Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Millions in building permits for 2019 pay NO property taxes

While we are bragging about building permits for last year, we need to take into account many of these projects pay NO or little in property taxes;

  • Jefferson High School, $68.4 million
  • Ben Reifel Middle School, $27.9 million
  • The city of Sioux Falls pump station, $22.3 million
  • Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital, $15.5 million
  • Avera McKennan operating room renovation, $12 million
  • Avera Human Performance Center, $11.7 million
  • Avera Presentation Center, $7 million

As you can see almost $145 million in projects will pay little to no property taxes. So what is the economic impact? Higher taxes for the rest of us working stiffs.

See all of the stats HERE

Innovation Director Ad

Funny that some of these qualifications were not brought up before the last guy was hired;

Sioux Falls taxpayers already have to pay to fix ice at the Denty

Remember when former Mayor Bowlcut and Bucktooth bragged to us how perfect the concrete pour was for the ice rink at the Denty? Apparently it was not so great;

The City of Sioux Falls, SD, requests formal bids for DSFP Events Center Building Improvements—Ice Rink Expansion Joint Replacement.

I have heard from several people that the ice rink was NOT done correctly shortly after it opened. Complaints about leaks, etc. Besides the siding, the screwed up cracked flooring and paper thin walls, another short cut to ‘save money’ at the Denty. This will be costing us for years to come.

‘Total Fabrication’ Sioux Falls City Councilor Erickson and Belfrage have a twisted view of the 1st Amendment

I can’t count the number of times I fell over laughing while listening to this conversation between councilor Erickson and Belfrage on his show this morning. They have a very jaded viewed of what is right and what is wrong. One of the better moments is when Erickson continues to talk about the ‘Freedom of the Press’. She knows that SF Biz is a for profit website that charges businesses and organizations to post articles. Hardly the ‘Free Press’. It’s no different than a paid advertisement from a political candidate. Which brings us to the number two problem, tax money was being used to promote a candidate. Sure, his name was only mentioned once, but it was mentioned, and it doesn’t matter if the article had 1,023 words (Erickson admits in the interview she counted them) or if it is a novel. A taxpayer funded entity PAID for an article that promotes a political candidate. All the fluff and puff in between is laughable.

I may load this interview on my I-Pod so when I am having a bad day I can have a good laugh about how ignorant these two are about freedom of speech.

TenHaken says, ‘No Haters’!

I first want to say that I think this resolution is a good idea;

Mayor Paul TenHaken next week will introduce a resolution to the city council condemning hate, a move endorsed by the city’s Human Relations Commission.

“Hate has no place in Sioux Falls,” TenHaken said in a news release Thursday afternoon. “I’m proud to stand with the Human Relations Commission and condemn bias, discrimination and hate in Sioux Falls.

“With this resolution we reaffirm our belief that hate has no place in Sioux Falls and remind the public of ways to report discrimination to the City,” he added.

We should all disavow hate. I am actually embarrassed that in 2020 we have to pass resolutions to tell people to stop being racist jerks.

But this resolution has many procedural and intent problems. It’s nothing but some feel good reach around more than anything else. I also find it ironic that this resolution is being proposed right after the human relations attorney with the city announced he is running for State’s Attorney.

Kawinky-Dink? I think not.

So what are the issues;

1) It has no teeth. It just basically says that the city doesn’t like people being racist. Well Lah-De-Dah. I guess I am unaware of ANY city official, whether elected or employed who thinks it is a good idea to be racist. And in my personal life I ‘try’ to stay away from these people. So basically this is just a ‘memo’ or ‘sticky note’ from the mayor’s office.

2) The mayor should not be legislating. As I have told you fine folks in the past, according to charter, the city council is responsible for legislating and the mayor should run the city. As I mentioned above, this is just a campaign hat trick for the city’s human relations attorney, Daniel Haggar.

3) The mayor avoids gay pride events. I can’t tell you if PTH thinks gay peeps are ‘Icky’. Many have suspected that he does, but I have never seen him say anything publicly about it except at Dem Forum when he was running for office in which he stated that he was not ‘homophobic’. But what I find interesting about this resolution is that it did not include the LGBTQ community, or many other minority groups, like people of Muslim or Jewish faith that are discriminated against consistently. If we are going to pass a resolution disavowing hate, shouldn’t it cover all the bases?

This isn’t a Paul TenHaken issue, it is a bigger issue with politics in general starting with the top down, it’s all about ‘image’ instead of ‘substance’. If we really want to take a stand we need to pass ordinances that has teeth, otherwise this isn’t worth the paper it is written on. On top of that, hate speech is protected by the 1st Amendment, so is this a violation of our constitution?

