Entries Tagged 'County Commission' ↓

UPDATE II: The FIX is in on property taxes

UPDATE II: I went and talked to the equalization department today. After reviewing the increase, they explained to me that 90% of the increase is land value, in which is formulated different now. We also calculated that my taxes will probably go up $250 dollars next year, which is NOT $2 a month, just for the record.

UPDATE: I decided to go back and look at the records I could find

From 2008-2009 the value of my home went up 1.8%

From 2009-2012  the value of my home went up 0%

From 2012-2016  the value of my home went up 10% (aprox 2.5% per year)

From 2016-2017  the value of my home went up 1.8%

From 2017-2018  the value of my home went up 1.8%

From 2018-2019  the value of my home went up 2.3%

From 2019-2020  the value of my home went up 21.9%

As I predicted and warned people, the school bond, the new county jail and the multiple TIFs we hand out are going to catch up with us. The $2 a month boloney they pitched us was a farce, because I knew they were going to make hay with the assessments. And sure enough they did.

My increased assessments year after year have been steady, but reasonable. I have owned my home for 17+ years and my property taxes have doubled in that time.

I have done little upgrades to my home, except replacing windows, doors, adding new rain gutters a privacy fence and re-shingling after storm damage. I have done NO upgrades to the interior of my house.

So imagine my surprise when I got this in the mail yesterday;

Well, I was NOT surprised, I saw this coming like a freight train. We can’t keep borrowing money in Sioux Falls and not have a way to pay those bonds, so they bleed it out of us through back door tricks like assessments. Can I afford a 21.9% increase in my assessed value? I suppose, but it also means a lot less money in my pocket.

It was interesting listening to the State Legislators talk yesterday at the legislative coffee about state funding of education. Two Republicans made great points;

• The state gives the districts money and the districts decide how that money is spent (salaries, etc.).

• Administrator pay in SD ranks at 15th while teacher pay is at 49th. I haven’t checked that stat, but I know at one time in was around 22nd. There is a obvious disparity.

• Low voter turnout at school elections. The past school bond and school board elections both had around a 4% turnout. Basically the legislator was saying, if you want to have a say on how your local district is being funded, maybe you should show up and vote in these elections. AMEN Brother! But I also have to add their is voter suppression when you use super precincts, no precincts in the northern part of our city and have district finance department employees ‘hand count’ votes, while the business director puts those counts into the system without oversight.

Who knew that owning a house that was built in 1889 could increase in value by almost 22% in one year? Not bad for a home that is 131 years old. What a joke.

Minnehaha County Commission limits public input to 3 minutes

For a long time, the MCC has never limited public input time, I don’t even know if they have a rule for it. Obviously with Roberts Rules, they can make up a rule before a special meeting, like they did on Tuesday before the refugee approval meeting.

While I understand telling people they should try to limit themselves to 3 minutes is a ‘nice’ suggestion, being a dictator about it, was a little annoying. MCC Chair Jean Bender was cutting people off left and right. At one point, the former director of the Multi-Cultural Center, Quadir Aware was told to end his testimony, and he went into a rant about the corruption of the MCC. Oh, the irony . . . .

I have seen public input that has lasted for over 20 minutes for one individual, and one time former Mayor Bucktooth and Bowlcut talked for well over 9 minutes during public input about drainage for his swamp lake home.

Like I said, the suggestion of 3 minutes was well within Roberts Rules, etc., but when it comes to a topic as important as refugee resettlement and our foolish president who implemented these rules, if someone went over 3 minutes, so what?! Besides, your meetings start at 9 AM, you really have all day to listen and hash it out, we all know none of you have ‘real jobs’ to get to, especially Jeff and Dean 🙂

Wall Lake Bike Trail idea has very little buy-in from residents

When this was first proposed to the Minnehaha County Commission, it sounded like a great idea. But, as we all know, great ideas die really fast when you don’t get buy-in from the residents. I was actually pretty surprised when I watched the MCC meeting on Tuesday that the group proposing this trail never got buy-in from the residents of Wall Lake.

Huge Fail!

