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Thursday, July 10, 2008

New City Hall for Nampa?

"Team Tom" and his trusty followers have gone into the property acquisition business big time. They just recently approved spending $5 million for new library site. Now they have spent another $385,000 for the old gas station behind the Nampa Court Annex.

Mayor Tom and his "team players" are letting the cat out of the bag one leg at a time on all the new Nampa city government building projects.

The big plans call for a new library, new police building, and now comes the new city hall. The price tag for the library and police building is $68 million. The price tag on the new city hall complex is $45 million. Total for all this is $113 million. Bond underwriting and interest charges could make it closer to $200 million by the time debts are retired.

The really rotten part of this scheme is voters will have no say in the bonding if "Team Tom" can get judicial confirmation his projects. Add to that, all Canyon County property taxpayers will help pay for these projects. It is all tucked nicely in the Urban Renewal District plans. Increases in assessed valuations of properties inside the urban renewal district and taxes generated from increased valuations go to the district to spend as they choose. All of this is getting challenged locally as well as in Rexburg. The Nampa urban renewal case is going to be decided this month in district court. The Rexburg case is headed to the Idaho Supreme Court.

Elected officials of all stripes seem to have a lot of difficulty with the notion that citizens have the right to vote up or down these high dollar projects. And they use every means on the books to try and circumvent any voter involvement in their pet projects. They have become addicted to the "easy payment plan" for everything from fac machines to monolithinc legacy buildings.

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