I think an ideal situation would be for the city to take over Metro 911 100% and have Minnehaha and Lincoln County to pay a service fee to the city, like other communities do for water and sewer from Sioux Falls.
The first reason why I think the city should take it over is because, well, we have the money. I get so tired of the city saying we don’t have money for transit or 911 but have oodles of money to subsidize play palaces. If we can drop $10 million a year for a mortgage payment on a facility that generates virtually no revenue for the city besides some scraps in sales taxes, we can afford to subsidize 911. Besides, they already get funding from cell phone usage*. Thirdly, I think 911 operators deserve a living wage and the same benefits as other city employees. The rumor is starting pay at Metro is $13 an hour. If this is true, it is unacceptable. These people may not be driving patrol cars or chasing down drug dealers, but they have a very stressful job. If we can’t start them out at least $18 an hour, how can we expect to get good people and keep them? Bring them under the city umbrella and let them have union membership.
*As for the cell phone tax to fund 911, I think the city is missing a great opportunity to fund 911 even better with the use of 5G. Instead of charging the communications companies such a low licensing/lease fee, they should make it much more substantial and put that money towards 911. These companies make MILLIONS in Sioux Falls, have them pony up for public safety. Just look at this language in the licensing agreement;
b. An annual charge of $175 per pole shall be paid each year in advance for use of City light poles for small cell equipment; and
c. Subject to approval of the City Council, the foregoing fees and charges may be decreased or increased from time to time based upon cost studies conducted to determine a reasonable approximation of the objectively reasonable and nondiscriminatory costs incurred by the City that are specifically related to and caused by the application and plan review and for deployment of small cell equipment on City’s streetlights. Such studies, and any fee adjustments will be subject to applicable laws, including, without limitation, applicable FCC rulings and regulations.
Only $175 per year! I pay almost $100 a year just for a tag on my car. The city council needs to explore a different fee structure.
County Gives $50K to Gloryhouse.
The MCC has a confusing conversation about the topic, and it seems only Karsky and Beninga support giving the money, then at the end, they add the money to the supplemental budget and approve it. I am still baffled by it. BUT, they did the right thing. This was a one-time donation for the new building. Ironically, $50K is what the Gloryhouse paid the city for the land. Isn’t it funny how your tax dollars from one entity just gets passed to another entity. The taxpayers are ALWAYS holding the bag.