Kudos to Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr!

In one of the most disappointing nights I have seen in a very long time, only one councilor opposed the property tax increase, Starr. I would have least thought I would have seen Stehly voting against this to (She told me she is voting NO on the 2nd reading).

Councilor Pat Starr, though, stood alone in opposing the annual increase, voting against moving the budget on to a second and final vote next week. He said in the same way that not taking those dollars have an accumulative effect on the city’s budget, property owners also feel the year-after-year impact of annual property taxes. And in a time when affordable housing is a challenge in Sioux Falls, making property ownership more expensive isn’t something he will support, he said.


One of the leading arguments was maintaining our INSANE 25% reserve. I’ve never understood how we can allow local governments to essentially horde money. WHY!? They say it is for ’emergencies’. Hogwash! We have several options,

• We could get money from the Feds and FEMA (which we have had to do several times)

• We could get a loan from either the state or

• We could bond. We are always hearing about our great bond rating, so if we need emergency money, why not just bond it?

Government should never have a savings account on the backs of increasing taxes, especially property taxes, but this town has gone hog wild in raising our property taxes, this past year it seemed like a weekly event.

Councilor Greg Neitzert said the 2.4% increase is necessary to keep up with not just inflationary costs, but also the 3% cost of living increases granted to the three city employee unions during the last round of labor negotiations. Not taking it means structural, systematic cuts would need to be made to counter sacrificing the statutorily allowed increase, he said.

“If people can find a million and a half dollars of frivolous spending in the general fund, I challenge that,” Neitzert said. “I’m just going to urge that we do the right thing and the tough thing and approve a modest increase.”

Hey Greg, ever heard of this thing called CUTS?! Neitzert even had the nerve to call himself a fiscal conservative. I about spit tea thru my nose. When the working class of this town get 1% or 0% raises, guess what they do, they make cuts to their budgets. I guess the city is getting worried because 20% of it’s municipal employees are going to retire in the next 5 years (or something close to that). I look at this as a prime opportunity to cut the top fat and save citizens millions by not hiring replacements without the hassle of laying off or firing civil service employees. If I was the city council and mayor, I would look at this as a gift.

It seems the only thing Sioux Falls city government is good at these days is raising taxes and growing while the rest of us watch our wallets shrink into oblivion.


#1 D@ily Spin on 09.11.19 at 4:01 am

Retiring city employees won’t live here. They’ll get priced out of their homes from rising property taxes. Colorado has an interesting program. You file that you’re retired and property taxes stay frozen until you sell or die. Try it, maybe there won’t be a mass exodus to a new promise land.

#2 Theresa Stehly on 09.11.19 at 8:54 am

We only voted to put this to a second reading. Passing the first reading on an ordnance is a courtesy vote that I would ask from any piece of legislation and it gives the citizens a chance to weigh in before the final vote. I did NOT vote to implement this increase. The final vote is next week. I plan to vote NO for it then.

#3 rinos all on 09.11.19 at 8:57 am

it’s nuts to me that the only fiscal conservative on the council or in the administration is the democrat starr.
these twits like matt paulsen, tenhaken, erickson, kiley, selberg and nietzert and all their ilk are a stain on the republican principles of less goverment and lower taxes. the are basically tax and spend liberals who redistribute the tax money to the elite.
maybe we shouldn’t have agreed to a 3% cola when inflation is actually about 1.8%? is that bad fiscal management by last council and adminstration? to neitzerts challenge, i found 1.5 million this year…it went to the state theater. i’m sure there’s something similar every year.

#4 l3wis on 09.11.19 at 9:47 am

Theresa, a courtesy to who? The finance director? This wasn’t a resolution driven by an individual councilor this was just an exercise in growing government. I would have voted NO in the 1st and 2nd and I would said why.

#5 Theresa Stehly on 09.11.19 at 10:01 am

And let me also say that Councilor Pat Starr did an eloquent presentation on the merits of NOT passing this property tax increase last night. It is worth watching on the replay. Maybe Scott or Bruce can put it up!!!

