You gotta love our new found transparency with the annotated agenda and this explanation for a property tax increase (Item #59);
Background & Objective: The ordinance appropriates the tax-supported funds as part of the 2023 budget in the amount of $384,337,184 and establishes property tax revenues to be collected including the 3% inflationary adjustment as provided in South Dakota State Statute.
Even though it says right in the title of the agenda ‘INCREASE’ they explain it as an adjustment.
With inflation thru the roof and property values skyrocketing over the past year, this would be a fine time to actually CUT the property tax by 3% instead. I am hoping at least one councilor has the backbone to bring an amendment on the second reading.
Sioux Falls Citizen Mike Zitterich says it best in an email sent to council;
As we begin the final preparations to approve the 2023 Fiscal Budget over the next coming weeks, let’s remember, we are currently in a recession of which many Americans are struggling to put gas in their car, food on the table, pay rents, let alone survive. We can debate all day long whether we have a good or bad economy, based on the # of building permits, or tax dollars coming into the treasury, but let’s stop and remember, the city is very fortunate to be in a position it is in, where its effective tax revenues have remained consistently at or above previous levels. Lets also remember, just cause our direct property based taxes – Sales Tax on goods and services, and Property Tax assessed to the value of land are all based on the direct assessment of how much ‘income’ the residents of the city have, and if their incomes are restricted, then the city has some decisions to make. I have often called attention to the formality of the City Spending more than the actual state and local tax dollars received, while we have a tax base of nearly $400,000,000 million dollars, this city council body is approving a spending budget of nearly $700,000,000 million dollars. As I have done over the past 3 years, I have made the people aware of this huge deficit in public spending, in hopes to help educate the residents. That is essentially what we have here, a “Spending Deficit“
As for Agenda Item #59 – the Property Tax Assessments, there is no law that says we can or not increase the amount the ‘government’ is begging for, YOU GUYS have the lawful ability to apportion LESS, thus cutting the budget by a specific dollar amount.
The city really needs to move towards ZERO based budgeting each year to get the spending under control, but that would require the city council to actually do their jobs. You will notice that this week’s agenda has 67 items in which the mayor sponsors almost every single one besides private applicants. There are ZERO items sponsored by our legislative and policy body. I have argued that the mayor should have to get at least one councilor to co-sponsor his items.
As discussed earlier in the week, DTSF wants an increase to their special tax. But if you read the agenda item (Resolution #64). You will notice there is NO mention of an increase, just a renewal;
Section 1. That the 2022 special assessment roll for the Main Street Business Improvement District in the City of Sioux Falls, SD, is hereby approved. The assessment as set out in said special assessment roll approved this date is hereby levied against the property described therein and becomes a lien against such property upon filing of said special assessment roll in the City Finance Office.
I find it curious that The Dakota Scoutbrought this story forward with NO prior presentation or explanation from the city. So will there be an increase? And if so why is it NOT on the agenda?
DTSF has been trying to convey that need to its members who are subject to the special assessment. And earlier this year, the Main Street BID Board, made up of property owners and other downtown stakeholders, unanimously recommended the proposal be carried forward to the City Council.
Okay. So when was the public going to be told? One minute before the vote? Ridiculous.
The biggest issue before the upcoming city election isn’t just affordable housing it is how the city is misappropriating millions in tax surpluses from 2021. (Item #86)
Typically surpluses from the previous year are not given out or appropriated in the following year until a financial report from that year is presented to the public and city council in a public meeting.
It should certainly NOT be given out before an election. The council, that normally controls the purse strings should have gotten the report and had public working sessions with public comment to determine how this money is to be spent, and it should have happened after the election.
Instead, the mayor is keeping information from some of the councilors and certainly from the public and secretly appropriating this money as booty prizes and then dropping it in councilors laps to approve. It’s a violation of the charter and certainly an ethical violation, it may even violate campaign rules.
In my humble opinion, with $74 million in surpluses the best way to spend this money is to give tax rebates to the core neighborhoods for property owners to spend it on home and neighborhood improvements (stipulated). Instead of complicated grants and added bureaucracy, just give it back to the taxpayers and have them decide how they will spend the money.
It’s bad enough we have been overtaxed, but to turn around and hide it from the council and public and to hand it out to the mayor’s special friends is just sickening, especially right before an election.
During Poops regularly scheduled monthly appearance* on the Belfrage show he said that just because your appraised value of your home may go up 18% that doesn’t mean your taxes will go up that much. This is true. But what he said next must have been his sad attempt at an April’s Fool’s joke. He proceeded to say that some people’s taxes may go down. Hilarious stuff. The only case where this could even be true is if you move into a special category next year that would qualify you for a tax reduction (senior, disabled veteran, etc.). The only entities in Sioux Falls that are getting (massive) tax breaks are the welfare queen Tifilicious developers and we are all paying higher taxes because of it. My taxes going down . . . my ass!
*This was Greg’s BS excuse to not make it sound like a FREE campaign advert.