Is Sioux Falls population estimate pre-mature?

One of the most frustrating things about our supposed local news isn’t that they are fake news, but that they don’t tell the full story after passing off press releases as a news story;

Sioux Falls grew again, according to the city’s planning and development department.

The new estimated population for 2020 is 195,850. That’s an increase of 5,100 from the 2019 estimate of 190,750. The new number was released Friday afternoon by the city.

The Planning and Development Department calculates its year-end population estimate based from data released by the U.S. Census Bureau annually in July.

While this is all fine and dandy in a year without a census, I find it odd that no one asked the city why they didn’t just wait until the official census is released (hopefully SOON)? I have argued that I think that number is high and fudged so the city has more bonding leverage. I am NOT sure what it is, but I think we need to wait and see once the official Census is released.

“Sioux Falls continues to demonstrate our resiliency and optimism as evidenced by the steady growth of the past year. This confidence, along with our City’s ability to improve and expand infrastructure and manage our land resources has been a proven formula of growth for many years,” Jeff Eckhoff, director of planning and development, said in the news release.

This statement ties into another Stormland TV story about right wing radicals and racism;

“For me to sit here as the mayor and say, ‘Well, that doesn’t exist here in Sioux Falls’ would be naïve, because certainly some of the same racial tensions that we saw bubble up in Washington and some of the slogans we saw on shirts can certainly exist here,” TenHaken said. “What I can do as mayor is just continue to promote a message of unity, of inclusiveness.”

“Last summer, we’ve had it before, we’ve had KKK fliers distributed around our community, we, people found them in parks and things, and I’ve always wondered, is that just a prank, is that a teen trying to get a rise out of someone, or is it very real,” TenHaken said.

Whatever the intent or the maturity behind such imagery, the Ku Klux Klan stands for real, documented hate.

“I think that’s the sort of thing we just can’t tolerate, there’s just no place for that,” TenHaken said. “There’s no acceptance of that.”

I have often thought there is a correlation between racism and economics. I’m not sure how Amazon or an egg roll factory will solve our low wage job issues in the community. Studies have shown that Amazon actually drives wages down. Recently I was asked if I thought Noem or TenHaken had anything to do with bringing them here. My answer was simple, “Sure. They got the Hell out of the way.” Only one entity made the decision to come to Sioux Falls, and that was Amazon based on logistics of their operation. I have often chuckled about how politicians like to pat themselves on the back for bringing in business but rarely say anything about trying to prevent harmful businesses from coming. I think trickle down economics doesn’t work. In fact the founder of them, Ronald Reagan and his administration has proven that nothing trickles down to us. The rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer and main street is disappearing. I have even predicted that in 10 years or less, large corporate retail stores will be virtually non-existent.

So back to economics and racism. The state and the city can do more to combat racism, they can do it by building up communities starting at the bottom and working up. Besides cute messaging and education they can start investing tax dollars into the core of our city to provide more affordable housing they can also recruit businesses that will be locally owned and provide living wages. I had to cringe a bit last week when Planning Director Eckhoff made an interesting comment about affordable housing. He was referring to the practice of tearing down small houses in the core of our city, essentially saying they were obsolete because people want houses with two-stall garages now. He was basically saying the city’s housing department isn’t interested in rehabilitating smaller affordable houses. I have no doubt in my mind that the city’s housing and planning department (who have merged in recent years under the direction of TenHaken) has been in cahoots with contractors and developers to eventually wipe out existing affordable housing in our core (houses that are smaller with either no garage or a one-stall and one or two bedrooms) that can cheaply be fixed up because developers have seen that multi-housing units are where the money is to be made. I have suggested mini-TIFs to homeowners and small apartment owners to fix up our core neighborhoods essentially investing in people instead of big developers and international low wage corporations that never trickle it down to rest of us. (FF: 1:18:30)

If we are going to combat racism in Sioux Falls, it starts with economics, that means creating living wage jobs and affordable housing in our core. Giving millions in TIFs to egg roll factories isn’t a very good plan.


#1 Very Stable Genius on 01.23.21 at 1:45 pm

When ThuneHaken talks about race and hatred, I just keep thinking about the next camping trip he and his family will take. Will it conveniently happen once again on the same weekend as a major PRIDE event in Sioux Falls?

(….”Daddy, the campers next door have a really cool rainbow flag”…. “We should get one like that, too”… “They seem to ‘know what to do’, don’t they?”… )

#2 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.24.21 at 2:23 am

It is normal for the City to ‘estimate’ its estimated population growth per year, we have grown on the average of 3,000 to 4,000 residents per year since 2009; not to mention, our “SALES TAX” goes up each and every year based on that growth.

