I would say there were probably a few hundred people in the room. Only a few were even opposed to the indoor aquatic center, and the only reason they were opposed to it was because they just didn't want it in their park. They just wanted it someplace else.
I stood up and made a statement based on the following which I had per-written.
Taxation is coercion. If you don't believe me. Don't pay your taxes. Some guy with a gun will show up at your door and take you to jail. There's no possible way to collect taxes with-out the threat of violence if somebody doesn't pay. Personally I think locking somebody in jail just because they choose to refuse to pay for services they don't want to be criminal. Nobody talks about this, but the only way the city gets money is by taking it from the people, with-out their consent.
As a man of peace then, I believe taxes should be reduced as low as possible. If you have several hundred thousand dollars in the budget for Indoor Aquatic Centers, and indoor Tennis courts, and everything else you want to do. What you should do, is give the money back to the people by slashing taxes by the amount that all this is costing, and let individuals decide for themselves how to spend their own money. If their really is all this demand for indoor swimming pools and tennis courts, and everything else some enterprising businessman will figure out how to build it and make money by serving his customers.
In fact I would submit that, if all this demand exists. The reason these things haven't already been built is because of the expectation for government to fund it. If the people that would be building it, expect to be able to loot the taxpayers to pay for half of it then why should they put in the risk. I would submit that this expectation that the government's going to fund this is actually what stagnates the economy. You need to say no. The public treasury is not a piggy bank, and with all the support and various organizations that are here, I know -- if the actual demand exists, that we can figure out how to build theses things in a voluntary manner -- either through business and mutually beneficial exchange, or charitable efforts.
All I know is both would have a lot more money to work with if the city government slashed taxes.
Now, on a more practical note. I used to work in a Motel with a swimming pool. Those motel swimming pools stay empty for a good 8 hours of the day -- maybe more. I know the place I worked at would let anybody from off the street use their pool for $2 if they wanted to use it. Now at night when their customers are in the hotel yes, that's kind of crowded, but during the middle of the day there's lots of pool resources that are just sitting empty. Now, not being used.
I had looked through some sections of the budget between the time I'd written this. One of the things I realized was, these hand-outs are just a tip of the iceberg. These was $190,000 to put escalators in the Washington Pavilion (as if that's not a big enough money pit), and more funding for the Greenway project (another piece of corporate welfare) etc.
After all the testimony from the public was given, there were some amendments offered from some of the city councilors. Kermit Staggers issued an amendment that would simply not raise property taxes by 3% this year. It was squashed. They called up one of the people from the city accounting office to show a bunch of graphs about why it would be disastrous if the council didn't raise property taxes just this one year. The amendment failed 7 to 1. They said there's no spending cuts offered in the amendment. (Nevermind that Kermit had a 2nd amendment coming up with spending cuts in it.)
Kermit issued another amendment regarding the CORE revitalization fund. CORE is a fund that basically gives free money to businesses in Downtown Sioux Falls, Or as I like to call it "Socialism for Rich People." The Amendment would have simply abolished the program over 4 years. The Amendment failed 7-1 with Kermit being the sole yes vote (You know Kermit votes yes quite a lot.)
Kermit issued 2 other amendments Regarding the Tennis Court, and the Ice Center. Very tame amendments I thought, that just said We won't give the Indoor Tennis Court, or the Ice Center any money until the private people involved raised their amount of the funds. Again, both amendment's were quashed.
Entamen issued an Amendment to put some of the pool money into a master plan product to study the aquatic rec system in Sioux Falls as a whole. (think millions of dollars down the drain like all those Event Center studies" His Passed 7-1 (With Kermit being the loan Decent thinking about the taxpayers.)
Anderson originally had an amendment he had introduced that would have reduced the budget by $80,000 by abolishing the Rec Dept coordinator -- He withdrew his own amendment so it didn't get voted on.
Then Kermit tried to introduce an Amendment to removed the $190,000 going to build escalators in the Pavilion. He couldn't even get a 2nd.
Everybody else besides Kermit in the city government is a spendaholic.
We need more people calling the City Councillors and going to the meetings.