Sioux Falls, SD
We're starting to find out who will make decisions when it comes to picking a location and paying for a Sioux Falls events center.
During a public forum Tuesday night the city council fielded dozens of questions and concerns about the multi-million dollar facility. Their answers laid out a blue-print for the crucial decisions that lie ahead.
The council has given Mayor Mike Huether the green light to spend a half million dollars this year to hammer out the details of an events center. In a few weeks many of those will be revealed when the results of an economic impact study come back.
The study will help in picking the location of the facility and show how much money the project will bring in for the city. While the mayor will use the results to draw up his final proposal, the council says they will still have to give final approval.
Tuesday night nearly one hundred people attended a forum to sound off on the events center plans in front of the city council.
Mayor Huether has proposed paying for the $100 million facility with money from the capital budget, through naming rights, and by borrowing the money for the rest.
But, the council questions whether other projects will have to be put off.
"Something will have to give and that's where you as citizens will get to decide. That's why I wanted it in the CIP so you can see what will have to be given up in order to do it, and then you can decide as a taxpayer if it is worth that or not," city council member Vernon Brown said.
The ultimate decision about paying for it, where it should be built, and putting it to a vote will be left in the hands of the council once all the studies come in and the mayor presents his proposal.
"We can make our own recommendation at that point because we are the ones that are going to make that final decision, and if we choose to go another direction we can do that," council member Rex Rolfing said.
The majority of the council members say their decision will be based on money.
"For me it comes down to what's the economic impact not only cost-wise, but what is the city going to get back in return for investing this money," new council member Dean Karsky said.
"The thing that will weigh most on me is what will Sioux Falls get out of it. You can call it return on investment, you can call it economic development. What are we going to get out of it," councilor Michelle Erpenbach said.
And Tuesday night the council wanted the public to take away a better understanding of how this multi-million dollar decision will be made.
Before the council makes any decisions about the mayor's final proposal several members said they hope to hold a similar town hall meeting to get the public's input.