The Sioux Falls City Council will vote Tuesday on agreements with the Sioux Falls Tennis Association and the Ice Sports Association for the facilities they are building at the Sanford Sports Complex.
Whether or not the public will be allowed to comment before the vote will be up to the city council. Typically, the public gets to have its word before the council approves a new ordinance or resolution, but agreements are treated differently.
The agreements were originally supposed to be part of the consent agenda, which groups a number of items - from contracts to change orders - for a single vote. Approving things that way doesn’t give the option for the council to discuss particular items, unless a councilor requests an item be singled out and approved separately.
Because of the number of questions councilors have had already over the ice and tennis agreements, they’re up for a full vote of the council tomorrow night.
Some councilors have already suggested amending the contracts to include more financial oversight and to add a clause that would allow low income families discounted passes to play at the new facilities. Others have questioned whether Mayor Mike Huether should sign the tennis agreement, given his wife’s role as executive director of the Sioux Falls Tennis Association. So far, the answer from other tennis and city officials has been that Mrs. Huether hasn’t been involved in talks over the city agreement.
Now that the issue is on the new business agenda, it’s sure to spark some discussion.
The city of Sioux Falls lost out on attracting the youth softball and soccer tournaments it’s hosted in the past, but officials are still waiting to hear if they’ll bring in the college teams.
The NCAA will announce the host sites for its future tournaments next week. Sioux Falls bid on 19 events that it would host at the Sanford Sports Complex, the Denny Sanford Premier Center and other venues.
The Sioux Falls Sports Authority is planning to reveal which college events will be coming to town Wednesday, Dec. 11.
The Sioux Falls Regional Airport is adding to its permanent art collection.
A bronze sculpture called “Aviator” has graced the ticketing area on lease, but today the airport authority approved buying the sculpture from artist Bobbie Carlyle for $23,000.
“I think it’s a really unique piece, it’s aviation related and it fits our lobby really well,” Airport Executive Director Dan Letellier told the board.
The airport authority is considering buying two smaller sculptures, possibly swapping out those it now leases as part of the Sculpture Walk, a project centered on art in downtown Sioux Falls.
“I think it ties us to downtown,” commissioner Ruth Krystopolski said.
She would like to see the new pieces fit with remodeling plans, which aim for a warmer, welcoming feeling.
The smaller sculptures are currently leased for $1,000 per year.
Sioux Falls City Council members will be chatting about some big city issues over coffee this Saturday.
The public is invited to stop by for an informal discussion on any city topic, but particularly it’s a chance to bring up your thoughts for what the city should do with the $9.8 million reimbursement that came from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this fall. Changes to the Paratransit bus system is another hot issue a new task force is tackling right now.
Join in the conversation at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Carnegie Town Hall, 235 W. 10th St.
One of the top options Sioux Falls city officials are considering in deciding how to spend nearly $10 million unexpectedly reimbursed from the federal government this fall is putting the money toward an indoor pool.
As if the use of the money didn’t cause enough stir. People have spoken strongly for using the money only to repay the bonds the city borrowed on the fed’s behalf when it fronted the money for upgrades of the levee system. Now it could be tied to a controversial pool project.
The city has been chased around trying to find a location for an indoor pool. The latest proposal – replacing the outdoor facility at Spellerberg Park – has become an issue on the spring ballot. Opponents of building an indoor pool there are instead asking voters to approve renovations of the outdoor facility.
The pool project is a $19.4 million expense laid out for 2014 in the mayor’s Capital Improvement Program. The city had planned to borrow more than $10 million in sales tax bonds for the project. Using the $10 million reimbursement could save between $4 million and $5 million in interest costs and fees, according to the city finance team.
The pool project was just one of the recommendations Finance Director Tracy Turbak laid out in a letter that went to city councilors Tuesday.
He said the best options for the money would reducing the amount of sales taxes needed for bond payments.
The city could also put the money toward principal and interest payments on the bonds taken out for the levee project in 2009. About $2.2 million a year would go toward the bonds until they are paid off in November 2019. Setting the money aside until the bonds can be paid off in full in 2018 is another option.
“It seems quite reasonable that the city would utilize these funds in a way that will mitigate the impact of debt service costs on our limited sales tax dollars,” Turbak said in the letter.
Other options he explored were applying the money toward other capital projects or placing the funds in a capital reserve to be used when bids for a project come in over budget.
Here’s the letter:
Candidates are starting to roll in for the April 8, 2014, municipal election in Sioux Falls.
Earlier this month, Mayor Mike Huether filed his paperwork for re-election.
Today, the first city council candidate has come forward. Emmett Reistroffer, a 23-year old self-described activist and community organizer, filed his statement of organization for an at-large city council seat currently held by Rex Rolfing.
He said his youth is a valuable asset that offers new perspectives.
"I will be a game changer," he said.
Reistroffer said he chose the at-large position because he wants to represent the city as a whole, and he wants to do it as a full-time job. If elected, he said he would advocate for making all three at-large council positions full time. It’s something he feels is needed in a growing city.
