Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Cherapa II developer meets the city half way

As I have been hearing, the developer of Cherapa II (a partnership between Pendar & Howe Properties) offered the city $7 a square foot, the city wanted about $15 a square foot and they settled on $10 a square foot. Strangely enough the developer’s appraiser said it was worth $7 and the city’s appraiser said it was worth $15 a square foot. What a spread?!

I’m okay with this. As we know we paid way too much for this property to begin with. The ‘extra’ amount was for a switching yard out of town. What has happened is that the RR remained only a few feet from the departed property running tracks right along side it. They are still switching and storing cars less then a half a mile from the property just North of Avera and along the river by Nelson Park. In my opinion we accomplished very little with the $27 million which we had to add millions more for another viaduct under 26th street which will only allow even MORE traffic to the North in the Avera and downtown area.

That aside, it is good to see someone will take advantage of the property and I believe it’s spokesperson, Jeff S. when he says he will finish the project. Where I found this testimony a little comical is when he said that he won’t be making much money from it. I would agree with him that on it’s face, in the short term him and his partners won’t be making much except for mortgage payments, but in the long term, this property will have a big payoff. He knows it too especially when he says he is thinking of his ‘Kids and Grandkids’ future. Councilor Neitzert also went into full ass-kiss mode defending Jeff and his contribution to the city (like he was a charity) and that developers are getting beat up to much about the kind of money they are making.

Whaaaaaaa!

Let’s face it, we can’t turn back the clock, because if we could, we would have tried to eliminate most of the downtown train traffic to JUST necessary deliveries and NO switching and NO storing of cars. But Mr. ‘Get things done’ saw $27 million in the federal taxpayer’s piggy bank that he was just itching to hand over to Warren Buffet instead of actually accomplishing something.

I wish Cherapa II luck, but I have a feeling besides the $27 million we paid for this pile of dirt and the over $30 million we are paying for the 26th street overpass, we will be paying for this badly executed plan for decades in tax rebate handouts, land deals and TIFs. It’s unfortunate that the citizens can’t sue it’s elected officials for making these kind of hazardous decisions, because if we could, we would be getting massive rebates.

The RR Redevelopment project WILL go down in history as one of the WORST negotiated projects in our city!

Sioux Falls City Council Online Streaming fails tonight

The City Council meeting tonight was cutting out and skipping and finally ended at item #33 before the vote. (Now it is working) I was watching online. I tried it on 3 different devices and all had the same result. A friend also called me and told me he was having the same problems.

I am wondering with all the money we have invested in a new recording system and SIRE for Carnegie Town Hall, why we continue to have these problems?

We plan to to invest another $1.5 million in a new tech center at the administration building in a no bid contract, yet we can’t even manage to get information out to the public. It is unacceptable.

I did have an attendee call me afterwards and tell me that the beekeeping ordinance passed the first meeting in a 7-0 vote with NO public opposition and an Augie student supporting it. I guess councilor Erickson made a reference to bees stinging people. Really? That’s news to me. LOL. She also mentioned that people called into the Belfrage show concerned. LOL2X. So if this passes and someone gets stung, will we know it is a bee already living in Sioux Falls or a bee from a private hive? I hear they both rarely sting, but if they do, they do it the same way. 🙂

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Oct 15-16, 2019

City Council Informational Meeting • 4 PM • 10/15

A presentation on Cherapa II. We will get to see what the city and the developer have been cooking up over the past couple of months. I wasn’t made aware of the deal until last month.

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM • 10/15

Item #7, Approval of Contracts.

There is an item to pay $73K+ to reconstruct the buffalo run images by Kiwanis and 18th Street. I still think just fixing the wall would have cost a lot less, and would have kept it’s artistic integrity. Hopefully a city councilor will pull this item so we can get an explanation.

There is an outside legal counsel expense of $41.5K for consultation on state loans for the water reclamation expansion. So explain to me 1) why do we need legal counsel to take out a loan from the state, who, BTW, receives about 40% of it’s sales tax revenue from Sioux Falls and 2) why this can’t be handled internally between the state and the city? So we need to hire a private firm to give us advice on how to loan money from another government agency? WOW!

