Sioux Falls Charter Revision Commission Proposals

Below are my proposals to the CRC today. I present towards the end of the meeting during public input. I appreciated David Zokaites for defending my TIF proposal and I also appreciate the CRC for allowing me 15 minutes to present, putting my proposals on a future agenda for discussion and engaging me after my presentation (something City Attorney Kooistra tried to stop until I reminded the CRC that was at the discretion of the board) he of course couldn’t resist chastising the board at the end of the meeting for allowing the engagement and his concern for public employees ‘time’. Whatever that means. As I have stated before to the city and on this blog, city meetings have NO time limit laid out in charter. They can recess or go on as long as they wish regardless of city employees ‘time’. As I brought up in my testimony, they work for us, not the other way around.

Charter Revision Proposal Ideas, Scott L. Ehrisman, Sioux Falls, SD;

1) Application for TIF will only be accepted for projects that will eliminate blight, build density in the core, and simultaneously provide affordable and workforce housing. Home rule charter allows the city to be stricter then state law.

I believe since State Law has changed on TIFs the city has been abusing the use of TIFs. They were originally designed to help with blight and provide affordable housing, they are now being used to finance PRIVATE projects and build parking and condominiums.

2) General Public input will be at the beginning of EVERY city public meeting, including boards and commissions and will have a limit of 5 minutes per speaker and NO limit on the amount of speakers EXCEPT at the discretion of the chair of the meeting.

The city has NO standard policy on general public input at it’s public meetings. Per state law every meeting must have it, but the time seems to be all over the place depending on the meeting. This would just standardize it for ALL city meetings. It would also put the Citizens business at the beginning of the meeting where it belongs.

3) Every director or department head must be a Sioux Falls resident, or become one within 30 days of hire/start date. Current directors are exempt. Only applies to new hires appointed by the Mayor and City Council.

Many local government entities require this. I think it is most important for directors that deal with public safety. I also think it is an economic equity issue. Directors that have their salaries and benefits paid for by the taxpayers of Sioux Falls, should also pay taxes in the community that employs them.

I believe it is the duty of the CRC and the City Attorney’s office to determine the final ballot language and the Article it applies to in the Charter and whether the question is legal to vote on. It is NOT your duty to determine if it is appropriate or not, only if it is legal and a legitimate ballot question.


#1 Quick Responders on 09.08.21 at 8:24 pm

To get around any legalities regarding dictating residential location private employers alternatively require that employees above a certain rank be in a position to be available at the office within ten minutes or some number of minutes after notification they are needed. I believe similar rules are in effect for a significant number of medical personnel in Sioux Falls. I would think such a requirement would be reasonable for directors, police and firefighters.

#2 Steve on 09.08.21 at 9:35 pm

Thank you for your presentation. Too bad that the city attorney has to keep being a Richard or dick….whatever you wish to use. Hope it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

#3 l3wis on 09.08.21 at 9:43 pm

His pushback was actually surprising, and I enjoyed it, because he showed his dislike of public engagement and his disdain for citizens input.

#4 Steve on 09.08.21 at 10:36 pm

Sounds like he’s acting like his boss!

#5 The Guy From Guernsey on 09.09.21 at 10:41 am

To incorporate into City Charter a component which restricts distribution of TIF welfare?
Almost as likely as a state constitutional amendment to address corruption in state govetnment.

#6 D@ily Spin on 09.09.21 at 11:06 am

Your proposals are common sense the CRC will fight to prevent. It’s democratic principle they keep from happening. The CRC has become a criminal sit down that protects the unconstitutional charter.

#7 Dakota Politics on 09.09.21 at 2:52 pm

Question, public input is governed by state law, but I want to know, being that these committee boards are appointed by the mayor, and under the mayors office, cant the mayor’s office govern the public meetings as they wish as far as public input is concerned? City Council sets the rules as for their public input, you would these committee boards being under the Mayors office and guidance, the mayors once elected, set the tone as to how they want to conduct business on these boards. I am thinking out loud.

#8 l3wis on 09.09.21 at 4:16 pm

All wonderful questions and the reason why I think the citizens should vote on it, because 1) it concerns us, and 2) the mayor, the city Council, the city attorney and the city clerk refuse to act on it because they hate public input and citizen engagement. Now I have no doubt all of my ideas will be whisked away, but hopefully on the input part the mayor and council get the message and put some kind of standard in place that follows state law.

#9 Mike Lee Zitterich on 09.09.21 at 8:03 pm

IF I were to place any ‘restrictions’ on TIFS within the Charter, I would support Scott’s concept by amending City Charter Section 5.10 to read:

Section 5.10 Overspending of appropriations, Tax Increment Financing prohibited-

(a) No payment shall be made or obligation incurred against any allotment or appropriation except in accordance with appropriations duly made and unless the mayor or the mayor’s designee first certifies that there is a sufficient unencumbered balance in such allotment or appropriation and that sufficient funds therefrom are or will be available to cover the claim or meet the obligation when it becomes due and payable. Any authorization of payment or incurring of obligation in violation of the provisions of this charter shall be void and any payments made illegal. A violation of this provision shall be cause for removal of any officer who knowingly authorized or made such payment or incurred such obligation. Such officer may also be liable to the city for any amount so paid. Except where prohibited by law, however, nothing in this charter shall be construed to prevent the making or authorizing of payments or making of contracts for capital improvements to be financed wholly or partly by the issuance of bonds or to prevent the making of any contract or lease providing for payments beyond the end of the fiscal year, but only if such action is made or approved by ordinance.

(b) No Tax Increment Finance District shall be created unless the desired project(s) fit the rules as established and adopted by this charter, and no Tax Increment Payment of Funds shall be distributed to any private contractor, developer, land owner, organization, or corporation without meeting the criteria below:

(1) Tax Increment Financing shall be restricted to such sub-divisions, districts, development projects where such development will eliminate blight, build density within the core area of the city, whereas simultaneously shall provide both affordable housing, and workforce housing projects.

(2) Tax Increment Financing that provides for Public Roads, Infrastructure, Public Improvements to water, sewer, or utility upgrades, and of which exceed the total value of $10,000,000 million dollars of financing, shall require a public vote of the qualified electors of the city.

(3) Any Financial Package including Bonds, Bank Loans, or other outside funding sources shall require no less than three-fourths (6 votes) approval by the City Council by adopting a future ordinance upon second reading.

(4) Any Tax Increment Financing that is to reimburse any private organization, corporation, association, or group of persons, the council shall at the time of the creating a district, shall require a list of names of all developmental partners, investors, and financial partners, of which by resolution, shall become a matter of public record in the office of the city clerk.

#10 name thankfully no longer in quotes on 09.09.21 at 9:09 pm

LOL. Mike never posting here again almost lasted as long as Scott being with the blog. Can’t make this stuff up.