Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, May 10, 2022 & the Affordable Housing Surprise & the $30K Mentor Mandate

Between the 4 PM and 6 PM meetings there is a recognition ceremony for the exiting councilors, Janet Brekke, Christine Erickson, and Rick Kiley at 5 PM.

MEETING CALENDAR

Informational Meeting • 4 PM

• Presentation from the Sioux Empire Housing Partnership Introduction by Hugo Barron, Sioux Empire Housing Partnership (not sure if this has anything to do with the plan to move 14 affordable houses to Pettigrew? )

The two neighborhoods will meet Monday, May 9th at 7:30 PM at the downtown Central Church to share their hopes for the future of the space.

Representatives from the City of Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls School District will be at the meeting.

The unofficial story is that the school district is planning to move homes that they bought by Whittier (for its expansion) to this green space that they own. The neighborhoods (Cathedral and Pettigrew) did a survey with residents of the neighborhood that will be shared Monday Night. As I understand it the over 100 residents that responded said they want to keep it as green space.

I will try to attend the meeting to hear what the city and school district have to say about keeping this on the down low. I was told several months ago by a school district official that they had a plan to move the houses out of Whittier and re-use them within the city limits, they never mentioned this plan. My assumption was that they were just going to move them to various available lots in the core of the city, which I fully support, I see their intentions may be something else.

The worst part about this is the total lack of transparency. They kept this quiet because they knew there would be pushback.

Regular Meeting • 6 PM

Item #4, While four councilors are getting recognition awards, for some reason the Mayor’s Youth Council is getting an award, and they should! Anyone who could sit through those meetings after the Mayor’s friends kids were forced to go to them not only deserve an award but a college credit.

Item #7, Approval of Contracts, Sub-Item #16, Helpline Center Inc., $30K, To Provide Staffing and Support for the Sioux 52 Mentorship Initiative Agreement.

While I support mentorship, I was always under the assumption that if this gets public funding it should come from the School District coffers. But let’s remember, the Sioux 52 program was setup to be funded by the DT Rotary as a non-profit and not something taxpayers would kick into. This is also an initiative the mayor pushed as HIS pet project, and I commend him for it, so to suddenly shove it in the consent agenda as a spending item that the council has to approve without a presentation is speculative (see the email below). Just because it is coming out of the mayor’s office budget doesn’t mean this is FREE money. A better way to approach it would be for him to use his fundraising skills and clout to get this supplemented by non-profits (you know like church volunteers cleaning up after a tornado). Hopefully this will be pulled for discussion since this is just another backdoor approach for taxpayers to fund something on the mayor’s wish list.

Item #22, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS TO SET ASIDE TWO ON-SALE LIQUOR LICENSES FROM THE ON-SALE LICENSE LOTTERY FOR USE AT THE CITY’S GOLF COURSES. (So the Pavilion which is ran by a private management company yet owned by the city and taxpayers went out and and bought a license (I think?) on the open market but the city courses that are owned by taxpayers and ran by a private contractor just get licenses for free? Very random. And since these are city owned licenses does that mean the city receives all the profits from liquor sales?

Items 30-35, RESOLUTIONS OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS APPROVING DIAGONAL PARKING (I find it interesting that several of these project areas are not even finished yet and the city is suddenly being proactive about it. I’m all for it as it is a better use of space, but a part of me wonders in 10-20 years if we are going to need it. I have argued that the use of self-driving cars will eliminate the need for parking in our core.)

UPDATE II: This is what happens when you have a cruise control, rubber stamp Sioux Falls City Council

UPDATE II: I guess the reason the city isn’t using Keysolutions EAP anymore is because Keysolutions dissolved that entity of the counseling services.

Remember when councilors Starr and Brekke were overruled by 6 of their fellow councilors over hiring a Felon for counseling services?

Well guess what, the city is out in the cold.

Like the Bunker Ramp, when you have out of touch city leadership approving ridiculous things, bad outcomes occur.

Watching councilor Starr’s testimony, you have to kind of scratch your head and wonder what the 6 rubber stampers and HR director were thinking? I will tell you. They don’t think. They turn on the cruise control and rubber stamp, cross fingers and hope for the best.

UPDATE: The city has been looking for an internal part-time counselor since November. While that is a good thing to have an internal person, they also need an outside service for confidentiality purposes. I would also think with around 1,300 employees they could find someone full-time internally.

