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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mayor Nancolas Speaks on Downtown

THE GUARDIAN got a phone call from Mayor Nancolas and Mr. Eljay Waite, city finance director this morning as a follow-up to a query by me on a couple of issues.  Mayor Nancolas gave me the following responses to some rumors floating around about downtown Caldwell.

1.  It is rumored Mayor Nancolas has asked for a 90 day halt to any further action on our downtown plaza. Mayor Nancolas said it is due to the time frame asked by Roger Brooks to get his final report in for his efforts on our downtown.

2.  Are we going to have a Reel Theater in our downtown?  Mayor Nancolas responded that he was unaware of anyone trying to put a Reel Theater in our downtown. He said he does not even know any of the principal owners of Reel Theaters.

Mayor Nancolas did share with me that there are 4 developers sniffing around downtown for possible projects.  He also indicated the budgets for Caldwell as well as the Urban Renewal Agency would not withstand the $5MM figure asked for support for the Plaza.  Money, siting and other aspects of the plaza project would have to be carefully analyzed during this years budget process for next fiscal year..

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Three Wise Men of Caldwell Stall Plaza Project

It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN leaders of Caldwell are actively trying to kill the idea of a plaza in our downtown.  What is amazing our Mayor Garrett Nancolas has verbally on more than one occasion promised the good people working on this effort that the plaza would indeed be built on the site of the old King's building.

Leaders of Destination Caldwell garnered $65,000 to bring Roger Brooks to Caldwell for some guidance on their efforts and present several events for leaders and citizens of Caldwell on how to transform our city into a beautiful community with and emphasis on the wine and dining as a major emphasis should the projects move forward.

Three players who hold most of the power to make this effort move forward are now waffling on cash and other supports for this project.  It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN the three amigos in stalling movement on the plaza are Mayor Nancolas, City Finance Director, Eljay Waite and City Councilman Rob Hopper.

It is starting to appear all the time and efforts spent by the folks working on the plaza concept for downtown will ultimately find their efforts in a file drawer at City Hall.  It is very odd the plaza has not received the support TVCC did and this was a project totally redundant to taxpayer supported College of Western Idaho.

Update: Link to OP-ED in IPT this past week:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Closure of Nampa Annex Closure Moved Back to Summer/Falll 2015

It has been reported to the GUARDIAN closure of the Nampa Annex Courthouse will be held off until late Summer or early Fall of 2015.  The reason reported for the delay is due to all the remodel work in the main courthouse in Caldwell.  Once the remodel work is completed all the additional courtrooms will provide needed space for all the Judges and Clerks when the Nampa Annex is finally closed.
Editorial note:  The Guardian wonders how all this will play out now that Mayor Tom Dale is our newest Commissioner.  Stay tuned for more on this.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nampa Annex Slated for Closure

This is my first post after taking a long summer break well into Indian Summer. 

I would like to report Guardian readers Nampa Court Annex will cease operations in January of 2015.  It was previously reported is has been costing county taxpayers an estimated $900K/yr. to keep this facility open.  Closure and consolidation will come on the heels of opening the new County Administration Building.

In addition to closure of the Nampa Annex; the Public Defender will be relocated to the Canyon County Courthouse Campus.  This move has been estimated to save taxpayers an additional $2MM a year.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

College Debt, The Financial Obligation of a Lifetime

Congratulations to the class of 2014.  You will all be paying for your college debt for a good long while and the bankers thank you for this obligation you created for yourselves.

I can't open a newspaper or a magazine that there isn't some boo-hoo article about college debts and how will kids pay for all this.  Well, I have to look no further than Mom and Dad for not saving for their kids education and not giving them better council on what to get their degree in while they were in school.  I also can't say enough about the choice of schools either.  What were they thinking when they went to a school with $50k/yr. tuition?  And to top it off they got degrees in History or English or some other field without a prayer of making a decent income for all that expense and effort.

I was aghast at finding a friend of mine had managed to rack up $140K in college debts.  What are these folks thinking when they sign on the dotted line.  The average graduate these days comes out with about $25K in college debt.  The media is making a big deal about this and I have to ask why?   People routine sign on the dotted line for a new car and all they are concerned about is the monthly payment.  They quickly forget it is for 60-72 months and they have a worn out piece of rust when it is finally paid off.

Parents have the obligation to help their kids pay for college and at the same time direct them to a course of study that has a job waiting at the end of four years.  They also need not get all gushy about which school their kids attend.  Not once was I ever asked where I went to college.  Employers are more concerned about putting your kid in a room with his sheep skin and can he or she solve a problem.  Critical thinking and problem solving are more important to employers than where junior went to school.

The idea that grants and free money from the government will be there when a kid graduates from high school is a myth.  Start saving for their education the day they exit the birth canal and send them to a state supported school in-state for their undergraduate degree work. Grad school is another matter but in-state is still better than a place that will place a financial burden on the family or the student. 

Make them take 15 units or more each semester and get the hell out of college as quickly as they can.  This means advance placement in high school and they can be out in a little over three years or less. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New Changes To Caldwell General Regulations

Caldwell Planning and Zoning Regulations are once again acting as the "good taste police" in downtown Caldwell.  Changes will require Tobacco shops and Secondhand Stores to get a special use permit.  Also noted in the ordinance changes is the requirements for "drinking establishments" to get a special use permit if they want music in their establishments.
All of this comes on the heels of a long and thorough effort back in the 2005-07 effort to make downtown an eclectic collection of a wide range of business enterprises and to make it easy for people to start a new business in downtown.

