Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Dec 6-7, 2022

Current City Calendar

Council Informational Meeting • 4 PM Tuesday Dec 6

• Traffic 101 by Andy Berg, City Engineer (Not sure what this is but I guess the council is getting some skoolin’ on roads)

Council Regular Meeting • 6 PM Tuesday Dec 6

Item 6, Sub-Item 22; Entertainment Facilities, Washington Pavilion Building Improvements – Balustrade and Cornice Remodel; To award a bid, McGill Restoration, Inc., $5.9 Million, There is available budget to award this bid out of the Washington Pavilion CIP budget. (this is code for ‘entertainment tax’ the slush fund the Pavilion and city have been using to make repairs to the city owned facility. I have argued for a long time that they could just remove the bad balustrades and plug the holes for a lot less, even though the contractors say otherwise. No one would know any different if they were removed permanently. This should have been done 20 years ago when the problem came up, but now we are looking for a $6 million dollar fix while the Pavilion’s management sits on over $5 million in a savings account. The image below is a photoshop rendition of what the Pavilion would look like without the balustrades. While the city decries tax cuts in their legislative priorities, they seem to have plenty of money for glamor and appearance projects.

Items 20-86 (there are several VL lottery requests in the wake of the recent cap. I implore the council to pull each license and vote on them individually).

Item #96, 2nd Reading: AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY BY AMENDING CHAPTER 37: TAXATION. Sponsor, Mayor, Background & Objective:  The proposed changes are a result of the work done by Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. on the Main Street Sioux Falls Business Improvement District Growth Plan. The Plan proposes additional and enhanced services to best position downtown for growth and to address common issues. Additional funding would be generated by these proposed amendments to achieve the additional and enhanced services. (After this was explained to me, I support the amendments even, but you have to wonder why the mayor is sponsoring a tax increase? The council should have been the ones to bring this forward, but maybe they need 3-4 more full-time employees to assist them with their very difficult job of creating policy. I still think a better approach would be for the parking department to be in charge of the maintenance DTSF since they do collect a majority of parking fees in the downtown area and let DTSF concentrate on marketing, programming and business services with fees collected. DTSF shouldn’t have to beg for tax code changes to water plants and sweep the sidewalks, the city has plenty of money to take care of the maintenance and beautification of downtown).

Item #98, 1st Reading: AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, AMENDING THE REVISED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY BY ESTABLISHING AN ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION BOARD. Sponsor: Mayor Background & Objective: The purpose of the Sioux Falls Active Transportation Board (ATB) is to advise the city council, city departments, and city boards regarding bicycle, pedestrian, and other active transportation and accessible pedestrian transportation modes. (While this is a great idea, this should have been initiated by the city council, like the homeless task force. The council will ultimately have to vote on any changes and they should be actively involved in shaping these policies moving forward. Just another fancy task force the mayor and his staff have cooked up to make it look like they are doing something. I heard in the first meeting they will spend the first 45 minutes rearranging chairs in the conference room. As an all season bicyclist and active street rider since the early 90’s in Sioux Falls, I would love to sit on this board and give my perspective of what I have seen. I would apply, but most likely my application would end up where my other city board’s applications have ended up 🙂

Item #99, A RESOLUTION APPROVING THE MINNESOTA AVENUE CORRIDOR PHASE I LAND USE REPORT. Sponsor: Mayor, Background & Objective: That the City of Sioux Falls adopts the Minnesota Avenue Phase I Land Use Report to provide policies and guidance for future rezoning proposals, conditional use requests, redevelopment grant funding, and other redevelopment proposals. (I have been watching this construction play out, and from what I have been hearing from residents and business owners in the affected area is that while the city has been having listening/learning sessions they ultimately are doing what they want to with little to no regard from private recommendations. Minnesota Avenue should have started this process 30 years ago. I remember De Knudson and Dr. Staggers recommending changes to this corridor with no avail. I guess better late then never.

