Tracking code caldwell guardian

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California The Ungovernable Debtor State

THE GUARDIAN has been following the debacle called a $42 Billion deficit in California for some time. They are in trouble (short list) for the following reasons:

1. Budgets and new taxes take a 2/3 majority in their legislature to enact. This let's the Republican minority rule the roost on spending. They can't agree on a budget.

2. Initiatives are a form of direct democracy in California and are enacted as written. More often than not, they poorly worded with double negatives that make what you think you are voting for not the reality. Yes means NO and No means Yes.
They are not advisory and become the law of the land. Special interests pour millions into bad legislation via all manner of media and robo calls.

3. Closed Primary elections keep the extreme wings of the parties in office. Most elections are decided at primairies. Hence a lot of people simply do not vote. This keeps extreme party line people in office.

4. Voting districts are drawn to keep extreme right or left wing people in office.

5. Too many people simply pay no taxes whatsoever. Their underground economy thrives, illegal alien social services are out of control, government employee unions control their legislature.

Idaho may be the most Republican State in the Union but the framers of our Idaho Constitution saw cities and counties going bankrupt all over the West. They made a balanced budget (living within the reality of income) a Constitutional mandate. This last session of the State Legislature was not pretty to watch but they walked away with a balanced budget.

Idaho with open primaries keeps both parties "big tent" parties with RINO'S and DINO'S in office. We do not want to see a closed primary happen in Idaho.

All you have to do is look at California caving in on itself to appreciate the wisdom imbued in our Idaho Constitution. Every year, the "easy pay" people try to dismantle the living withing our means sections of the Idaho Constitution.

So far our legislators have been able to stand their ground on the basic principle of pay as we go. "Revenue generating entities" is the buzz word to try and get around the Pay-Go requirements of our constitution.

California is reaching a crisis of finance and may have to call a constitutional convention to clean up this mess. The myriad of laws, closed primaries and direct democracy initiatives (sponsored by special interests) have removed common sense from California politics.

Let's all hope that does not happen in Idaho.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Assessments For Property Are Down, Taxes Going Up!~

You have probably received your 2009 property tax assessed valuation and noted the reduced valuations. Don't hold your breath for lower taxes. All the various taxing districts set their budgets and that is what drives taxes. All we can expect is taxes are going to go up by 3% allowed by law each year.

The people running taxing subdivisions of our local government are going to get every penny they can collect from us. They do not have to live withing the reality of what those of us paying the bills have to deal with in our own personal lives. Starving the Beast is not in their language.

Add to this the inflation escalator the legislature put into law and if your total assessed value is $204,000 or less you will be subsidizing the starter castles property taxes. The homeowners exemption is a maximum of 50% of a maximum of $204k. If you are "average" you house is well below the specified max. You will get to subsidized the large homeowners with valuations in excess of $204k because they can utilize all of the homeowners exemption allowed by law. It is going to be a tax shift to the lower valued homes to take up the slack. It is confusing but the good people at the assessors office will be happy to explain it to you.

Taxing Districts on my tax notices are:

AMBULAND DISTRICT budget hearing is 9-1-2009
City of Caldwelll '' " 8-17-2009
Caldwell Schools '' '' 6-8-2009
Canyon Hwy Dist #4 '' '' 8-13-2009
Canyon County '' '' 9-1-2009
Mosquito Abatement '' '' 8-13-2009
College of Western Idaho '' '' 8-18-2009

There will be no budget hearing for TVCC as Caldwell East Urban Renewal will be underwriting their costs with Urban Renewal property taxes. They have asked for $300K. from Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

TVCC Needs $300,000 From Caldwell Urban Renewal Also City Hall Project ?

