UPDATE: I’m hearing tonight that there may be a deferral on Item #31 (The rezone below). I’m not sure why. Some say it may be because of the conflicts, others have said they may be working out a deal to finish the road. I guess we will hear more Tuesday Night.
Theresa also discusses the texting ban.
They will be dealing with some joint zoning issues in two items.
â€¢ November Financial Report. It looks like the city will probably end the year at or above a 6% increase from last year. Too bad workers and especially our police officers can’t get that kind of raise, as this letter writer points out;
Mayor TenHaken just reported a huge increase in tax revenue for Sioux Falls. His next step was to propose to raise the cost to everyone who wants an event that involves security. Perhaps he doesn’t know that we already pay the police and firemen’s salaries. We pay with our tax dollars and have no say in where they go or what they secure. If we are already paying them, why would it cost more to have them work a special event that involves the city of Sioux Falls?
â€¢ Audit report on Landfill Licensing. I hope the entire city council asks some serious questions of what is going on out there. As an enterprise fund (funds itself) it should be trying to pull in as much revenue as possible, that means regulating garbage haulers better. I still think we can fix the problem by having public garbage haulers.
â€¢ We are getting TIFilicious with the Sioux Steel development. Funny how NO presentations are linked to this agenda item. While the city is working with the developer, I think it is outrageous that the planning department can’t put the presentation online (that we know is already done). It is NOT the administration or planning department’s decision, it is the decision of our citizen representatives, the city council, to pass this TIF. Give us the damn information before Tuesday and stop playing a poker game so you can sneak this by the citizens.
Item #7, Approval of Contracts,
Sub-item #5. A 27% increase in recycling/garbage fees for the city. I hope a councilor pulls this item. What I find ironic is while I have been talking about how the city needs to have public garbage service, the city is getting bent over the barrel on garbage service.
Sub-item #7. While the city has it’s own Public Works/Streets department, we pay a private company to clean city sidewalks.
Sub-item #32. So this is interesting. The city (that is funded mostly by sales taxes) is going to repave a parking lot for the school district (funded by mostly property taxes). Besides the price tag of $163K+ the city calls this ‘maintenance’ and part of the ‘parks and rec’ department. I am assuming this is because there may be a community center there. I’m too lazy to look it up. This is why this ‘fun’ stuff gets buried in the consent agenda so people don’t ask those questions.
Item #20, Package liquor license for Walia C-Store. Of course this has been deferred. This will be an interesting discussion. I’m not sure how the vote will go, but if I was a betting man, they will vote it down.
Item #31, Golden Gateway project, Rezone, 1st reading. (Sneveilicious does a good story about it in the AL). As we all know, this is contentious. I expect this item to take up a lot of the council’s time on Tuesday night. I also expect it to pass the 1st reading (even if some are opposed). While the fireworks will probably be long on the 1st reading, the 2nd reading will be fiery. After watching the Planning Commission meeting on this item, it is clear that the neighbors are PISSED. Would YOU? If I was sitting in a half-million dollar house, probably, but as we have found out in this town, the developer rules. As I said to a city councilor the other night, “Why does the Planning Department ‘Recommend Approval’ to the Planning Commission?” Shouldn’t they just lay out the facts of the development plan on the table, listen to testimony and make a decision from there? I compared it to the Licensing Department. What if Jamie Palmer (the agent of the department) told councilors to ‘recommend approval’ of a license? She has never done this. She is there to give the facts and information. It is up to the council to determine if a license is worthy of approval. The Planning Department needs to end this practice. I actually encourage the council to write an ordinance that forbids the Planning Department from recommending approval. It is egregious and borders a little on corruption and unethical.
Item #36, (I assume) councilors Brekke and Stehly are bringing back the texting ban ordinance to a 1st reading. They want to add this clause;
(f) City council members’ use of electronic communication devices during official meetings shall be limited to researching and/or accessing support materials for purposes of official business or public policy of the city. This section shall not apply to a city council member who engages in personal and non-city business activities outside the meeting room. Public input and city council discussion is not permitted through electronic communication devices during an official meeting. For purposes of this section, â€œElectronic Communicationâ€ shall mean any text, audio, static images, or video to be exchanged between two or more city council members or a city council member(s) and member(s) of the public in real time or near real time. Examples of electronic communication include, but are not limited to, electronic mail also known as email, instant messaging, chat rooms, text messaging, social media, and blogs.
While some on the council oppose this measure, the public has told councilor Stehly they want this. This will also be a fiery discussion. I think certain councilors will try to kill this at 1st reading. But even if it is killed, it will be a wakeup call. When councilor Stehly told me she was bringing this back, I asked her if she first wanted to get the council on board. She told me it was time, and they have been warned it was coming. GOOD. The discussion needs to take place. While Stehly can be controversial, and may not get ordinances passed, she does ultimately get action. Even if this fails, I guarantee the texting will be cut back. I can already hear the arguments against it ‘We can police ourselves.’ Uh, clearly you cannot. I expect an amendment allowing FREE soap and hand sanitizer be given to councilors when they arrive to Carnegie for a meeting.
Item #37, Appointment of Citizen Board Members. I find it interesting there is NO attached documents that give BIOS of the appointees. This is the first time I have seen this. Hmmm?
Item #38, City Council Legislative Priorities. This will also be a good discussion because there seems to be some disagreements of what they will be asking the State Legislature to do for them, uh, I mean us. This is an exercise in stupidity. Why we waste tax dollars on a legislative lobbyist is beyond me. The council knows our legislative representatives, in fact they are probably friends with them. Why not call them up and have a friendly phone convo, email, or better yet invite them over for coffee cake and tea, or a fizzy American beer? Do we really need to pay someone to tell the legislature what we want. I can sum it up in one sentence; Stop being stupid.
Item #40, Transfer of Appropriations. So the city gets a little coin in the the coffers from the Railyard Redevelopment sale and they are already transferring funds from that sale into projects. By statute they have to, which is a good thing, but they surely didn’t waste any time. Who says government can’t get things done – and fast.