Item #100, A  RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS AND WASHINGTON PAVILION MANAGEMENT, INC. FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE WASHINGTON PAVILION OF ARTS AND SCIENCE, ORPHEUM THEATER, AND THE MUNICIPAL BAND. Background & Objective: Resolution to approve entering into a five-year management agreement with Washington Pavilion Management, Inc. to manage the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science, Orpheum Theater, and the Sioux Falls Municipal Band. Agreement covers the years 2023-2027. Details of the new proposed Agreement were presented at the City Council’s Informational Meeting on November 22. (While there was a presentation on the renewal, the Pavilion talked very little about their financial status. Do they really need an operating subsidy from the city when we dump millions into the place each year in maintenance? I think with $5 million in savings – growing a whopping $2 million last year – it is time the Pavilion put on their big kid pants and operated on their own coin considering NOTHING is FREE to use in the building except the toilet and water fountain. It certainly hasn’t become the place for ‘everyone’ but is has been costing ‘everyone’ in Sioux Falls a pretty penny.)

Council Working Session • 3 PM Wednesday Dec 7

• Legislative Priorities. Their priorities seem to be PRO-TAX for citizens while advocating for a tax break for themselves;

4. We support efforts to eliminate double taxation on public projects through the state use and contractor’s excise taxes.

I would agree that making citizens pay excise taxes on public projects is silly, BUT it is the contractors who build the projects that pay the tax. If this tax is eliminated, would the contractor pass those savings onto the city?

5. We oppose any legislation that would reduce or repeal any municipal or county tax.

This of course may apply to the food tax. I think it is incredibly short-sighted to support a food tax cut statewide but not municipal. I think if we eliminate the food tax in Pierre, it needs to apply to cities also. I have also argued for a long time, the city is overtaxing us. If you have over $70 million in your reserves (a savings account) you have to ask yourself if the city is collecting too much in taxes. I don’t care how large the city’s budget is, there is NO justification of having that much in reserves.

7. We support tax increment financing (TIF), an economic development tool that has led to millions of dollars in increased property value, benefitting both the state as a whole and the local entities sponsoring the districts, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the process.

Integrity of the process? Benefits? As I have stated over the years, there has been NO comprehensive independent study of what those benefits are and the process. I recently received a tip that one of the more recent TIFs the city council issued was based on NO financial review of the recipient, or at least not a comprehensive one. Did we learn anything from the bunker ramp fiasco? Maybe Neitzert is right, maybe we need to do an investigation to see just how bad city government screwed the pooch on that one.

Speaking of process integrity, I was made aware last week that a current city director is being asked now to run two separate departments that have very little to do with each other. While he is an educated, qualified director for the one department he currently runs he has zero qualifications for running the other department. While we could surmise why PTH makes such idiotic decisions (he has NO leadership skills) you have to wonder why this director would agree to such a thing, even with a significant pay increase? I guess when he quits in frustration or gets fired the administration will just chalk it up as par for the coarse. I think Amazon management has a lower turnover rate.

Planning Commission • 6 PM Wednesday Dec 7

Item 5A, Petition: CU-017246-2022: Conditional Use Permit to allow for a Full Service Restaurant within 250′ of a sensitive land use.  Operations will include On-Sale Alcohol with supplemental video lottery located at 7601 S. LOUISE AVE.

What I find interesting about this item is how some entities will come to the planning commission asking for conditional use permits without even having a business name. If you review the documents you will see this is basically a 3 tiered casino that has a pizza oven.

He envisions a restaurant centered around brick-oven pizza and with pasta dishes, salads and other family-friendly menu items.

Nothing says family friendly like 30 video lottery machines and a pepperoni pizza. “Where’s dad?” Asks Johnny. “He’s hopefully winning this month’s rent in the other room.” Mom replies.


#1 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 12.10.22 at 12:35 am

When it comes to the Pavilion, what I really appreciate about this issue is how the old Washington High is still educating me. Because, before this issue came into being, I had no idea what the fxxk a cornice, balustrade, or parapet were. But now that I know they are a part of any overall facade, its phoniness is actually inspiring and rather up-lifting….. AND, if you just cap the old WH, I’m afraid such an act will only further move it along to be nothing more than the little brother to Washington Square given the mid century metal hang-over which has already been constructed on the east side of the Pavilion in recent years in an attempt, in my opinion, to merely modernize the Pavilion to a point where its historic significance is lost, which is a lot like building a new home in McKennan Park, if you ask me….

#2 "Woodstock" on 12.10.22 at 12:39 am

“But I thought Balustrade was where the Soviets finally stopped the Nazis….”