Billion dollar permit record in Sioux Falls happened by pouring gasoline on a fire and massive property tax increases

As I have been saying for years, we are breaking these records by ignoring affordable housing, handing out millions in tax rebates and TIFs and including publicly funded projects while raising property taxes a record amount.

If you read the article you see that two large chunks of permitting were projects that received millions in TIF money and another large chunk was public projects like the water treatment plant and the public safety center.

I have often argued that permits should be separated into PUBLIC PROJECTS and COMMERCIAL PROJECTS.

Private Commercial projects build economic growth, but when they are propped up by massive tax rebates it’s just putting gasoline on the fire. As for Public Projects, those are funded by the taxpayers as investments in infrastructure and should NOT be considered towards the permitting financials as part of economic growth. Sure, we have to build these facilities because of growth, but it also means our taxes are going up to do so while handing out tax breaks to the very developers fueling the uncontrollable growth. It is counter productive and simply growth for growth sakes instead measured, calculated slower growth.

I would love to see the city stop giving TIFs for Korean owned egg roll factories and parking ramps and start applying them to neighborhoods. Or better yet abolish TIFs all together and simply invest tax dollars in neighborhoods by encouraging the construction of more affordable housing through other tax incentives. Instead recently the city code enforcers bombarded neighborhoods in the central district with pink spray paint and violation notices for city owned sidewalks. What a great way to prop up our central neighborhoods by fining citizens to fix city owned property (more on this story in the near future).

Recently CountCilor Alex ‘Expert Economist’ Jensen suggested on CityLink that the way to solve our workforce and housing issues is by inviting people to work in Sioux Falls but to live in towns around us like Tea, Hartford, Dell Rapids, etc. Yeah, that’s an awesome way to build a solid tax base 🙁 and this guy works at a bank!

I would also like to see separating commercial and public permits. They don’t represent the same thing and shouldn’t be held up together. It’s like saying you are the championship BBQ’r in your own backyard and buying yourself a trophy. The city saying they broke records by including infrastructure projects they approved and we are paying for through higher taxes is putting the thumb on the scale.

Don’t get me wrong, economic development is good, but let’s be honest about the numbers and where the money is coming from (mostly taxpayers) and let’s start investing in neighborhoods, local businesses and people – then you will see true economic development we can be proud of because you can’t live in a parking ramp, police firing range or an egg roll.



12 comments ↓

#1 rufusx on 11.23.21 at 8:41 am

Requiring the zoning and permitting processes for Public projects is a part of a built-in check and balance on the various departments that wish to build stuff. Just sayin’.

Are you saying one can’t get the information about the value of Public Projects and figure out the proportions oneself??

I’m pretty sure the details are all public record – so you’re simply complaining about the PR aspect of it all – not the actual accounting – right?

#2 D@ily Spin on 11.23.21 at 9:42 am

I’ve looked for a move up home. What’s available inside city limits (if for sale) has become unaffordable. It’s time to look at surrounding communities where prices are better and property tax lower. The developer insider deals with the city are lucrative. There’s not much building neighboring Sioux Falls corruption but it’s worth looking and this could change.

Isn’t it the wrong time of year for pink spraying sidewalks. Owners could not possibly pour concrete until spring. Wouldn’t code enforcement serve better doing something else.

#3 D@ily Spin on 11.23.21 at 9:57 am

Code enforcement needs another reorganization. It’s often used to harass citizens who disagree with the mayor. Childish, the mayor needs more kiddy club and less ACLU.

#4 l3wis on 11.23.21 at 10:28 am

Yes, no problem with accounting, it just be nice if they explained that 30-50% of the projects are tax payer funded or propped up with tax incentives

#5 Very Stable Genius on 11.23.21 at 11:16 am

All of these people moving to town. All of these new job opportunities. But what happens in about 10 to 15 years when AI kicks in at full throttle, where will these people work, how will they afford rent?

Sioux Falls having more building permits then Omaha. Although, Omaha is four times our size. Is like a naive experiment in growth and development. Then add climate change, prairie fires (Denver still hasn’t had any snow this fall.), and the next decade will make us opine for the days of mask debates and long lines at Chick-fil-A.

