Mayor Huether Sees SF Development Foundation Hoarding Tax Dollars, Throttles Funding

Mayor Mike Huether
Surprise, surprise—Mayor Huether resists corporate welfare!

Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether just increased his stock at Dakota Free Press (and hey—given how little stock he has with me, any increase is significant). Evidently Mayor Huether withheld $100K out of $275K in economic development (translation: corporate welfare) money budgeted for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation last year.

Why? Because, says outgoing city economic development chief Darrin Smith, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation already had about that much money from the city that it wasn’t using:

The foundation was sitting on about $91,000 of unused city money from previous year’s budgets, and Smith said sending another $100,000 to the organization, which had no immediate plans to spend the money, wouldn’t have been prudent.

“We make it very clear in the annual agreement that if we see those (leftover) dollars grow … we’re not going to keep sending those dollars,” Smith said. “Any project that would have come forward that needed help, they would have been in position immediately to help with that” [Joe Sneve, “City Hall Withholds $100K from Economy Booster,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.05.03].

SFDF president Slater Barr says yeah, they are sitting on city dollars, but gee whiz, maybe something will come up, and then golly gee, we need to have lots of public dollars available to juice the economy, because hokey smokes, the market sure isn’t going to work on its own in South Dakota’s biggest, best connected, most prosperous city.

Good choice, Mayor Huether. Now maybe you can spend some of that $100K on boosting the city’s multi-cultural outreach so you can land a human relations coordinator who will stick around for more than four months.

5 Responses to Mayor Huether Sees SF Development Foundation Hoarding Tax Dollars, Throttles Funding

  1. Steve Sibson

    “Now maybe you can spend some of that $100K on boosting the city’s multi-cultural”

    Or lower taxes so the citizens can development the economy where they choose, instead of where the public/private partnership wants to (ie, event center). If some want to go multi-cultural with their tax rebate, then they can.

  2. Daniel Buresh

    I say, give 20% of the remaining back to the employees as bonuses. Before you know it, you may see many departments finding the same savings. Problem with that is, they need to understand that they can’t sacrifice needed expenses for normal growth just to pad their pockets. On the other hand, if you don’t provide some benefits for coming under budget, you end up with a “spend it or lose it” attitude which just breeds wasteful spending and inefficiency. Interesting to see any money left over for a gov’t entity these days. A good but unusual problem to have.

  3. mike from iowa

    Huether looks enough like S Colbert to be his brother or dad.

  4. Roger Elgersma

    Money that came from the hotel tax should be used only for bringing more people to town, not just put in a pot to give to your favorite new program. Huether is an expert at taking money from one program and giving it to another program. At one of my many trips to city hall I told Huether that he is not a banker but a rob Peter to pay Paul sort of a person because then he was trying to find a funding source for the Events center. First he was going to not fund a new fire station till the people that do development told him that they could not attract new building if they do not have a fire station. So then he took 105 million out of he retirement fund to fund a 115 million events center.

    This money for bringing more people to town was taxed on the motels and should be used for what it was taxed for. If they taxed you to help your industry and then said, Oh, you seem to have a lot of money so we will use it somewhere else, you would not want your customers taxed that much either. So reduce the tax if they are getting to much money.

  5. Lanny V Stricherz

    How about instead, the money be used to do some of the infrastructure work that needs doing? The city wants household water/sewer bills to cover all the costs, both for the amount of household use and for infrastructure. In the past, some “2nd penny” funds were used for these pipes, but now city officials say other things are using up those funds (debt for things like event center and indoor pool).

    There was a 14% increase for water in 2011and another 6% since then. There has also been a 30% increase in sewer rates since 2012 and a 27% increase in storm drainage fees starting in 2014. And the city’s streets and curbs are crumbling faster than the city can fix them, primarily because of the increased use of chemicals to remove the snow rather than snow plows.