Robert tells us about future council appointments

Was the City of Sioux Falls planning an affordable housing project without Neighborhood input?

It appears that the city was working behind the scenes with the Sioux Falls School District to build around 14 single family affordable houses on this empty lot owned by the school district. The Pettigrew Heights Neighborhood association got wind of the back door negotiations (they were NOT included in the discussions) and put out a survey to the neighborhood (it is closed now) to see what the neighbors think.

Let’s just say they are NOT happy about how this was being planned (in the dark). While I certainly would support a project like this, I don’t live near it or in that neighborhood so I can’t speak for the people who live there, but it seems they would like to keep it as is and add a park instead.

No matter who is involved with this backdoor plan, I will say this is NOT how you go about it. You have to engage the citizens in the neighborhood in a public meeting setting and work with them on shaping the project.

THE WAR ON TRANSPARENCY IN THIS CITY MUST END!

I think a mixed use of townhomes, apartments and homes with a park and urban garden in the center would be a good way to go. But we NEED the public’s input first and foremost.

They are having a meeting Monday to address the issue. I think some city staff from the planning office are going to be in attendance.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, May 4-5, 2022

The meetings are on Wednesday and Thursday this week because today was supposed to be the runoff election.

EVENTS CALENDAR LINK

Informational Meeting • 4 PM • Wednesday May 4

Presentation on 2022-23 Sculpture Walk Review by Brandon Hanson, Director of Museums, WPAS & Sculpture Walk

Regular Meeting • 6 PM • Wednesday May 4

Item #6, Approval of Contracts, Sub Item #4, Leadership Training. The pricing is attached to the agenda item. As I have discussed before, I do support ongoing training of city employees, but what I find astounding is training people who should already be able to fill the rolls. It is also very expensive.

Item #60, 2nd Reading, Sidewalk ordnance changes. As I have said previously, I find it strange we would be making significant changes in the middle of 2,600 violations handed out in the core neighborhoods. What I find ironic is if you look at sidewalks on city property (adjacent to city buildings) the sidewalks are in dire shape. But instead of focusing on that they go after private homeowners to deflect.

Item #61, giving more money out for the ice ribbon. Shocker.

Planning Meeting • 6 PM • Thursday May 5

Item #2B, Wants to change from regular suburban residential to historic preservation. I just think this one is interesting because it is on the 21st St Blvd in McKennan Park and if you drive past the home you can see a lot of work done. But why switch it? Well, if you can get your home designated as historic preservation you can get tax incentives and even grants. I would be curious if they are requesting this change because of the love of historic preservation or for the tax incentives? Probably both.

Item #2N, Changes to Annexation ordinances. I find it interesting that these changes are pushed into the consent agenda without discussion, and this part was added;

§ 153.004 ANNEXATION AGREEMENT.
Upon receipt of a request from property owner(s) to annex property into city limits, the petitioner, the public works department, and city attorney’s office have the authority through SDCL 9-4-1.1 to enter into an agreement specifying the conditions under which the landowner’s property may be annexed into the municipal boundaries.

Not sure what that means, but anytime you add an entire section, it probably doesn’t mean the government is giving you more rights, probably the contrary.

Item #5A, Ordinance changes to Concept Plans.

Item #5B, Ordinance changes to Shared Paths.

Item #5C, Amending 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

City of Sioux Falls Website got a little bit more transparent

Imagine my surprise today when I went to the meeting agenda page and in the bottom left hand corner when I clicked on the calendar instead of a PDF coming up, an actual interactive calendar appears with links to events.

I have known about this link for awhile but it was never linked to this page. I am not sure if it was ever linked to the website before. It was previously sent to me by a city employee.

Not sure who in the IT department or clerk’s office crawled out of the darkness and made this nice little change, but you deserve a coin, a children’s book or at the very least an atta-boy.

Sioux Falls City Council SHOULD do a roll call at the Informational

Well you do learn something new everyday. During public input today at the informational I asked why a roll was not called before the meeting started. The reason I asked is because only 4 councilors decided to show up in person so I had NO idea who was on the phone. It was later revealed that 2 councilors (Jensen and Selberg) were on the phone and 2 were absent (short timers Kiley and Erickson which I don’t expect to see much of moving forward). While Curt corrected councilor Starr at the end of the meeting that they do not do roll at the informational (I checked previous meetings and it is true) the real reason I asked was because there was no acknowledgement of the councilors on the phone at the beginning of the meeting, roll call or not.

