As I discussed in the past, the state has said all along that our petition drive was legal as long as the petitions were in a 6-month time frame. The city refused to give us an answer on the topic, but if you watch this Charter Revision meeting, the answer is pretty clear, there is no filing deadline and the city attorney’s office is attempting to get a deadline (because no rule exists now), even though it may be unconstitutional. Funny how they couldn’t give us an answer BUT now they are attempting to change the rules. How can you change a rule that you are unsure exists to begin with? Can you say Weasels? That’s right, the city feels it can pass any ordinances they want with no regard to the state constitution and it seems like they welcome the challenge, that is if citizens can afford to challenge the constitutionality of their petition drive.

What this mean? It means politicians are attempting to further tie the hands of citizens when it comes to petition drives for initiatives and referendums. In other words, they don’t like their decisions being overturned even if those decisions are wrong and the citizens are right.

Thanks Judge Admunson for nothing. You truly have no clue who you work for.

When the city council decided to raise our taxes last Semptember they promised two things. 1) That the extra revenue of .08% would go into a special fund that would only be spent on arterial roads 2) That the developers would be paying 50% of that tab through platting fees. Even with the economy down and the city not being able to raise $10 million for the roads doesn’t mean that developers should be off the hook for their half of the bargain. But it seems like they think they are, and the city isn’t doing a damn thing about it.

In my interview yesterday I reiterated that the night of the increase vote that we told councilors a recession was coming, they didn’t care. It was pretty obvious that night as it is today that the four councilors who voted for the increase, Knudson, Brown, Jamison, Litz and Mayor Munson, were bought and paid for through campaign donations by the developers, one of which I busted cracking jokes about citizens testifying against the increase in the bathroom that night. The same guy who was crying and blaming the recession and the economy last night on the boob tube. Pretty funny now, isn’t it?

Here’s some highlights in the story that seem to prove they knew all along that the developers were not going to pony up;

“There’s a good supply of land platted and until that land becomes to be matured, meaning there is rooftops on it, additional land does not need to be platted,” Cotter said.

So, then, why did we need to increase taxes in 2009 to build roads we may not need until 2010 or 2011?

We have a million dollars more in the fund today than we would have had before. We can always take the negative approach to everything and it really wouldn’t matter in the long term. We don’t build our company and I don’t think Sioux Falls builds their city, and I don’t think any bona fide business person is going to say, ‘Well, I build my company one year at a time,'” Craig Lloyd of Lloyd Companies said.

Craig’s comment is very revealing. 1) He is right, we have a million in the fund, money we, the citizens, put in the kitty, you know, the same people you belittled that September night while taking a leak. Where is your share? I agree, a city doesn’t build itself one year at a time, but when the city and developers tell us there will be a 50/50 partnership, you better hold up your end of deal, and if you don’t, why should we?

But let’s just look at the figures;

$1,000,0000 – What the city has raised so far

$78,000 – What developers have put in so far ($70,000 was added in June to the fund)

Now lets scenario the economy turns around and those numbers triple by the end of the year;

$3,000,000 – City

$234,000 – Develop

$3,234,000 – Total December 31, 2009

But this is where it gets interesting and the city gets caught up in their lies. The CIP has $5.4 million budgeted for arterial streets next year. Where is that additional money coming from? Most likely us.

$2,166,000 shortfall (that will have to be taken out of the regular CIP fund)

That would mean while taxpayers will have to pony up $5,166,000 for arterial streets next year, developers will only be putting a fraction of that aproximately $234,000, unless of course they win the lottery.

Does that sound like a 50/50 partnership to you? Kind of sounds a bad restroom joke to me.


Last year when the Sioux Falls city council voted to raise our retail taxes they said it was for new arterial roads. They argued the extra .08% would raise $5 million for new roads and platting fees paid by developers would pay the other $5 million. A 50/50 partnership, so to speak. In recent months, I assume to downplay our tax petition, the city started to say it was going to be a 40/60 partnership instead, with the developers paying the 60%.

