Entries Tagged 'TIFs' ↓

The Tifilicious Welfare Downtown Developers want to buy up the homeless shelters

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read this article about the DTSF developers behind Cherapa XXX;

And concerns about Cherapa Place colliding with Bishop Dudley Hospitality House or Union Gospel Men’s Center have not made developers wary. Although there might be the possibility that rising values could cause the shelters to sell, overall Pendar Properties hopes to work on a solution that works for all parties.

“I think what we do is we make this work together. There is a division, but it can be something we make positive,” Scherschligt told the Argus Leader.

Gee, like putting them somewhere else to begin with? It reminds me of the quiet zones. This stuff should have been negotiated to begin with, now we are going to throw even more tax dollars at the problems (that is who is paying for the quiet zones and eventually the relocation of the shelters).

I don’t expect our leaders to have a ton of vision, well maybe I do, but common sense would be nice.

Failures of the RR Redevelopment negotiations rear their head again

And here we go, throwing more Federal money at the project and it’s an EMERGENCY even though the trains have tooting their horns through SF for over 100 years!

While I don’t oppose creating quiet zones throughout the city (even though we know this is probably for DTSF exclusively) it is pretty obvious we have to do this because we failed to remove the RR tracks from downtown during the negotiations. While it will make DTSF safer with the crossbars, the only noise it eliminates is the sirens from the trains, you will continue to hear them barrel down the track and cause traffic interruptions.

I have NO DOUBT the Feds will probably reimburse the state, but you have to admit since we didn’t successfully remove the tracks from this area to begin with, we are just playing a game of whack a mole and this is the latest.

So far the developer in this area has received millions in improvements to the River Greenway, a significant discount on the land, multiple TIFs (to build condos) and now another $5 million to create quiet zones next to those condos.

Here’s a concept DON’T BUILD CONDOS AND APARTMENTS NEXT TO A RAILROAD TRACK, or better yet work with our Washington delegates to get the tracks torn out. Nope, let’s just keep throwing tax dollars at small bandaids that doesn’t fix the bigger problem TRAINS RUMBLING THROUGH DOWNTOWN FOR NO DAMN GOOD REASON!

Sioux Falls Developer trying to get TIFilicious in Rapid City

It shouldn’t be a surprise that this developer is asking for a TIF for a project that doesn’t supply ANY affordable housing;

The apartments will start at around $995 for studios, $1,295 for one bedrooms and $1,895 for two bedrooms.
Luke Jessen, senior director of development at Lloyd, said the company will ask the city for an $8.75 million TIF, although a hearing date has not yet been scheduled.


$995 for a hole in the wall apartment in Rapid City, seems reasonable? Notice how many groups it must go through before approval;

The project will soon appear on the Tax Increment Finance District Review Committee, Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission agendas.

We may be served well if we had such a committee;

The committee is comprised of two Rapid City Council members, two Pennington County Commissioner members, one Rapid City Planning Commissioner, one Rapid City Area School District representative, and one Economic Development Partnership representative.

If we had a committee like this, there might be transparency in the process, they actually meet in council chambers and members of the public can attend to see how the TIF is negotiated. What a concept! In Sioux Falls they are negotiated in the basement of the planning office then rubber stamped by the Planning Commission and City Council.

UPDATE: TIFs and Loans for Home Improvement, better late than never!

The City Council is getting a presentation on Tuesday about the proposal;

Imagine my surprise after over a decade of me pleading with any city councilor or mayor that would listen, the city is exploring a plan to give no interest loans from $10-$30K for home improvement in the core (notice there is NO agenda or minutes from the October meeting. Was it cancelled?) From the Argus;

The Accessible Housing Advisory Board (AHAB) met earlier this month to discuss a housing action plan policy using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help alleviate housing costs in the coming years.

Usually, a TIF incentivizes developers to construct buildings and make other private investments on sites that without TIF funding would otherwise not be developed, according to Family Housing Fund, a housing information group in Minnesota. The TIF would mean long-term investment in certain neighborhoods and properties.

Recommendations coming out of the board, which brings together community stakeholders in Sioux Falls’ housing sector, will eventually move to city council for final approval and implementation of housing solutions in the following months.

Homes considered for the TIF consideration and given priority for public housing help would include homes built before 1980 in the core of the city, which is bordered by Marion Road, 49th Street, Sycamore Avenue and 60th Street North.

