Entries Tagged 'Curt Soehl' ↓

Sioux Falls City Councilor Selberg should recuse himself from Bunker Ramp negotiations

During the informational this afternoon the council discussed what next to do with the Bunker Ramp;

A public parking ramp that took nearly a decade and more than $20 million to build in downtown Sioux Falls could be sold to a private developer.

During a Tuesday informational meeting at Carnegie Town Hall, city councilors urged Mayor Paul TenHaken’s administration to consider all options when picking a new partner to build at the Mall Avenue and 10th Street site.

And that includes selling the entirety of the seven-story ramp that opened in July 2020 and is equipped to handle up to eight additional stories. The site has gone undeveloped since a mixed-use parking ramp project fell apart in 2019.

I do agree with councilors that they should take the best deal and I also agree with councilor Soehl that we need to use a 3rd party to vet the investors properly. I am also partially in agreement with what councilor Merkouris said;

Rich Merkouris said he’s apprehensive about giving any tax breaks to the eventual buyer unless they use the space to add residential stock downtown.

“For me personally, I would struggle incentivizing anything outside of housing unless it was a part of the bigger package,” he said.

I would go a step further and say there should be NO incentives. Anyone who takes over this property is being given a site in a plum location with an opportunity to do well. The taxpayers have already incentivized this project, there is absolutely NO reason to hand out more candy. Find an honest free market developer who has a solid plan to make it successful, then you don’t need to worry about tax incentives. It was also pointed out it is in an opportunity zone which means there will be some incentives to build there without city tax payers help.

But what what really pissed me off was having councilor Selberg sit in on meetings and negotiations for future use. NO councilor that helped approve this pile of sh!t should be involved. It should either be handed over to a new councilor or Pat Starr who opposed this. It would be like hiring the guy who rear ended your car to fix it. Any councilor who approved this should not be in closed door meetings trying to cover up their mistakes. We need councilors with a clear conscience to negotiate this deal with a focus on hyper transparency.

These knuckleheads learn very little from past mistakes.

Mayor TenHaken says FREE youth ridership is part of Sioux Falls ONE initiative

I guess I was a little surprised to hear that the program was a part of Sioux Falls ONE, an initiative that I still have trouble understanding its mission. This program came about because of years of advocacy from former transit board members, a successful program in Rapid City and the work of former school board President Cynthia Mickelson and councilor Curt Soehl. While I do appreciate the presser and the celebration of a wonderful program it kind of sounds like someone is spiking the football after the rest of the team has already hit the locker room.

Washington Pavilion, Transparency and FREE youth bus rides

During the Informational meeting yesterday I spoke about the Pavilion’s slow growth in concert revenue and memberships as well as charging to attend regional art shows. (FF: 49:20) Below is a graphic of the current annual report.

During the city council regular meeting I talked about transparency in government (FF: 7:00) and the FREE youth bus rides (FF: 15:10). For clarification, several advocacy groups have been pushing for this for over a decade. Last Fall a couple people from those groups reached out to me to blog about it. I then reached out to former SF School board president Cynthia Mickelson who currently still serves on the board. She thought it was a good idea since the school district has been struggling with their own bus system and she reached out to councilor Curt Soehl and they have been working diligently to get it pushed through the transit board. A big thank you to both of them for their diligence.

We don’t need no stinking audits

The Sioux Falls 2022 City Election is getting interesting. Why has there been so much anger by certain members when legitimate questions are asked? Why is there so much anger when any audits are talked about? Ask your candidates how they stand and what they might want to hide.

Sioux Falls City Councilor, Soehl is very beatable

Make no mistake, beating an incumbent city councilor is not an easy task, ask Jensen who had to spend $127K and lucking out by having primary voters (who rarely vote in city elections) help him achieve the task.

Obviously it doesn’t hurt that Soehl now has two challengers, a well-intentioned, all around family guy and a fierce citizen advocate. We could likely see them in the run-off or one of them crushing the 51% threshold.

But what really makes Soehl beatable is that he really isn’t an incumbent because the Central district he was elected in doesn’t exist anymore and you really don’t need the McKennan park elite’s vote to win in Central.

The re-districting commission now have included parts of Whittier and Cathedral neighborhoods. Match that with Pettigrew Heights and you have pretty strong working class voters.

While it will be a challenge for the other two candidates to battle with an incumbent, Soehl is really an incumbent with NO home and will NOT be re-elected.

Sioux Falls City Council Central District Candidate announced this past weekend

I had heard rumors of another doctor running, but apparently it was a pharmacist from Avera;


My name is Jim Burzynski, and I am running for the central district seat for the Sioux Falls City Council. Come on down for a cup of coffee and sign the petition to add me to the ballot. Let’s get a new voice for the core neighborhoods that have been neglected for too long.

I’m glad to see Soehl has at least one challenger, and it looks like he is a professional who has support from the All Saints Neighborhood Association. Ironically, his wife, Dr. Connie Taylor works in the same department as council candidate Dr. Sarah Cole at Avera.

I’m actually surprised the cheese and wine Democrats are putting someone up against Soehl. But on the other hand if you look at Soehl’s lackluster record it shouldn’t be a surprise.