During public input I said that I think this phone it in practice (that really started because of Covid) needs to end, and then I got interrupted by the chair, Soehl that I was off topic. I was going to finish by saying that if the public has to show up in person, the council should too. It will be interesting to watch the new councilors phone it in practices (BTW, none of the newly elected councilors were at the meeting either, to at least watch and learn).

Most of my input was about how the city pretty much did their yearly financial report ass backwards by handing out millions in subsidies without having an audit or final report in their hands right before an election.

I asked, “How can you hand out millions when you don’t have a yearly financial report or audit, with no working sessions or public comment and input?”

Deer in headlights.

Let’s talk Policy

I said after this last city election I am going to try to focus on blogging about policy instead of the people who make the policy.

Let’s face it, over the next two years most policy is going to come from the mayor’s office with little to no discussion before passing a super majority of the council.

So instead of targeting the people who approve and write this policy, let’s target the policy inself. Hopefully I can stick with it 🙂

WHO IS OPPOSING THE ANTI-SLAUGHTERHOUSE PETITION?

I don’t know the answer to that question yet, but I have been told by a business leader in Sioux Falls there is a person(s) and they will tell me soon. They also said it may be surprising.

Also interesting that the chief lobbyist of the petition drive isn’t releasing who is funding his group. But that will have to eventually be released because of campaign finance rules.

IS A SIOUX FALLS CITY COUNCILOR MAKING A CAREER CHANGE?

There is a rumor floating around that a certain city councilor is leaving their current job to work in another field. So far, according to their work profiles online, they have not made that move yet. We will keep our eyes peeled since their new full-time employment could have some conflict of interest issues when it pertains to their votes on the dais.

WILL MY HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE COVER THE NEW SIDEWALK ORDINANCE?

Many people have been asking me about this change;

The owner(s) of such real property shall be liable to the city for any and all damage or injury caused by such neglect and shall be responsible for the costs of abating the public nuisance.

I am still baffled how a city can pass an ordinance that makes a homeowner responsible for injury that may occur on city owned property? Am I now going to be found responsible for a car accident in front of my house? I have argued for awhile that if property owners are responsible for all maintenance, and now insurance coverage, for the sidewalk in front of that property and boulevard, that property should be reverted to the property owner, and they can decide when and how they want to maintain it. I would probably tear out my sidewalk. The only person I see ever using it is my mailman, and he usually walks across the yards anyway.

As for the goofy grant program proposed by the city, a better alternative would be to go into these core neighborhoods with 2,600 violations and fix the whole street, curb and gutter, boulevard, sidewalk and lighting and forgo a complicated bureaucratic mess. But that would take forward thinking policies. All this grant program is is flim-flam puffery disguised as a solution.

WILL THE NEW EAT WELL PROGRAM BE JUST A WELFARE PROGRAM FOR BIG GROCERY DELIVERIES?

The $400K grant has to be specific. It has to provide affordable solutions to getting food to poorer neighborhoods. This is good. Councilor Brekke suggested using some of the money to create more community gardens and promote urban gardening. I know people in Sioux Falls that garden all year long inside and outside. I think we should spend the entire amount on it. We could also do classes on canning and other ways to preserve the food for winter months.

We should also use the money to create small fruit tree forests in our parks. We already pay dearly for maintaining our parks system. Does it really cost any more to maintain a fruit tree vs. a regular tree or bush?

What will most likely happen is a program that will subsidize the big grocery chains in Sioux Falls to deliver food to people’s homes. Unfortunately this is NOT a long term solution like urban gardening and once the money runs out, the program ends.

Like the sidewalk grant program, it would have just been easier to have a public meeting with citizens and stakeholders and carve out a city wide gardening and fruit forest system, but instead we are going to allow applicants to write the policy while collecting the money.

Once again, terrible policy because of the lack of vision, leadership, common sense and most importantly the war on open and transparent government.

A recent winning council candidate said that if elected he would make it his mission to engage the public. I think the first proposal to come out of his mouth on the dais is to pump the brakes on this and to engage the public about ideas, you know, the people paying for it.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, April 19, 2022

It has only been a week since the city election, and new candidates have not even been sworn in yet, and the ramrodding begins.