Ironically the city admits that we have a lot of low wage jobs in this town, and more coming;

Part of the proposal also included a rental repair loan option, which would offer $10,000 per unit at five years, no-interest. In addition, homeowners could apply for up to $30,000 in no-interest, deferrable loans to repair their own homes to increase their value.

“It’s a great thing to offer as there’s still people living paycheck-to-paycheck and not able to keep their properties up,” said Brent Tucker, director of housing development for Affordable Housing Solutions.

Tucker said public to private funds help ease the burden of home costs, though the loans do come with heavy stipulations.

“To truly create affordable housing, we all need to work together, especially with Amazon, CJ Foods and others,” Tucker said. “Since they’ll bring in those folks who will make 80% of median income.”

Mr. Tucker is an awesome city employee, he helped me with a community development loan around 15 years ago and walked me through the process and was very helpful. I will warn people who apply, you have to do a lot of the leg work yourself, but it is well worth it. Getting an interest free loan to repair your home isn’t FREE money, but it kind of is. You can also apply the payment of the loan when you sell so you may not have to make any short term payments. If they factor in TIFs, you will also get tax rebates for home repairs.

While I could certainly go on a rant that this could have been done 2 decades ago (community development loans have been around for a long time, but there really isn’t a strong marketing push to get them), at least they are moving in the right direction now. I would suggest that the city hires some part-time people, like retirees to knock on the doors in neighborhoods that could use this program and help them with the initial application. There has to be outreach for this to work. The city will also have to pony up with curb and gutter, street repairs, water and sewer and updating street lights.

We will see how this plays out. Cross your fingers.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls CountCilor Alex Jensen misconstrues how the city can use TIFs

I come to suck the blood out of the city coffers!

I was a little surprised that a former state legislator and current city councilor could be so confused about how the city can apply TIFs. During his interview on KELO AM (Sept 21) Jensen says the city should use TIFs for affordable and accessible housing. Imagine my surprise, especially since Jensen gleefully voted for 3 TIFs totaling $144 million that have ZERO to do with affordable housing. But what he said about what needs to change really surprised me even more. Jensen said the state has to change laws in order to do that. Huh?

While the State could certainly do that, it is not necessary. As I have proposed, with Home Rule we can make our charter stricter than State Law, we just cannot violate the law;

Application for TIF will only be accepted for projects that will eliminate blight, build density in the core, and simultaneously provide affordable and workforce housing. Home rule charter allows the city to be stricter than state law.

There are three ways we could go about this change. The easiest would be the council just proposing the change and voting on it. That would be as simple as a presentation about the change and a 1st and 2nd reading. The next easiest would be my proposal above and have the CRC put the change on the ballot and let the voters make that change. There is also a 3rd option which would be the hardest and that would be to do a petition drive to get it on the ballot.

This is why Jensen’s statement baffles me. The Council and himself already have the power to make this change, we don’t have to wait for the legislature to do something. And if he really believed that TIFs should only be applied this way why did he vote for three that have to do with parking ramps, slush funds and Korean owned egg roll factories?

Talking out of both sides of your butt must be a vampire thing.

UPDATE: Jensen also touches on this during inside Town Hall. Alex offers some strange solutions to our housing shortages;

• Encourage people to live in our neighboring small communities. So basically he is telling people to come to SE South Dakota to work in Sioux Falls, but BTW, we don’t have any room for you in our town. So once you punch out, and go home please take those wages you made in Sioux Falls and pay your taxes in Tea or Brandon or Crooks.

I have suggested for over a decade you could do a pilot program in a core neighborhood in a 4-6 block radius. The city would fix the roads, water, sewer, curb, gutter, city owned sidewalks and lighting. You then could get the residents and property owners in that sector to sign onto a group tax incentive program thru community development to fix up the properties. Depending on income levels the help could be tax rebates or NO or LOW interest loans. As we have seen, the Mayor already has the discretionary power to that.

• Senator Jack Kolbeck brought up TIFs. Either Jack is naive or he is in on the scam, but he wants to get the TIF down to 0% for developers and eliminate excise taxes for them. He then says “So they can pass the savings down to the consumer/renter.” The tired old Reaganomics argument of trickle down. If you are giving the tax cut to the developer, the developer or contractor will simply put that money in their pocket. They know with the demand of housing in Sioux Falls they have NO reason to pass ‘savings’ on down to the consumer. The tax breaks should go to the consumer once the home is purchased. Trickle down DOES NOT WORK, we have proof of this with the enormous income gap that was created by these horrible policies.

