Entries Tagged 'County Commission' ↓

Metro 911 has no emergency backup facility

During the joint Minnehaha County Commission/Sioux Falls city council meeting they had a budget presentation by Metro 911 (they jointly fund the facility). I was shocked to hear councilor Kiley say they don’t have an emergency backup facility (in case something were to destroy or close the current facility like a natural disaster, they have no other place to perform duties). Kiley brought this up because they are budgeting for a backup center (so that is good). They are also adding 4 new employees.

I can’t believe a city this size doesn’t have a backup 911 and they continually short staff them. I have also heard that the SFPD is about 16 officers short. This is what happens folks when we blow all our capital on play palaces, emergency services suffer.

Minnehaha CC Barth is tired of gun violence

FF 24:00

Minnehaha County Treasurer Nelson gets butt chewed by the commission

The MCC decided to chew Pam’s butt yesterday because her office is behind on some tax collections/audits. While I can understand their frustration with the issue, they are the ones who bought inferior software for the treasurer’s office to begin with AND I kind of wondered why they didn’t ask sooner if they weren’t getting the monthly reports?

But what was even more frustrating is watching the mostly Republican commissioners bitch about other things going on in Pam’s office (who is a Democrat). While they had a legitimate concern over the tax collections, dragging the other topics out wasn’t necessary, it’s the same old, ‘the lines are too long, blah, blah, blah. People need to understand that their are other ways to get your tags. You can mail them in (I do that), you can use a kiosk, or you can do it online, but as Pam said, older people prefer to do it face to face. Old habits are hard to break.

And as I told a MC Commissioner, “Pam is elected just like you. You can ‘ASK’ her to fix something, but you can’t DEMAND her to do it.” If I was Pam, I would have responded with the line from ‘A Few Good Men’ where Jack tells Cruise, “But your’e gonna have to ask nicely.”

Minnehaha County introduces new show?

I guess I have never seen this show before, so it must be something new.

Here is Inside Town Hall with 4 city councilors. When they talked about the Levitt I wanted to clap when the host, Madeline Shields said that there is ‘plenty of parking’ for the Levitt. Amen!

Welcome to Opt-Out Falls!

Well, it was bound to happen, with ALL of our local government agencies in Sioux Falls going Bat Sh*t crazy over opt-outs, the name change is no surprise.

“I will admit I was a little surprised and kind of hurt when I found out the name change,” local philanthropist Lenny Spamford exclaimed, “I mean just how much does a no state income tax paying billionaire in SD have to give before he gets a town named after him?”

The governor, Donita Trump, didn’t seem too bothered by the change either, “I guess we kind of forced it on them, you know, by collecting over 30% of our sales tax revenue from the city and giving them nothing in return. It may not seem fair, well because it isn’t. I told you I would do things differently, and I’m delivering on that promise. Talk to you later, I have to get back to trucker hat shopping and hip-hop dance lessons.”

The latest to opt-out was the Minnerahrah County Commission today voting 6-0 for an opt-out (and 5 of them are Republicans! The shame!).

“The county, especially Sioux Falls has become the place to commit crimes, it’s like it’s trendy or something to drive from Freeman, or Menno or even Highmore to commit crimes in our county,” said county commissioner Gene Bart, “We really enjoy arresting people here and putting them in the endless cycle of the criminal justice system. Heck, just yesterday we arrested someone for looking at the Arc of Dreams the wrong way, on top of that we even put a guy away for trying to burn the newly sodded grass at the Levitt with a magnifying glass. Lawn crimes, just another mole we are trying to whack! Building collapses, not so much.”

Of course nothing gives the Sioux Falls School District more jollies than an opt-out. Superintendent Baron Von Maulher said, “We were getting such a kick out of it, I banned joke books from the IPC. Whenever I see anyone down and out around the offices, I just yell ‘OPT-OUT’ and the whole place breaks out in laughter. Of course, the finance department does get a little trepidation, because they have to ‘count’ (wink, wink) the votes. I always tell them they can do that with their hands tied behind their back and blindfolded. Worked in the school bond election.”

I asked Baron what the opt-out schedule looked like for the school district over the next 5-10 years.

“Well, since Pierre really doesn’t care how much we raise taxes, we figured we would push the envelope a bit,” Von Maulher replied, “We are going to try 6-12 opt-outs per year through the board, and if the people whine about having a choice, we will hold an election, but this time there will be only ONE super precinct, and it will be in my office.”

The city council is also infamous for raising property taxes. In fact, I don’t think a city council has voted down an increase in over 15 years.

City Council Vice Chair, and RS5 self-appointed leader, Ned Greitzert explained it like this, “When someone hands you lemons, you make lemonade, when the state hands us an opportunity to raise the tax rate, we make grenades, uh, I mean lemonade.”

