Simplified: Sioux Falls City Council members are working to be more visible in the community as a way to bolster the city's legislative branch and keep the community informed on its work.

Why it matters

  • The city administration (i.e. Mayor Paul TenHaken's team) has been hosting regular weekly press conferences for the past year, and moving forward, councilors are planning to provide monthly updates on what they're working on, Councilor Marshall Selberg said Tuesday at the first of these events.
  • The goal will be to share what councilors are working on, preview upcoming ordinances they're bringing and give local reporters a chance to ask questions.
  • And while Selberg knows his days on the council are numbered as his term expires this spring, he said he hopes this monthly update is a way to leave something behind that'll continue with new elected officials.
"We hold the purse strings on a lot of things in how this city runs, and so I think it's time that we got out front and spoke more often," Selberg said.

What happened at the first briefing?

Selberg was joined by Councilors Greg Neitzert, Rich Merkouris and Curt Soehl to cover a range of topics. Here's a quick breakdown:

  • Elections. Councilors encouraged the public to participate in the upcoming city election. For the first time since 2016, there will be four open seats on the council, meaning half of the city's governing body will change in the coming months. A couple important dates include the candidate filing deadline of Feb. 23 and the voter registration deadline of March 25.
  • Childcare. The community can expect to see a plan to address the childcare crisis – or, at least, start to – in the coming weeks, Merkouris said. That'll likely include incentives for new in-home providers, work to provide scholarships for people looking to go into the childcare industry and a call to business owners to share how the childcare crisis is affecting their workforce.
  • Pedestrian safety. Soehl said he'll be bringing a proposal for an ordinance that'll outline more than a dozen unsafe locations for pedestrians and essentially make it illegal for people to be standing in those locations. Many of the spots are interstate interchanges, like 10th Street and Interstate 229.
  • Delbridge collection. Neitzert noted that he and other city officials were in Pierre recently to voice support for a state law that would allow the taxidermy collection at the Great Plains Zoo to be gifted out-of-state. He added that he hopes it stays in-state, but wants to keep options open.