Tracking code caldwell guardian

Monday, June 29, 2009

Highway District Water Truck Driver Saves Canyon Home

Monday, June 29th by Dave Frazier
The folks at Lincoln Road and Middleton Road were visibly grateful to a Canyon County Highway District Driver who saved their home from advancing flames Monday afternoon.

It appeared that a weed burning project got out of control, igniting a hedge of 20 feet tall arbor vitae running along the wall of the frame home. Residents with a single garden hose were no match for the inferno which consumed the tinder dry brush. When the GUARDIAN editor–out making photos for the day job–rolled up and summoned the Middleton Fire Department it looked dicey.

Several motorists stopped, but the intensity of the flames and the lack of any water beyond the single garden hose left them helpless. EXCEPT for Ed Kyle who just happened to be passing by at the wheel of his Highway District truck loaded with 2,800 gallons of water!

Kyle parked his truck in just the perfect spot, flicked a switch in the cab and sent a plume of water onto the blaze, reducing it to a cloud of white smoke by the time fire engines arrived. When congratulated on his actions Kyle matter-of-factly said, “I thought I would cool it off a bit for them.”

Then–like the Lone Ranger– he got in his truck and drove away, leaving the firefighters to do the mop up.

Ed Kyle gets a GUARDIAN HERO award

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Local Paper Raises City Election Issues

THE GUARDIAN read the Sunday edition of the IPT and agrees with the Our View Opinion piece and will repeat some of the issues for your review.

The word on the street in Caldwell is that there will be an active city election this year, with at least one candidate lining up for a mayoral race against longtime incumbent Garret Nancolas and others considering running for council positions.

Whether you're a fan or foe of Nancolas — or Tom Dale in Nampa an active, involved municipal election is a good thing. It helps communities examine alternatives and explore solutions, and gives voters both choices and a chance to serve an active role in determining the city's direction.

It's also critical incumbents like Nancolas not use their office resources to run a campaign for another term.

Critical issues in the election specific to Caldwell include:

1. Downtown revitalization

2. The Urban Renewal Agency

3. Treasure Valley Community College, where should it be located?

4. Does Caldwell need a new city hall?

You can read the entire article in the Sunday IPT.

THE GURADIAN would like to commend the IPT for their wisdom and willingness to be an active participant in this round of city elections. The incumbents will be called to explain and defend their records as well as their lack of defined plans as our highly paid public servants. Their opponents will get the opportunity to openly challenge the incumbents and bring new ideas to the fore.

Hats off to the IPT and their commitment to cover this election cycle. This will be an excellent opportunity for lots of public questions, public forums, and communications on the actions or lack of actions on the part of our incumbents seeking another term in office. And it will be an opportunity for challengers to bring new ideas and options up for public consideration.

Let's hope the voters will be paying attention this time around as well.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nampa Mayor Tom Dale Wants A $38 Million Library

Wise Voters Behind New Library, Police Digs
Saturday, June 27th
Thanks to the wisdom of Boise citizens dedicated to fiscal responsibility, a new library is set to open Tuesday at Ustick and Cole for under $5 million. It joins recently opened store front facilities at Hillcrest and Collister shopping centers.

Boise Councilors along with Team Dave wanted to spend $38 million for grandiose library projects, but citizens gave them a resounding “NO” for such wasteful spending about six years ago at a bond election.

Even though the library bond failed, the city now has a series of small libraries without long term debt. Why wasn’t this done in the beginning? If it was not the right plan, why did council approve an ill conceived proposal…which is what the mayor essentially called it AFTER it failed?

That election proves that when citizens put their foot down and demand common sense from elected officials, services can still be provided for a a reasonable amount…in the case of four branch libraries, the citizens were able to have what they need for less than HALF the amount politicos tried to spend. There is one more library branch to be built at Bown Crossing in east Boise.

On the down side, Boise politicos have taken away ANY voice of the voters when it comes to long term debt. They simply will not allow us to vote on long term debt as mandated by the Idaho Constitution. Such was the case with the newly opened “City Hall West” which houses both police and fire department headquarters and other departments at a location west of Maple Grove off Emerald. They “saved” the money by overtaxing us for about five years–which also amounts to long term debt without a vote.