Well, that would explain the potholes.

I asked him about all the other numerous increases in fees and taxes the city imposes on the citizens, and couldn’t they just take it a little easy?

“Funny you bring that up,” replied Greitzert, “The majority of the council, the ‘RS5’ as we like to call it, or the ‘He-Man Steely Hater’s Club’ is all about positivity and progressive measures to keep our city’s high level of quality of life at a maximum, that means if we are going to raise fees on water, sewer and other stuff, we have to keep that tradition of caring  and due diligence with property taxes. Wouldn’t it seem odd to you that your water bill went up last year but your property taxes didn’t? Where’s the consistency there? If you want inconsistency with taxes, just vote Steely for mayor. All she’ll do is bankrupt the city while giving taxpayers a break. The next thing you know, we will all be swimming in an outdoor pool in the middle of January.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell Ned that I didn’t know how to swim, especially under ice.

Some question why all the local entities have to constantly raise our tax rates when valuations have had record growth over the past 6 years?

Mayor TenBibleverses’ Chief of Staff took a stab at the question, “I call it the candy syndrome, something I kind of started when I worked for that last crook, I mean, mayor and quit ONLY after I was forced to write the largest TIF in city history for the Spamford Sports Complex,” said Jericho Speck, “We just started handing out TIFs, tax rebates, excusing tipping fees, ignored environmental laws, built millions in infrastructure for ice cream warehouses and just said, screw it, corporate welfare for whoever wants it. Don’t tell my pastor.”

I asked, “The Candy Syndrome?”

“Yeah,” Speck said “Whatever rich developer in town that needs a handout for NO reason at all, we just give it to them. No questions asked. No proof of economic impact. No proof of job growth, or even good paying jobs. We just make sure the request is signed and we approve it. The city clerk’s office handles petitions in a similar same way.”

I wondered if this haphazard way of giving tax cuts and tax incentives was driving up everyone else’s property taxes.

Speck responded, “What? Are you stupid? Does beer like foam collect at the bottom of Falls Park every Spring for the past 100 thousand years?! You certainly are the poster child for the large percentage of South Dakotans that don’t go to college. Ever think about taking up welding? There’s a program I could refer you to.”

I had more questions, but I had to get back to my call center job, my 8.5 minute break was over.

While this was satire, some of the sh*t is true, mostly everything but the fake names.

Minnehaha County Budget meetings and Opt-Out

The MCC will likely approve a major opt-out to help pay for extra staff, mostly due to crime rates going through the roof. I have suggested (as well as commissioner Barth) that the city of Sioux Falls pay an arrest fee for every person they arrest that is booked into the jail to help curb the costs of the new jail.

I guess 28 positions have been requested by department heads. MedStar Ambulance and Jasper Ambulance have not requested (additional?) funding from the county. The deadline has passed for more than a week.

REMAINING BUDGET SCHEDULE

June 4, 1-5pm            Initial budget presentation to County Commission. Department hearings as requested by Commission.

June 6, 8-12 noon       Budget deliberation and hearings for departments will be scheduled before the County Commission.

June 19, 8-12 noon     Budget Deliberation and hearings as directed by Commission.

July 8, 8 to 12 noon    Budget deliberation if needed.

The following will all be held during regularly scheduled Commission Meetings:

July 9                        Action on additional opt-out by Commission. (Last date to approve additional opt-out is July 15th.)

July 23                      Final review of provisional budget in preparation for July 30th adoption.

July 30                      Adoption of Provisional FY20 County Budget.

August 27                  Museum, library, and 911 presentations to Joint City/County meeting.

September 3              Public hearing for Final FY20 County Budget.

September 10             Final briefing on FY20 Budget.

September 17             No Commission meeting, SDACC Convention.

September 24   Final date for Adoption of FY20 County Budget.

Another Funeral, uh I mean, Wedding Barn

Here we go again (Presentation at the beginning of meeting above) another Wedding Barn. This one is near the new Veterans Cemetery. I guess quite a few neighbors showed up to say they didn’t want it there (Joint jurisdiction with the county and city even though those opposing the barn do NOT live in city limits).

One of the reasons is noise from bands, and the fact it is a heavily traveled gravel road already and people are wondering who will pave it and pay the cost. One of the biggest complaints the neighbors had was that they were never notified or asked if they wanted to live next to a cemetery (they were not notified of the re-zone from ag land) and they were pretty perturbed that the cemetery is going in so close to their residences. I guess when the city wants to rezone they don’t have to get permission from the county, but it seems it is the other way around when the county wants to rezone.

While I wasn’t opposed to the cemetery I still think the Feds or the State should have paid the good taxpayers of Sioux Falls for the land.

