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Not So Smart: Sioux Falls May Raise Fee for Events That Bring Cash to Town

Sioux Falls may charge folks more to hold big events in the city. Police are complaining that more events in the parks and on the streets are taking them away from their duties:

More special events mean more need for police officers to work at those events. That takes officers away from duties like traffic enforcement.

“While they’re working those special events, they’re not working their primary mission,” Capt. Jeff Garden of the Sioux Falls Police said at the City Council’s informational meeting Monday afternoon.

The city wants event planners to cover the costs associated with bringing in officers [Carter Woodiel, “Sioux Falls Considering Hiking Event Permit Fees,” KELO Radio, 2019.11.18].

Wait a minute: directing traffic, keeping people and property safe where crowds have gathered—that is the PD’s primary mission, isn’t it?

I don’t seem to recall city or state leaders complaining about the cost of assigning police to keep protestors away from Donald Trump when Kristi Noem brought Il Duce to Sioux Falls for a few hundred donors at an exclusive campaign fundraising event. But the city wants to take more money from organizers of events that probably pay for themselves in terms of public costs with the sales tax dollars spent by tens of thousands of hungry, thirsty, souverniry visitors? Give us a break, Sioux Falls—those special events do you a favor.

The state of South Dakota actually pays developers and counties to place enormous permanent piles of poop in their backyards. Sioux Falls, instead of raising special event fees, perhaps you should consider offering organizers a cut of the sales tax revenue, as an incentive to bring even more visitors and tax dollars to your fair city.


  1. jerry 2019-11-19

    Now is the time for donut food trucks at these events. That will ease the complaining by the cops so they can pursue all angles. BTW, criminals and their cohorts do come to events and with the multi million dollar surveillance that has been purchased, why not put it to use and stop whining…unless there is a cheese festival, then, by all means, proceed.

  2. MJK 2019-11-19

    Oh yes and we do need to control that traffic. Like it is so controlled now. Sioux Falls will price themselves right out of the marketplaces. Charging for hiking events? People will not enter the events. When they come to free sponsored hiking events; people spend money on gear, meals, hotels, gas, shopping etc. Boosts the economy. People and sponsorships will host their events in other states if Sioux Falls goes this route. Build on what you have here. Your attractions are limited in Sioux Falls.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-11-19

    We bend over backwards to give tax breaks to big businesses; why should we increase the tax on special events? A nice reliable tax on ongoing businesses would be a far more stable source of public revenue for cops and such that special permit fees.

  4. SDBlue 2019-11-21

    Well, I imagine the city has to figure out how to pay for the $200K bike trail expansion, Railyard Flats retail center, and the failed downtown parking ramp. You’re right. We could always send a bill to Nitwit No Show for the money she still owes the city for bringing Don the Con to town. Seems the city is ok with the cops not getting paid for that.

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