Sioux Falls City Council’s Property Tax Refund proposal is Hypocritical


So Councilor Soehl is sponsoring an ordinance for the city’s portion of property taxes to be refunded to low income seniors (1st Reading, Item #50)



â–ª A Simplified Process: Those who qualify for state assessment freeze program will be automatically enrolled.
â–ª Must make application at the County for the State’s Assessment Freeze Program (existing process) by April 1 of the year preceding the year in which City will issue refund.
â–ª Refund will be equal to the municipal property tax, but may not exceed $500 annually.
â–ª City Council must renew program each year by resolution, and make an appropriation.
â–ª If approved, first refund payment issued on or before March 31.



While I certainly don’t have an issue with offering this program it surely wreaks with hypocrisy. While Councilor Starr, the co-sponsor, has consistently voted against property tax percentage increases, most of the council has not. They have also approved millions in TIFs for luxury condos, parking ramps and egg roll factories which raises the taxes on the rest of us (mine went up 7.5% from last year) and they have yet to present a doable plan to combat affordable housing in our city.

All of this comes of course just a couple months from a city council election. Hmmmmm.

I’m all for keeping taxes affordable for low income seniors, but you have to wonder if it is at the cost of the rest of us. I have been arguing for awhile that we are being extremely overtaxed in Sioux Falls. Somehow we have $10 million laying around for infrastructure of a private non-profit research facility (even though a well maintained road goes right up to the development and water and sewer probably run right underneath it) and a couple million for employee retention bonuses (without a vaccination mandate or incentive).

If the city council wants to help out with property tax relief, why don’t we start with the people who are paying the lion’s share? I think the city council needs to start cutting property taxes, for all of us, and eliminate TIF’s and tax rebate for the big guys all together.

There will never be ‘Regular People’ serving in Sioux Falls city government ever again

We saw the writing on the wall when Alex Jensen and his cabal of donors had to spend $127K to beat a self-employed piano teacher by around 90 votes. The regular guy/gal is no longer allowed to compete.

Just look at the usual donors on the financial reports (someone should tell Andera that she can’t add her smaller contributions up twice 🙂

It is the same group of rich Republican businessmen and mysterious dark PACs (so some of these rich people can hide their identities) that are once again funding the campaigns of the NON-regular people (except Islam who seems to have half the state of Michigan gunning for her and they all work at the same hospital 🙂

You have to chuckle when Clowncilor Marshall Selfish actually suggested that the reason the members needed a bigger salary is so more regular people could run. That’s rich considering he never mentioned that you actually need the money up front.

We could change this with a couple of easy steps;

• Get rid of the Home Rule Charter as it exists and give more power back to council and,

• Publicly finance the races so everyone is on the same playing field.

We of course first must throw out the current charter, and there is a stew brewing on that one along with some other goodies I will share very soon.

So it looks like we will have yet another city election where a handful of people vote for the very people who are lining their pockets with donations from the banksters, bondsters and developers that are turning our city into a corporate welfare state.

This is the current lineup for the election;

Mayoral Race; Paul TenHaken, David Zokaites, Taneeza Islam

Central District; Curt Soehl (No challengers)

Southeast District; David Barranco (No Challengers)

At Large (A); Janet Brekke, Bobbi Andera, Dr. Sarah Cole

At Large (B); Rich Merkouris, Pam Cole

Sioux Falls City Councilor Curt Soehl plays an interesting game tonight

At the council meeting tonight, Soehl recused himself on Item #45, which is a rezone of an historic building in Pettigrew Heights to be converted into a coffee shop. I’m am not sure why he recused himself because he never told the council and the public, but my guess is he may be investing in the project but I do not know for sure. Let’s just say he has a conflict and admitted to it, whatever it is.

After coming back he co-sponsored item #53, a resolution to pull $120K from streets to re-establish the core facade program. He claims he has NO idea who would want to use it but has heard several people are interested.

So imagine my surprise when the main developer of Item #45 was interested in applying for the program after his rezone was approved.

Coincidence? I think not.

So how is it that Soehl walked out on the coffee shop project because of an assumed conflict, then turns around and sponsors a program that MAY benefit the project he has a conflict with?

Hey Curt, we can connect the dots . . . unfortunately you cannot. This will be brought up time and time again when your re-election campaign heats up.

UPDATE: Apparently the Developer of the Coffee Shop is Curt’s re-election campaign treasurer

Open Meetings Violation Filed against the City of Sioux Falls

The below document is actually a ‘notice’ to the city that one will be filed next week with the State’s Attorney office. I believe that it refers to presentations during the consent agenda in which the Chair (Mayor TenHaken) did not ask for public input. It was also the responsibility of the City Attorney, the City Clerk and the Chair of the Council, this is why they are mentioned in the complaint.

I also want to clarify, I wasn’t the one who caught this, I missed the part in the meeting when this occurred as I was on a phone call (I watch the meetings live from home). Sierra is the one who actually caught it and took action on her own.

The irony of all this is that I just told the Charter Revision Commission last week that public input at city meetings was broken and needed to be fixed.

Stay tuned, much more to come next week.