We make change through education, and teaching people how not to hate. A more fitting resolution would be for the city to set up a grant program that funds seminars on teaching people about different cultures, creeds and sexual preferences. I have often told people that moving to a suburb of Seattle from a farm in South Dakota when I was 16 to live with my dad was the best cultural education of my life. I will sum it up really quickly, everybody has the same hopes and dreams as you do, no matter their color or creed. The city needs to educate people about cultures instead of handing out back rubs, sticky notes, lapel pins and pens.

We would accrue more property taxes if Sioux Steel project doesn’t receive TIF

We have heard the argument already, if we give the $21.5 million dollar TIF the property will have a tax worth of $1.6 million a year. But folks those tax payments don’t occur until 20 years from now as Joe Sneve’s story pointed out.

So if we give them the TIF, for the next 20 years they will be paying $56K a year. So in 20 years they will be paying a total of $1.12 million in taxes for a $185 million dollar facility. Hardly anything.

BUT, if we don’t give them the TIF, the value of the project would be approximately $163.5 million (flat parking lot) with an annual tax bill that they must pay on day one of about $1.4 million a year with no rebate, a value of $28 million in collected taxes in 20 years.

Common sense would tell us that getting $28 million over the next 20 years in property taxes as opposed to $1.12 is a better deal for city coffers.

Also look at the economic impact argument. They said they would have to forgo the parking ramp if they don’t get the TIF. How many jobs does a parking ramp provide? ZERO. Whether they build flat parking or a ramp, there really isn’t a economic impact either way.

Not only could this project still be successful without the TIF, the property tax revenue is over 20X more if we forgo the TIF. On top of that, the owner and developer of this project could sell at the end of TIF and get all the benefits of the tax rebate without ever paying a 100% of the tax bill. It is a windfall for them, and little else.

Not sure who is doing the math at the Planning Department, but this TIF is anything but an economic impact. They will be voting on the first hurdle tonight at the 6 PM Planning meeting.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly was on the attack yesterday, and it was the ‘Good Fight’

First, the obvious – The First Amendment DOES not protect free speech when comes to using tax dollars to promote a political candidate. This doesn’t even take a Constitutional scholar to figure it out. This is why Trump was impeached in Congress. He was withholding tax dollars to help his presidential candidacy.

While I understand a local entrepreneur casually mentioning a city council candidate he is helping out in an article funded by two institutions that receive some tax funding (state and city) may seem not as grand as what our president did, it is still worth talking about and correcting.

I was extremely irritated that some elected officials on the council chose to defend this obvious violation of free speech rights and state law.

Just because you violate campaign rules ‘a little bit’ doesn’t make it alright. That essentially was their argument.

While what councilors Brekke, Stehly and citizen Bruce Danielson said may have been uncomfortable, it was very appropriate to say and the right time to say it, in a public meeting. No one was advocating to arrest anyone, no one was going to throw some one in jail or fine them. This was simply an effort to ‘nip it in the butt’ before it became common place. People make mistakes, we get it.

Over the past day, I have told several people that Matt Paulson (Alex Jensen’s quasi-campaign manager, treasurer and fundraiser) did nothing wrong, neither did Siouxfalls.business. Stehly wasn’t attacking them, she was simply telling the Sioux Falls Development Foundation (and I guess DSU) that moving forward they should not promote certain candidates because they receive public money.

This isn’t an attack, it’s a fact, and many journalists and citizens agree.

We know what’s going on here, and we have been seeing this across the state for several years. The Republican establishment (a very small elitist group) has controlled our State House for almost 50 years, and they are trying to take control of our County Commissions, State’s Attorney offices and other non-partisan government entities like city councils and school boards. I want to clarify, I have voted for ‘good’ Republicans (like Stehly, Brekke, Staggers and Jamison) on these non-partisan bodies, because they have integrity and want to keep party affiliation out of politics. The group I am referring to is a very small group of ‘know it all’ elitist, establishment Republicans that want to control their business interests, and they see an opportunity here, though their actions look more like ‘amateur hour’.

I have said it already, they are using candidates like Jensen for city council, Cynthia Mickelson for school board and State’s Attorney candidates like Haggar and Bengford to stack the deck and implement their pro-corporate welfare of government, these are NOT Republicans in the sense of tradition, these are elitist greed mongers that only pray to one God; money. Don’t believe me? Why else would the South Dakota GOP Chair, a Jewish Iowa businessman lobby for an Islamic theocratic government? Because party doesn’t matter, only money and greed.

So yes, Stehly was on the attack yesterday. She was attacking greed, corruption, partisanship, lack of integrity and lack of open government. And not just ‘a little bit’ but a lot.

