Entries Tagged 'Zoo' ↓

Looks like the zoo wants their cake and to eat it too

Just when you thought I would drop the monkey crapper – monkey business, I get drawn back in. If you watch the November 21, informational meeting you will hear the zoo director talk about the zoo wanting to own the zoo animals. It helps with trading animals for breeding, etc. I’m all for it, but,

1) They should have to purchase the animals from the city &

2) They should have to cover the insurance on them

And, see, #2 is the kicker. The zoo not only wants us to ‘gift’ the animals but they also want us to cover the insurance. The council votes on it this Monday (Item #25). Document.

Here’s the dealio. I’m cool with them owning the animals, but they have to take on the responsibility of them, that means paying for them and providing their insurance. We’ll see if the council caves, once again.

Zoo Audit shows some of the monkey business that goes on at city hall

Something interesting came out of the audit. Apparently in 2000 the city council approved a $75,000 loan to the zoo. The loan was due in 2006 and when the zoo wasn’t paying the city issued a $75,000 check to the zoo and a week later the zoo paid the city back. Mind boggling, I know (FF to 24:00 min)

This of course happened during the Munson administration, but it shows how money gets transferred around without city council approval. The audit committee of course disapproved of this for two reasons

1) The loan forgiveness could have been done with a simple journal entry (even a bonehead non-accountant like myself knows that)

2) Since the city council originally approved the loan, they should have approved the forgiveness.

It is pretty obvious why the check was issued, it was to side step council involvement, which brings us to the bigger picture, not being transparent with the public. This went on many times during the Munson administration, in fact, Dave almost got brought up on charges over the 100% over budget approval of Phillips to the Falls.

This is a good example of why the council needs to be more involved with city expenditures, they are our legislative body and they need to be a check and balance against the mayor’s office and ultimately the budget office.

There was other things that came out of the audit, such as the city gifting the zoo the animals (apparently we used to own them) and the zoo not releasing their 990 to the city or the public because they want to protect their donors (which is understandable) but they can provide a 990 w/o the donors listed. My guess is that the zoo is a lot more successful financially then expected and they are trying to hide just how much private money they are bringing in so they can still feed at the city trough. This is unfortunate, because if the zoo can make it on their own two feet (or should I say four) they should. Then I will stop harassing them about monkey crappers.

The SF City Council is salivating over raising taxes and spending our money

In Item #’s 3 and 8 in last night’s council meeting the council proves again they like raising taxes on citizens for special interests.

In Item #3 they approved an ordinance to fund the zoo with entertainment tax revenue, while this can be looked at again and readjusted in the future, it bothers me a little that now the zoo will also be receiving those funds. According to who you listen to, the zoo receives around 36% of their funding from the city, while this has gone down under the new director I’m afraid if we start funding the zoo in this manner, they will be receiving more money instead of less in the future;

Elizabeth Whealy, zoo president and CEO, said she was pleased with the council’s decision. “We just need to make sure we have a reliable and stable funding source for the zoo,” she said.

This is the problem with special interests in our community, instead trying to move away from city subsidies, they only want more, and our city council goes along with it, like it’s no big deal (Anderson, Entennmen and Litz voted against it). I have said all along that the zoo should strive to be independent from the city and strive to cut city funding to a minimal amount. They have proved themselves it is possible, where do you think the other 64% comes from?

They also seem to get all giddy inside when it comes to raising our taxes;

SIOUX FALLS, SD – One of the biggest questions surrounding a new events center is how the city is going to pay for it.  One idea that got shot down this past legislative session is resurfacing. But just like last time, it could be a tough sell.

Monday night, the city council will vote on a resolution establishing its legislative priorities for the 2011 session.

That includes asking state lawmakers to pass a bill that would give municipalities the option of adding a local tax in order to raise money for a specified purpose.

It got shot down for a reason, it is a bad idea to raise a regressive tax to subsidize entertainment. I’m sure this will be dead in the water again in Pierre. Let’s hope so!

The Velvet Hammer Vernon Brown; wrong again

(Image; KELO-TV Screenshot)

Here we go again, Vernon Brown defending spending tax dollars on the Zoo. This broken record is getting older then my monkey crapper jokes;

“Today when we fund the zoo, it’s coming out of our general fund, which would normally fund street repairs, police and things like that.  Philosophically, the zoo should be funded with an entertainment tax,” city council member Vernon Brown said.

Philosophically it SHOULD NOT BE FUNDED BY ANY TAXES! Vernon will fight tooth and nail to not provide a service like snowgates (even though a majority of taxpayers support there use) then turn around and complain that the zoo isn’t getting there ‘piece of their (Banana Creme) pie.’

It’s time to get the zoo off of the city’s books and hand it over to a private non-profit. I would even suggest that the city gifts the property to them, and cut our losses. Is the Zoo good for our community? Yes. Should we fund it? No.

New crappers & now a hot tub?

Boy, we are living the life on the taxpayer’s dime in Sioux Falls

Oh, where to begin?

Snow monkeys from Japan soon will show their inquisitive faces in Sioux Falls.

They’ll make their new home in the Great Plains Zoo as part of a $5 million expansion to educate and entertain year-round visitors to their exhibit.

They’re famous for seeking out a warm bath.

“They like to sit in the hot springs in northern Japan,” Smith said.

Maybe they would like to come over to Detroit’s house for some margarita’s and a hot tub soak on a cold winter day?

Money for the new exhibit will come from three sources. Planners hope $1.5 million will come from the businesses in a fund drive the Chamber of Commerce has endorsed. Officials first set that target at $2.3 million but lowered the goal because of the soft economy. Another $1.5 million will come from the city capital improvements budget and $2 million from additional donations, Whealy said.

Oh, sorry, we don’t have $8,000 for a house that helps ex-cons transition into society or tax breaks for homeless shelters but we have $1.5 million for monkey hot tubs. Pathetic.

While I welcome the new exhibit, it is time we cut the purse strings at the zoo. If they can raise $3.5 million privately for the project, it is obvious they can raise the entire $5 million privately. Let’s get the CITIZEN’S house in order before we get the MONKEY’S house in order.