New Sioux Falls City Council Flexing Their Muscles [OPINION]
The four new Sioux Falls City Council Members and one of the newer members are sending a message to Mayor Mike Huether and the community: business as usual is changing.
At the Tuesday, July 12 Sioux Falls City Council meeting new council members Greg Neitzert, Pat Starr, Theresa Stehly, and Marshall Selberg voted with City Council member Christine Erickson to repeal the $25 million bonding authority to construct a new city hall office building.
The project was put together by city staff. The site of the proposed building is on the west side of Dakota Avenue at 7th street. From its debut the project has been somewhat controversial. Three former council members didn't vote to approve the bonding in April. The mayor had to break a tie.
The owners of the 300 Building, a stone's throw from the proposed site, have come forward saying their property is for sale, and are asking for consideration. The mayor's city team has said no to the idea.
Now there are four new members. Each of them proclaiming in their own way a desire to do things differently, to have more council involvement early on, and also wanting more communication with other units of local government before spending big bucks on brick and mortar.
It is going to be an interesting week. You can bet the mayor and his staff will be working very hard to convince one of the five voters to stop the project to change their mind. It will only take one to flip, because the mayor will break a tie.
Realize most of us are focusing on summer fun, the unhappy reality of our choices for president, and trying to figure out where we fit into the clashes between police and blacks, and vice versa. However, this is important too. Local tax dollars are just as important as federal one. Local government leaders have more of an impact on our daily life than the Federal ones.
Understand the desire of the mayor and his staff to keep us moving. Also understand the council wanting to slow things down and make sure what is proposed is really needed and affordable, and won't interfere with opportunities to work with the county and even the state with office space needs.
I support the mayor most of the time. This time I sense his staff put the cart before the horse and now we have this problem.
If I were on the council, with what I know at this moment, I would vote to stop this project. Before we leap to spend $25 million, we need to look in all directions, long and hard.
Second reading on the repeal ordinance is set for next Tuesday July 19.