We are getting a gift of a sculpture of a coach running that no one knows unless he was your coach, and even if he was your coach, he looks like all the other sculptures of a coach running (not sure how many other ones are out there).

It seems we have a couple of legal expenses concerning our lawsuit over the firefighting foam polluting our water wells. I still find it interesting that 1) we are suing over something that the city has told us publicly never harmed the public and 2) why do we even have a legal department when we consistently hire this stuff out? I still think we should just change our legal department into a two person staff of a paralegal/receptionist and a purchasing agent.

While I understand why we need to pay for a coin collection service for our downtown parking meters, why is the SF airport in on the deal? Are they paying the city for this service? Seems some explanation is needed.

Item #8, Change orders. $31K+ for ‘Unforeseen conditions’ at the Pavilion. Can you imagine getting a mechanics bill and there was a line item that was 33% of your bill that said this? Oh, yeah, you would question it.

Item #13, one of my favorite pizza places, Papa Woody’s is applying for a beer and wine license.

Item #32, 2nd Reading, Ordinance, the city council will be approving having ONE employee running TWO casinos to circumvent state law like many podunk towns across the state have been doing. I think this is a bad for employees safety and I agree 100% with Stehly’s opposition on this item. I suggested to her that she should offer an amendment that there should be only ONE unisex bathrooms in VL casinos to. She just laughed at me.

Item #38, 1st Reading, Ordinance, Beekeeping. It will be interesting to see how many peeps from the public oppose this. I guess when Belfrage posted about this on his FB page, he got his ass handed to him. My guess is that many supporters will show up to talk about how this is a great idea. On an unrelated note, today when I was closing up all my windows today on my house in preparation for winter, I found a sleeping bat. It was not happy I pushed it away from my house with a stick. I think that is the first time I heard a bat hiss. Creepy. I ran like a little girl.

Item #39, Resolution, Lyons Park is finally getting a sculpture placed on the lonely pedestal sitting at the intersection of 14th and Phillips. I kind of smiled when I heard about this at the Neighborhood Summit. I created a sculpture for this pedestal about 3 years ago that I was going to place anonymously one night and chickened out and never did it. I still have the piece, and who knows, it may show up downtown one of these days. Keep your eyes peeled. Let’s just say, you will know it was my work when you see it.

Charter Revision Commission Meeting • 3:30 PM • 10/16

The Commission will be discussing numerous items brought forward by citizens. They of course will ‘probably’ be deciding if the items below will continue to be discussed before they decide to put them on the Spring city election ballot or they may kill them all together. I’m not sure. My guess is that ‘most of the items’ on this agenda list will be killed. The interesting part will be the arguments they have against them. Let’s review;

Items A-B, Plurality voting presented by two different citizens. Even though the council passed a majority ordinance with a slippery amendment process (by former councilor Rolfing) the council has since refused to change it back claiming this should be ‘up to the voters’. So will the CRC decide to put this on the ballot? This one is hard to tell. Since the city council has refused to change this, it really is up to the voters, so it would seem logical to let them decide. But I can see the CRC’s argument against this that it hasn’t been ‘tested’ yet, so they will want to keep it around. When Senator Rounds spoke at an event last week he made a very ‘chilling’ statement, an attendee told me that he said towards the end that ‘More business people need to run for local races.’ In other words regular folks like piano teachers shouldn’t be on city councils, because they care too much about the rest of us working stiffs and not ‘business’. The majority rule is a game to disenfranchise the ‘little guys and gals’ from running for office.

Items C-D, these items are also similar and were suggested by the same two citizens as the above items. Requiring a super-majority to pass bonds (6 votes). I think the CRC will kill this right away. But it will be interesting to watch is if CRC member Anne Hajek recuses herself from the discussion since her husband Doug Hajek is an attorney for the largest bonding company in the state and the agency the city always uses. Ethically, this is a conflict of interest. In fact, Doug has told me to my face he opposes this (right in front of Anne). Of course he does, anything that makes it harder to pass bonds isn’t good for business. I hope Anne does the right thing and steps out of this discussion.

