Tracking code caldwell guardian

Monday, July 20, 2009

Transparency and Accountability Missing With Urban Renewal

Taxpayers in Caldwell have no legal way of getting Transparency and Accountability with Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency. Caldwell Urban Renewal has spent tens of millions of dollars with no voter oversight in the process.

Money is handed out and projects taken on with no voter oversight and accountability. Meetings for the urban renewal board are held the first Tuesday of each month at noon in the Mayor's Conference Room. No agenda is publicized nor are the minutes available online or on the city website. Even members can't seem to make the meetings. The July meeting was cancelled due to a lack of a quorum.

Thousands of taxpayer dollars have been spent on "wellness programs" administered by the YMCA. Millions have been given to the YMCA. Hundreds of thousands given to developers to the point that Urban renewal money is considered "entitlement monies" by developers. Free water and sewer put in for developers at taxpayer expense with no intention of recouping the investment.

Who asked for a new city hall, a gazebo, TVCC downtown, and all the other switcho-chango directions we seem to be headed as a city. No plan and rudderless are the the major criticisms and folks are getting a little tired after twelve long years of promises from the Mayor.

We learn now the City has effectively caused a big box project to not happen in Caldwell. Too much red tape and they did not want to be the "RETAIL PIONEER" in Caldwell. The project will now locate in Nampa. No plan, no world view, no system approach to dealing with developers and no political will to stick with the parameters of the city comprehensive plan continue to be nagging issues for Caldwell.

Tens of Millions of dollars have been spent by this small board with no oversight or accountability to property taxpayers who get stuck paying the bills. The Mayor, City Finance Director, a city councilor, a county commissioner and two citizens sit on this board. How much blight removal and economic development have we seen for this massive investment? How much has gone for projects that will not generate s single dime of economic return to the community? Why haven't our elected and appointed city leaders followed the things listed in two very important studies that outline the way forward for our community.

Lastly, Mayor Nancolas the most of the current City Councilors have had twelve long years to get our city back on track. To be fair we do have a five block long addition to our city park systems with the day lighting of Indian Creek. However, we still have not developed a "PLAN" for revitalization of Caldwell despite the frameworks outlined in the RUDAT STUDY and the Leland report of 2006.

Urban Renewal money is handed out in so many different directions they have even lost sight of the original "workable plan" that was put together to support having a urban renewal in the first place.

Accountability and voter oversight have been missing from CEURA since day one of the Agency. Blight removal and economic developement have taken a backseat to boosterism and favoitism in spending urban renewal property tax dollars.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like some have found a way of getting good use out of tax $ for their own personal benefit.


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