Here's what the Mayor said his first term priorities were in the ASK THE MAYOR segment in May 2010. The downtown parking priority was identified in the October 2010 BUSINESS JOURNAL:
1. Fiscal Responsibility to maximize taxpayer dollars.
2. Stimulate economic development and jobs.
4. Build an Event Center
5. Railroad Relocation Project.
6. Affordable airfare
7. Downtown parking
Furthermore, he said he was going to provide the most transparent government we have ever seen and that he is going to tell the public the good, the bad and the ugly. He started off demonstrating his commitment to transparent government when he wouldn't tell the public who was on his transition team. Oh, excuse me, first he said he had a team and then when he was asked who they were he said he didn't have a transition team.
He also said he was an over communicator. Well yes, he is. He demonstrates that time and again, thank you.
Fiscal responsibility can mean many things and frankly is in the eye of the beholder. What he views as fiscal responsibility may be something all together different than what you and I might think. I think a crash and burn budget to just save money in his cookie jar to build his event center at the expense of program services and general fund operations is not necessarily being fiscally responsible to the taxpayer. I also am of the opinion that his finance plan for building the event center is not being fiscally responsible as I have stated in past blogs.
He did, upon taking office, divert capital improvement money to repairing city streets so kudos on that priority. He did it without communicating to the City Council so transparency or lack of may be an ongoing issue with this mayor. Let's make sure that this priority stays a priority each and every year because there are still many streets in this town that are downright terrible.
The vote is out yet on his ability to stimulate economic development and jobs. He has tasked his new political appointee Smith to head up economic development for the City. I thought the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and its board of directors were the driving force in economic development for this region? Smith is an ex official member of this board, he doesn't lead it. He is off to a rocky start on this priority, in my opinion, by his deliberate action to abandon downtown as a site for the Event Center.
No action that I can tell on the Railroad Relocation Project. That is going to take some political finesse with the Feds and right now the political environment is not real conducive to a Democratic Mayor getting the ear of all those fiscally conservative Republicans in Washington. He says he has tasked PW Director Cotter to getting this. Let's see a little more transparency on this project, OK Mayor?
Affordable airfare? Last time I looked the airport was run by the Airport Authority not by the Mayor. It is the Airport Authority's job to search out competition between airlines and get the public affordable airfares. Frankly, the Mayor has much bigger fish to fry and his economic team needs to focus on those priorities they actually have authority over and quite meddling in the affairs of a separate governing body like the Airport Authority.
Downtown parking is at a 75% capacity. The one priority for downtown parking is that monstrosity stretching across the Big Sioux River. Let's see some action on that issue, OK?
Time will tell if this mayor will have any success in achieving these priorities. Tick Tock.