#6 Theresa Stehly on 09.11.19 at 10:03 am

And one more thing Scott…why don’t you run for City Council and then you can vote the way you want to.

#7 Bruce on 09.11.19 at 11:12 am

How many times do we have the official notice of a pending vote become the most painful part of the process?

There is always room for strategic votes to move something to second reading. In my years of watching the broken Sioux Falls City Council processes there have been many occasions where the Council has voted to move an item to 2nd reading only to defeat or modify it after the discussions were finished.

I don;t have a problem with this item moving to 2nd reading but I do have a problem with the so called fiscal conservatives continuing to suck every dime out of the people so they can build their vanity projects.

Kudos to Stehly and Starr for their choices Tuesday night.

#8 Consevative here on 09.11.19 at 12:01 pm

Dumb question, I thought property tax was a country thing, not a city thing. Since I live in Lincoln county but still SF city limits does this impact me

#9 matt johnson on 09.11.19 at 12:09 pm

three parts to your tax bill; city you live in, school district you live in and county you live in

#10 l3wis on 09.11.19 at 12:10 pm

Yes, the city takes in $67 million a year in property taxes. Property taxes are spread between several entities. If you live in SF boundaries it is spread between the school district you are in (SF, Tea or Harrisburg in your case) and the county you live in, Lincoln. If you live in a Township it is spread between the county, the township and the school district you live in. SF school district said this last year their property tax valuation was $11 Billion. I think when you get you property tax statement it breaks it down for you.

#11 Warren Phear on 09.11.19 at 3:05 pm

To say 2.4% is small price to pay is misleading. Anyone who lives in Lincoln or minnehaha counties know their real estate taxes have risen considerably more than just a few percent each year. What these tax and spend “conservatives” fail to mention is how much every home owners assessed values have risen in the past few years. Our homes assessed value has risen 38%, just in the past 6 years. Tacking 2.4% a year onto skyrocketing assessment values is just throwing salt on the wound. I suspect within the next 5 years we will be taxed out of living in either Lincoln or minnehaha counties. As a lifelong resident with family buried here, this really does piss me off.

#12 l3wis on 09.11.19 at 3:41 pm

What pisses me off even more is when elected officials like Neitzert adamantly defend TAX & SPEND politics, as if THEY HAVE TO pass this, they don’t. The state gives this to city’s as an OPTION. I often scratch my head when people like Greg tell us how smart he is and how fiscally conservative he is, but doesn’t understand the term ‘OPTION’. We are not losing out on $17 million, it is just $17 million you don’t add to the budget. That’s called ‘budgeting’. The rest of us have to do it all the time because our local government agents continue to raise our taxes without rhyme or reason.

#13 l3wis on 09.11.19 at 3:49 pm

Also, the irony of Greg demanding we pass this because the city NEEDS this money right after giving $1.5 million to State Theater and asking for millions for more bike trail. Really Greg?!

#14 Happily Moved out of SF and SD on 09.11.19 at 4:18 pm

Daily Spin said:

“Retiring city employees won’t live here. They’ll get priced out of their homes from rising property taxes. Colorado has an interesting program. You file that you’re retired and property taxes stay frozen until you sell or die. Try it, maybe there won’t be a mass exodus to a new promise land.”

After my wife’s retirement from the City of SF last fall, we packed up and moved SOUTH near the gulf coast.

For some perspective, we owned a little less than 1000 sq. ft, 2BR, 2B, partially finished basement, single detached garage home south of the McKennan Park area. Our taxes for 2018/2019 were $1900. Sold it for way more than I thought it was worth. In our new area, we found a home “out in the country”, 30 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, 1750 sq ft, 3BR, 2B completely finished (no basements), 2 car attached garage home sitting on 3 acres. Our taxes on this property is $1200/yr.

Additionally, if we were to try and find this same type of property “back home” within 10-15 miles of SF, we would be looking in the 400-500K range. We happily purchased for a little under 200K, pretty much what we sold our SF home for.