Item E, is something the CRC has been throwing around, making the city attorney a ‘member’ of the CRC but a non-voting member (or a voting member). Not sure what they are trying to accomplish with this one, since he already sits in the meetings already and advises. It seems they are playing a legal game. This discussion will also be intriguing and hopefully revealing.

Item F, they will go over their list of recommendations and other stuff they have yet to discuss.

I highly recommend people tune in to this meeting. The CRC will be laying the groundwork to kill a lot of these recommendations.

Open Bids save money

At Tuesday’s Sioux Falls City Council meeting, councilor Kiley argued that they shouldn’t put the IT expansion project out for bid because the delay would end up costing taxpayers more money. Pulling a crystal ball from his rear aside, that is not always the case.

Back in 2008, the city faced a similar dilemma, a bid was handed over to a contractor to replace the windows on the Pavilion, the problem was that when the Pavilion’s Operations Director turned the bid into the city, he realized later that he forgot to include labor and would have to resubmit the bid.

The controversy caused by this error got the attention of the media, so a lot more contractors bid on the project the second time around.

The city saved over $300K by resubmitting the project, in fact they had to amend the 2009 CIP budget to reflect the cost savings;

Improvements, by deleting $300,000 in year 2009 for windows (CIP p. 2-145).

We have NO IDEA if we are getting a ‘deal’ on the IT expansion because we never put it out for bid. And I can guarantee if it is put out for bid ‘after the fact’ there would be someone who would come in under $1.5 Million.

Open bids save tax dollars, and for councilor Kiley to say otherwise is just ludicrous and ignorant.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Oct 8, 2019

Public Services Committee • 4 PM

Presentation on microblading. Not sure what this is about, maybe more regulations. I don’t know enough about the procedure to know what regulations there should be, but I do know if I were a woman I would never let someone take an exacto blade to my eyebrows.

Regular City Council Meeting • 7 PM

I guess at least five councilors will be missing from the meeting due to a Municipal League meeting (I believe in Aberdeen).

Item #2, Invocation, Jerry Fogg will be doing the invocation, he is Lakota from the Yankton Sioux Tribe, and he will probably ‘smudge’. If you haven’t seen this before, it is intriguing.

Item #4, Siouxperhero award, I am assuming this is the award they are giving to the city employees for getting paid to pick up branches. Bravo!

Belfrage helping to spread misinformation about bee keeping ordinance

Trust me, I realize that the Belfrage show is just ‘talk’ and NOT news, in fact I would go so far to say it is the epitome of fake news. Day after day his moronic audience calls in defending a president that has taken the constitution and wiped his butt with it. So it is NO surprise his ignorant listeners would call in and agree with him on saying a bee keeping ordinance is a bad thing.

If you watch the city council informational meeting at the end of this article, you will see many questions answered by a person who educates people on bee keeping. So let’s look at some FACTS that Greg’s listeners chose to ignore;

• Bees already exist in Sioux Falls, and there is a lot of them. In fact it has taken me about 3 years to get my flower beds built up in my backyard to where they are almost all completely full of cover. I had tons of bees this summer in my backyard. Never got stung. In fact I ran into them accidentally quite a bit, and they just flew away. When a bee stings it commits suicide, once the stinger is left in your body it pulls their guts out killing them.

• Most people who get stung in the city are stung by wasps and hornets. They have a stinger that detaches from them without killing them, so they have no problem with stinging people.

• Bees are essential for vegetables and flowers. How do you think people in the city grow flowers and gardens without bees? They don’t, bees are already here working hard.

• Bee keepers will be required to be licensed, take a course and get neighbors permission. They approximate that about 5-10 people will apply for the license if this ordinance passes. The hives will also have to be limited in size. In other words, they won’t have massive bee farms. People will mostly have the hives for personal honey use and their own gardens. While bees will travel 2-3 miles to pollinate, most likely they won’t go far if they don’t have to.

