Sioux Falls City Council’s Property Tax Refund proposal is Hypocritical

So Councilor Soehl is sponsoring an ordinance for the city’s portion of property taxes to be refunded to low income seniors (1st Reading, Item #50)

â–ª A Simplified Process: Those who qualify for state assessment freeze program will be automatically enrolled.
â–ª Must make application at the County for the State’s Assessment Freeze Program (existing process) by April 1 of the year preceding the year in which City will issue refund.
â–ª Refund will be equal to the municipal property tax, but may not exceed $500 annually.
â–ª City Council must renew program each year by resolution, and make an appropriation.
â–ª If approved, first refund payment issued on or before March 31.

While I certainly don’t have an issue with offering this program it surely wreaks with hypocrisy. While Councilor Starr, the co-sponsor, has consistently voted against property tax percentage increases, most of the council has not. They have also approved millions in TIFs for luxury condos, parking ramps and egg roll factories which raises the taxes on the rest of us (mine went up 7.5% from last year) and they have yet to present a doable plan to combat affordable housing in our city.

All of this comes of course just a couple months from a city council election. Hmmmmm.

I’m all for keeping taxes affordable for low income seniors, but you have to wonder if it is at the cost of the rest of us. I have been arguing for awhile that we are being extremely overtaxed in Sioux Falls. Somehow we have $10 million laying around for infrastructure of a private non-profit research facility (even though a well maintained road goes right up to the development and water and sewer probably run right underneath it) and a couple million for employee retention bonuses (without a vaccination mandate or incentive).

If the city council wants to help out with property tax relief, why don’t we start with the people who are paying the lion’s share? I think the city council needs to start cutting property taxes, for all of us, and eliminate TIF’s and tax rebate for the big guys all together.


#1 D@ily Spin on 02.01.22 at 10:40 am

Only a few hundred qualify. It must be reinitiated annually. It’s more to manage than the benefit. What has worked best most everywhere is a permanent property tax freeze for seniors 65 or older. This is a trick without a treat. Seniors are a majority at the polls. This is an election play. Shame on the council and one councilor in particular.

#2 D@ily Spin on 02.01.22 at 10:55 am

The city needs affordable housing. There’s also a problem with rising property taxes pricing retirees out. Workers and consumers comprise the incorporated limits. If city leadership doesn’t address a balance, there will be a migration to surrounding suburbs. Last one out, turn off the lights.

#3 Overtaxed? on 02.02.22 at 8:53 am

How are you overtaxed L3wis? You think the taxes would be less in Luverne Minnesota? Sioux Center Iowa? Have you ANY proof? OR, just spouting stuff to make you and your echo chamber feel better? It’s all about feels…

#4 L3wis on 02.02.22 at 9:27 am

It’s not a matter of looking at you individual tax bill, it’s a matter of how the city spends those taxes. If 90% is actually being spent on infrastructure and operations, that means we are not being overtaxed. But when we are spending around 30% on private and entertainment adventures that tells me the city is collecting too much. You would think with all the building growth in our city and growing valuuation, that the city would be cutting a certain percentage each year, instead they are increasing it and finding pet projects to spend the money on.

#5 D@ily Spin on 02.02.22 at 12:49 pm

The county handles property taxes. The city would have to fund back some of their cut. The indirect transfer is a form of age discrimination. If the city does this, their tax partition is to high.