GUARDIAN editor David R. Frazier asked City Councilors seven years ago to put a proposed $30 million (with interest) police headquarters to a vote of the people during the Coles administraton. When they refused, he battled them in court and won, saving citizens more than $15 million in tax money. Ultimately, the new facility cost only $14 million.

Don’t be fooled by the media hype. These worthy projects are the result of vigilant citizens, not the whims of politicos. The GUARDIAN is convinced that empowered citizens are the key to a unified community working for the common good

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Assessor Revises Valuations, Mayor On Full Time Damage Control

THE GUARDIAN learned today the Canyon County Assessor and his crew have had a change of heart on the initial commercial property assessments that reflected anywhere from 150% to 400% over what they were last year. Adjustments are now being made by Assessor staff to reflect current market values before they go to appeals before the County Commissioners. (You have to make a formal appeal to get the adjustment)

Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency land purchases created a nightmare for Caldwell business and commercial property owners via the excessive prices and just plain obscene relocation allowances they paid for property they bought. The political backlash has been severe for Team Garret and the Urban Renewal big spenders.

Mayor Nancolas has been burning up the phone lines trying to mend fences with all of the people caught in the irresponsible valuations created by his administration and urban renewal. Is there a Spin Doctor in the house who can help unwind this mess?

The current situation is now to the point there will be a candidate running against every incumbent from Mayor to all three City Councilors up for reelection this Fall.

Mayor Nancolas has a long list of negatives to overcome between now and the election. His rubber stamp city council members up for reelection have the same issues to overcome. Mayor Nancolas has had twelve long years in office to effect change and economic progress to Caldwell. We remain today a city without a plan.


Mayor Nancolas called a special meeting to get approval of "COOPERATING TECHNICAL PARTNERS PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT" from the Caldwell City Council on 6-19-2009. No media coverage of this meetins has been reported in any of the legacy media.

Why this draft proposal required a special meeting of the Caldwell Politicos is not clear to THE GUARDIAN. We obtained minutes from the meeting and the FEMA document and here is the analysis. FEMA is willing to review a data based appeal on flooding issues for downtown Caldwell but it will be a data driven effort and will require agreement of six governmental entities before FEMA will consider changing their initial assessments. The Entities are City of Caldwell, City of Nampa, Canyon County, Idaho Homeland Security, Idaho Dept. of Water Resources and FEMA Region X to be in agreement. (Sounds like an uphill struggle.)

The City of Nampa has already inserted some weasel wording in the agreement in that they "have the option" to work collaboratively with the other five agencies.

For now downtown Caldwell will remain on the revised FEMA flood map as a flood zone as outlined in a previous report on their data. Changes will be subject to a data driven decision and not a political decision.

Stay tuned for more..

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

See and Be Seen Bicycle Nerd Survives on Attention

Boise Bicycle Nerd Survives On Attention
Tuesday, June 23rd by David R. Fraier
To say Bob Tencate likes attention is an understatement. When he hits the street it is impossible to NOT notice him and that’s the way he wants it. He really stands out in a crowd.

Tencate is among a growing community of “transportation cyclists” in Boise who have forsaken automobiles in favor of bikes to get to and from work. For these avid two wheel pilots, it isn’t just a fair weather sport–they hit the streets in most any weather day or night. That’s where the attention thing comes into play for Tencate.

He ALWAYS wears a helmet and dons a brilliant orange vest trimmed in fluorescent electric lime tape as he pedals a bike with more flashing lights than a police cruiser. The only thing he lacks to clear traffic is a siren. From the front he has a brilliant LED headlight that will strobe or shine steady. From the back he sports the slow moving vehicle triangle found on farm tractors along with a set of tail lights that can be seen a mile away. “See and be seen” is a GUARDIAN safety slogan that could save a life.

With the recent rash of tragic and deadly bike accidents in Boise, the GUARDIAN has decided to provide a forum for both motorists and cyclists in an effort to bring some attention to the problems as well as offer some potential solutions. Monday a 93-year-old man apparently traveling the wrong way in traffic collided with a car at Roosevelt and Franklin on the Boise Bench. Elsewhere a 16-year-old sans helmet tumbled off a two wheeler and cracked his noggin. No vehicle was involved in that incident.

