This could be us, if we don’t act now. “Heh, Heh, the fishin’ pretty good in Sioux Falls, huh daddy?”
Though it is disappointing that our intitiative bit the dust, I am more disappointed in the seven councilors who voted for the $38 million dollar bond to pay for the levees. Do I think the project needs to be done? Definately. But it all comes down to timing and Federal money, and FACTS, not gut feelings.
Some things the councilors did not take into consideration;
– They could still negotiate with FEMA. FEMA isÂ the federal agency that created this flood plain, it should be the Federal government’s responsibility to fix and pay for the problem and last I checked people in Sioux Falls pay Federal income taxes, the Feds owe us.
– Though it is true we have to foot the bill for the 41st Street bridge ($12 Million) we could have pulled that money from the CIP (where it originally was) but instead it was thrown into the loan so the city could spend the $12 million in the CIP on WANTS. Very, very, fiscally irresponsible considering our interest on the loan will be over $8 million to pay back.
– This city hasn’t had a major flood since the 1950’s and there hasn’t been ANY studies done for at least 20 to 30 years about where we stand for floods. We also have been in a drought for the last 4 years, at least, in SD. (ironically why the Lewis and Clark pipeline is so vital) There have only been two incidents in recent years that had nothing to do with the levees or the floodplain. In 1996 the spillway had to built up because it couldn’t handle the Spring thaw and in 2005 we got two torrential rains that backed up into people’s basements do to inadequate sewer and street drainage. The levees held then too. I have said to this day, that happened because for the past 20 years the city has been putting bandades on infrastructure while going gungho on new development and growth, and they continue this practice to this day.Â You can thankÂ Steve Metli, former city planner for that.
– Individual property owners are responsible for their own flood insurance, not the city. If they don’t want to pay for the insurance for the next couple of years, don’t buy it or move. Ironically not one single property owner of the 1,900 properties in the proposed floodplain came last night to plead with the council to vote for this loan. NOT A SINGLE ONE! Yet Munson toldÂ us there was many concerned citizens, but I guess not concerned enough to show up to this important decision that would affect their property. He also said he “Feels for people” on fixed incomes that may have to buy this insurance. Well, if you are so concerned about fixed income people, stop raising our taxes on food to pay for streets that we don’t need. That’s a start.
– And lastly, my biggest argument why this loan was a bad idea was because once we pay for this up front, what obligationÂ doesÂ the Federal government have to pay us back? None. The argument is we would save money on bonds and bids if we do the project now. Which is a dumb argument, considering if the FEDs pay for it, instead of us, who cares what it cost, we won’t have to pay it back. The objective of Obama’s stimulous package is to create 5 million jobs. What incentive does the Obama administration have to create jobs for infrastructure projects in a city that has a low unemployment rate and the credit rating to pay for these projects on their own?
Even though Staggers voted for the project he tried to get an amendment to push the bridge back into the CIP (where it belongs) so we could reduce our loan. Nobody seconded the motion.
I think we should pay for theÂ bridge out of our CIP and make cuts to wants. I think we should get on the horn to Ironic Johnny, Timmy come lately and Stephanie Herseth-Sandals Vaction and get them in on the stimulous package to get us Federal aid for the levees.
Of course now it is too late. Councilors voted with their emotions last night (and made me the butt of several jokes about being opposed to it). Councilor Litz even talked about global warming and Katrina (can’t remember the last time we were hit by a hurricane).
“You have to measure the risk with the cost,” he said. “We know we have flood protection.”
Of course the AL editorial board gave the decision a big old thumbs up;
And it would be sad if the bond vote-repeal effort connection somehow becomes a campaign issue in the 2010 mayoral race.
Oh, it will be an issue!
Yes, the council has a duty to gather all pertinent information that might influence its decisions, and that includes the effect of the bond vote on the repeal effort.
But given that due process has been upheld, it was appropriate – indeed necessary – for the council to move forward.