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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?

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