Save the Sioux Falls Municipal Band, Quit Watering Streets
The Sioux Falls Municipal Band is on death row, sentenced by the mayor, and waiting on a pardon from the city council.
After celebrating 100 years of existence last year, the Municipal Band fell victim to Mayor Paul TenHaken's 2021 budget, one in which he would eliminate all funding for the band.
This morning we talked with Bandmaster Chris Hill, who is leading a charge to save the funding for the band.
"If we don't get the funding the band will cease to exist," he said. "I think we're an important part of the community. We start the year playing at the VA, we play Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, nursing homes, plus all of our Terrace Park concerts on Sunday evenings so there are a lot of people that this affects."
You can join the Facebook group Save Our Band! Hill also asked that if you are so inclined to write to the mayor and the city council to fund the band.
It's been a tough year for the city as far as revenues go, I get that. And while I will acknowledge that the Municipal Band is not as vital to the city as storm drainage, street repair, or the fire department, it's part of what makes Sioux Falls a great and unique city.
However, our city isn't great because we water street grass.
If you have ever listened to our morning show with any regularity you know that I have a strange irritation with the median grass that is planted on newer streets. I don't think that in itself is bad, but installing a sprinkler system to water grass that is never walked on by anyone, except the city employee who has to mow it, seems kinda stupid and wasteful.
The grass is fine. Mow it once a month when winter and ice melt isn't killing it, but let's not treat it like a golf course.
We also have a lot of colored and stamped concrete on our street medians. Cool. It looks so pretty. It's also way more expensive than just plain concrete filling that gap. I've heard from people in the know that there is an obscene amount of money being spent on silly accents on the 26th Street Project, like fancy concrete.
One year a tennis court and basketball court at a park in my neighborhood was shut down, torn up, and replaced with the exact same thing but not improved. Just rebuilt.
In 2017, when the city experienced a $1.2 million budget shortfall, four new playgrounds were installed in parks that had perfectly usable playgrounds. But it was planned so they can't not spend the money, I guess.
Let's also not forget the parking ramp that can also double as a bomb shelter after a deal with a private business backfired.
I personally think Paul TenHaken has done a hell of a job at a time when being the mayor of Sioux Falls is not an appealing job. He is often stuck in the position of being wrong no matter who he talks to on a given issue, especially if it is related to coronavirus. But who was saying we need to ditch the band? Who was saying "That Municipal Band has got to go! How can we keep spending 0.000023 percent of the city budget on that?"
I'm sure a few thousand here and there can be scraped off the top of some other department budgets and the band can be funded for next year. If Rona is still running strong, and there are no concerts to be played, the city still isn't out anything.
Mayor TenHaken, don't be the guy that killed the band.