Informational Meeting • 4 PM

Presentations on the 2021 Financial Results and Eat Well, Sioux Falls Grant Program. There is NO attached documents (something I think moving forward we will not see in advance ever again).

I know I sound like a broken record, but I find it interesting that the 2021 financials were not presented to the public and city council in a public meeting until a week after the election. Millions in surpluses were given away before the election with NO official report. This is completely ass backwards.

READ FULL REPORT HERE

If you look at the report you will notice that the audit was submitted to the city on March 23 and and acknowledgement to city council on March 28, one week before the election. Was the timing a coincidence? I think not.

Regular Meeting • 6 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts,

Sub-Item #2, Sioux Falls Arts Council Funding, $32K+, While I have NO issue with this, I am wondering why these non-profits don’t have to give a presentation about what they have been doing with the money. The same goes for the Pavilion that basically sucks the entertainment tax dry every year and the Levitt, in which we have no clue how they ended up financially in 2021.

Sub-Item #39, Technology, Website/Content Management System Agreement; Open Cities, $425,593.00 (Five Year Total), Optional $65K for additional consulting services per year. (up to $150K per year) New software replaces legacy website and content management system with a new more efficient website and content management system.

In some respects, having a team manage our website for $150K a year is probably a bargain, but if we had a competent IT department (one manager just recently got arrested for child abuse, something the media and mayor’s office ignored before the election) we could probably manage this internally. Open cities has a fairly decent reputation though they have to make some improvements. This would have also been a great item to have a public presentation about, but do you really think Captain Poopy Pants was going to lift the veil of secrecy about this? Don’t make me laugh.

Item #24, Washington Pavilion getting a liquor license. While I have my issues with the Pavilion, I think this is overdue. They should have had one on day one. The transfer is another issue from a veterans association.

Item #50, More surplus handouts.

Item #52, major overhaul of sidewalk ordinances (and mostly who is responsible). What I find most egregious in this change to ordinance is it is happening in the middle of an onslaught of over 2,600 citations in poorer neighborhoods (including my property). They want to change the rules in the middle of the game. If you read the ordinance, this sticks out;

The owner(s) of such real property shall be liable to the city for any and all damage or
injury caused by such neglect and shall be responsible for the costs of abating the public
nuisance. Examples of sidewalk defects constituting a public nuisance include, but are not
limited to:

So while the sidewalk is owned by the city and sits on city property they are somehow expecting your insurance or personal assets to cover personal injury claims on their property. It is utterly F’ing ridiculous. It’s like saying a car accident in front of your house is your responsibility because the street is next to your property. The street abuts the boulevard that abuts the sidewalk that abuts your property. I go back to the simplest of premises. We pay taxes for services. This means the city should maintain it’s property and liability from the taxes we pay.

Item #53, more money flying around for an ice ribbon we do not need.

Items #58-59, Resolutions, more money moving around after an election.

Were these PACs fined for missing the filing deadline?

As you can see, three PACs that donated to the candidates in the latest City of Sioux Falls city election did not file their reports until 4 days after the filing deadline of April 7, 2022.

Ironically, 2 of the reports were filed within minutes of each other. I had asked the question why these PACs were not held accountable? And while they were filed less than 24 hours before the polls opened on Tuesday, is this really accountability?

While hindsight can be 20/20 we have been digging around on not just the money flowing into the winners column but an interesting strategy of data collection on targeting likely voters, especially in North Harrisburg (SE District).

Let’s just say the city’s use of Facebook for videos and EventBrite to book public meetings should be be BANNED immediately. They are harvesting data on citizens and it is NOT being used to improve your lives. We found out on Tuesday it is being used to manipulate voters and elections.

Mayor TenHaken made a revealing statement before the election about having the privilege of being a sitting mayor and having access to information his competitors do not. Was he using some of this access to help his campaign? I don’t know, but I do know that several years earlier he was using some of the same techniques to help the Marion Mike Rounds campaign dig up a dissenter and also trying to hide a blogger turned Deputy SOS who was also accused of using taxpayer information to assist his personal campaign consulting business. Jackboots let him off saying he didn’t steal any money from the petty cash drawer.

Is it ethical or even legal for a campaign to use this data for their personal benefit? Yes, if it is done from the outside thru other data collection tactics. Will we ever know if that is the case?

I encourage everyone to stop following the mayor and city on Facebook and Twitter. I also encourage to NOT fill out any surveys or RSVP requests from the city that use a 3rd party company.