We have contacted some of the major players to get them onboard the safety bandwagon. Ada County Highway District is distributing a 48 page safety brochure and bike law digest compiled by the Idaho Transportation Department. It will be available in bike shops and fire stations this week for free.

The AAA Auto Association will probably be advocating safety vests, helmets, and lights similar to those used by Tencate. Boise coppers will no doubt be making more contact with errant cyclists–they already patrol and enforce traffic laws violated by automobile drivers.

Meanwhile, Team Dave will do the usual task force/committee to look at what can be done to preserve Boise’s status as a “Bicycle Friendly” community.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Caldwell Mayor Uses City Resources to Campaign

It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN Mayor Nancolas is using his office space, city phones and time to work on his campaign efforts.

Mayor Nancolas has been dialing up any all people he can contact and asking their support for reelection. Mayor Nancolas has run unopossed in his last two election efforts. This time around may be different given the mood of business and commercial property owners. Their assessed valuations due to Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency purchases of commercial property have created a fire storm of criticism and anger. Folks with commercial property have been hit with 150-400% increases in their assessed values.

Rumors around town are flying and the word on the street is that the three city councilors up for election may be in trouble this time around. There are at least three known people willing to step up and run for city council.

Employees at city hall have been telling people nobody can beat Mr. Nancolas. Running against an incumbent is always an uphill battle. But this time around there are plenty of issues from downtown in a death spiral to mismanagement of urban renewal spending on favoritism and boosterism projects. You can throw in urban sprawl and no plan for development of our city while you are at it.

Over promising and under delivering by the Mayor Nancolas and City Councilors will certainly be a factor in this election. People have heard all the "good news" from Mayor Nancolas they can tolerate.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mayor Nancolas to Hand Deliver Resolution?

Mayors of Caldwell and Nampa have dug themselves a huge hole with urban renewal purchases of their respective downtown properties.

They took immanent domain off the table as a bargaining chip when buying the property and let the owners literally name their price. Now all hell has broken loose given the County Assessor is required by law to use urban renewal purchase data to calculate new assessed valuations.

The facts are urban renewal purchases could not be ignored came out at the meeting in Caldwell last week. County Assessor, Gene Kuehn went through how assessments are determined and was quite clear on how urban renewal purchases influenced commercial valuations.

Our local paper and other legacy media outlets have made no mention of the negative influence created by urban renewal and irresponsible purchases on assessments. Mayors Nancolas and Dale made their smoke and mirror efforts with resolutions and pitched the problem to the Commishes. The Commishes dumped it right back into the commercial property owners laps to appeal the assessments. Property owners have to come up with comps showing the values are not correct and all they have, for the most part, are urban renewal purchases to deal with on their appeals.

Urban Renewal agencies are created by the Mayor and City Councils. They are raking in huge amounts of property tax monies and spending it with little regard for the consequences they are creating. Inflated property values is one, favoritism is one, and boosterism is another. Blight removal and economic development could not be further from their collective thought processes.

Mayors Nancolas and Dale want higher property valuations so they can spend more money with no voter oversight. Now they want to unwind the commercial tax assessment damage they have created and distribute the damage on commercial property to ALL PROPERTY OWNERS. Is Pontius Pilot in the room, they have washed their hands of creating this mess.

If the assessments are reduced on commercial property it will create a tax shift to residential property owners. Our elected Politcos have done nothing to reduce the levy rates where they have control of property taxes we all pay. It is time for them to walk the talk.

Urban Renewal is an evil empire within city governments with no taxpayer oversight. Urban Renewal collects more than one third of all property taxes collected in Caldwell. Homes and businesses in the urban renewal districts pay no taxes for police, fire, schools, ambulance, highways and streets and the list goes on and on. Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency land mass is over 30% of the taxable land and property in the city limits of Caldwell.

Property taxpayers continue to be abused by Urban Renewal Law and Agencies in Caldwell and Nampa. The consent of the governed has been removed and a dictatorship has been allowed free reign for too long

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Questionable Value of Economic Development People

Tuesday, June 9th by David R. Frazier

We love Boise. You have to love it to stay here for 41 years with the kind of politicos and CEOs we have.