• People are allergic to bee stings. I get it, people are also allergic to peanuts. Should we ban peanuts in Sioux Falls? If you are allergic to something you take some personal responsibility for that.

• Mosquito spraying is more harmful then bees. The chemical compounds that the city uses to spray actually kills bees and butterflies and many other beneficial insects in our city. In fact, one of the reasons I don’t have a garden is because those compounds are most likely leaving a residue on your vegetables that can’t be washed away, and if young children eat those vegetables it can have an affect on their nervous system. I have told the city on numerous occasions they need to use a ecological safe organic spray on mosquitos instead. There is an organic compound out there right now that can be put into standing water like drainage ponds that kills larvae.

Once again, many people are saying the ‘sky is falling’ and I’m not sure this ordinance will pass. In the video below you will notice that Neitzert and Erickson were gunning against it. You will also notice that NO ONE came to public input in opposition to this. If it gets a reading, I suspect there will only be one or two people opposed to it at the regular council meeting.

Without bees we don’t eat, and if we don’t eat, we die folks. Grow a brain.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Councilors Kiley & Erickson try to play the ‘Switcheroo’ game with Admin Building expansion

For some odd ball reason the contract was NEVER closed with the admin building, it’s been 18 MONTHS! So now we want to AMEND the contract so the same contractor who hasn’t reimbursed us for the failed geo thermal system can expand the building for the new IT space without putting it out to bid.

Councilor Starr brought up some good points, shouldn’t this be put out for bid and close the first contract? He never said he was against the Triage Center, in fact he supports it. That didn’t stop Kiley and Erickson from trying to twist that Pat was against the Triage Center. That IS NOT what he said, he just wanted the old contract closed (with a contractor who may or may not owe us money – that is still in litigation) and an RFP put out for the expansion.

Nice performance though.

Kiley even went as far to say that another contractor could NOT do the job because they wouldn’t have the building plans from the original contractor. I know Mr. Rick ‘Know it All’ Kiley has probably built a couple of houses for himself, guess what, the entity paying for the construction OWNS THE PLANS! In other words, if another contractor came in to work on the expansion, the city simply has to hand over to them the plans, because it is the property of the taxpayers, BUT, they have to close the original contract first.

UPDATE: I heard after the meeting that the architect copyrighted the plans, so the city has to ask for permission to use them. But, there would be no reason to use plans for a building that is already built. A NEW contractor would draw up NEW plans, because it is a NEW expansion.

Neitzert basically said that we got the building because the other side lost and we need to stop being sore losers. Hey Greg, this isn’t about losing, we can tell the building is already there, that’s obvious McFly, we are asking to FOLLOW the proper procedures, like clearing litigation and putting out an RFP.

City Attorney Bengford came up and basically said they are taking the easy road instead of the right road. At least he was being honest.

Erickson went on to talk about funding (even though that is NOT what the discussion is about) Neither Stehly, Starr or Brekke asked about HOW it is being funded, and NONE of them said they were opposed to it, it is about the litigation.

Kiley said that it would just delay the process six months and it will only cost us more money. Hey Rickey Lee, HOW DO WE KNOW THAT when we never put this out for bid? I fondly remembered the new window replacement on the Pavilion that had to be put out for re-bid, and another contractor came in about $300K less. 

Funny how those things work.

Of course it passes 6-2 with Starr and Stehly opposed*. And once again the majority of the council is fine with not following proper procedures. Shocker!

*Brekke voted for it because she got to see the contract in advance and said it was legal. But Janet, was it proper or ethical?

What Happened to the Catalytic Converters on cop cars at city/county auction?

Cameraman Bruce asked tonight at public input at the Sioux Falls City Council meeting why the catalytic converters* were missing on the surplus cop cars and sheriff cars at the auction a few weeks ago. He wondered how they got ‘stolen’ in a secure public works lot. And why it wasn’t reported to the SFPD and investigated?

Hmmm.

I guess the driveshafts were also missing on the old para-transit buses also and the flooded out lawn mowers from this Spring were on the auction to.

