Tracking code caldwell guardian

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

VOTE ON TUESDAY! MAY 20TH

JUST A REMINDER TO ALL GUARDIAN READERS.....

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.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Brian Bishop Write-In Candidate for Idaho District 10-B

I took the time to meet with write-in candidate for District 10B (Darrell Bolz seat) and as usual I post candidate information to help with anyone willing to run for public office.  Mr. Bishop missed the filing deadline due to the birth of a new member of his family.  He is very interested in representing the people of District 10.  Mr. Bishop is a Harvard educated lawyer who specializes in Finance Law.
This is a very unusual election and Mr. Bishop is asking for your Write-In Vote this election cycle.

"Greg Chaney, the candidate whose name is on the ballot for the Republican nomination in District
10B, has suspended his campaign efforts and announced that he will not accept the nomination.
 
I am running as a write-in candidate to make sure we have a strong Republican candidate in District 10B for the general election. I believe I have the right combination of conservative values, professional experience and educational background to hit the ground running and be a strong advocate in the legislature.
 
I am both fiscally and socially conservative—I favor limited government, individual liberty, lower taxes, and smarter, reduced regulation to lessen the burdens on individuals and businesses in the state. I am also strongly pro-life, oppose same-sex marriage and support the traditional family and will fight to protect the individual right to bear arms. I am very willing to consider innovative ideas, such as charter schools, to help our community and government function better, but I will always test them against my deeply held conservative principles.

Here are a few facts about me:
  • Third-generation Idahoan, born and raised in the Nampa area
  • Grew up on my grandfather's dairy farm
  • Graduate of Vallivue High School, first in class (tied)
  • Graduate of Brigham Young University in Linguistics, summa cum laude
  • Graduate of Harvard Law School with a degree in law
  • Graduate of Tufts University with a master's degree in international relations
  • Attorney for nearly ten years with a corporate finance practice
  • Practiced law with a large international law firm for approximately five years in London and New York
  • Moved to Caldwell in 2008
  • My wife Kamber and I have four children (8, 6, 3, and two months!)
 
I invite you to look at my website—brianbishopforidaho.com—for more information about me and my positions on the issues.  I’m also happy to respond to any questions.  I can be reached at info@brianbishopforidaho.com and at 972-2797."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Downtown Business People Meet With Mayor Nancolas

A group of downtown business people met with Mayor Nancolas and City Attorney Mark Hilty regarding urban renewal investments in downtown Caldwell.  The citizen group in attendance was Joe Lombardo of Joe's Emporium, Glenn Koch, former Canyon County Commissioner and downtown property owner, Gina Lujack, a downtown property owner and Caldwell Realtor, Dustin Rose who is a downtown Realtor and myself.  The meeting lasted about 90 minutes.

The main subject was a resolution presented to the Mayor and City Council earlier this month asking:
1.  Dissolution of the current Urban Renewal board and and move this function to the City Council just as was done in Nampa earlier this year.

2.  That remaining UR funds be directed to downtown projects.

3.  That a committee of downtown business and property owners be formed to determine what UR money will be spent on from now to the sunset of the agency and beyond to administer funds that will continue to flow to the city until 2022.

Mayor Nancolas was receptive but also indicated he can't make the decision on the second two items because the city council is the city legislative body but would certainly bring this forward as an agenda item for the Mayor and City Council to take over the functions of the urban renewal board.

Also, discussed was making downtown a quiet zone with the train horns as trains travel through Caldwell.  Mayor Nancolas stated that he has already instructed staff to pursue this option.  The cost for this several years ago was in the $200k area to make the necessary improvements to the RR crossings in Caldwell prescribed by the railroad.

Next item discussed was how various codes and ordinances are interpreted by city staff and officials and how this is an impediment to business development downtown.  Urban Renewal board members not listening to downtown business owners along with purchasing businesses and getting certain uses out of downtown was also discussed along with the need to demolish a good number of structures in downtown.  Open space opportunity for business development was the point of this part of the meeting.