Let this be a lesson that when you have a good idea (I still think it is) that you do your research and get everyone on board, or at least a majority on board.

Let’s face it, most people don’t like change, but I think this has more to do with privacy. People live on Wall Lake for a reason, they like the solitude, that’s a given. I wish this would have been more thought out and planned so the residents could still get their privacy while having a great quality of life project around the lake.

Minnehaha State’s Attorney race; battle of the city attorneys

Paul Bengford already announced. Now his co-worker, Daniel Haggar has announced;

Daniel currently serves as an Assistant City Attorney in Sioux Falls, managing the Human Relations Division and serving as the city’s ADA Coordinator.

I don’t know Daniel personally, but if the name sounds familiar, it should. Daniel is the Son and Brother of former legislators Don and Jenna Haggar. I’m not sure if Daniel shares the same political views of his father and sister, but if he does we should be very worried about him as a State’s Attorney.

Daniel Haggar replaced Colleen Moran who was mysteriously ‘dismissed’ from the city attorney’s office. Nobody knows if she resigned or was terminated by TenHaken, but we have our guesses.

Hopefully someone else will get into this race, because as of right now, it looks dire. The Minnehaha County Commission is set to appoint a permanent replacement of Aaron McGowan soon. There have been several applicants including Paul Bengford and interim State’s Attorney Crystal Johnson.

The Worst Politicos of 2019

We are all screaming for ice cream. Made with hemp of course.

I guess I could go on and on about Trump. But I won’t. Let’s focus on Sioux Falls and South Dakota.

Aaron McGowan takes the prize locally. The fiasco he has left Minnehaha County is embarrassing. What is even more embarrassing is the lack of intervention by the commission until it was too late. I’m not sure if I am so disappointed in him as I am with the commission and lack of general oversight.

In second is Paula Hawks who fought tooth and nail to become the chair of the SD Democratic Party only to resign a few months later because she didn’t cash a couple of checks laying in some desk drawers. I have a feeling we will be hearing from Paula in 2020. Pray for her, but more importantly, pray for the Democratic Party.

The number one prize goes to Kristi Noem, who has embarrassed female politicians across the state as the first female governor. She has confused industrial ag products with drugs. She has made a mockery of drug policy in the state. She has zero comprehension of the 1st amendment and 2nd amendment. She has taken nepotism to a new level. She has taken a dump on public education. And she has done it all with a wink and a smile. She is truly disgusting on soooooo many levels. She has shown to be one of the hugest failures in local government in 2019, and the Snow Queen rodeo star’s reign is not over. Screw impeaching Trump, we should be impeaching our governor. 

And you thought Janklow sucked!

Honorable Mentions;

• Minnehaha County Commission (Beating up on the treasurer over monthly reports while the State’s Attorney was absent).

• Paul TenHaken. For a guy who used to run a communications company, he struggles with communicating.

• Dan Lederman, the GOP Party chair. Besides the fact that he does his business in Iowa, he is paid to be a lobbyist for the Islamic Saudi government. He also had very little to do with Representative Saba (a Democrat) bringing in a trade deal with the Egyptians, and had zero to say about it.

• Greg Neitzert. His rage and anger for Stehly is overwhelming. He makes Rick Kiley look like a pussy cat and Curt Soehl look like Rhodes Scholar. I don’t think dunking him in a 55 gallon drum of hand sanitizer could help.

Angela didn’t have to drive to Tripp, SD to find corruption

While I appreciate Stormland-TV‘s heartwarming Christmas story from Tripp, SD, they really didn’t have to trudge over there to get a juicy one, they could have just walked a couple of blocks around the studio offices.

At 10th and Phillips they could see the site of the Copper Lounge collapse that the State’s Attorney, the Attorney General, the Public Assurance Alliance and the City of Sioux Falls failed to investigate, oh but the Feds did, and $50 dollars later, problem solved.

Or they could have went just one block east of the collapse site and admired our Bunker Ramp and how no one has yet to explain how we got there, oh, and no explanations from the guy who once hired Angela’s daughter to be his nanny.

