City Council Asserts Policy Position On Building Project [OPINION]
I think the Sioux Falls City Council is right to slow down the construction of the multi-million dollar office building for city government. Their desire to have in depth discussions with Minnehaha and Lincoln County Officials makes sense.
A little background here: Since the 1970’s there has been discussion among thinking people regarding the sharing of office space, coordination, collaboration, and/or consolidation of services by the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County.
Some of those discussions have turned into action.
- In the 70’s and 80’s the Siouxland Heritage Museum System was created (The Pettigrew Home, and Old County Courthouse).
- The City Assessor’s office was absorbed by the County Director of Equalization.
- Emergency Communication systems were combined forming an area wide 911 call center.
- The Sioux Falls Police Department and Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Dept. have shared office space and some resources since about 1976.
- The City Community Health Center is now located in the County Human Services Building.
- City and County library services have been combined for years also.
Sioux Falls is now the largest city in Lincoln County. Bringing those elected officials into the discussion is a smart move. Minnehaha and Lincoln County have agreements to work together on numerous government functions.
We are in an era of cooperation among our local government officials. A good thing for citizens who pay the bills.
It makes sense for the City Council to set some policy on City Government office space projects. Stand alone single government office buildings should not be built without discussion among the elected officials of several units of government.
I would include both Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties, possibly the school districts inside the city limits, and since state government has offices scattered all over town, it would be prudent to invite them to the table also.
I find no fault with the City Administration wanting to solve an office space problem for their departments.
I also find no fault with the City Council, as policy makers, wanting to expand the opportunities for cooperation, collaboration, and possible consolidation with other units of local government.
The mayor should welcome this policy setting move by the Council. That is their role.
It may take longer to get projects built and collaboration to take place, but when units of local government invest the time and effort to work together, the taxpayer wins.
That should put smiles and all of our faces.