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Friday, February 13, 2009

One Plus One Does Not Equal Two in Caldwell

THE GUARDIAN has been doing the math with the City Hall "catalyst project" and the TVCC project and here is how the numbers add up (or not): The combined city hall and TVCC is a case where 1+1 does not equal 2 in Caldwell. Urban renewal does not have the bucks to fund two projects despite all the speeches and spin we have read and heard.

The original site for TVCC was Sky Ranch at a planned cost of $8.5 million, 63,000 square feet of space and 600 parking spaces. Remember the articles and groundbreaking ceremony last August? City Hall project was $14 million as of August of 2008. The City of Caldwell budgeted $7.5million for the city hall project. Total here is $16 million in urban renewal funding.

With this math they can have one or the other but not both projects.

Now comes the recession and the economic downturn and a the private development money has disappeared into the electronic cosmos. The partnership prospects in the city hall have evaporated. Also, word on the street is the DL EVANS Bank project has also hit the skids at 10th and Blaine.

The City of Caldwell now needs the Urban Renewal revenue bond money dedicated to the Sky Ranch TVCC project to fund the completion of a city hall. The budgeted $7.5million plus the $8.5 million for the original TVCC project gets the the money for a new city hall with $2million left over for cost over runs. It won't get them there if it is two separate projects.

Totals needed for both the city hall project and TVCC as originally projected come to $22.5 million and there is no way the mavens at city hall can come up with the extra $6.5 million needed to complete both projects. No new growth, no tax money and falling real estate values will impact the increment collected if the County Assessor lowers the property valuations in the urban renewal areas. Six million urban renewal dollars may fall to something much smaller before we know it.

How many times can you spend the $6 million in annual property tax revenue for Urban Renewal? It will be interesting to see how this all gets the political spin once folks figure this out.

Developers in downtown as well as Sky Ranch have to be wondering what is going on as they found out about the shift in location for TVCC to downtown at the Mayor's state of the city address. There has to be some friction over this turn of events. People at TVCC have to be scratching their collective heads as the new digs in city all will be scaled down from 63,000 square feet and parking to about 18,000 square feed and no parking for students and faculty.

Another twist on all of this is Linden Street is scheduled to be shut off for airport expansion. Yup, that is the plan. Lousy east west transportation corridors are going to get worse when the City makes this move. Sky Ranch will have one way in and one way out. TVCC with 60% of their students from Western Idaho will get about 1/4th of the space they need.

Caldwell is in serious need of some planning, political will, and citizen involvement. Otherwise, Caldwell will be just another city that just happened with all the blunders and wreckage left for taxpayers to clean up the mess.

Stay tuned for more...

1 comment:

  1. I heard that Linden was going to be re-routed around the airport.


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