He wants to focus on cultural issues, helping at-risk kids and promoting the arts.
This spring, he was involved in an effort to recall Rapid City councilor Bill Clayton after Clayton made racial remarks.
Reistroffer created the organization Families First in 2012 to lobby for justice system reforms by changing punishment for nonviolent drug offenders. He said he’s proud of the changes the governor made.
Having lived in Denver for a year, he has campaigned for relaxed restrictions on marijuana in Colorado before the state legalized the drug altogether.
He stands by his efforts, he said, but it’s not an issue he plans to bring before the council if elected.
While he has worked on Democratic campaigns in the past, he said his views are now pretty conservative when it comes to money.
Reistroffer grew up in Sioux Falls, attended Lincoln High School and graduated from Joe Foss alternative school. He has not been to college, but plans to start taking classes at University Center.
For two years now, his full time job has been with the consulting company he started, Jefferson Adams Inc., to help develop and manage non-profit groups and civic projects.
Strolling down a tree-lined street is pretty nice during these sunny summer days. But if you were so fortunate as to live along a manicured boulevard, would you pay extra tax dollars for upkeep of the city’s right-of way?
Residents of 21st Street are apparently for it. The city council voted Tuesday to continue a nearly 100-year-old tax on residents on the boulevard near McKennan Park.
Since 1915, property owners along the boulevard between Phillips and Seventh avenues have been levied a tax that goes toward upkeep of the boulevard. The resolution adopted by the council this week keeps the assessment at 85 cents per foot of property frontage.
That means an average $62 per year for property owners. From the 53 properties on the street, the city collects a total $3,300 per year. There hasn’t been a rate change since 1998.
Councilor Kermit Staggers was the only one to vote against the resolution. He felt it was unfair that these residents were the only in the city that paid such a tax for living on a boulevard. The city does not tax other boulevards such as Eighth Street, East 26th Street or South Minnesota Avenue.
Staggers said he doesn’t want others to be assessed but asked why the city wasn’t consistent with its policy.
Almost 100 years ago, property owners along 21st approached the city and suggested collecting money from neighbors so the city could put more attention into keeping the boulevard beautiful.
Councilor Michelle Erpenbach likes it that way. It’s one of her favorite places to walk, she said.
“It’s not about the street itself, it’s about those medians and how beautiful they really are,” she said. “It is like a park in the middle of the street.”
Falls Area Single Track is undertaking a project at another city trail this week.
Thursday, Aug. 29 at Leaders Park, volunteers will be rerouting a trail on the northern border of the park where traffic and erosion has deteriorated the current track.
Director of Parks and Recreation Don Kearney said the park where the popular mountain bike trail system is also had some tree damage from this spring’s ice storm.
The Falls Area Single Track (FAST) group coordinated with the city to plan the improvements, but no city funds are going into the work, Kearney said.
“It really is the work of FAST. They’re doing a great job in there and taking great ownership,” he said.
Thursday at 6 p.m., volunteers trained through the International Mountain Biking Association will lead a trail building session. Work will continue each Thursday evening until complete. Meet north of the park at Lowell Avenue and Homestead Circle.
When the city of Sioux Falls placed a chain across a bike trail shortcut last week, it was meant to curb vandalism and illegal dumping, but those in the bicycling community pointed out that the chain was not well marked and posed a serious hazard for cyclists.
The chain was removed as of Tuesday morning and the city is revising its plans to keep vehicle traffic at Riverdale Park from reaching the dumpsters where people have been leaving trash illegally. Don Kearney, the city’s director of parks and recreation, said that along with illegal dumping, they’ve had problems with vandalism at the sewer lift station there.
The access road is an extension of East 24th Street, which runs through the parking lot at Riverdale Park to a dead end at a line of dumpsters. Trail users can use the road to cut through the parking lot to the bike trail and the bridge that crosses the Big Sioux River, leading to Rotary Park.
Kearney said the city will probably move the chain back 10 to 15 feet behind the trail spur.
The chain that was installed originally between two No Parking signings, was marked with 10 reflectors in both directions, according to Kearney. A poster who reported the problem to the South DaCola blog, however, said the reflector
s hanged horizontally as the chain twisted, making the barrier nearly invisible.
It couldn’t be confirmed whether anyone had run into the chain before it was removed.
Michael Christensen is involved with several local bike groups and rides a few thousand miles each year within the city limits. He rarely has bad experiences, he said, and that parks department is usually responsive to issues like the chain hazard. He advocates for riding predictably and with proper equipment.
“The best way to make the city more bike friendly for local riders is for local riders to become involved in making the city more bike friendly,” he said.
Sioux Falls received the Bronze Award from the League of American Bicyclists a few years ago. The city is in the process of applying for renewal. The local cycling community is invited to comment on the application.
A group opposed to a planned Walmart Supercenter at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue have registered a petition to refer the council’s rezoning decision to voters.
City officials told me until it’s for sure they have gathered enough signatures, it’s uncertain what delays this move will make. Read below on what I’ve got so far on this story, but expect more later tonight.
What are your thoughts on the Walmart project?