• Jack also brings up expanding the prison built homes project to Sioux Falls prison. While I am all for this program, I think the inmates should get paid better for it, I also think they should have job guarantees in the industry when they get out and work it into their probation or parole.

• He also mentions tiny homes (I agree with) and deregulation. That is a buzz word with Republicans, they always seem to think sacrificing safety will save money. In 2018 South Dakota ranked #5 with Highest Rate of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Less regulation is NOT the answer.

I’m not saying the city needs to do this all at once or even change existing ordinances, just try a pilot program based on existing zoning and laws. Shape Places already fixed a hurdle that allows residential areas like this to either fix up or expand their properties. This isn’t rocket science folks. It’s what I told a friend the other day about the issues at the Dudley House. We have this desire in local government to re-invent the wheel and make things complicated while giving them fancy names. We don’t have to do that, we can get simple straight forward ideas from other communities on what works and we don’t even need to travel or pick up a phone to do it. You can get online and see thousands of projects. It just takes time, research and google. When I used to be a full-time graphic designer a fellow designer told me his secret to being so good, ‘90% of my ideas are stolen’.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken to announce re-election campaign a day before trying to sneak in a tax increase thru resolution?

UPDATE: This is NOT a fee increase, just an annual notice that the fee exists and renewed, it has since 1992.

City Council Members and Council Staff,

Good afternoon. A resolution (per City Ordinance 96.033) will be presented at Tuesday’s City Council
Meeting to levy an annual front foot assessment fee for street maintenance and repair. The special
assessment funds are used to partially fund the highways and streets operational budget for the
repairs and maintenance of our city streets to include pothole patching, asphalt surface
maintenance, and street sweeping.The front foot assessment fee has been in place since 1992.
The front foot assessment fee will be $1.00 per foot for 2022 and has not changed since 2009.
Attached is the resolution and on the back is the amount that has been collected for each respective
year since 1992.
Thank you, Mark Cotter


It looks as though Mayor Poops is finally going to announce he is running. The irony of this is astounding when you consider that on Tuesday night he is trying to push an over $9 million dollar tax increase thru resolution (item 21) which is legally dubious since tax or fee increases normally go thru the ordinance process of 1st and 2nd readings AND a presentation to the council in advance. Some councilors I spoke with didn’t even know it was on the agenda.

According to the math (thanks Mike Z – I updated his numbers);

Looks to be a new tax being created assessed on the residents of Sioux Falls, is this true?  $1.00 Per foot per property along our ‘streets’. If we have a total # of 900 centerline street miles in this city (1,800 if you include both sides of the street), and each mile is roughly 5,280 feet, this tax generates $9,504,000.00 for the city to be used to maintain and resurface highways, streets, and roads in the city. With a $654,000,000 million revenue stream, is a new tax really necessary?

Once again Paul is showing us his lack of transparency and his dark hatred towards open government. Most government’s would have put this thru a vetting process with it’s public works department, the city council and the citizens. Not to mention in the same night there will be a property tax increase (item 15). You also have to remember we spent most of the $50 million in Covid money on play things and gave away $144 million in tax rebates this year. It looks like we will be heading into the dark abyss for another 4 years unless Paul gets one heck of a challenger.

Sioux Falls Rubberstamp City Council passes $25 Million Dollar Corporate Welfare TIF Tax Rebate to wealthy developer with ZERO discussion

While the almost 5 hour meeting last night had many fireworks from the Med MJ ordinance discussion (this was only 1st Reading) towards the beginning of the meeting they approved TIF #25 with almost zero discussion (they moved it up so the VIP wealthy developer getting a handout wouldn’t have to sit thru all the people’s REAL business).

Besides the same lame brain presentation from the Planning Director about the TIF itself only one speaker emerged to defend the TIF, and it wasn’t the developer. In fact the developer has said NOTHING about the TIF except when he made a presentation to the council at an informational meeting. His daughter did say a handful of words when the Planning Commission approved the TIF, but the developer himself has said NOTHING at the 2 readings of this ordinance. Not even a please and thank you for getting this handout that the rest of SF property tax payers will have to make up for. Of course, why should he? All of those negotiations were done in secret over the past several years, this is also why you didn’t hear a peep from the councilors either, just a gigantic sound of 7 whaps on the dais with a rubber stamp. (Marshall Selberg was absent)

Wouldn’t it be great if getting food stamps was that easy?