It would be a few more blocks, but they could make the trek to city hall at 9th and Main and ask Paul himself.

While in the neighborhood, why not pop over to the Minnehaha Courthouse and ask the County Commission liaison, Cindy Heiberger why she didn’t keep better tabs on the State’s Attorney.

While it’s fun driving to Tripp and admiring the scenery (I made the ‘trip’ today in the vicinity). You really only have to stroll around the neighborhood to uncover corruption and bribery.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • Dec 17, 2019

UPDATE: I’m hearing tonight that there may be a deferral on Item #31 (The rezone below). I’m not sure why. Some say it may be because of the conflicts, others have said they may be working out a deal to finish the road. I guess we will hear more Tuesday Night.

Theresa also discusses the texting ban.

Joint City Council/Lincoln County Commission Meeting • Carnegie Town Hall • 3 PM

They will be dealing with some joint zoning issues in two items.

Informational Meeting • 4 PM

• November Financial Report. It looks like the city will probably end the year at or above a 6% increase from last year. Too bad workers and especially our police officers can’t get that kind of raise, as this letter writer points out;

Mayor TenHaken just reported a huge increase in tax revenue for Sioux Falls. His next step was to propose to raise the cost to everyone who wants an event that involves security. Perhaps he doesn’t know that we already pay the police and firemen’s salaries. We pay with our tax dollars and have no say in where they go or what they secure. If we are already paying them, why would it cost more to have them work a special event that involves the city of Sioux Falls?

• Audit report on Landfill Licensing. I hope the entire city council asks some serious questions of what is going on out there. As an enterprise fund (funds itself) it should be trying to pull in as much revenue as possible, that means regulating garbage haulers better. I still think we can fix the problem by having public garbage haulers.

• We are getting TIFilicious with the Sioux Steel development. Funny how NO presentations are linked to this agenda item. While the city is working with the developer, I think it is outrageous that the planning department can’t put the presentation online (that we know is already done). It is NOT the administration or planning department’s decision, it is the decision of our citizen representatives, the city council, to pass this TIF. Give us the damn information before Tuesday and stop playing a poker game so you can sneak this by the citizens.

Regular Meeting • 7 PM

Item #7, Approval of Contracts,

Sub-item #5. A 27% increase in recycling/garbage fees for the city. I hope a councilor pulls this item. What I find ironic is while I have been talking about how the city needs to have public garbage service, the city is getting bent over the barrel on garbage service.

Sub-item #7. While the city has it’s own Public Works/Streets department, we pay a private company to clean city sidewalks.

Sub-item #32. So this is interesting. The city (that is funded mostly by sales taxes) is going to repave a parking lot for the school district (funded by mostly property taxes). Besides the price tag of $163K+ the city calls this ‘maintenance’ and part of the ‘parks and rec’ department. I am assuming this is because there may be a community center there. I’m too lazy to look it up. This is why this ‘fun’ stuff gets buried in the consent agenda so people don’t ask those questions.

Item #20, Package liquor license for Walia C-Store. Of course this has been deferred. This will be an interesting discussion. I’m not sure how the vote will go, but if I was a betting man, they will vote it down.

Item #31, Golden Gateway project, Rezone, 1st reading. (Sneveilicious does a good story about it in the AL). As we all know, this is contentious. I expect this item to take up a lot of the council’s time on Tuesday night. I also expect it to pass the 1st reading (even if some are opposed). While the fireworks will probably be long on the 1st reading, the 2nd reading will be fiery. After watching the Planning Commission meeting on this item, it is clear that the neighbors are PISSED. Would YOU? If I was sitting in a half-million dollar house, probably, but as we have found out in this town, the developer rules. As I said to a city councilor the other night, “Why does the Planning Department ‘Recommend Approval’ to the Planning Commission?” Shouldn’t they just lay out the facts of the development plan on the table, listen to testimony and make a decision from there? I compared it to the Licensing Department. What if Jamie Palmer (the agent of the department) told councilors to ‘recommend approval’ of a license? She has never done this. She is there to give the facts and information. It is up to the council to determine if a license is worthy of approval. The Planning Department needs to end this practice. I actually encourage the council to write an ordinance that forbids the Planning Department from recommending approval. It is egregious and borders a little on corruption and unethical.

