Tracking code caldwell guardian

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prescription for More Traffic Congestion On Your Way to Freeway

It has been reported to The Guardian the latest in brainstorming to get people to go downtown may involve the corner of 10th and Blaine in Caldwell. The word on the street is the city is in talks with the owner of the property D. L. Evans Bank to lease the corner for the Caldwell Farmer's Market.

The current site at 12th and Everett seems to work just fine and doesn't cause any traffic problems for people trying to get around town. The city failed to get an agreement to maintain the D L Evans corner and it sits there and eyesore for all to see as they travel through Caldwell. We don't know the plans in any detail but with the departure of the South West District Health Department offices from downtown, Kings closed up and other vacancies downtown Caldwell doesn't look like a "gong concern" save the new digs for TVCC.

We like the farmer's market as it gives people of Caldwell an opportunity to chat with friends and others they don't often see or hear from but the move to 10th and Blaine is troubling.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nampa Override School Levy Vote Today

Today is the date for the Nampa School District override levy vote.

Friday, April 23, 2010

School Supplemental Levy Election Dates

We advocate for citizens to exercise their rights to vote on debt and here is an excellent opportunity for your voice to be heard. Schools are facing some budgeting decisions and your vote will dictate what happens.

Here are election dates by school district:

Nampa School District will be next Tuesday April 27, 2010. No change to current taxes.

Vallivue School District Tuesday May 4th. No change to current taxes.

Caldwell School District will be Tuesday May 18th. Caldwell election will cost property taxpayers an additional $137.00 per $100K of taxable value.

Tuesday 4-27-10 We received the following from the Caldwell School District Info Office:

"The CSD Board of Trustees is asking voters to a approve a $2.75 million supplemental levy and a $350,000 plant facilities levy. Both of these will replace a levy that expires this year.

The supplemental levy funds elementary and middle school orchestra and music, elementary counselors and secondary athletics and activities. This levy will sustain — not enhance — programs that are already being offered to students in the Caldwell School District.

The plant facilities levy funds technology hardware and building repairs, such as roof repairs, carpet and paint."

Middleton School District Tuesday May 18th. No change to current taxes.

We are not sure why the dates for these elections were not consolidated into a single date but it is, what it is. We encourage you to get out and vote. It was pointed out by a reader this is a levy override election and all it takes to pass is a simple majority of 50% plus one vote of those who actually take the time to cast a vote.

Urban Renewal in Nampa does remit taxes generated in the urban renwewal district in Nampa to Nampa schools.

Urban Renewal in Caldwell does not remit any taxes back to Caldwell School District. Any monies remitted to Caldwell School District from the CEURA is incidental and at the pleasure of the CEURA board.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Modern Day Squaters Next Wave Of Foreclosures

We have been following the demise of the real estate market with great interest. The newest thing in the industry is people who bought at high prices wanting a "do-over" on the principle of their mortgages.

If they don't get the "do-over" they simply quit making the mortgage payments and wait for the bank to seize the property. In some markets the property has decreased in value by as much as 75% and like the big bankers they are walking away from their obligations to repay the mortgage.

In some cases where this is widespread people have lived in their underwater property for several years before the banks make a move on the property. These people are not calling it a lack of ethics but rather a "business decision". They can afford the mortgage payment but they see they clearly are never going to make it back to dead even on their mortgages. They stand ready and willing to take the hit on their credit scores as they can now buy the exact same property across the street for $0.25 on the dollar and be debt free.

There are two more waves of foreclosures that will roll over the market in the next two years and will amount to an additional 8-10 million more homes out there. It will be interesting to see if these vacant homes remain vacant or if they will be bought up by speculators who think they can make a buck as this mess works its way through the banks and investors who bought up these securities.

People who walk on their mortgages are putting the screws to anyone holding mortgage backed securities in their 401K or Bond portfolios. They think they are hurting the banks but the truth is they will be leaving retirement funds holding the bag and taking the losses. You buy a car and it loses value the day you take ownership. Somehow the people walking on their mortgages think they should be redeemed for a bad investment.