Well the numbers are in, and they ain’t even close to what the city is claiming. Since the tax increase took effect January 1, 2009, the extra .08% in retail taxes has collected about $1 Million dollars. In five months. Obviously it will have to pick up a bit to reach the $4 million dollar goal by the end of the year. But the alarming number is how much the developers have put in the kitty since January 1st. Let’s just say I rewinded the audio three times when finance director Eugene ‘Montgomery Burns’ Rowenhorst mumbled the amount at yesterday’s informational meeting; $8,000 dollars! Nope, you heard right, not $800,000 dollars, $8,000 in five months!  I think the Boy Scouts could raise more than that in just one week selling popcorn.

I said this tax increase was a ruse from the beginning to max out our taxes, it had nothing to do with building those roads. And if the developers are going to chip in 60% to build arterial roads, they better turn it up a notch, because at that rate, they won’t have enough money to build one block let alone several streets.

As usual, Sioux Falls taxpayers will have to pony up 90% of the money for the roads. And as usual, Munson’s administration misled and lied to the public to raise our taxes.


ANOTHER THING THAT WAS BROUGHT UP, in the meeting by Rowenhorst was how much of our Capital Improvement fund goes toward debt service (paying interest and principal on bonds); 22%. Just imagine all the roads we could fix if we weren’t throwing those millions away on interest payments? By rough estimates I’m guessing we pay about $25 million in interest/principal payments a year, just on our CIP projects. Ironically, Eugene bragged that 22% was a good number, he said the city’s credit rating could allow us to be paying 44% out in debt service.

Where do they get these clowns anyway? Oh that’s right Rowenhorst and Munson worked for Citibank, that explains it all.


You would think with being a full-time marketing guru, a part-time dad and councilor he wouldn’t have time to help out others in the community;

Mark Johnston’s (an executive with Sanford – The Argus edited that out of the letter) My Voice column in the May 10 Argus Leader concerning the information sheet I’d written on behalf of Citizens for a Responsible Sales Tax is an encouraging sign. In a vital society, citizens speak out on important issues.


The column reflects almost point for point an April 28 e-mail response I received from Sioux Falls City Councilor Vernon Brown. Johnston evidently also contacted Brown for information – another good sign of citizen and government interaction.

I guess I have been mistaken. It seems our councilors and city have the special interests on a leash, not the other way around. Wonder how big of a check Mr. Johnston will be cutting Vernon for his mayor campaign? A small price to pay to have someone write a letter to the editor for you I guess. Maybe Johnston could help these people instead;

Forty percent of the students in our public schools in 2008-09 were eligible for free or reduced-rate meals. The number of families in Sioux Falls at or below 180 percent of poverty is growing – not a good sign that taxes should be raised.

Of course they have to raise taxes on the rest of us so we can feed these kids. Wait. You mean they didn’t raise our taxes to help the less fortunate? I guess the kids will just have to learn how to eat off of those new roads on the edge of Tea, SD we are building with the tax increase. Too bad really, I think roadkill tastes better in the Fall, but what do I know, I’m just a blogger.

Kathy ends her letter with a little truth to power that our city officials seem to be incredibly ignorant about;

Financial irresponsibility has landed our nation in its current morass of staggering debt and unemployment and its growing numbers of families at or near poverty. One of the most important duties citizens have is keeping a watch on their own communities’ financial accountability.

Rocky Balboa film

So I’m reading the Gargoyle Leader’s story today about the Credit Union closing down at Sanford that Angry Guy posted about today, and I come across a name I heard before, Mark Johnston. Then it clicks, he was the guy that wrote that our tax petition drive was misleading.  Ironically when he had the letter published in his BIO he vaguely said he worked for the healthcare industry. I found it strange that he couldn’t say what he did or who he worked for? I see he is a Vice President at Sanford. Maybe he didn’t  say because he wanted people to think he was a regular Joe.

Cass on dvd

Turner & Hooch dvd

Yeah, and we are the misleaders. Yeah Right.