Everyone felt the Mayor had listened to the issues and problems presented and they will carry the message back to their downtown coalition members.  The coalition meets every Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM at Maddy's Plaza, near the corner of Main and Kimball.  Their next meeting will be held on April 29th.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TVCC Enrollments Decline to 591 Students

Once again THE GUARDIAN feels vindicated in the need for voter approvals in capital projects.  TVCC has reported a decline in enrollments to a mere 591 students or a 22% decline in enrollments. 

THE GUARDIAN asked Mayor Nancolas and his Finance Director Eljay Waite repeatedly to let voters weigh in on this project with a simple advisory vote and was rebuffed each time.  The fear was the vote would be a resounding NO and it would kill the project.  TVCC may have been the first community college to locate in Caldwell but it was hit with the reality of voter supported College of Western Idaho. 

Nobody knows the real costs to taxpayers for TVCC but the building cost $6MM, the furnishings cost another $1MM, the snack bar cost an additional $110k (two operators could not make a go of it), they are occupying the building on a half rent cost with additional money funneled to them for maintenance and upkeep to the tune of something north of $20k/year along with other perks from Caldwell Urban Renewal.  When does this financial failure stop bleeding Caldwell taxpayers?

It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN, Caldwell Canyon Economic Development Director, Steve Fultz has been directed by Mayor
Nancolas and Mr. Waite to help market and boost enrollments at TVCC.  How can Mr. Fultz be held accountable to keep this ship afloat? 

The only question is:   What will the building be used for when TVCC finally pulls the plug on this very bad decision by our Mayor and Finance Director, Mr. Waite.  We can only wait and see how Mayor Nancolas spins this into a success story for Caldwell.

THE GUARDIAN has been a long suffering critic of how urban renewal agencies in both Caldwell and Nampa, they have run rough-shod over property taxpayers in both cities.  Caldwell now has TVCC as a millstone around the necks of Caldwell residents and Nampa has the Idaho Center and the yet to be completed Library Project under construction by Gardner Company who recently pulled out of the private part of the much heralded public private partnership in Nampa.

In summary:  Why has one man, Eljay Waite, been allowed to punish the city of Caldwell?  He has been allowed to operate CEURA with impunity and virtually no oversight for the last 15 years.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Caldwell Business and Property Owners Present Resolution to Caldwell City Coucil.



Here is a copy of the RESOLUTION submitted to Mayor Garret Nancolas and his City Council at their meeting last night(April 7, 2014).  The seeds of discontent have been festering since an earlier meeting at the Caldwell Train Depot on February 28th.




"RESOLUTION No.____________________________________________

Submitted to Mayor Garret Nancolas and The Honorable City Council of Caldwell, Idaho

Urban Renewal in Caldwell has spent in excess of $60 million, with little proven tangible results to be of any benefit to the citizens of Caldwell, its downtown, its businesses, and its property owners. Additionally, any input from those business and property owners have fallen on deaf ears by Chairman Eljay Waite and the board members of Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency.

In the interest of all the Citizens of Caldwell, we the undersigned Downtown Caldwell business
and property owners request for immediate Caldwell City Council consideration the following:

1. Immediate dissolution of Caldwell East Urban Renewal Board, and its functions to be taken
over by the Mayor and City Council, ensuring a direct line of accountability in all matters of
urban renewal to the voters of Caldwell.

2. The remaining “Urban Renewal Increment” money, with exception to monies currently
required to pay current obligations and revenue bonding debt obligations, to be redirected
to the betterment of Downtown Caldwell.

3. Facilitation, via select committee, as to how to appropriate any remaining unencumbered
funds flowing to urban renewal. Any recommendations brought forth by this committee
shall be subject to approval by City Council of Caldwell.

Respectfully submitted by the citizens, business owners, and property owners of downtown Caldwell."

The above resolution was presented to the Mayor and City Council by former County Commissioner Glenn Koch.  It was reported to THE GUARDIAN there were about 35 business and property owners at this city council meeting.

Additionally, there was an Ordinance document presented to dismantle Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency and put all their functions under the Mayor and City Council.  This would put some degree of direct accountability to voters and taxpayers.  Currently, urban renewal laws written by the Idaho Legislature give wide powers of spending and no accountability in all financial matters conducted by urban renewal boards in Idaho.

Oddly, there was no date defined for when the group wanted an answer back from the Mayor and City Council.  Perhaps this will come out as the group moves forward.