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Friday, April 25, 2008

Jerome Property Sale Did Not Close Today

THE GUARDIAN has learned that the closing date (today) for the Jerome property sale did not happen as scheduled. The buyer could not obtain a line of credit to consummate the deal. The Commishes went into an Executive Session Huddle so they could come up with a plan that would fit the buyers needs.

We were looking forward to hearing the sale had been consummated at the state of the county gala on the 29th of April. And that the County Deciders had indeed made a bundle of money on this sale.

All of this leaves THE GUARDIAN wondering what the good news of this past year will be for the good people of our fair county this Tuesday evening at Jewett Auditorium on the campus of the College of Idaho. The program gets started at 5:30PM and ought to be interesting to hear what the Commishes have to say about all of this.

Nampa Urban Renewal Judicial Confirmaiton Hearing Set Back

Looks like the Nampa Urban Renewal folks want more time to reconsider thier petition for judical confirmation. April 30th at 9:00 AM was the original date for this petition to be heard by a judge at the Canyon County Courthouse. It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN that the petitioner has requested the hearing be moved back to June 17th. (Reasons are unspecified at this point in time.)

The purpose of the hearing was to get the green light from the judge to issue $15MM of non-voter approved bonds to buy land for a new police station and library. Total tab on the projects was to be around $68MM plus the "easy payment plan" interest charges. Too bad the Nampa Deciders have not figured out that a vote of the people is really the best way to get the money in a clean, fair and above board manner.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jerome property appraisals due today

The county and the buyer of the Art Jerome property (former jail site on the blvd.) are scheduled to close on the 25th of April. The buyer is reportedly having trouble raising the cash to close the deal and is trying to get more time. The deal was on quicksand from the outset but was the only bid the county received for the property. Now it looks like the buyer will forfeit his earnest money deposit of $25K and the county will have to put the property back on the market. Final appraisals were due today to give some negotiating room for the buyer to close the deal.

It will be interesting how all of this will be viewed by the taxpayers. Meanwhile, we can all wait in anticipation for the state of the county address due the end of this month. The Deciders at 1115 Albany Street have to be wondering how this gala event will happen given the lack of good news to report on just about everything that has not gone according to their expectations.

No plan to manage growth and courthouse needs, no vision about what the public expects, and no political will, make for a trifecta of unrest in the court of public opinion this election year.

Happy April 15th to everyone...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Boise Airport wants to be inland air freight hub

The skies over Treasure Valley will be filled with jumbo jets hauling freight if Boise Mayor Dave Bieter gets his way and industrializes the area around the airport.

Based on testimony before the Idaho Legislature last week, the city needed a constitutional amendment to make it easier to obtain financing for facilities because the west coast airports are so crowded the big overseas air freighters need a hub inland....if Boise builds it they will come.

Meanwhile, parking is at a premium at the BOI passenger terminal. Team Dave and the City Council refuse to allow voters the opportunity to approve a new parking garage...which would be funded by user fees, not taxes.

The Statesman in their article today reported that Mayor Dave "Won't discuss funding options being considered." Seems the Mayor prefers to operate in secret rather than allow the public a voice in their government.

The parking garage was the subject of a Idaho Supreme Court decision in 2006. The Supreme Court said that $27 million for a parking garage was "too profound" to be considered "ordinary and necessary". They told the good mayor to get voter approval for his parking garage and their finanicng scheme was also a violation of the Idaho Constitution.

Now, the city of Boise is spinning their campaign in the Statesman to justify the "need" for a new control tower and a third runway south of the existing airport. Short version is that ridership at the current airport simply does not justify a major facilities expansion.

The freight hub is a "business plan" of the airport and it is aimed at creating GROWTH for the sake of growth. (Sleeping at night is not their aim for citizens of the valley.) To be sure THE CALDWELL GUARDIAN advocates facilities for passengers coming and going from BOI...the problem is using public monies to create industrial growth and the increased air and highway traffic with jumbo jets landing 24/7 and big trucks tearing up I-84 hauling freight out of this new hub.

