SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sioux Falls residents won’t get to vote on a planned $25 million city office building that has faced opposition from come city councilors and members of the public.
City councilors on Tuesday voted 6-2 against sending the project to a public vote — the latest of a series of failed efforts to prevent the construction of the building. Now, a judge presiding over a lawsuit filed by a citizens group is the only person who can stop the project.
The council earlier this summer voted to pull funding for the 79,000-square-foot, three-story structure. But Mayor Mike Huether vetoed the move, saying the project is needed. The council failed to override the veto.
Even if council had voted in favor of the June election, it would not have prevented the city from selling the $25 million in bonds to finance the project. Huether can start selling bonds as early as Oct. 1.
“Not only will the train have left the station by June, it will be almost to its destination,” Councilor Marshall Selberg said, according to the Argus Leader.
The only hope left for those opposed to the project is a court hearing scheduled for Sept. 28, when a judge will take up the lawsuit that the citizens group filed last week. Those individuals collected more than 6,000 petition signatures to try to force a public vote after councilors failed to override Huether’s veto, but their petitions were rejected on a technicality.
Bruce Danielson, who is the leader of the citizens group, was critical of Huether and council members ahead of the vote.
“This administration hates citizens who fight to know what’s going on in the government they own,” he said.