We have witnessed the rise and fall of MK, Boise Cascade, Ore-Ida, Albertson, and now H-P and Micron. These once great companies were a source of pride before the big guys took the money and ran…the current economic crises had little to do with the decline of these outfits. THEY and others like them created the current state of affairs.

Politicos generally seem to agree the road to economic recovery is to attract more like them to the City of Trees. There are all sorts of “economic development” agencies in Idaho. We don’t need ‘em. All they do is attract the weak and greedy.

Comes now U.S. News & World Report with the annual made up list of GREAT CITIES. They give our City of trees a #4 ranking in their LIST. Paul Hiller, the executive director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership. “It’s one of the most vibrant downtown areas you’ve ever seen.”

He gets paid to say nice things like that as the hired gun who plants stories in the national media. Ada County Commishes saw the light and decided they could make better use of the $70,000 annual payment in tax money to Hiller and the Chamber and cut them off the dole.

Hiller needed to mention Micron dumped a bunch of loyal workers on the state unemployment fund, Boise unemployment is ahead of the national average, our air quality borders on non-compliance, there is no money for roads, and politicos work tirelessly to deny citizens the right to vote on long term debt.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More on Commercial Property Tax Valuations

THE GUARDIAN has had more than a few discussions about how and why the City/Urban Renewal paid so much for the property they bought and how the purchases have impacted assessed values for all Caldwell Commercial property.

It all boils down to the fact there is no incentive to haggle on prices with people when you are a government entity buying real property. Why you ask? Simple, the job of government is to spend their budgets and get property values as high as they can as quick as they can. Property values go up and property tax go up too.

Caldwell East Urban Renewal really does not care how much they pay for property. They know how the Assessor has to value property and will use their purchases in computing "market values" for all property. They will get their money back and more when the Assessor uses Urban Renewal purchases to compute the new and improved values for everyone else. Property values go up in the Urban Renewal District, everyone gets to pay more property taxes and the cash rains down on the UR district.

This all works well when times are booming and people are making money. However, the economy is in the tank and businesses are folding right and left. Now they get hit with their new assessed values and people are rightfully screaming foul.

Team Garret and the Urban Renewal crew paid way too much for the property they bought and they know it. The Mayor took eminent domain off the table even to the lament of the Oppenheimer Development people. The people selling property could hold out for virtually any price they wanted. Once the City started paying stupid prices for property the "appraisers" used the city purchases for comps to give their learned determinations on what values are.

This is yet another example of greed and a management/leadership vacuum in Caldwell causing commercial property taxpayers all manner of grief. People who have property downtown probably wish they were paying more taxes but for the right reasons not this one.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mayor Nancolas And Assessor Meet With Irate Taxpayers

Mayor Nancolas and Canyon County Assessor Gene Kuehn met with irate taxpayers last night at the Library meeting room. About 50 property owners showed up angry over their latest assessed valuations handed down from the County Assessor.

First question asked was about the City/Urban Renewal bidding up the values of downtown property when they purchased the property for virtually any number required by the owners for the Indian Creek project. Mayor Nancolas acknowledged that the city had indeed paid a very high price for all the property acquired by the Urban Renewal agency.

Mayor Nancolas also stated they had not bought any property since 2006 and that was the high point in the market. That statement was not accurate because there were at least three properties bought just last year by Urban Renewal. Those properties are Cindy's Quilt shop, the old GM car dealership both on Blaine between 6th and 7th Avenues. Next sold to Urban Renewal was the Dave Smith Sherwood Florist property( due to flooding in the basement caused by a higher level of water in Indian Creek). All of these properties went for way more than they would have ever fetched on the open market.

Mayor Nancolas took eminent domain off the table for Indian Creek property acquisition and the owners simply sat back and said "NO" to all offers presented by Urban Renewal. They finally got sold with an added relocation bonus of over $100,000 on top of the actual purchase prices offered to the owners. The selling prices of the properties with the "relocation bonus" raised the cost of the property to near $50/square foot by the time Urban Renewal and Mayor closed the deals.