The Following is taked directly from the May 6th, 2009 Caldwell East Urban Renewal Board meeting:

"Bruce Schultz, TVCC, presented a revised funding request in the amount of $297,158 to address the projected enrollment growth and sustain the enrollment momentum during 2009-2010. Enrollment grew over 38% during the 2008-09 academic year and has accelerated well beyond the current facilities and operations. The request specifically identifies equipment and instruction for the nursing program that is in high demand, off-site classroom lease, and student support costs in the form of a financial aid specialist, computer technician, testing coordinator and education advisor. Commissioner Hopper expressed support for the capital expenditures and lease facilities, but voiced concern with salary dollars. Mayor Nancolas stated that the community has overwhelmingly demonstrated that it wants and supports TVCC and that legal opinion is needed to determine what expenditures are allowable within urban renewal law. Motion to authorize Chairman Waite to review TVCC’s funding request with legal counsel for determination of appropriate expenditures: Hopper/Fouts M/S/P

Doug Oppenheimer presented a request for partnership in the development of a three-story, 32,000 sq ft building in downtown Caldwell to house the Veterans Administration (1st floor) and TVCC (floors 2 &3). By starting with those projects that bring the critical mass to the downtown area (VA, TVCC), the retail and city hall projects will follow more naturally and will have the potential to be built without bonding or entering into long-term indebtedness. The requested partnership with CEURA would consist of assistance with parking, building demolition, site & boundary survey, and site purchase. Mayor Nancolas reminded the commissioners that from the authors of the R/UDAT study completed years ago to the current developers, the message is consistent that downtown redevelopment is absolutely critical to the health and future prosperity of Caldwell and its citizens. Activity breeds activity and a healthy community must invest in human capital. While the costs for improving blight (environmental issues, FEMA issues, land cost, demolition costs) are greater than the costs of building on bare, open ground, the improvement of a blighted downtown is imperative to the health of the community-at-large. Chairman Waite recommended a special workshop to allow the commissioners to study the current requests for funding and the financial options to FEMA. Motion to schedule a workshop within the next ten days to review this requests: Hopper/Rule M/S/P"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mayor Nancolas Defends "Y" Memberships for Urban Renewal Board Members

Mayor Nancolas had the following to say about Urban Renewal property taxes paying for YMCA memberships for CEURA board members. (Perhaps Mayor Nancolas should also seek a legal opinion on his family membership paid for by CEURA.)

Mayor Nancolas advised the board that concern had been voiced by a citizen regarding CEURA’s contribution for board member membership to the YMCA. Mayor Nancolas stated for the record that CEURA’s payments to the YMCA are appropriate under the terms of the agreement with the YMCA and a legal opinion has been issued that directly supports these expenditures. As part of the original agreement to the Caldwell YMCA, CEURA has a stewardship and oversight responsibility with the “Y” and takes that duty seriously."

The above is a direct quote from the May 6th CEURA board minutes. Add to this the payments made with urban renewal tax dollars in the amount of $11,330.00 to subsidize YMCA memberships for "Business Partners" and "Government Partners" Wellness programs. The payments made for dates from 3-31 to 5-1-2009.

CEURA has about a $12 million ownership position in the Caldwell YMCA. If the "Y" closes up shop ownership will default to the City of Caldwell. Along with the default ownership will be the burden to taxpayers to keep the doors open when and if the city takes ownership.

FEMA And Downtown Caldwell

The following has been taken from the May 6, 2009 Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency Minutes. You can draw your own conclusions on what actually happened but it looks like downtown Caldwell will remain in FEMA's flood zone.

"FEMA has tentatively announced their findings on the City’s appeal to the draft flood mapping. They have:
 Agreed that the Mora Canal intersects the flow from the northern portion of the Indian Creek basin, reducing basin water runoff
 Agreed that the probabilistic flow in the NY Canal will be lowered from 34% to 20%, reducing the flow in the canal.
 Accepted the City’s very conservative hydraulic analysis of basin flow (prepared in 2007)
 Ignored the data on physical barriers to basin flow
 Ignored the historical information on the 1910 flood
 Postulated a failure of the NY Canal levee in addition to its overtopping
 Predicted a ~3,200 cfs of flow in downtown Caldwell
• The best solution appears to be the installation of a spillway on the NY Canal downstream of the calipee gates to preclude failure of the Canal levee; however, legal strategy is being developed in the event that FEMA is not willing to accept a project-driven solution.
• The work could be done by June 2009 as a City-funded project, providing that the Bureau of Reclamation and the Boise Project Office agree to let the work go forward.
• With the spillway project initiative, FEMA will be requested to delay publishing their final flood plain mapping until the spillway is completed.
• There will then be no flooding of downtown Caldwell, but the flood maps would likely show Nampa being flooded, unless FEMA accepts the physical barrier data.
• A Strategy meeting will be held Friday, May 8th, in Caldwell to plan the response to FEMA’s findings. FEMA will meet with the City on Tuesday, May 19th, in Caldwell to discuss further actions and outcomes."

