Saturday, January 15, 2011
The reality of urban renewal is what Mayor Nancolas failed to tell us in his address. Urban renewal in Caldwell costs every Canyon County property taxpayer an additional $88.41 per $100k of assessed value; each Caldwell property taxpayer an additional $298.55 per $100k of taxable value. There is NO MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL. It is a massive property tax shift most people do not understand.
Mayor Nancolas showcased a number of projects he stated that would not have happened except for the MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL: the YMCA, $23.6MM in sewer upgrades, some minor support to Caldwell and Vallivue School Districts (they gave up millions in tax revenue to urban renewal), a skate board and BMX park (most kids can't get to due to the location), the Job Service building in Sky Ranch (should have gone downtown), a $6-9MM building and grounds for out of state TVCC (the city purchased with rainy day funds for water, sewer, cemetery funds on deposit with the State Treasurer).
(You can read about all of the magical projects when the Mayor's speech is posted online, urban renewal discussions start on page 7.)
The point we would like to make is all of the property taxes diverted from nearly 50% of the land mass of the city of Caldwell go directly to Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency. It has amounted to over $6MM a year getting spent on all manner of things with no voter oversight. Your property taxes are 30% higher due to the MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL. Taxes in Caldwell went up nearly 3% this year and in Nampa they went up 5% due to the MAGIC.
Urban Renewal districts put other taxing districts and agencies on a 24 year fixed income and they have no other choice to deal with the increased growth in demand for essential city and county services and have to increase their budget driven levy rates. THE MAGIC IS higher property taxes to offset what urban renewal agencies legally steal from property owners and taxing districts that supply essential city and county services.
The proper funding mechanism for all the wonderful stuff Mayor Nancolas talks about in his support of the massive tax shift of urban renewal is BOND ELECTIONS and consensus building for community support of the projects. People get the opportunity to either approve or not approve projects with the full faith and credit of taxpayers. Urban Renewal strips people of their right of taxation with representation.
Mayor Nancolas did not address a single instance of the outright giveaways of urban renewal funds for YMCA memberships for himself, his family, UR board members, the $150k in YMCA memberships for wellness program subsidies for private citizens, handouts to developers as "entitlement money".
The MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL is nothing more than 3-card Monte with property tax dollars shifted to a body politic with no voter oversight or citizen reviews of any kind. Citizens who do take the time to complain are quickly marginalized and ignored by Mayor Nancolas and his Urban Renewal Board members. We would offer the coffee shop in the TVCC building as an example of this behavior. Citizens were heard and propmtly ignored when they took the time to attend a CEURA meeting regarding the coffee shop funding of a business in direct competetion with their businesses.
Final note: The IPT had an online poll this week asking if Caldwell is headed in the right direction. Oddly, the results indicated 68% of poll respondents said NO and 32% said Yes the city is headed in the right direction.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 3:19 PM