UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, MONDAY, November 18, 2019

As you can see, the council meeting is on Monday this week because, I believe four councilors are leaving Tuesday for the National League of Cities City Summit in San Antonio, TX. I think the four attending are Starr, Stehly, Erickson, Neitzert and his hand sanitizer (they give free soap at the hotel).

City Council Informational Meeting • 4 PM

There will be presentations on;

• October Financials, the city is still riding in at about 6.4% from last year, which is good.

• Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum Management Agreement, which is a year to year agreement

• As I understand the last presentation, the city is going to start charging for events at the Levitt, but there has also been a smaller discussion about charging for police security at various events. One that has been discussed for years is JazzFest, yet the discussion quickly dies once it is pointed out to the PD that that event brings in tax revenue and has an economic impact. I heard from a city mole that the SFPD has been complaining they have to work the event which causes them to take a day off in the middle of the week then have to work a Saturday. Not sure if that complaint is true, and besides, all I have ever seen POs do at JazzFest is hang out in the beer tents and eat. Seems like a pretty good gig. I also want to point out that they are paid to do a job – does it matter what or where they are doing it? Seems like a grievance they can bring up to their Union rep. Also, even if we start charging for police presence at JazzFest and other events – how does it solve the scheduling issue? It doesn’t, which brings it back to just a ‘money’ issue. If you look at slide #11 on the attached PDF on the presentation, you will find some curious ‘numbers’. First off, the officer count is questionable. I think someone did not do the math correctly in that column, because it basically says that there was only two officers at every event. So let’s just review the hours. I found it suspicious that ZombieWalk (a parade that lasted about 20 minutes had 8 logged hours, or Jazzfest, an event at most lasting about 20 hours total had 464 hours logged (that breaks down to about 23 officers working the event at the same time – hardly). Also, if we are going to start ‘charging’ for police presence, we have to be fair and charge for all events. This would include ALL parades, funeral processions, and YES campaign security for a private fundraiser when the president shows up and doesn’t do a public appearance. I think they are going down a rabbit hole that they will never get out of. As a city official said to me when I asked them their opinion, ‘This is what we pay taxes for.’ In other words they were against charging the fees since we are already paying for these services. I would agree (though I still think Noem owes us $20,000). Also, the yearly cost is peanuts, $125K a year. I’m sure the city recoups those costs in tax revenue generated by these events at least Ten-Fold if NOT more. Much to do about nothing. What they really need to do is fix the scheduling of the officers so that covering these special events is done fairly with all of the staff involved.

UPDATE: I’m curious what this means in the ordinance ‘Adds First Amendment Activity to ordinance’. I don’t know, there are NO details about this in the presentation, but my guess it has to do with political rallies or protests, which I find odd. The 1st Amendment is broad and already protects us. A municipality really doesn’t have the power to amend the US Constitution. That part of the proposed ordinance will be an interesting discussion.

UPDATE II: I did some more research on this. I guess this is a pet project of Councilor Kiley who has been pushing this for awhile. I heard that the mayor is kind of on the fence and thinks that the fees should be selective based on the nature of the event. Not sure what we will hear from either one of them. I also know this is something that Barthel pushed for when he was working under the last mayor, and Bowlcut shut it down, because he saw it as a ‘scheduling’ issue, as I do.

I also want to point out that Kansas City used to have a massive Jazz and Blues Festival that ended about 15 years ago because the city said they were going to start charging for police presence. It killed the festival.

If you look at this STUDY from 2015 of the economic impact of these events in our community, you will see the massive returns. It was stated one time by the CVB that JazzFest alone (depending on it’s attendance) brings in about $9-20 million in economic impact. While I understand that this seems like a handout, the economic impact covers the $125K easily. I guess non-profits around town have been very nervous about this for awhile and that if this happens, JF will move to the fair grounds which will essentially KILL the event.

I see what is going on here. They want to charge rental fees for the Levitt, which I totally understand and agree with. With a new facility like that it is wise to get these things in place early and build on them. But the rental of the Levitt has NOTHING to do with police security at these events. (They are separate ordinances, but somehow are coming forward at the same time). What they are basically doing is trying to tie this in with it, to get it passed. It what legislators call ‘hog housing’. It is how the Pavilion* got passed. And with Kiley on the way out in a few months, he wants to get this done before he leaves, similar to the idiotic move by Erpenbach and Rolfing to rig our local elections with council runoffs. My advice to the council is that if they are going to do this, they are going down a very slippery slope that could kill many great public events in our city.

*Notice that Sidewalk Arts Festival and German Fest was NOT included on the chart for police presence.

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts, Sub Item #8, HVAC upgrades to Events Center, $255K. Can you imagine as a business owner, that after you made a multi-million dollar building expansion that in 5 short years you were told you needed to spend this kind of coin to upgrade the HVAC system? Now I understand regular maintenance, but this just sounds shady. I have seen this a lot with the EC, we cut corners while building it and now we are making very costly upgrades that should have been included to begin with. What a sham.

Items #38 & #50, $200K for bike trail expansion.

Items #46-47, 1st Readings, Rail Yard Flats purchase agreements

Item #49, 1st Reading, adding a new city election precinct, by splitting one in half in an expanding neighborhood in Lincoln County


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