Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: Break out the fall jackets

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This week, I'll tell you about water shortages, proposed fees for vacant buildings and key items in Brandon's 2022 budget.

And now, news.


Sioux Falls needs more water, and more money to bring it here

Simplified: The Sioux Falls area needs more water, and planned expansions within Minnehaha County as well as in the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System would help. The trick is funding them.

Photo from Lewis & Clark Regional Water System

Why it matters

  • Water is essential, obviously, for folks to drink. But it's also needed in large quantities for industries, especially in agriculture.
  • Federal funds are available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and it'll be up to the state to decide whether to spend some of that money on water system expansion projects in the Sioux Falls region.
  • Sioux Falls City Council on Monday unanimously passed a resolution to urge the state to approve a request from Lewis & Clark for $44.7 million to expand water capacity from about 45 million gallons per day to 60 million gallons per day.
  • The next day, the Minnehaha County Commission heard more specifics about the need for water from Scott Buss, executive director of the Minnehaha Community Water Corporation.
"Of the 9.6 million gallons in demand, we have 9.2 million gallons in supply," Buss told commissioners, later adding, "There's not more water (in the current system) to go get."

What's the backstory?

How did we get here, and what happens next? Learn more here.


How City Council aims to dissuade property owners from leaving buildings vacant

Simplified: Two Sioux Falls city councilors – Curt Soehl and Christine Erickson – are looking to encourage people to fix up, redevelop or sell vacant buildings by increasing the fee to leave them sitting empty.

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls has 50 properties registered as vacant, but Councilor Curt Soehl said the actual number of vacant properties is likely much higher.
  • Current fees are $200 per year for vacant properties. The proposal on the table would increase to $1,000 within city limits and $2,000 for vacant buildings in historic districts.
  • But Soehl said he wants to see that fee "significantly" increased beyond the proposed amounts. He's looking to amend the proposed ordinance, which passed first reading Monday.
"We want to create an incentive financially for people to get (vacant) buildings fixed," Soehl told Sioux Falls Simplified.

What options are on the table?

And what happens next? Learn more here.


How Brandon's new budget sets the city up for growth

Simplified: The City of Brandon recently adopted its budget for 2022 with a focus on road improvements, infrastructure and economic development. Here's a closer look.

Photo from City of Brandon

Why it matters

  • Brandon is growing faster than city officials predicted, and as more people come to town, the city is working to keep up with construction projects.
  • A planned sewer expansion will also connect 500 more acres on the west side – including 100 acres slated for an industrial park under developer Hegg Construction.
  • The city government is also adding three new staff positions to keep up with the increased need for help in the finance office, and engineering and public works departments.
  • Brandon is also hoping to fill an economic development position soon, which would help bring more people and businesses to town. The position would also encompass work in planning and zoning.
"The staffing is definitely needed in trying to keep up with growth, trying to get ahead," Brandon Finance Officer Christina Smith said. "The numbers from the (2020) census were more than what we had anticipated."

Learn more

What's in the budget? And what happens next?


Super simplified stories:

  • City seeks sustainability feedback. Sioux Falls is developing a sustainability and climate action plan with goals including net zero emissions by 2050. You can give feedback on this plan and its various goals during an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the downtown library.
  • Mayor names youth council. Mayor Paul TenHaken announced 13 high school students will make up his new youth council. The teens will get to share input on community issues, learn about city government and develop leadership skills throughout the 2021-22 school year. See the full list of students here.
  • City one step closer to selling, redeveloping surface lots. Councilors this week unanimously voted to stop using the parking lot at 400 S. First Avenue (across from Ace Hardware). The future vision is for a new mixed-use development, and council action this week makes it possible to sell the land


Get spooked at Silverstar's annual haunted car wash

This is a paid piece from Silverstar Car Wash.

Simplified: The haunted wash is back. Silverstar's third annual haunted car wash opens next week at the 57th Street and Marion Road location.

Photo from Silverstar Car Wash

Why it matters

  • A portion of the proceeds for the haunted wash goes to Feeding South Dakota. Silverstar will also be accepting goodwill donations for the nonprofit.
  • The haunted wash also allows you a way to celebrate Halloween from the safety and comfort of your own vehicle.
  • Silverstar's unlimited members get free admission, and others pay $18 for entry to the spooky (and squeaky clean) wash.
"This is a hugely popular annual event for Silverstar," Regional Manager Andrea Vetos said. "It's a fun way to both celebrate the Halloween season and give back to our community."

Give me the specifics

The haunted wash runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30 at the Silverstar Car Wash on 57th Street and Marion Road.

Tell me more about the donations

In addition to giving a portion of the haunted wash proceeds to Feeding South Dakota, Silverstar is also hosting a food drive at all locations throughout the month of October and through Nov. 15.


Stuff to do:

  • Get a new headshot. The Source is hosting a "Headshots for a Cause" event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Get a $20 headshot, and a donation will be made on your behalf to the Foster Care Closet Charity. Details here.
  • Trick or treat at local shops. Businesses at Lake Lorraine are inviting kids to trick-or-treat on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Then, on Sunday, downtown businesses will host trick-or-treaters also from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Break ground. Pendar Properties is hosting a groundbreaking event for the more than $200 million Cherapa Place expansion. The event is 4:30 p.m. Monday with parking available at Railyard Flats or in the Cherapa Place south lot.
  • Listen to records. Hello Hi's downtown bar is transforming to "Hello Hi-Fidelity" on Wednesday (and again in November and December). Hear DJ group The Mighty Groove Messengers from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

What I'm falling for this week

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Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or positive vibes to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Midco, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, Selah Space and Silverstar Car Wash. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.