Latest Wisdom For Caldwell Urban Renewal Bucket-O-Cash

The following are Mayor Nancolas comments on how to improve Caldwell Urban Renewal Agaency Board efforts:

"The Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency is also trying to strenghten their already positive relationship with the educational community by inviting a board member from each area school district to sit as a permanent voting member on the CEURA Board.

I believe education is the best investment you can make into a community and I am working with City Council, appointed officials and community leaders to do everything we can to ensure that all of our citizens have an opportunity to succeed both in the classroom and out of it. If I can ever be of assistance to you and your family, or if you have suggestions and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me."

How does the appointment of school board members to the Urban Renewal agency in Caldwell clear blight and create economic development? The Bucket-O-Cash people are not trying to clear blight and create economic opportunity. Nor are they trying to build and tax base with urban renewal tax money they spend.

Coalition for Agriclutire's Future Has Sprawl Concerns

According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Canyon County lost 25 percent of its agricultural acreage to development and Ada County lost 7 percent in just the five years from 1997 to 2002. To get a broader perspective of urban growth into traditional Canyon County agricultural lands, view a short video of two aerial photos of the area directly south of Caldwell, Idaho. The photos, taken in 1992 and 2009, dramatically underscore why it is imperative that we address the problem of uncontrolled urban growth. (Go to to view the video.)

For the record: The Coalition is not anti-grow or development. But we do believe that Idaho and its people must find or develop new methods and strategies that incorporate a planned integration of urban and rural interest. We must not unintentionally or deliberately sacrifice agricultural land on the alter of urban development. To do so is to risk loosing the agricultural heritage that has made Idaho the great state is is today. We also believe there is no time to waste in addressing the issue.

The Coalition for Agriculture's Future understands well the lack of planning that has been allowed to go on in this valley and are trying to do something about it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mayor Nancolas And The Urban Renewal Big Lie

The following was taken from the City of Caldwell website. Mayor Nancolas would have us believe funding TVCC is a FREEBIE! Property taxes fund Urban Renewal.
This is a direct quote from the Mayors message to the community....

"In this economy, especially, there is a large need for opportunities for young adults and adults to educate themselves or further their training and job skills. That is why the City has been working for the last few years to expand the ability of Treasure Valley Community College to serve the western Treasure Valley through a new, centralized Caldwell location downtown. TVCC has been an incredible addition to this community and we believe increased services – without an increase in property taxes -would benefit everyone.
The Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency is also trying to strenghten their already positive relationship with the educational community by inviting a board member from each area school district to sit as a permanent voting member on the CEURA Board.

I believe education is the best investment you can make into a community and I am working with City Council, appointed officials and community leaders to do everything we can to ensure that all of our citizens have an opportunity to succeed both in the classroom and out of it. If I can ever be of assistance to you and your family, or if you have suggestions and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I thank you for your support our great city and will make myself available if you have questions, concerns or suggestions on how we can do a better job here at City Hall. I can be reached at 455-3011."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Jail With No Inmates and Bond Default

Two Rivers Detention Facility in Hardin, Montana is another brand new jail sitting empty with no money to operate the place and a city in default on $27 million in bonds. Hardin, Montana passed a bond measure to build this $27 million state of the art facility thinking they would be able to house state inmates and create 100 new jobs locally to operate the facility. It didn't happen as a new governor took office and refused to use the place. Citizen of Hardin have defaulted on the bonds and the place sits empty since 2005.

The latest plan is to try and get the Fed's to house Guantanamo Bay inmates in the facility. The congressional delegation from Montana is fighting this plan to the death. They don't want Arab terrorists on Montana soil. Meanwhile the locals in Hardin are trying to figure out what to do with the empty jail and are pitching the Two Rivers facility as beyond "shovel ready" to "turn key ready" to the Obama Administration.

Costs of housing inmates far exceeds the cost of the structure. These people found out too late. We are more than likely be asked to approve a bond measure for a new jail this August. Study this carefully and understand what happened at Two Rivers in Hardin, Montana and Wapato in Portland, Oregon. Brand new facilities and no money for operations.

