Friday, February 25, 2011
Summay of UR Legislative fixes in ID House of Representatives, Copy of letter sent to all House Members.....Senate support needed.
The Taxpayers Accountability Committee, with legal counsel, worked nine months to craft the Urban Re-newal legislation before you. Our objective is to establish public accountability and transparency to all urban renewal projects. We strive to restore taxpayer input into the process by requiring approval by vote on the establishment of new districts, district leadership and bonding transactions.
Following is a summary of the Urban Renewal bills currently before you.
HO95—This legislation is the most comprehensive of those that are before you. It has widespread sup-port from several governmental agencies and Urban Renewal Districts. The bill amends Title 50, Chap-ter 20 and Title 50, Chapter 29 by:
1. Require a majority of voters in a citywide election to authorize an agency to conduct business;
2. Requires a majority vote of the Board to remove or seat a UR Agency Commissioner;
3. Removes language allowing the mayor to appoint agency officers and returns that responsibility to
4. Extends the time for presenting recommendations to the planning commission from 30 to 60 days.
5. Sets the maximum bonding period to 20 years;
6. Defines “deteriorated area” and sets parameters on how agricultural and forestry operations are to
7. Adds provision to extend revenue allocation provision under special circumstances.
This legislation awaits action in the amending order on committee–suggested amendments brought forth by parties of interest in the bill.
HO96— This legislation requires a statement of total assessed value of the revenue allocation area as it compares to the total assessed value of all property within the municipality. It also allows an opt-out pro-vision for overlapping taxing districts who wish not to be included in the proposed rev allocation area.
HO97— This legislation limits an approved plan of UR to a single project to be completed within a speci-fied time with remaining funds remanded to the taxing entities.
HO99— An Urban Renewal Agency may issue bonds required to finance such project, upon approval by
two thirds (2/3) of the qualified electors voting in an election held for such purpose. This legislation awaits action in the amending order on committee.
HO110- Adds a public hearing to the process of establishing an Urban Renewal Project.
HO114– This legislation calls for a county-wide election of commissioners to an Urban Renewal District and places authority to replace commissioners with the Board of commissioners. Currently the responsi-bility for naming commissioners to the Agency lies with the Mayor and the local governing body.
Summary: Urban Renewal activities are not accountable to voters around the state which has re-sulted in many projects of questionable value that have caused substantial public unrest and criticism. It would not be fair to omit a note of praise to those very few good projects that have been completed on time, in budget with an occasional payback of excess funding.
Editor Note: The above legislation aimed at putting a fair and reasonable amount of voter oversight on Urban Renewal Abuses has a good chance of getting passed in the House of Representatives. The Idaho Senate is another matter, If you agree with this effort please contact your representatives and let them know how you feel about this effort to bring back taxpayer oversight of how property taxes get spent and stop urban renewal abuses in Idaho.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 2:32 PM