UPDATE: Just How does the Sioux Falls Development Foundation use our money?

Just for clarification on the video below, it may have been Rick Kiley who actually said ‘More Fabrication’ and NOT Neitzert, but we are uncertain.

UPDATE: Stehly questioned the head of the Development Foundation today at the informational meeting about this. It was a good discussion. I think Brekke and Danielson explained the reason why this isn’t protected speech;

Councilor Janet Brekke as well as civic watchdog Bruce Danielson countered, though, saying because the Sioux Falls Development Foundation receives public funds, it is held to a higher standard when it comes to political speech.

State Law on this is also very clear;

Universal Citation: SD Codified L § 12-27-20

12-27-20. Expenditure of public funds to influence election outcome prohibited. The state, an agency of the state, and the governing body of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state may not expend or permit the expenditure of public funds for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any candidate, or for the petitioning of a ballot question on the ballot or the adoption or defeat of any ballot question. This section may not be construed to limit the freedom of speech of any officer or employee of the state or such political subdivisions in his or her personal capacity. This section does not prohibit the state, its agencies, or the governing body of any political subdivision of the state from presenting factual information solely for the purpose of educating the voters on a ballot question.

Source: SL 2007, ch 80, § 20.

I was happy to hear the head of the Development Foundation say that the board will look into this.

The taxpayers of Sioux Falls have donated millions of tax dollars to the SFDF for supposed workforce development. So how do they spend their money? They buy an article on Siouxfalls.business about the treasurer of Alex Jensen’s council campaign, Matt Paulson. Can you say possible conflict of interest?

This paid piece is sponsored by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

While I don’t take issue with them paying for an article about Paulson, he has many achievements, I take issue with an organization who receives tax dollars from us (even if it is coming out of a different ‘pool’) on a person who is currently engaged with at least one city council race (maybe two).

The SFDF should have steered clear of this possible conflict. I do think they are a decent organization that does some good in our community, but when you are receiving tax dollars and other special incentives from the city and citizens, this just looks bad.

It is extremely unethical for public employees to recommend approval of a TIF

As I have complained about in the past, it rubs me the wrong way that the Sioux Falls Planning staff recommends approval or denial of items on their agenda. It is the job of the Planning Commission to study the merits of a proposal from the information staff provides, it is NOT the job of public employees to recommend approval. Layout the plan, show the compatibility than let the Planning Commission decide based on the information.

While zoning and development in general is one thing, a massive 20 year, multi-million dollar tax rebate is totally different.

The Planning Commission can deny this proposal simply based on the fact that we don’t really know if the TIF will be beneficial or not. Denying the TIF would simply mean the PRIVATE developer would have to go back to the drawing board, the citizen taxpayers would not be harmed one iota if this was denied. In fact I would go step further and say that approving this TIF would be harmful to the 100% property tax paying citizen of our city because we would have to pay more in taxes to prop up this private venture.

I still think the city council needs to pass an ordinance forbidding planning staff or any public employee (that is hired, not elected) from recommending approval of endeavors that benefit private business. It’s unethical, if not highly suspect.

A complete waste of the “search Function”

Guest Post, Bruce Danielson

Have you heard the expression “hiding in plain sight”?

The city of Sioux Falls has found a way to once again hide data while claiming transparency. The webpage https://amv.siouxfalls.org/publicaccess/docs/searchq/ is absolutely worthless.

The basics of open government is present data simple choice of options, in a usable form, with a functional sort order and a presentation of results best usable by requestor.

The City Clerk’s public access page is a failure of huge proportions. First off you have to know the names or phrases before you start or you will receive no results. In other words, you have to know the exact spelling of the report before you can ask the system if it exists. The secret PACs are not listed so anyone could easily review the activity or even if a filing was made.

BTW, do the secret PACs still have money? Notice in the date stamped 1/6/2020 Greg Neitzert filing how the Mayor TenHaken secret Next Generation Leadership PAC gave $250. Now try to find any information on the Next Generation Leadership PAC. Why is the Mayor of Sioux Falls hiding with Joel Dykstra behind a secret PAC to influence who is going to be on the City Council? Any good political operative would have stayed out of (at least publicly) the City Council races. Just think, if Neitzert is defeated, how close do you think the eventual winner is going to be willing to help the loser mayor?

Now back to the unfriendly City Clerk’s search system. There is no simple way to follow a series of events.  The results do not a have any dates on the results so you have to research everything presented to see how it fits. A long and frustrating process designed to stop real searches from happening or being attempted.

We have a “supposed” web expert in the big office of City Hall and it actually shows. It shows how to hide data at the same time claiming transparency.