Tracking code caldwell guardian

Monday, March 15, 2010

2010 Legislature About to Make UR Boards City Hall Toads

THE GUARDIAN made yet another trek to the Boise Capitol Dome to hear the latest and greatest from the Revenue and Taxation Sub-committee on Urban Renewal Law changes for the 2010 session.

It's more of the same but worse! If the bill gets passed it will make the UR boards the "Toads" of the Mayor and City Councils. Here's how it will work. The Mayor appoints the boards of at least three members but not more than nine members. The Mayor can fire any board member at will every six months. Making the boards "at will" members of UR agencies is a horrible idea.

The Revenue and Taxation people have done nothing to create voter approvals of debt oversight of UR boards.

A great example of why we need voter oversight is the Boise Airport parking garage project that got a court challenge by David R. Frazier v. city of Boise. The city wanted to go into debt on a lease purchase scheme to build a $27 million parking garage at the airport. Mr. Frazier took the city of Boise on in court and got the project stopped. The courts said the project was not "ordinary and necessary" and in fact, was of such proportions voters needed to approve the project. This was in 2006. Here we are in 2010 and a study now says we don't need that parking garage after all. The overflow parking lot has been closed for months and months and cost the city of Boise $2 million to build. The Frazier Decison of 2006 has had banker and bond issuers in a tail spin. The new and improved UR law will give our bankers and bond people a virtual green light to put all of us in debt for millions without benefit of a bond election.

Here's the fix for UR. Have the boards be elected and run the cash basis projects of taking care of blight removal and some economic development. Have them function as a Capitol Budget Committee for the community and when they have a project that requires debt via revenue bonds then they go to the voters. Debts created by Urban Renewal agencies are repaid with your property taxes in. They are not a "gift, grant, or handout from from the Feds or earmark from your favorite US Senator or Congressman. Yep, good old property taxes secure the loans created buy a hand full of UR board members with no voter oversight. The legislature is loath to allow you to vote on debt you will have to repay. Your wisdom and granting of this debt will not be allowed.

The legalization of having UR boards under the thumb of the Mayor is a looming prescription for corruption and malfeasance. The sad part is it will all be perfectly legal if this set of changes to UR laws get passed by the 2010 Idaho Legislature.

Most people do not understand how UR agencies work and again we will advise you to go to the Canyon County Assessor's web page and click on the link down the left side that says URBAN RENEWAL. This is the best short explanation of how UR works and my short version is...IT IS A PROPERTY TAX SHIFT and if it went away tomorrow (won't happen) your Caldwell property taxes would go down by about 30%. All Canyon County property taxpayers get to pay for Caldwell, Nampa and Middleton UR agency projects even if you don't live in the districts. The Assessor lays it all out for you.


  1. Not pleased. Lots of holes. :(

    UR is a monster that will consume Idaho, festering with corruption all
    the way down.

  2. City of Caldwell is fast becoming a jobless town, unless you work for the city. The City of Caldwell seems to be starting another round of city "beatification" projects, paid for by the over taxed property owners. The Mayor, city counsel. and their citicrats seem to have no pity on the tax payers, and small business. One new business wanted to put up a sign to direct customers to their location, but the citicrats wanted $600.00 for a sign permit. This type of "mother my I?" control by the citicrats will kill any kind of small business growth.
    Crothers Steel will be actioned off this week. The job opportunities really are pitiful. Caldwell's demise continues.

  3. The Mayor, city counselors and the citicrats just don't get it. The way to get private investment, in a distressed place like Caldwell, is to get out of the way, and get off the backs of the property tax payers. Nobody with any brains or a sense of fair play, would start any type of business in Caldwell the way it is run today with it's cronyism, "mother may I?" attitude, and wasteful city spending.
    The voters get what they vote for, for now, they a getting a bunch of zeros!

  4. It just isn't the elected officials, others are getting big salaries and nice benefits because of the Urban Renewal tax diverted money. Paul, who else is getting paid to show off the pot holes in Caldwell?


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