So who was the only defender last night? Joe Batcheller, Director of Downtown Sioux Falls. While Joe and I are on good terms, even if I disagree with him about bringing snakes to outdoor events (he thinks it is fine) ðŸ˜Š we also disagree on TIFs. As a trained urban planner, Joe adamantly thinks they are good thing. He also even makes the tired old argument I hear councilors make ‘TIFs may not work well in other communities, but golly gee they work great here’. The problem with the argument is that we have NO economic or financial evidence of that, NO studies have been done on TIFs in SF or SD that shows an actual benefit to the public.

Which brings us to another point Joe made. He said this TIF was justified because we are getting a Return on Investment (ROI). I’m not sure a parking ramp (this is what most of the TIF will be spent on) that can only be used by the public on nights and weekends is much of an ROI when you consider that the Bunker Ramp is mostly empty at night and barely filled during the day, we will have another parking ramp sitting at the Sioux Steel Project and my long term argument is parking ramps really probably won’t be needed in the next decade. The irony of it all is that by the time this TIF runs out in approximately 20 years, it will probably NOT be a parking ramp.

The King of Sioux Falls TIFs himself (Stormland TV Screenshot)

Joe also made the argument that TIFs are not ‘Handouts’. I’m not sure what else you would call them. TIFs are essentially a tax rebate you get to use on your private property. The developer builds a parking ramp that they will be using during the day, and likely charge for access and they get that ramp paid for by getting a rebate on the $25 million dollar taxes they are supposed to be paying to the county, the school district and the city while raising taxes on the rest of us due to the total valuation of the project. It would be like you personally getting a $500 dollar property tax rebate to fix your front door. While that benefits YOUR property, it has very little benefit to the tax payers who have to pay their full tax bill, while also supplementing your rebate. Sure they throw us a few crumbs saying the TIF will also build roads (to their private project, to their benefit) and we get to use the parking for the Levitt (even though I have yet to see a parking issue at the concerts even when the lawn is packed) the true beneficiary of this REBATE is the developer and his investors, this is why it truly is a HANDOUT.

The most egregious part about the almost $200 million dollars in TIFs the city council has gleefully handed out this year is that this could ALL be done with private investment. The money is there. It has been proven by the past decade of record breaking building permits that have been issued to contractors in this city who have asked for ZERO tax breaks. Besides the public building permits, I think most of the private permits issued by the planning department are 100% privately funded. It would be a great presentation and study done by our Planning Department, but of course that would shoot holes in the whole NEEDING TIFs to succeed in Sioux Falls. Believe it or not, I think that is fantastic that private business, can invest privately while providing good jobs without a government HANDOUT.

Which brings us to Joe’s last point, that was so ridiculous when he said it, I laughed for about 5 minutes. Joe said it was important to remember that Cherapa II’s developer was taking on 100% of the risk for this approximately $350 million dollar project.

Really Joe?!!!  He should be commended for that after getting this handout from the city?

Isn’t that how the Free Market system is supposed to work? Oh never mind, in Sioux Falls it’s called Developer Socialism. You give us massive tax breaks and we will make sure we spend it on us and never present data that shows otherwise.

And lastly, Jeff, a Thank You would have been nice.

Fargo, ND developer still invests in project after City denies TIF

So you mean some cities still believe in the FREE Market and private investment;

Earlier this year, the Fargo City Commission declined Hyde’s request for $5 million in tax increment financing for site development for the project but he says he was able to negotiate both a lower price for the property and the bid for site work and was able to get the model to still work.

Pretty crazy how the developer could figure out a way to invest in the property even after the TIF was denied. Even this story from September 2020 shows how Amazon turned down incentives in Fargo;

Amazon has reportedly not asked for any local tax breaks.

While Amazon technically didn’t get direct TIFs or tax breaks from the City of Sioux Falls either, the park they are at has gotten millions in infrastructure upgrades from taxpayers and will continue to benefit from the $94 million dollar TIF recently given to the park. I have argued for a long time that the developers in this community have plenty of private investment without needing TIFs. But when you turn on the candy trough, they all come to feed. If I were the mayor or a city councilor I would have ended TIFs a long time ago in this city, the welfare program for the super rich.

