The city (more specifically the mayor’s office) is proposing this (Item #13);

Updates city ordinance related to the sale of and application for on-sale and off-sale dealer liquor licenses by replacing the liquor license lottery procedure with a sealed bid process. Additionally, updates city ordinance to allow for on-sale liquor licenses at various municipal-owned facilities to reflect changes to South Dakota Codified Law that becomes effective on July 1, 2023.

Since there has been NO presentation to the public OR council (they found out Friday morning) there seems to be more questions about this POLICY change then answers;

• Why is the mayor’s office directly sponsoring policy that by charter should be introduced by council?

• Does the city NEED more then $240K per liquor license? Where do licensing fees go? To alcohol compliance with the SFPD? As I understand it, all licensing fees go directly into the general fund.

Recently PTH did an interview on one of our 30 second news clip TV stations and proclaimed that MJ is a gateway drug to other hard drugs like opioids. While any kind of drug use can lead to doing other drugs, there is often a connection between alcohol use in minors and using harder drugs like opioids. While MJ is a lot stronger then it used to be and is classified as a narcotic, it doesn’t have the addictive qualities that alcohol or opioids may have. Many long time suffering alcoholics and opioid drug addicts have actually used MJ to beat their opioid and alcohol addictions.

So are we using these licensing fees to combat alcohol consumption in minors?

My bigger concern besides policy disputes, compliance and speculative budgeting is the obvious; putting local business owners in competition with large investor groups and national franchises will virtually eliminate their opportunity to buy a liquor license in this town. While the lottery system is messy (I don’t approve of it) it is still more fair then giving licenses to the highest bidder.

I really don’t know why this change is being suggested besides the GREED of the big guys and their firm grip on city hall, there really is NO other explanation.


It hasn’t even been a week since the mayor mocked a former city councilor while mumbling into his microphone like an old man waiting in line for his prescription at Lewis Drug and we have this from the supposed fiscally restraint administration;

But the new project timeline also means the city will have to pony up its portion of the $16.5 million endeavor sooner than expected, however. The donations are contingent upon the Sioux Falls City Council approving an additional $3 million for the project, which will bring the city’s commitment to about $8.5 million. The Council will consider a request from the mayor’s office to supplement the city’s 2023 budget next week.

So a project that was going to originally cost taxpayers $2 million (capital costs) has ballooned to 4X that!? I thought the city doesn’t have cost overruns? LMFAO!

Of course the administration has tried to cleverly hide the cost overrun with this ordinance (Item #12);

Notice how they packaged the supplement as helping out several departments. But does the Fire Department really need another $500K to finish out the year?


While there is a part of me that laughed when I read this ordinance (Item #16), it is not such a bad idea;

The proposed ordinance adds $50,000 to the Police budget for a community awareness campaign to remind the vehicle owners in Sioux Falls to lock their vehicles.

In the late 1980’s I moved to live with my dad in a large West Coast city. While I was living there I got my first car and learned very quickly if you don’t lock the doors on your car you can expect just about everything to be stripped from the interior of your vehicle in the time it takes you to pick up a soda at Fred Meyers so it has often baffled me that people will leave valuables and especially loaded guns in unlocked cars. I think a great PSA would be a dramatization of a criminal stealing a loaded gun from an unlocked car in an affluent neighborhood and using the weapon in a crime.

10 Thoughts on “City of Sioux Falls Liquor License proposal will squeeze out small business owners

  1. Mike Lee Zitterich on June 11, 2023 at 1:49 pm said:

    What is interesting, is the Alcohol License has been discussed now, this would be the 3rd time in the past year or so, since this lively discussion began, much of the discussion has derived itself from the 2020-21 discourse related to Medical Marijuana, then transitioned to how to govern over Video Lottery, while amending our Alcohol Licensing Ordinance.

    Could it effect “Small Business Owners”? Yes.

    A year after creating the Lottery System, I believe this concept is coming from the inner makings of City Government, which of course, the Mayor, by charter has the right to place on the “Agenda”.

    The goal here, may be, and it is a plausible one, is a concept which has now been triggered by the most recent discussion related to the 600 Block of 11th Street issues.

    More importantly, Character and Suitable Persons and Locations of the Alcohol License Industry itself.

    The City Council made the fisrt move by bringing the concept of the Lottery System and the Hard Cap on Video Lottery.