Gene Kuehn, the Assessor acknowledged the prices paid by Urban Renewal influenced the market valuation process he is required by law to use when setting "market values" on downtown property. The City Management vacuum on the part of Mayor Nancolas and the Urban Renewal Agency have now created a financial mess for business owners downtown.

Downtown property and business owners did nothing to improve the value of their property but the Mayor and the Urban Renewal Team may have pushed some of these folks out of business with the unbridled enthusiasm for the five block park we call Indian Creek.

Downtown property assessments have gone up from 150% to over 400% on downtown properties this year on top of what they increased last year. Add to that the tax shift headed their way because of the increased homeowners exemption and steep decline in residential property values and we have the perfect tax storm headed right at all these hardworking downtown property owners.

The next blast from downtown property owners will be heard when the new and improved higher levy rates hit these folks. Mayor Nancolas and Team Urban Renewal will surely have created more empty buildings in downtown Caldwell.

One upset property owner said he wished he was having to pay more property taxes for all the right reasons and not a tax for nothing happening in downtown.

It is election time in Caldwell this Fall for the Mayor and three City Councilors. Are people upset enough to step up and run for office against the current regime?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mayor Nancolas Will Explain Market Value To Downtown Property Taxpayers

Mayor Nancolas and Team Garret along with Caldwell East Urban Renewal have upset the market forces for propety values in downtown Caldwell. The Following has been taken directly off the County Assessors website.

Mayor Nancolas has call for a meeting to explain why folks are now stuck with extremely high property taxes in downtown Caldwell. Meeting will be held at the Library public meeting room from 5:00-6:00 PM Monday evening.

The short answer is none of the property was ever worth what the City and Urban Renewal paid for it. Now all of the people who didn't get the opportunity to cash out are stuck with some screwball values.

MARKET VALUE: The ad valorem tax is based on the market value of property. ID Code 63-201(14)defines market value as "...that amount of United States dollars or equivalent for which, in all probability, a property would exchange hands between a willing seller, under no compulsion to sell, and an informed, capable buyer, with a reasonable time allowed to consummate the sale, substantiated by a reasonable down or full cash payment." Idaho law requires that all taxable property be valued at market value each year. This is accomplished by physical appraisal, reappraisal or by indexing. An index is an adjustment or trend that is applied to existing assessed value to reflect current market value and is based on statistical analysis of recent sales.

YOUR ASSESSED VALUATION & PROPERTY TAXES: The amount of property taxes to be collected is not determined by the Assessor nor any single government official, but by all local government agencies providing services, such as your city, school, highway or rural fire district. Your assessed valuation does, in part, determine your share of the property taxes collected; therefore, it is important to you and our office that your valuation be fair, accurate and equitable.

It will be interesting to see how the terms "fair, accurate and equitable" are explained come Monday evening.

Caldwell East Urban Renewal has created a monster with the way they purchased property in downtown and the new enhanced values the County Assessor has to work with.

Monday, June 1, 2009

May 6th Urban Renewal Minutes Proposal

Mayor Nancolas and the Urban Renewal Team have the following request to consider form the Oppenheimer Group for downtown Caldwell. It appears the city with no plan remains the city with no plan. The following is a quote from the May 6, 2009 Urban Renewal minutes

"Doug Oppenheimer presented a request for partnership in the development of a three-story, 32,00 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 cost 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 financial options to FEMA."

It appears after years of pouring Urban Renewal Taxes into various non-tax producing projects and local property values in steep decline, Team Garret may be making a move toward blight removal. It is also apparent the City Hall "catalyst" project may be on life support and headed for the morgue of bad ideas.

It is folly on the part of the city to think the Veterans Administration is focused on downtown Caldwell as their sole site. There are at least two other areas of town where developers are courting the VA know to THE GUARDIAN.

As a final note, it also appears the Mayor and Team Garret have gone back and actually read the R/Udat and Leland Report studies as they head into the sunset of the current urban renewal life span.

Not to fear. The Mayor and City Council can quickly snap off another area of Caldwell as "blighted" and start yet another Urban Renewal Agency along with the bucket-o-cash they siphon off the property tax base and continue to pour our tax dollars into pet projects of limited economic value to Caldwell.