Locally Owned Pork Producers building Plant without Government handouts?

Shocker, I guess LOCAL business folks have figured out the FREE Market system and are not asking for a handout from the City of Sioux Falls like communist foreign investors;

Wholestone Farms, an entity owned by regional pork producers, plans to build a more than $500 million pork processing facility in Sioux Falls.


Wholestone has exercised an option to purchase 170 acres in northeast Sioux Falls near Benson Road and Interstate 229, near the new Gage Brothers Concrete Materials location.

Yes, that’s right folks, they didn’t buy the land in Flopdation Park and they are not asking for any TIFs or other handouts from the city, which got a very strange response from Mayor Stoneless;

The city, however, voiced reservations about the project.


“To be frank, we are facing historic housing challenges right now,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said in a statement provided to SiouxFalls.Business.

“In this unique environment, our employers are also facing critical hiring challenges as we have strategically added thousands of new jobs in recent months. Under normal circumstances, the addition of 1,000 more jobs would be an enormous win for the city of Sioux Falls, yet these are not normal circumstances. While I have been and continue to be supportive of value-added agriculture investments in our region, I have a duty to note the challenges currently being faced within our community at this time.”

Instead trying to help this plant find workers, it seems Paul is trying to defend his welfare queens from Communist China, international companies like Amazon (who pay no federal taxes) and South Korean investors. What is Paul afraid of? That this locally owned business will pay better than his foreign welfare friends? Or that more immigrants will come to town to work there? How can you brag about growth then poo poo it when local producers are doing it and not asking for handouts?

Because the plant is still years from opening, Wholestone has not set wages but said they will be competitive and include a full benefits package.


“All the robotic technology that’s available will be employed,” Webb said. “There will be some traditional knife work because there are no robots to do that, but the ergonomically difficult jobs will be done by robots.”

Imagine that, they actually care about the working conditions of their employees, don’t want any government handouts, and are locally owned and Paul is concerned?!! Isn’t this the kind of business we want in Sioux Falls? While I am not wild about another packing plant, at least it isn’t stinking up our namesake. I have told the council and mayor on several occasions that handing out all this candy would eventually bite us in the ass. Plenty of taxpayer subsidized jobs, nobody to work them.

Heck the company even wants to help with housing;

How might Wholestone Farms support community housing initiatives?


Wholestone Farms will be a significant, new employer. We’re sensitive to the housing needs of the community and our future employees. With a minimum of three years to plan for our project, we’re prepared to help the community leverage the increased tax base that will be realized as a result of our project to help provide for additional housing support. There are a multitude of ways to support the housing needs in the community, and our team is open to those ways as determined best by the Sioux Falls community. We want to be part of the solution and would challenge other major employers in Sioux Falls and the region to join us in this effort.

While having another packing plant in Sioux Falls may not be ideal, it just might be so successful it will close down the communist owned stinkhole downtown. Still baffled by Paul’s resistance. Maybe it has something to do with his mysterious trip to China a couple of years ago? Things that make you go Hmmmm . . . .

More info on TIFs

Some of these stories and studies are NOT totally pessimistic about TIFs, but they all have an underlying theme, there really is little benefit to TIFs if they are NOT used for their original intent, cleaning up blight and providing affordable housing.

Why Tax Increment Financing Often Fails and How Communities Can Do Better (lincolninst.edu)

Dzigbede-MFC-07-15-19.pdf (brookings.edu)

FiscalTIF-20160129.pdf (cberdata.org)

Lester-Tax-Increment-Financing-in-Chicago-Working-Paper-2-12-13-FINAL-rm.pdf (unc.edu)

Improving Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for Economic Development (taxpayersci.org)

The Promises and Pitfalls of TIF in the St. Louis Metropolitan Region: A Look at Neighborhood Disparities (core.ac.uk)

Illinois Issues: TIF—The Swiss-Army Knife Development Tool | Illinois Public Media News | Illinois Public Media

(PDF) The death and life of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) (researchgate.net)

Has TIF been successful for economic development in Iowa? | The Gazette

Report: TIFs fall short of economic development promises (illinoispolicy.org)