Sioux Falls City Council avoids the 700 pound gorilla in the room

That wasn’t all entirely true, Councilors Brekke and Starr brought a little reason to the sewer rate increase discussion tonight after Rick Kiley had a total meltdown when Stehly called him out about disparaging the work of staff. Which made it even more ironically funny, because all Kiley does is constantly compliment staff sometimes just for opening the toilet stall door. So when Theresa reminded him that staff helped her come up with her numbers, Ricky Lee went ballistic, twice. Memorable stuff.

Soehl suggested that she share her information in advance (you know, like the rest of the council does with Theresa and Pat . . . LOL!)

But let’s get to the serious stuff. Janet was smart to bring up the history of the 2nd penny and it’s use for infrastructure and Starr quoted Citizen Stanga wondering why so much of the 2nd penny goes towards ‘play things’.

Most people don’t realize, when you buy anything in this town, a portion goes towards paying down the bonds on the Denty from the 2nd penny. Whether you use the facility or not (in which you have to purchase a ticket) you still have to pay for it’s mortgage. You can always sit outside for free and admire the ‘interesting’ siding.

The council totally ignored the gorilla. While they argued up and down that sewer rates must rise to pay for upgrades because it is only fair to charge the user, they avoided the fact that the play palaces bonds in our town are not paid for by user fees, not one penny. Brekke and Starr came the closest to suggesting we have a long term strategic plan to look how we spend the 2nd penny (to which they got crickets). All they could focus on was that Stehly said $300.

If you want to have an honest and fair conversation about user fees and paying down bonds, as several councilors suggested, then we need to start talking about how the Denty is going to start paying it’s own bonds moving forward. I don’t think a person who can afford to pay $150 to see a Jackass in a cowboy hat would blink an eye at paying an extra $3-5 ticket fee for bonds. Heck, most wouldn’t even notice it after there $10 Coors Light and $8 dollar pretzel.

If the council thinks it is fair to raise rates to pay for sewer infrastructure then they need to also pass a city ordinance that attaches a bond repayment ticket fee to all the shows at the Denty. Otherwise they are just a bunch of hypocrites . . . wait?!

There is an alternative that would cost us less

Another portion of the conversation that was left out tonight is the simple word ‘conservation’. Actually, Public Works Director Cotter was the ONLY one who brought it up, recognizing that the conservation programs he helped implement have reduced water usage. And you can’t argue with his numbers, they are astounding and measurable (bravo to Cotter). While he gave this ‘gentle hint’ to the council, no one decided to run with it. We could actually spend a lot less by implementing even stronger and more stringent water conversation programs which would decrease our sewer usage. Many have even suggested eliminating lawn watering by planting more draught resistant natural grasses instead of non-native ones.

Besides just considering the 2nd Penny, we have alternatives to save us money on these projects, but as Brekke has suggested since she ran for the office, it takes PLANNING!


#1 Taco Bar on 11.20.18 at 10:43 pm

Former City Commissioner, Liola Hunking, gave us the second penny (1983). That was back when three people ran the city (kind a like now): A mayor and two commissioners.

Initially, the second penny was meant only for roads, but overtime, it has become a textbook example of mission creep.

Now, a $ 1.89 per month, per household, does not sound like a lot until you realize that local grocers often have hamburger on sale for $ 2.99 a pound, which means the City wants us to eat three less hamburgers per month, in order, to afford our water and sewer bills.

But then again, those in the ‘Taupe Housing Society of Conformity’ might not be bothered by a $ 1.89 per month and can still afford the three hamburgers, too. But when you already have money for roads going for concerts, then maybe it’s time that our City leaders put their money where their mouth is, when it comes to the word representation that is, else perhaps they should just hit the road…..

#2 D@ily Spin on 11.21.18 at 9:20 am

The council should dress in ‘Sumo Fat Suits’ and have wrestling events at the Denty. Proceeds could be used for sewer cost. Because it’s Strong Mayor Charter, councilors are merely entertainment value. Show us you give a S*** by giving us a good show.

#3 Warren Phear on 11.21.18 at 10:34 am

The Kiley meltdown. Don’t know who is his source is for water bills, but I would love to see his 2006 water bill compared to his 2018 water bill.

#4 Warren Phear on 11.21.18 at 12:06 pm

The water conservation issue. On this front, I can give Cotter kudos. Last year alone the city estimates it saved 30 million gallons of water just on their water conservation kits they hand out for free. (Low flow showerheads, low flow garden hose attachments, and dyes to detect leaking toilets.) These are not nearly important to water conservation as other devices in a typical home. Toilets are the biggest water sucking devices in a home. Old toilets used 3 to 5 gallons per flush. The newer ones, and mandadted ones for new construction use 1.28 gallons per flush. We have switched ours out at home, and they do make a dramatic impact on water usage. Next is the washing machine. Models as old as just 5 to 8 years, use 30 to 50 gallons per load. The newer high efficiency ones use 15 to gallons, depending on settings.

If you look at the 2019 city budget under the water department, there is verifiable proof that, at least in the winter months, the city purifies less water than they did 6, 7 years ago, when they had 10,000 fewer household customers.

#5 l3wis on 11.21.18 at 1:21 pm

WP, yeah, did you notice how Kiley didn’t say whether or not his water usage was less in 2018 compared to 2007, my guess is it was. Realistically he wasn’t comparing apples to apples. As Theresa said to him last night, “I have some bad news for you.”

#6 MK on 11.21.18 at 1:29 pm

Now that Huether spent all of the city’s money on wants and not needs, we’ll be forced to go further into debt paying for projects that his administration declined to pursue or ignored.

Use eminent domain to take back The Huether tennis center and turn it into the police training center.

#7 D@ily Spin on 11.22.18 at 11:38 am

MK has a good thought. The Tennis Debacle will go bankrupt and be auctioned on the courthouse steps for back taxes. In a few years, it could become an indoor pot farm.

#8 Warren Phear on 11.24.18 at 9:30 pm

I watched last tuesday nites meeting live. I look forward to watching certain parts again when your youtube channel posts it. The kiley and soehl comments seemed almost surreal. I want to make sure I heard them say what I think I heard them say.

#9 l3wis on 11.24.18 at 9:46 pm

#10 Warren Phear on 11.24.18 at 10:02 pm

l3wis, we have only Apple devices and computers. Sire is so sophisticated it cannot accomadate Apple. Maybe that new tech guy with his fancy degree can figure out how to make that happen?

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