Sioux Falls, SD
One of the smallest parts of Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether's $300 million budget got the most attention Monday night.
The mayor set aside a half million dollars in the budget to develop and design plans for an events center in Sioux Falls. And, there was more than an hour of public opposition and support to the proposal, and another hour of discussion by the council.
Some city council members tried to take the half million dollars out of the budget, but attempts by Greg Jamison and Vernon Brown both failed.
Brown's proposal would have delayed spending the money until 2012. That proposal failed by a vote of 5-3.
Jamison's proposal would have used the half million dollars in other areas, like fixing the leaking roof at Carnegie Town Hall. That proposal failed by a vote of 6-2.
Brown and Jamison say they made the proposals because there are too many questions about the events center to spend the money, and that was echoed by the public at Monday's meeting.
One after another Sioux Falls residents stepped up to the microphone in front of the city council to voice their concerns about a half million dollar event center design.
"I do not believe that there's $500,000 available for you to use the way you want to use it until you know what the people want. We voted against it once, but you keep saying everyone is for it," Sioux Falls resident I.L. Wiedermann said.
Those against spending the money believe the city should line up funding for the project and private donors before the city spends thousands of dollars to draw up plans.
"The first thing to be decide, with a little more precision, is how much private money is there out there?" opponent Bob Sieverts said.
"Nobody has come out and said how much this events center is going to cost to take care of every year. Nobody has come out and said how much its going to cost to run the arena that's going to sit vacant," resident Tim Stanga said.
But, Mayor Mike Huether fired back at the critics saying donors need hard facts and a solid design before they decide to pour millions of dollars into a Sioux Falls events center.
"Things like how many seats it's going to be. Things like how are we going to pay for it? How are we going to fund it? Those are the items that ultimately we will find out before we bring this before the citizens of Sioux Falls," Huether said.
Huether says the city has talked about this issue long enough and this money will help move the project forward.
"It's time to actually put some real meat on the bone," Huether said.
Huether says this money should answer all the questions the council and residents have about a future events center. Part of the plan will be a public vote when all the details and designs are finished.