    Now the “Government” is attempting to amend it further, by replacing the lottery with a Bid Process, which may have been brought forward by the “Industry” itself led by the Bar Owner, Video Lottery Casino Owners, Property Holders, etc.

    Getting these groups of businesses/investment groups to bid against each other may encourage future development, it may also lead to “reconsidering” the Cap on Video Lottrey, let alone lead to the discusion of moving theses types of businesses farther away from Churches, Schools, Parks, and Residential Areas.

    I do not necessarily believe this is the Mayor’s Ordinance, but this may actually be an ordinance change brought by the “Industry” itself, fighting back against the Council.

  2. Who needs a license, just drink on June 11, 2023 at 3:19 pm said:

    It’s time to say it again,

    The mayor is doing something underhanded for his rich peeps at the expense of the rest of us.

  3. Very Stable Genius on June 11, 2023 at 3:32 pm said:

    It’s all about the developers and the connected. #TaupevilleDemocracy

    ( and Woodstock adds: “I’d say it’s more like a Taupeville Theocracy, if you ask me”…. )

  4. Despite lies from the South Dakota Republican Party video lootery, suicide, domestic violence and homelessness are inextricably linked putting children at risk to more catastrophic consequences far more often than has happened in states that have legalized or lessened penalties for casual use of cannabis.

    Matt Walz works for Keystone Treatment Center, the only inpatient gambling addiction treatment center in South Dakota and has been told the best place addicts can buy meth is at the bars with video lootery terminals. “’As for suicide,’ Walz continued, ‘compulsive gamblers have the highest rate of suicide than any other addiction.’” In 2020 the Rapid City Police Department took their complaints to the public because it was overwhelmed with crimes of opportunity driven by meth and gambling. Even the extreme white wing of the South Dakota Republican Party has called video lootery a “scourge.”

    Now, according to WalletHub, gambling has become a leading source of anguish and despair in my home state with few avenues for treatment. The state is tied for first in the number of casinos and machines and second in overall addiction to the poison.

    The reasoning is hardly mysterious. It’s all about the money a too big to jail banking racket, a medical industry triopoly, prostitution, the Sturgis Rally, policing for profit, sex trafficking, hunting and subsidized grazing bring to the SDGOP destroying lives, depleting watersheds and smothering habitat under single-party rule.

  5. Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on June 11, 2023 at 5:26 pm said:

    I wonder what Tocqueville would have had to say about Taupeville Democracy?

  6. D@ily Spin on June 11, 2023 at 8:56 pm said:

    What will inevitably happen is bars and restaurants must raise prices. It’s not that far to go outside city limits for significant savings. Why is it that outgoing mayors look for ways to damage a healthy economy?

    The next mayor could get elected with a return to normal. While she’s at it, how about no TIF’s for 2 terms and fix the water plant.

  7. The Guy From Guernsey on June 12, 2023 at 10:14 pm said:

    “Getting these groups of businesses/investment groups to bid against each other may encourage future development …”

    No. It won’t.
    It will actually raise the barrier to entry for “development” [i.e. new businesses who wish to have a liquor license].
    Want to open a restaurant and serve cocktails – going to cost a few hundred thousand to several hundred thousand dollars just for a liquor license.
    The winners – the proprietors of the diviest dive bar which currently holds a full liquor license. Congratulations! Your retirement fund will get boosted by an easy half a million. Likely more.

  8. NEW Liquor licenses should still stay at $250K. All transfers going froward should be $250K as well.

    If Alplebees want to buy the license from Joes Bar for $500K that fine. But the taxpayers need to be cut $250K for the transfer to take place.

  9. This new policy on liquor licenses will discriminate against the small businessperson and especially minority businesses. This policy, like the housing policy in this city for the last 30 years, is another example of government policies being stirred to facilitate the elite of this town at the expense of everyone else. They wish to create the perfect city, well, perfect for the few. Just as there will be no liquor licenses with this new policy – for the disenfranchised in our community – it will be analogous to the lack of affordable houses in this town for the working poor and middle class, a reality that was born from a willingness among government leaders in this town to facilitate the developers at the expense of the people for far too long. We often call Sioux Falls a tale of two cities, but it’s vastly becoming “One” Sioux Falls for the few with the many asking what is really left of the other city?

  10. "Woodstock" on June 14, 2023 at 9:52 pm said:

    “steered” 😉

Post Navigation