Simplified: Four members of the Sioux Falls City Council had their very first meeting Tuesday night. Now that the newly elected members are officially in, Sioux Falls Simplified asked them what they're first priorities are.

Why it matters

  • The recent City Council election brought the most turnover on the council since 2016 – with new faces representing three of five districts and one at-large seat.
  • New members include Richard Thomason in the At-Large seat, Jennifer Sigette representing the northwest district, Miranda Basye representing the northeast district and Ryan Spellerberg representing the southwest district. All four said they're focusing on learning as much as they can early on in their new roles.
  • The newcomers will join Councilors Curt Soehl, Rich Merkouris, David Barranco and Sarah Cole as the legislative body governing Sioux Falls. Mayor Paul TenHaken also sits on the council as a tie-breaking vote when needed.

What other priorities are top-of-mind?

Here's what the newbies had to say:

Richard Thomason said he's focused on the upcoming budget season, and he's also been receiving some guidance from former councilor and current state Rep. Greg Jamison.

"I just really want to prepare myself to understand (the budget) and make sure I'm asking the right questions," Thomason said, later adding "There's going to be a time and a place to start bringing up my ideas, but right now it's just kind of getting your head in the budget game."

Jennifer Sigette hopes the public will give the new councilors some grace as they learn the ropes in their new leadership roles.

  • That said, Sigette said she's passionate about helping teens and young adults find guidance whether that's schooling, jobs, military, etc.
"I just think there's a disconnect between our young kids floundering after high school and not knowing what to do ... I just want to figure out what can we do to help guide that group of people to find the right match for their lives."

Ryan Spellerberg is focused on figuring out next steps for the aquatics/recreation bond, as well as what's next for the taxidermy collection in the Delbridge Museum. He said he's also excited to see plans move forward for a new three-story apartment building near 18th St. and Minnesota Ave. Councilors advanced the plans to rezone that property Tuesday night, and they'll take a final vote mid-June.

"It's going to be awesome to see that project move forward," he said.

Miranda Basye noted the amount of work that goes into projects before they show up on the council agenda. Her first priority is making sure she's catching herself up on the work that's been happening for items on the agendas in front of her.

  • She's also looking ahead to upcoming budget discussions – including discussion of a potential $77 million aquatics and recreation bond.
"Part of why I'm not rushing headlong into my own personal list of priorities is that I hope constituents will continue to communicate things they're passionate about and the things they'd like to see happening," Basye said.