me economically anyway, so why should I foot the bill? I pay taxes for services, not so you can see Elton John at a fancy new EC.

#30 Scott on 04.17.11 at 5:39 pm

As stated before, I find it silly to spend at least $150 million so that the same 5000 people can see the same show in a fancier building that will “economically benefit” only the builders and a couple of bars/restaurants.

#31 l3wis on 04.17.11 at 5:43 pm

Scott would know, his family owns several restaurants in SF, you would think they would be lining up to support a new EC. Well guess what, just like I have said, it won’t benefit anyone economically in this town but a few people who are already too rich for their own good.

#32 Pathloss on 04.18.11 at 9:38 am

The EC is a kickback scheme like Munson projects. Duh, Huether didn’t come up with $500K of his own money to get a 4 year term at 100K salary. The people who get EC contracts are behind the scenes. Once he fails, he’ll be wearing concrete shoes in the Sioux River and we can laugh as water rushes by no higher than his knees.

#33 Sy on 04.18.11 at 9:45 am

No offense to Scott but their restaurants are quick serve, ie based on how fast a person can get in and out. Unfortunately, our Arena has trained a generation of event goers to expect the same thing in a new facility.

As of now, you don’t see one of his restaurants (or any fast food) near the Arena: why? because there’s not enough traffic to warrant the investment, nor is the area seeing any propery values increasing (actually I think they are decreasing)

You also don’t see one of his stores downtown, again partially based on traffic but also on adequate site availability to fit a store, parking & a drive through. To hit the threshold where it would make sense, you would need to combine the Events Center (and it’s 400K visitors) with the existing traffic of downtown and you’d probably get close to where it makes sense.

It’s another way to illustrate what I’ve been talking about, individually an Events Center and downtown aren’t quite there for a vareity of business types. Combine them and you’ll see that change. I’ve seen lots of fast food places in downtown areas like Omaha & Minneapolis.

#34 l3wis on 04.18.11 at 2:27 pm

Sy – I think it has to do more with population then anything.

#35 lynn on 04.19.11 at 6:19 pm

It seems that the powers that be have decided the EC will be built downtown. I wonder how many deals have been made between downtown developers and the city officials to get it built down there. I don’t have any skin as I don’t live in town. But it would have to be something very special to get me to drive downtown and try to get out of town with the EC in that location. Just something to consider. But accessibility isn’t as important as the money involved and promises made to those invested in a downtown EC IMO.

#36 matt70 on 04.20.11 at 8:45 am

If it isn’t built downtown it will never pass a vote in November. It may not pass anyway, but the arena site is a sure loser. IMO and in the opinions of many of my friends the arena will get a no vote wherever they choose to build it. It’s just too damn much money.