Item #36, (I assume) councilors Brekke and Stehly are bringing back the texting ban ordinance to a 1st reading. They want to add this clause;

(f) City council members’ use of electronic communication devices during official meetings shall be limited to researching and/or accessing support materials for purposes of official business or public policy of the city. This section shall not apply to a city council member who engages in personal and non-city business activities outside the meeting room. Public input and city council discussion is not permitted through electronic communication devices during an official meeting. For purposes of this section, “Electronic Communication” shall mean any text, audio, static images, or video to be exchanged between two or more city council members or a city council member(s) and member(s) of the public in real time or near real time. Examples of electronic communication include, but are not limited to, electronic mail also known as email, instant messaging, chat rooms, text messaging, social media, and blogs.

While some on the council oppose this measure, the public has told councilor Stehly they want this. This will also be a fiery discussion. I think certain councilors will try to kill this at 1st reading. But even if it is killed, it will be a wakeup call. When councilor Stehly told me she was bringing this back, I asked her if she first wanted to get the council on board. She told me it was time, and they have been warned it was coming. GOOD. The discussion needs to take place. While Stehly can be controversial, and may not get ordinances passed, she does ultimately get action. Even if this fails, I guarantee the texting will be cut back. I can already hear the arguments against it ‘We can police ourselves.’ Uh, clearly you cannot. I expect an amendment allowing FREE soap and hand sanitizer be given to councilors when they arrive to Carnegie for a meeting.

Item #37, Appointment of Citizen Board Members. I find it interesting there is NO attached documents that give BIOS of the appointees. This is the first time I have seen this. Hmmm?

Item #38, City Council Legislative Priorities. This will also be a good discussion because there seems to be some disagreements of what they will be asking the State Legislature to do for them, uh, I mean us. This is an exercise in stupidity. Why we waste tax dollars on a legislative lobbyist is beyond me. The council knows our legislative representatives, in fact they are probably friends with them. Why not call them up and have a friendly phone convo, email, or better yet invite them over for coffee cake and tea, or a fizzy American beer? Do we really need to pay someone to tell the legislature what we want. I can sum it up in one sentence; Stop being stupid.

Item #40, Transfer of Appropriations. So the city gets a little coin in the the coffers from the Railyard Redevelopment sale and they are already transferring funds from that sale into projects. By statute they have to, which is a good thing, but they surely didn’t waste any time. Who says government can’t get things done – and fast.

Metro 911 meeting this morning

According to councilor Stehly on FB and local media;

Happening Now: Metro 911 wants $9-11 Million for a new facility vs $6-8 Million to remodel. Unfortunately,the meeting was not recorded.

She also told me that she was chastised at the meeting by another city councilor for posting that information on FB. This was a public meeting, so I’m not sure why that was an issue? Oh, because without the media there they can try to keep people in the dark. I’m not sure why our public officials like secrecy so much. I have often argued that if you keep the public informed from the beginning they can never come back and say ‘You never told us about this.’ That is why the Bunker Ramp has been such a disaster, too many behind closed door deals.

Well looky there, a quorum of leaders in a public building, wouldn’t that be considered a ‘public meeting’?

How does an elected official get a severance when they resign?

I haven’t posted about the resignation of Minnehaha County State’s Attorney because I knew many news agencies would cover this and I was waiting for all the details available to me.

But what I don’t understand is ‘why’ would we give an elected official a payout to resign? First off, even if nothing was done wrong (let’s say he is leaving because of health issues – which is part of it) why would he need a payout for that? I’m sure his health issues are covered by his insurance.

But secondly, if he has done something wrong (The Public Assurance Alliance, the AG and the Commission are all investigating him for sexual harassment and other things) why would we pay him to NOT sue the taxpayers?

