Petition Circulating To Stop 20M SF City Administrative Building
A former Sioux Falls city council member is supporting a petition campaign to stop the use of sales tax revenue bonds to finance a new city administration building.
The city council voted to repeal an ordinance that would sell bonds to fund the $22 million building project. Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether vetoed the council’s decision. Now a petition campaign wants to put the decision up to a public vote.
A petition campaign called Stop the Funding is hoping to gain enough signatures to put the funding for a new city building project up to a city wide vote. The petition needs about 5,700 signatures by the middle of next week to get the issue on a ballot before the sales tax revenue bonds can be sold starting October 1st.
Kermit Staggers is a former Sioux Falls city council member. He says the city should consider other funding options.
“I think it’s fair to say that probably most people in Sioux Falls are wondering why do we need a 20 million dollar building for administrators, especially when we’re building an indoor swimming pool for about the same price- is this really necessary? And I guess I would contend that at this point in time it’s not necessary. Because we have a lot of other places where we could be housing city government -in fact just look here across the street. We could be using that building on a more permanent basis than we are now,” says Staggers.
Mayor Mike Huether says it doesn’t make sense for the city to continue leasing a building for city employees. He says with Sioux Falls growing by three to four thousand people every year, the need for space is increasing.
“If you were only leasing short term, then that probably makes some sense but our city is here to stay, government is not going away any time soon, and if leasing is the band aid you’re using to get yourself through the next battle, then that doesn’t make any sense. At some point in time you should invest, and build to suit. And that’s exactly what we’re recommending not only for now, but maybe more importantly for the next 50 to hundred years,” says Huether.
Bruce Danielson is the citizen activist who started the petition campaign. He's confident his team of volunteers can reach the needed number of signatures.
“What we’re trying to do now is go through this process that we have to get done with following through with what the people want. We’ve been getting signatures for three days. I’ve never seen in my 44 years of getting petitions the kind of activity we’ve been able to receive,” says Danielson.
Huether says it would take about 20 years for the city to pay off the cost of the building if plans moves forward.