Property tax reduction program ‘Questionable’

The more we look into the property tax reductions over the past ten years, the more questions we have. While we are still researching this, some things that stick out so far;

DOC: Historical – Tax Reduction Program.pdf

Tax Reduction Program – Informational Jan. 8.pdf

How was the mayor(s) (Munson & Huether) able to sign off on these, through the Planning Department without the review of the city council? Or even the County Commissions and School District? Were there any state laws violated?

One of the biggest recipients was involved in many LLC’s and ownership groups related to Legacy Development. Ironically one of the persons who would have known about the reductions, Daren Ketchum, now works for Legacy.

Many of the recipients are long time established, successful Sioux Falls businesses, like Raven & Gage brothers. Why would they need tax incentives?

Some of the recipients also received TIFs on top of the reduction, for example Washington Square.

Ironically Midco received a 2018 reduction of $129K. This is just a year after announcing a sponsorship of our Aquatic Center.

Did the TenHaken administration decide to blow the lid off of this to 1) wash there hands of the practice and 2) to see if the media will do some digging around? COS Erica Beck worked in the Planning office when some of these reductions were handed out.

Like I said, we are still researching the ‘many’ connections between the reduction recipients and the previous administration and will have more findings coming soon.

‘Innovation’ could fix the Metro situation

I think an ideal situation would be for the city to take over Metro 911 100% and have Minnehaha and Lincoln County to pay a service fee to the city, like other communities do for water and sewer from Sioux Falls.

The first reason why I think the city should take it over is because, well, we have the money. I get so tired of the city saying we don’t have money for transit or 911 but have oodles of money to subsidize play palaces. If we can drop $10 million a year for a mortgage payment on a facility that generates virtually no revenue for the city besides some scraps in sales taxes, we can afford to subsidize 911. Besides, they already get funding from cell phone usage*. Thirdly, I think 911 operators deserve a living wage and the same benefits as other city employees. The rumor is starting pay at Metro is $13 an hour. If this is true, it is unacceptable. These people may not be driving patrol cars or chasing down drug dealers, but they have a very stressful job. If we can’t start them out at least $18 an hour, how can we expect to get good people and keep them? Bring them under the city umbrella and let them have union membership.

*As for the cell phone tax to fund 911, I think the city is missing a great opportunity to fund 911 even better with the use of 5G. Instead of charging the communications companies such a low licensing/lease fee, they should make it much more substantial and put that money towards 911. These companies make MILLIONS in Sioux Falls, have them pony up for public safety. Just look at this language in the licensing agreement;

b. An annual charge of $175 per pole shall be paid each year in advance for use of City light poles for small cell equipment; and

c. Subject to approval of the City Council, the foregoing fees and charges may be decreased or increased from time to time based upon cost studies conducted to determine a reasonable approximation of the objectively reasonable and nondiscriminatory costs incurred by the City that are specifically related to and caused by the application and plan review and for deployment of small cell equipment on City’s streetlights. Such studies, and any fee adjustments will be subject to applicable laws, including, without limitation, applicable FCC rulings and regulations.

Only $175 per year! I pay almost $100 a year just for a tag on my car. The city council needs to explore a different fee structure.

County Gives $50K to Gloryhouse.

The MCC has a confusing conversation about the topic, and it seems only Karsky and Beninga support giving the money, then at the end, they add the money to the supplemental budget and approve it. I am still baffled by it. BUT, they did the right thing. This was a one-time donation for the new building. Ironically, $50K is what the Gloryhouse paid the city for the land. Isn’t it funny how your tax dollars from one entity just gets passed to another entity. The taxpayers are ALWAYS holding the bag.

Is Niedringhaus planning to be the next Sheriff in Minnehaha County?

First the facts.

Sheriff Milstead recently got re-elected (he wasn’t on the ballot because he did not have a challenger). He has a 4-year term.

Milstead said he wouldn’t retire until the jail is finished, which would be in two years.

Milstead CAN retire in mid-term.

If he does retire, the MCC can ‘appoint’ a replacement (fake incumbent) to serve the remaining two years.

Milstead’s wife has decided to NOT pursue the food contract with Falls Park restaurant this Spring. The city is currently looking for bids.

Niedringhaus has to be working in ‘law enforcement’ in order to be appointed Sheriff (this is what I have been told). It is another reason why he has been moonlighting serving warrants while serving as the full-time Metro Director (to keep his certification). His new job;

Niedringhaus will be leaving at the end of the year.  He’s accepted a new position with the Department of Public Safety; working in an area of law enforcement and intelligence.

So is he looking to be the next sheriff? Don’t know. But it certainly looks like he is trying to make those stars align.