Some on the MCC (I’ve heard) have argued the payout is a lot cheaper then fighting a lawsuit, which on it’s face is probably true. But why would he be suing the taxpayers? If you are accused of wrongdoing, it would be your responsibility to pay for your defense – whether you are found guilty or not. He could sue later for being falsely accused, but would he?

Am I missing something here?

Then there is his staff members who didn’t report this to the MCC. Why?

But lastly, as I have said before, where was the MCC when McGowan was asking for all this extra funding? Wouldn’t they want to audit his department and see if everything was on the up and up?*

This was a failure of government on many levels. Government employees failed us, elected officials failed us (Both State and County) and the State’s Attorney failed us.

Has the MCC commission learned anything from the fairgrounds fiasco and embezzlement? We pay each member of the MCC around $25K a year as part-time officials. Is this not enough money to do their jobs? Maybe that is the real fraud here. Paying an elected body who are consistently in the dark because apparently their heads are stuffed somewhere, I’ll let you take your guesses.

Maybe this is why the MCC is consistently non-transparent, maybe because they don’t even know what is going on?

*Cindy Heiberger is the liaison for the State’s attorney’s office.

VILE comments about Councilor Stehly on FB

During the joint Minnehaha County/Sioux Falls City Council Meeting yesterday, Councilor Stehly suggested that we need more mobile home parks in Sioux Falls. I have heard Stehly talk about this in the past. What she is essentially saying is we need to promote more affordable housing solutions for people in Sioux Falls. Whether that is mobile homes, tiny homes, smaller manufactured homes, etc. A new, modest family home in Sioux Falls will run you well over $250K. Other affordable pre-owned housing will run you around $150K, but those houses are few and far between in Sioux Falls. One reason is we allow the major developers and hospitals run the planning department. They admitted to it when I attended the Citizen Planning Academy a few years ago when an attendee asked why Sanford Hospital is allowed to tear up these affordable neighborhoods, the answer was it came down to ‘money’. They have a lot of it, so they get to do what they want to. Many people are being ‘priced out’ of housing in Sioux Falls, and all Stehly was asking for is options.

That didn’t stop this frequent commenter and A-Rod on Pitty Patt’s blog to comment on FB that suggesting more mobile homes or other affordable housing is ‘Stupid’. I just want to tell ‘Troy’ that the only thing that is ‘stupid’ is the greed of people like him. I can tell you why contractors are not building affordable housing in Sioux Falls – there’s no excessive profit in it.

Speaking of ‘Dead Jensen’ (My new nickname for him) his all knowing treasurer, Paulson, sent out this fundraising email the other day;

Good afternoon –

Over the last couple of years, I’ve become increasingly interested in local political issues. Your local city and county governments have a significantly higher influence on your day-to-day life than your state or federal government. They maintain infrastructure, build public amenities such as parks and bike trails and foster future economic development. Because of the role local government plays in our lives, I think it’s incredibly important to have a solid mayor, city council and county commissioners. 

This election cycle, I am backing candidates in Sioux Falls that will support future growth in the city, work collaboratively with stakeholders across government and private industry and put the best interests of the community first. Specifically, I have agreed to serve as the campaign treasurer for Alex Jensen who is running for the At Large position (currently held by Theresa Stehly) in next Spring’s city council election.

Alex is one of the most positive, sharp and community-minded people I know and he will be a fantastic addition to the city council. He and his wife Nikki just welcomed a son (Jack) into the world. Alex works as a business banker for First Premier and has volunteered with the YMCA, Junior Achievement, the Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire and Faith Lutheran Church. He previously served in the state legislature where he voted to increase teacher pay, provide property tax relief and implement a new roads and infrastructure plan. 

There aren’t many politicians I get excited about, but Alex is one of the good ones. Alex hopes to reach every voter in Sioux Falls with his “positive and proven” message. I plan to give my all over the next five months to help get him elected and hope that you will consider helping too. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

Matthew Paulson

I think it will be funny if ‘Dead Jensen’ raises and spends $100K+ and Stehly decides NOT to run. It will show that apparently it costs $100K in Sioux Falls to just get on the city council without a competitor.