Scott – do you remember in December 2019 I provided a list of all TAXES paid by the residents, and I shown how the “tax” automatically goes up with population grown, that I asked for a cut in sales tax rate to 1.75%.

I think the CITY mis-uses the sales tax, especially the 2nd Penny which is suppose to be used to ‘fund’ future capital activities over a 5 year period.

Do we really need to borrow money from bond holders, federal govt, state govt when this “2nd Penny” was designed to plan for a future 5 year period? NO.

Today, we got nearly 50% of the 2nd Penny Sales Tax tied up in debt payments just so we can pay for things TODAY, rather than TOMORROW.

Hint: both the 1st and 2nd Penny generate roughly $165,000,000 per year; I think its time that we lower the 2nd Penny to 0.50% rather than charge the residents 1.00% for 5 years, pay off the debt, then come back 5 years later and re-assess our future plans.

From 2006-2010 – we lowered the 2nd Penny to 0.92% meaning we collected 1.92% from the residents per each transaction, why cant we do it again, I say charge 1.75% for 5 years.

The City collects $400,000,000 a year in Sales Taxes, Property Taxes, Misc-Excise Taxes, Duties, and Imposts; but we spend $550,000,000 a year in expenses.

Where does $150,000,000 million in revenue come from? I know where it comes from, but do you?

Mike Zitterich

#3 The Guy From Guernsey on 01.24.21 at 12:23 pm

The distribution of the first and second pennies needs to be changed in South Dakota.
Sioux Falls is swimming in money – so much so that the City is extending well beyond legitimate roles of local government to spend all of the money it collects. Need only look to the various “public/private partnerships” over the past several years, including the ability to give $1.5 to a private project of property restoration.
Meanwhile counties in the state are strapped to serve their legitimate government functions (roads, bridges, public safety, indigent care and healthcare).
The state legislature needs to act to redistribute more of the sales rax collected to counties.
The City of Sioux Falls can operate permanently with lower proceeds from sales tax. The luxurious spending habits of Munson, Huether and PTH prove that It can be done. It would do the City well to re-focus spending on the legitimmate roles of local government.

#4 l3wis on 01.24.21 at 1:02 pm

GFG, I will admit I would never ask for a tax reduction. That’s like asking the 10th Street McDonalds to NOT put pickles on your hamburger (you will get extra instead). All I have ever asked is to invest that money in the people of our community. I could go into Marxist rants, poverty issues and low wages, but I will also not go there. Doesn’t it make sense to re-invest our tax dollars into the very people that pay them? The city of Sioux Falls acts like you should spend your Christmas bonus on a gift for your boss. I sent the owner of the company I work for a Thank You, and he responded, because he is good guy. Shouldn’t our local government be doing the same? Send a thank you note to all of the companies in our city, local and international a thank you while distributing our tax dollars back to the folks who pay them? Democratic Socialism is not a hard concept to understand. We are taxed and in return we get services. I sometimes wonder how the people who control that simple flow can call themselves religious, faithful or a follower of a higher power, because my God isn’t an asshole or Bill Cosby.

#5 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.24.21 at 2:12 pm


I agree; when you look at the C.A.F.R put out each March; I urge all residents to obtain a printed copy, lots of interesting statistics in the book,

IF the CITY of Sioux Falls would shutdown, sell off all properties, assets, pay all their expenses, including the liabilities and debts; it have enough left over to pay each “resident” of the City $10,000 dollars each.

WE do not have a revenue problem, we have this growing problem of needing fancy toys “RIGHT NOW”.

I agree, the 2nd Penny should be restricted, cut, and better managed, the goal was to plan for future capital projects in the future, the tax could be done away with. But keep in mind, 50% of it is tied to the debt payments.

Now – the STATE is recommending that a “National Guard Readiness Center” be built in Sioux Falls, dead serious, they are discussing a appropriation bill to spend $2,000,000 of Federal Funds to plan for this center, read HB-2018.

So we are building this new fancy Police and Fire Academy using federal funds, and now the State wants to build this new facility in order for the State Government to operate.

– Mike Zitterich

#6 Living wage jobs on 01.25.21 at 11:10 am

Scott, you talk about living wage jobs….I get it, need to make more $$$ to survive. Instead of spouting this, give examples of a business that would provide these so called “living wages”. I mean it sounds like you have all the answers, should be easy to do? Better hurry though, Biden has already used his pen to kill job creation and artificially increase gas prices. I’m sure your next statement will be to increase spending on public transportation in Sioux Falls…