Once again, Hmmm.

*I guess these parts contain valuable platinum that can be sold as scrap

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, (Sep 30, Oct 1-2)

Audit Committee meeting, Mon Sep 30, 4 PM

There is a presentation on the audit of purchasing cards. I understand why the city uses them, it prevents a lot of meaningless work by the purchasing department and the city receives rebates on the purchases. There are two cards, the first tier allows purchases under $1,000 and the second tier card allows purchases under $2,500. But here is the stunner;

From July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, the City spent approximately $5,661,822 with purchasing cards through approximately 12,600 transactions. The table below shows purchasing card spending broken down by Major Organizational Unit (MOU).

The Public Works department spent the most, which is understandable, but the one that surprised is that the finance department spent $930K. Wonder on what? The audit only covered how the program is administered and not if the purchases were justified (that I can see).

In the audit plan for 2019 they plan to audit SMG and Ovations. September 19th was the 5 year anniversary of the opening of the Denty.

City Council Informational meeting, Tue Oct 1, 4 PM

A presentation on the Beekeeping ordinance that councilors Brekke and Stehly are bringing forward. I think this is a great idea. Hopefully they have spoken with the mosquito control peeps with the city and what affects their spraying will have on bee hives in the city.

Regular City Council meeting, Tue Oct 1, 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts,

• An EOS Traction System for the Leadership Team (so they can keep on tract)

• Project TOM, this is a program that allows you to turn over your old and unrepairable trailer house for disposal at no cost.

• About $1.6 million in work to the new City Admin building. I wonder if taxpayers ever got a refund on the original defunct HVAC system? Haven’t heard a peep on that.

Item #8, They are suggesting that the Siouxperhero Award be given to the city employees for storm cleanup. While I am appreciative for what they did, they are getting paid (with our tax dollars) to do the cleanup, just another day at work, as far as I am concerned. What about the award going to all the volunteers who helped? What about the contractors? (who also received tax dollars). When this award was originally created it had some clear specifications, I’m not sure ‘city employees’ on the clock counts?

Item #17, New Retail liquor license for The Square on Main LLC. I find it interesting that the address listed for this liquor license is on the 2nd floor of the Houwman insurance building (above Coffea) in the insurance offices. Apparently you will be able to buy a cocktail while talking to your insurance agent. LOL. My assumption is they are going to eventually use the license for a restaurant or bar in the Washington Square building. I really think that the practice of ‘parking’ liquor licenses needs to be reviewed and tightened up. I think the licenses should have to be used within 90 days of purchase. It’s like the licenses that were purchased for the failed bunker ramp hotel, will those have to be resold or can they park them in a undisclosed location?

Same thing is happening with Item#32, where Sanford ‘parked’ a liquor license at the foundation house and now are transferring it to the Golf Place.

Planning Commission Meeting, Wed Oct 2, 6 PM

Item #5C, Another wedding barn. Big Whoop.

Item #5D, A second Keg Chicken location is going into the former Noodles and Company on Arrowhead Parkway.

Item #5E, Another telephone booth VL Casino. There must still be money in VL because these places continue to pop up.

Item #5F, a catering facility down by Falls Park that is asking for reduced parking.

Item #5H, Planning Department is recommending DENIAL of rezone due to the developer NOT providing enough information and NOT conforming with major street development.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Sep 24, 2019

As usual, the city council rarely has a regular meeting the last week of the month. Next week is no different, but there still is a brief informational.

City Council Informational Meeting • 4 PM

Presentations on UDC Meeting, CVB-Bid Board Meeting and the finance department will be giving the August Monthly report.

It was funny, I saw four directors having a ‘patio’ meeting at the Blarney last night at 5 PM. It was Health Director Franken, Finance Director Pritchett, HR Director Bill O’Toole and a fourth one I couldn’t identify (But it looked like Public Works Director Cotter). I wonder if they were celebrating the $545 million dollar boondoggle of a budget? I was hoping they were plotting on how to tank PTH. One can only dream.