To say the least, it’s been interesting following the council meetings. All I can do is shake my head and wonder what the hell happened to the town I grew up in and lived in since 1964.

There is life outside of SF and SD and there are no pothole issues !!

#15 LJL on 09.11.19 at 7:24 pm

We all know why he doesn’t run for council. All hat and no horse.

#16 l3wis on 09.12.19 at 8:23 am

LJL, As I have told Theresa several times, I will never run (but whenever she gets frustrated with me she always tells me to run for council). As I have explained to her, the city council is powerless really. Besides the mayor being able to break ties he also has veto power and runs the meetings. The only thing the council really does is approve beer and wine licenses, other than that, they have no power. I actually think they get paid way too much. I say pay them $75 a meeting, have them meet for 20 minutes each Tuesday at City Hall, vote for the beer licenses then go home.

#17 Northwest District on 09.12.19 at 9:52 am

Northwest District

You now have a credible opponent running against Neitzert.

You have an opportunity to vote him out in April 2020.

I hope that as we get closer to election time southdacola will do a four-year VOTE history on all the sitting councilors.

Greg Neitzert Northwest District

Marshall Selberg Southwest District

Pat Starr Northeast District

Theresa Stehly At-Large

It will be clear who has represented what in their first term on the Council.

#18 northwest too on 09.12.19 at 11:24 am

i’ll make it easy.
neitzert has voted for every tax and fee increase except the midco fiasco. also voted for every tif. also pushed as hard as any of them for the misguided ramp partnership.
i suspect selberg is exaclty the same.

#19 Erica on 09.12.19 at 3:20 pm

Making the decision for our family to look to moving out of the city much easier. Sick of my property taxes increasing, and not just by a couple bucks, year after year EVERY year since we just moved here 3 years ago. We will take our $ elsewhere. This city is BEYOND corrupt and should be thoroughly investigated.

#20 Lincoln county resident on 09.12.19 at 7:03 pm

I’m with you Warren. I have a number in mind. When my property taxes reach that number, my family and I will move elsewhere.

Near the top of my list when living in a community are property tax affordability and infrastructure condition.

This city/county is beginning to fail on both levels.

I moved here seven years ago and we really love it here. We don’t like what has been happening since Heuther and now PTH.

I am a Republican, and what I am seeing from PTH and the city council is tax and spend liberal policies.

The most ironic thing is I am a very liberal bloggers site saying these things. What a world! haha

#21 l3wis on 09.12.19 at 7:57 pm

For the record, I am a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. I think government (our taxes) should fund NEEDS first, and if money is left over we should reduce taxes. I also am a registered Indy, party politics don’t interest me.

#22 Scott on 09.13.19 at 7:49 am

This second reading of tax increase will be voted on and will pass probably, let’s see…with a 5 – 3 vote. Convince me that it won’t.

#23 Warren Phear on 09.13.19 at 12:44 pm

Like you in post 21, I align my thinking and politics exactly as you do Scott. Except for your last sentence. Still a registered dem. Too old and ornery to change I guess.

#24 Liberal-Conservative? WTF? on 09.13.19 at 5:08 pm

Since when is fiscally responsive or responsible a liberal versus conservative discussion?

Historically the strongest protectors of of balanced budgets were the liberals and labor leaders. If the employer could not pay the wages the workers went hungry. The stupidity of the liberal tax and spend meme is really getting old.

Once again study history and see who wastes the most public money, the right wing conservatives.

Study history, it might actually cause brain farts as you find out you’ve been bent over smelling the lies coming out the asses of the faux news.

#25 LJL on 09.14.19 at 8:50 am

Bah hah ha post 21.

You attend every democrat function you can and love,love,love your liberal Minnesota politicians.

You’ll be sure to vote twice for Liz Warren cause she’s gunna give you stuff from other peoples money. Another closet socialist.

Fiscally conservative my ass.

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