Greenies and conservationists are probably also opposed to filling the valley air with jet exhaust, noise pollution 24 hours a day. Air freight uses the night sky to do business. Caldwell and Nampa are in the glide paths to BOI. Then there will be the "need" for more fire stations, police facilities and manpower, schools and electric generating capacity. Insomnia and asthma inhalers for everyone on this deal if Mayor Dave gets his new air freight hub at BOI.

Had the legislature not shut down SJR 105 and SJR 107 team Dave would now be off and running with thier plan to make BOI an inland freight hub for overseas jumbo jets. We all have to wonder what "plan B" is to further destroy our way of life in this valley.

(photo and background info courtesy of Dave Frazier, Boise Guardian)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Citizens Will File Suit Against Jail Project

THE GUARDIAN has learned a group of citizens who are angry about the Commishes moving forward with the jail project at Hwy. 20/26. They intend to file a lawsuit to stop the project. This appears to be a well funded group of Canyon County residents that are ready to challenge the Deciders at 1115 Albany Street.

The thrust of the action is that the Commishes are spending $12-15 million on this project without any voter oversight. Local attorney, Dick Harris is representing these folks. Mr. Harris is the same attorney that represented a group of citizens on the Jerome property case that went to the Idaho Supreme Court in December of last year. Mr. Harris won his argument granting standing to citizens regarding Article VIII section 3 of the Idaho Constitution that deals with cities and counties incurring long term debt.

The suit has not yet been filed but is in the formative stages at this juncture.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Nampa Urban Renewal Update

Nampa Urban Renewal Agency goes to court on the 30th of April to try and get a judge to declare $68 million for a new police station and a library as "ordinary and necessary" expenses for the city of Nampa. Right now all they want is $15 million to buy and clear the land.

There are now three petitions before the court asking that the Nampa Urban Renewal Agency petition be denied. Judaical confirmation process used by Nampa is an effort to evade a voter approved bond election for these projects. If the judge says OK they can issue Revenue Bonds without voter.

Previous Idaho case law has done a really good job of defining "ordinary and necessary". We get to see how the Nampa petition get treated in the Third Judicial District Court. The local judges recused themselves so no bias from the locals is claimed by those in opposition or in support of the Nampa effort.

THE GUARDIAN has no opinion on the merits of Nampa projects other than we want to see voter oversight via a bond election. Stay tuned as this one will be worth following.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

SJR 107 Dies on House Floor

Proponents of the "easy payment plan" with your tax dollars got shot down yesterday at the Idaho State Legislature.

THE GUARDIAN loaded up the family truckster with eight people from Canyon County to testify on this bill before the State Affairs Committee. This poorly written piece of legislation got through the Senate with virtually no questions asked by that august body. However, the House people were more cautious with a change to the constitution. The Canyon County House delegation all voted this measure down, same can not be said about our Senators who approved this measuere.

All of us that testified felt like we were more than welcome to speak to the committee. We almost got enough votes kill the bill in committee but in the end it got sent to he house floor for debate and voting. Constitutional amendments require 2/3 vote in both houses and 50% at a general election. The measure died 36-33 on the house floor. Point here is that citizens can make a difference if they get up off the couch and make the effort to be heard. The lobbyists from the Idaho Associations of Cities and Counties were agog over this defeat in the waning hours of the session.

If passed and approved by the voters this measure would have allowed virtually any pet project deemed to be "revenue producing" by cities and counties to be funded via revenue bonds without a vote of the people. Everything that generated a dime of revenue from library fines, swimming pool fees, golf courses, to you name it fills this requirement. Removing voter oversight would have been a huge mistake. If cities and counties want these pet projects they need to get permission from the voters in a bond election,serial levy, or simply budget for the expense and pay cash.

Finally, we were all impressed with the House State Affairs Committee and Chairman Loertscher. Enough can't be said about these people and their willingness to hear what we had to say. I am truly in awe of what went on yesterday. I am sure the lobbyists were stunned at what happened to their poorly written legislation by the good people from Canyon County who took the time to speak on this issue from the perspective of a citizen.