10th And Linden Traffic Signal Welcomed

It has taken months and months of hard work and modifications to irrigation lines, utilities and encroachement onto residents front yards but the sigalization of 10th and Linden is now fully functional.

Traffic at this intersection has been intolerable for years at certain times of day. This new signal appears to have alleivated the half mile back-ups on 10th. It is one of those electronic wonders that will sense traffic and change timing accoriding to the cars near the intersection.

Now all we need are some left turn collectors for the strip mall entry to the Willow Falls complex.

Next intersection to get new signals is 10th and Logan. It will be welcome relief to people who get stuck at this corner during peak traffic hours.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Caldwell Urban Renewal Goes For Land Speculation Deal

The below quote is taken from the September 6, 2005 Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency minutes. It would appear the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency went into the land speculation business with our tax money. The intent appears to be in a position to sell the property to the FAA at some future date when the Caldwell Airport expands.


"Chairman Waite informed the board that the Huston property at the airport, which is located in the ‘squash zone’ and consists of 13-15 acres @ $50,240/acre, is on the list to be purchased by the FAA in several years. URA has the opportunity to purchase the land now for re-sale to the FAA in the next several years. Potentially the FAA will reimburse owner at market value, however it is not known whether URA will qualify for the full market value reimbursement. Motion to authorize Chairman Waite to put together a package for URA approval: Beebe/Fouts M/S/P"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Guardian Opinion Of Urban Renewal Boards

The number one problem is urban renewal boards can spend our property tax money without our input or votes. That's the bottom line. It's taxation without representation.

Urban renewal (property tax increment financing) raises every one's property taxes and benefits only a few at the expense of the many in counties where they exit.

Our Idaho Constitution provides adequate means to finance long term debt via a vote of the people. Urban renewal laws circumvent our rights as voters to approve or deny long term debts, liabilities or obligations. (School Districts comply with this requirement every time the go to the voters with a bond or levy override election.)

All across the country, the new mantra of our elected elite is they know what's best for us and they operate best when we keep our meddlesome noses out of the government's business.

It is also about a lack of transparency and a built in disrespect for the public process. It's about creating a group of political insiders who ignore those who put them in office. They know best what is good for the rest of us. Urban renewal boards sit back and think of all the "good" they're creating by going around voters at every opportunity.

The reality of urban renewal is they're simply spending other people's money, which takes no talent or skill to accomplish. Their sole purpose is to spend dollars skimmed right off the top of all property taxes collected in the district.

Good things have happened via urban renewal but it all could have been done with a bond election and community consensus building. Over $6 million of property taxes in Caldwell go directly to Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency each year.

1. UR Districts are not project specific
2. UR agencies last an excessive amount of time up to 24 yrs.
3. Board members are appointed by the Mayor with no term limits
4. Conflicts of interest
5. Taxpayer money is routinely given to privately owned assets and projects

1. Require all projects and plans to be specific with clear measurable goals
2. Limit district life to no more than 10 years.
3. Term limits for board members to no more than 4 years and rotate chairman every two years.
4. 80% of board members be required to reside within the UR district

Friday, May 1, 2009

State DMV Fails At Computer Upgrade $2 Million Flushed On Project

State DMV Fails At Computer Upgrade
Friday, May 1st by David R. Frazier

The BOISE GUARDIAN has it on good authority the Idaho Transportation Department has spent about $2 million in a failed attempt to modernize its computer system.

A bill passed by the Idaho Senate Friday will allow for “user fees” to fund an upgrade to the motor vehicle licensing system. The GUARDIAN was told “holes in the system” were part of the reason more than $300,000 was allegedly embezzled at the Canyon County assessor’s office. IDT contracts with local county assessors to sell license plates.

At issue was a decision to pour at least $2 million into an “over the counter” info technology system. After many months of trying to make it work with an outfit called SABER as well as IBM, the plug was pulled by the ITD this week. They are back to square one and will use the additional fees to try again.

The BOISE GUARDIAN got this note from the IDT soon after the above was posted.
“I can’t say I understand the ethics or standards on posting information to blogs.
With journalists, they confirm information before it is published.

There is nothing correct about your post. It is filled with inaccuracies.

I request that you pull it.”