The Sioux Falls snow gate vote will not slide down the fast track. On Tuesday night, the Sioux Falls City Council held off on putting the issue to a special spring election.
The three to five vote tables the issue until the city's 2014 spring Election. Supporters in “2013” shirts lined up to speak, attempting to sway the council to take their side. They say a special spring election was what voters who signed the petition were promised.
“I know as rule all of them wished it would be done so we'd get the vote this spring,” petition drive volunteer Carol Moon said.
“Tonight the council has an opportunity to be a Santa or a Scrooge for the people of the city. I hope you are willing to give us the gift of respect, regard, and represent for the petition process,” petition organizer Theresa Stehly told the council.
It took the group ten weeks to collect more than 8,000 signatures. After more than an hour of discussion, the city council decided against a special election.
“Tonight the council has a fantastic opportunity to vote the wishes of the people of Sioux Falls,” Council Member Kermit Staggers told his colleagues before the vote. Staggers voted in favor the issue. He was joined by Greg Jamison and Kenny Anderson, Jr.
“I understand what you want is snow gates in Sioux Falls,” Council Chair Michelle Erpenbach told the group. “In other words, you want to win the election we're being asked to schedule.”
Erpenbach voted no, along with councilors Sue Aguilar, Rex Rolfing, Dean Karsky, and Jim Entenman. All wanted more information before moving the issue to a vote.
Tuesday’s decision pushes the issue to the city's 2014 spring election. And while that's not a defeat, those who pushed the petitions say it sure feels like one.
“I feel the council is unconcerned with serving the needs of the people,” Stehly said following the vote.
The council also asked about the effect a snow gate mandate would have on the city's fleet of private contractors, one of whom stood up to also request more time.