Tracking code caldwell guardian

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where Does Urban Renewal Money Come From?

THE GUARDIAN continues to get comments on where does urban renewal money come from. The short answer is local property taxes. The Canyon County Assessor has an excellent piece on the county website if you want to read a good explanation of how it all works. It is worth your time to read this and ask questions of people spending this money you pay out but have no say in how it gets spent.

The short version is urban renewal districts are formed by the mayor and city council where they exist. These same people can then become the governing board. Urban renewal districts are formed with no vote of the people. Their source of revenue is property taxes in the district. They take areas that are likely to be developed into houses or commercial development and call them blighted areas. Once developed all the tax revenue from the increased assessed value goes into the UR pot. Not a penny goes to dilute property taxes all over the cities and counties where they exist.

In Caldwell, urban renewal takes in about $6 million a year right off the top to spend as they choose. This translates to a tax increase of about 22% to all Caldwell residents and you can add another 3.5% to your county tax bill as well. This is due to the increased incremental value of the "blighted property" that now has houses, businesses and other new tax generating activity and not a penny goes to dilute the city/county tax burden. This also means not a penny goes to any of the taxing agencies on your property tax bill. The Urban Renewal increment is given up by these entities for urban renewal projects and outright giveaways the UR boards deem appropriate.

Please take the time to visit the Canyon County Assessor website at and read this very good explanation of how urban renewal gets their money. It is not a handout from the state nor the federal government, it is your property tax dollars. No elected body has oversight of urban renewal agencies.

The following is from the County Assessor webiste..

"Urban Renewal
Urban renewal is an agency set up by a local governing body to create extra revenue. This revenue comes from property taxes.

The first step to understanding urban renewal is thoroughly understanding how property taxes are calculated in Idaho. Before proceeding on this page please read Determining Property Taxes Urban renewal is a complicated subject, if after reading this information you have any additional questions please feel free to ask at

History of Urban Renewal
Laws relating to urban renewal were originally created to make it easier to remedy problem areas of the community that are described in Idaho Code 50-2002. Today, urban renewal districts are typically set up in areas that are already forecasted to significantly increase in value. This is because the urban renewal district receives property taxes only on the Increment value. The more property value increases after the district is put in place, the greater the revenue that is generated by the urban renewal district. Areas that would be attractive to urban renewal districts would be farm ground that has been recently purchased for development."

1 comment:

  1. It's magic! It comes from the well of endless money!


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