( and Woodstock adds: “What about an AI generated blog?”…. “Oh, wait minute, we already have one”…. “It’s DWC with its multiple press releases”…. “Although, I question the ‘I’ word there”…. (…”You would think that with a billion dollars in permits that there could be at least one for some Events Center siding”…. ))

#6 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.23.21 at 1:28 pm

Any time “Government” has to give discounts, rebates, or tax credit to the citizens, it means the “Tax Rates” are to high to begin with. I have said this for years, and I am probally the most Conservative, Constitutionalist, Anti-Federalism there is…

I have said for years, the 2nd Penny Sales Tax can be trimmed back down to 0.25% for 5 years. The purpose of the 2nd Penny was to fund Capital Projects (new roads, infrastructure, utilities, etc), not to pay off a DEBT, which is what the City Council as agreed to do for the past 15 years.

We need to amend our ordinance’s to completely restrict the 2nd Penny to its original intent, and not the debt.

You got to give current Mayor Paul Ten Haken props for paying off our debt, he has done a great job of paying off our debt caused by the previous 8 years prior.

We got to avoid borrowing from bond holders, but borrow more from South Dakota Citizens by means of the South Dakota Treasury where we pay ourselves back 2-3% while the “State” utilizes the interest payments for future government services back to the people.

The current Mayor has done an excellent job at working out partnerships that are best for the residents of Sioux Falls.

#7 Erica on 11.23.21 at 5:36 pm

Did Jensen ever take into consideration that the people who live in Tea, Harrisburg, Dell Rapids, etc want to WORK in their own communities?

Our schools are already overcrowded, traffic becoming more congested, roads horrific, businesses cant find employees, housing is getting harder to find for first-time homebuyers, crime going up, but sure.. lets keep building here living off the mentality of “if you build it, they will come” rather than improving the city for those already here. Its all about fattening the pockets from taxes when growth seriously needs to be slown down here.

#8 Mike Lee Zitterich on 11.23.21 at 7:25 pm

Erica,
“investing” in Sioux Falls or any town for that matter is not really for the public good of the residents. One must take into account what happens when a Town dissolves itself, I can provide you evidence of this with how the small town of Unityville dissolved nearly 50 years ago.

LAND OWNERS/property holders really own the town, they alone based on their ‘vested stock’ in the city itself, LAND OWNERSHIP – control the in and outs of all Townships, Villages, Cities, Municipalities.

Every “Dollar” invested in Roads, Utilities, Infrastructure, Ammunities, really solve one thing, they “ADD” to the over all ASSET VALUE of the City.

IF, ‘we’ mismanage the town to the point the residents leave, and if that residency falls below a certain statutory number (250), the LAND OWNERS/property owners can petition each other to petition the circuit court to dissolve the city, put in place a plan to collect all recievables, pay off all debts, sell off all assets, pay down all obligations, and any “profits” left over, are distributed back to the LAND OWNERS/property holders by proportion of who holds the most ‘property’.

Sioux Falls is a long way from this happening, yes, but – the point I am making, all this INVESTMENT is not really to always improve life for the residents, but to build up “ASSET VALUE” for those who are well vested in the CITY itself – LAND OWNERS.

#9 The Guy From Guernsey on 11.24.21 at 6:53 am

Mike,
The City of Sioux Falls recently decided to dissolve a parking lot from our collective ‘vested stock’.
As a LAND OWNER in the City of Sioux, when to I receive my check?
And will this distribution considered a distribution to partners?
Or a Capital Gain on sale of property owned by many (kind of like when a mutual fund owned by many parties sells a stock for a gain)?

#10 The Guy From Guernsey on 11.24.21 at 7:04 am

In before Woodstock with this add, “I think The Guy From Guernsey just hired MLZ as a tax advisor. I hope he googles ‘weather in January Leavenworth KS compared to Duluth Federal Prison Camp’?”

#11 rufusx on 11.24.21 at 9:29 am

Daily – Modern methods of pouring concrete (chemical additives, ground heaters and thermal blankets and allow for nearly year around activities.

Zitterich – ever heard the term economies of scale? Key word to your Unityville story is “small”.

#12 "Woodstock" on 11.24.21 at 5:44 pm

“What about the Yankton Federal Prison?”…. “Not as many tornadoes as Leavenworth and not as cold as Duluth”…