THE GUARDIAN is concerned the good taste police are overstepping and creating more red tape in a city known to be difficult to do business.

If this goes through it is important to note the downtown area is defined as 12th avenue to Paynter and from Grant Street to the RR tracks. The "downtown zone" is in no way the same as that defined by the urban renewal agency.  That zone goes from Dearborn to the RR tracks and from Simplot Blvd to 10th Ave., if I remember it correctly.

These proposed changes will go before the Caldwell City Council on July 7th at the regularly scheduled City Council Meeting.  These changes come on the heels of the ordinance changes to prohibit Pay-Day Loans in Caldwell.  The short title of this is 2014 Zoning Ordinance Modifications.

Update:  I got a call from P&Z Director, Brian Billingsley and upon reflection he wants to take another look at what was put together and run it by some folks for their review along with a group of citizens before the final effort goes before the City Council.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bergdahl Should Be Court Martialed Under UCMJ

THE GUARDIAN IS A VIETNAM era veteran and finds it hard to believe Mr. Bergdahl is anything but a deserter at worst and AWOL at the least.  He should stand for a Court Martial under the Uniform Court of Military Justice, (UCMJ).  Mr. Bergdahl put his unit at risk, six other members of the Army died in the search for him and now we find his return a cause to celebrate? 

What makes this even more disturbing is, Mr. Bergdahl signed in as a volunteer in the Army. He was not drafted like most of those who served in my generation.  He could have used any number of avenues to get out of the Army.  The simple and quick way is to refuse direct orders. He would have been court martialed, given a dishonorable discharge and returned home. 

Anything less than a UCMJ Court Martial for what he did is an affront to everyone of us who served with HONOR. Any celebration of his release and return is disrespectful to everyone who has served in the various branches of the military.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Assessor Mails out Sticker Shock Assessments

You should have received your new and improved property valuation done by the County Assessor.  The new valuations are up about 40-70% in my Guardian informal poll.  The question everyone needs to ask before they scream foul is: Would you sell your property for the value assigned for tax purposes. 

If you find the value too low, then keep quiet and hope for the best again next year.  If you feel the value is too high, then file a protest with the Assessor.  The process is pretty straight forward once your file your protest.  An appraiser from the Assessor's office will contact you and try to discuss how they arrived at the value.  You, for your part need to come up with documentation that the appraisal is not correct with comparable values on like property.  If the value is out of line, generally the appraiser will lower the value.  If you have nothing to support your claim then the value stands.

City and County budgets can rise by 3% each year and they can go back and claim foregone increases for a specified number of years spelled out in the Idaho Code.  They also get all the new construction tax base and that does not figure into the magic 3% increases. 

The time limit for protesting property tax assessed values is the fourth Monday in June.  This is the 23rd for the exact date this year.

Don' forget about how urban renewal is impacting your property taxes.. between Nampa and Caldwell that is a number in excess of $10 million that has to be made up with higher taxes for everyone outside the UR District boundaries.

Sunday, May 18, 2014



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tom Dale and Pinnochio

THE GUARDIAN would like to present some fact checking in what former Mayor Tom Dale presented at the candidate forum covered in the local paper today.  Mayor Dale represented $38 million spent on the Nampa Police building and the Library now under construction as projects Nampa Urban Renewal (NDC) was done with the approval of the people of Nampa. 

The records says otherwise when you consider not a single person spoke in favor of another urban renewal agency in Nampa after the foul taste in everyone's mouth over the Idaho Center disaster.  (Citizens voted to take that agency down.)  What they did not realize is, URA money kept flowing to a "secret account" and it kept the red ink to a minimum at the Idaho Center.

Mayor Dale and his rubber stamp city council (except for Mr. Kren) went through the motions of a public hearing and after the 15 day waiting period City Council members of Nampa approved the current Urban Renewal Agency ( NDC ).  Again, not a single person spoke in favor of financing the police building nor the library with out a vote of the people. 

Tom Dale and his hand picked NDC Board members went full speed ahead without a vote of the
people on these projects.  Once board member openly stated if they had put those projects up for a vote the people of Nampa would never have approved them. 

Nampa citizens gave their approval in a bond election for the GO Bond election and even the naysayers on urban renewal helped to get $38 MM in general obligation bods approved with the full faith and credit of the people of Nampa.  Urban Renewal  did not seek the approval of Nampa citizens and Mayor Dale saying the people of Nampa came together and agreed on the police and library projects is a pure untruth when the facts of the situation are researched.

Mayor Dale and his rubber stamp city council went back and captured foregone property taxes and hit Nampa property owners with a whopping 5% increase in the middle of a recession several years ago.  His memory of this seems to have faded and THE GUARDIAN is pleased to remind him of this event.  His attitude was a gimme the money and I don't care how much the Great Recession hit folks in Nampa.  He kept the wheels of Nampa city government will oiled while taxpayers had to come up with more cash. ( City and County budgets are allowed by law to increase at a rate of 3% each year on top of all the new growth taxation going to the city and URA budgets.)

Mayor Dale does not deserve to represent the people of Canyon County as a Commissioner as he does not listen to those he gleefully sticks with paying the bills for projects that would never pass muster with voters.