Greed is alive and well with both the banks who walked on big dollar projects and homeowners who see themselves as making a "business decision" just like the big banks are doing and getting away with. Real estate right now is like owning and trying to sell over- ripe bananas. The price has only one direction to go and it isn't up.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

TVCC Costs $15.1 Million to Caldwell Taxpayers

THE GUARDIAN has extracted a telling document from the Master Framework Subcommittee Report on the costs of TVCC to Caldwell taxpayers. Unlike College of Wester Idaho, approved by taxpayers of this valley TVCC has found a rich uncle in Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency, Mayor Nancolas and Agency Chairman Eljay Waite.

Exhibit E was a part of the subcommittee report on downtown Caldwell. The document was prepared by City Finance Director Eljay Waite for "discussion purposes only on 8-24-2009. Below is a summaryof TVCC costs for Caldwell taxpayers through 2014:





PARKING (OWN/LEASE) 600,000.00


GRAND TOTAL $15,091,571.00

*Furniture loan costs are not on exhibit E but disclosed in April 2010 CEURA minutes and will be financed by a separate loan from Idaho Community Bank current interest rates the loan.

We are appalled at the totals for this project. Add to this TVCC returns 20% of their enrollment fees back to Oregon. This project has had no taxpayer nor voter oversight. Fifteen million dollars is not an insignificant amount of property tax money and it is getting spent without your approval. This money comes directly from property taxes and got spent by the current Caldwell Mayor and his Finance Director Mr. Waite.

TVCC is a redundant college for this valley. Taxpayers and voters got the opportunity to vote for College of Western Idaho. We think a community college is a value added opportunity for residents of the area. TVCC is an Oregon based community college that is now getting fully funded in Caldwell by property taxpayers of Caldwell who had no voice in this decision.

Where is the accountability to taxpayers for this huge expense for a city the size of Caldwell? Urban Renewal is out of control and the people on the board can't be held accountable by legislative laws of Idaho; they will not allow citizens the right to vote on huge sums of their taxes spent on an out of state entity who also remits 20% of student fees back to Ontario, Oregon.

More troubling is if TVCC gets their budget cut again next year by the State of Oregon will they abandon the Caldwell project? TVCC budget cuts caused CEURA to take out the loan for a million bucks to buy the furniture for the building for TVCC. TVCC can walk away from this project at any time without any financial responsibility. They can't agree to a long term lease by Oregon Law. Each year will be a lease renewal and option to walk away by TVCC.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Caldwell Taxpayers On The Hook For Additional Million To Finish TVCC Project

THE GUARDIAN fired off an email inquiry to City Finance Director and CEURA Chairman, Eljay Waite yesterday for clarification on why Caldwell urban renewal agency is now looking to borrow another million dollars for "tenant improvements" to the TVCC project in downtown Caldwell. No answer has yet been received. It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN TVCC got their Oregon budget cut and can't come up with the $1 million necessary to furnish the building. Now Caldwell taxpayers are going to foot the bill.

TVCC originally was going to occupy the building rent free for the first two year and put up the million bucks now they are offering to pay the interest on the "loan". Mayor Nancolas and Mr. Waite have now put Caldwell taxpayers on the hook for the extra million.

The following is a quote taken from the UR minutes from the April 6th meeting of the Urban Renewal agency:

"Chairman Waite introduced a financing proposal from ICB for the tenant improvements andequipment for the education building. The proposal is for $1,000,000 @ 3.6225% for 5 years."

CEURA will repay Oppenheimer Development Group $9.5 million for this building and now they need another million to finish the job! We can only guess a serious component of the building was not figured into the cost of the project. Could it be TVCC now wants Caldwell Urban Renewal to pay for all the furniture like desks, chairs and lab furnishings on top of the already heavily subsidized rent and other accommodations ?

Oregon based TVCC is leasing the project for $350K/year. This works out to a lease of $8.74/square foot per year. All of this is subsidized by Caldwell property taxpayers without any voter input or oversight. Urban Renewal in Caldwell is running like a big slush fund with taxpayers footing the bills.

Monday, April 12, 2010

General Obligation v Revenue Bonds

Britannica concise answers offers the following definitions for Revenue Bonds and GO Bonds:

Revenue bonds are issued by a municipality, state, or public agency authorized to build, to acquire, or improve a revenue producing property such as a waterworks, electric generating plant, or railroad. Unlike general-obligation bonds, which are repaid through a variety of tax sources, revenue bonds are payable from specified revenues only, usually the revenues from the facility for which the bond was originally issued. Revenue bonds typically pay interest rates higher than those of general-obligation bonds. The separation of the revenue bond obligation from a municipality's other bond obligations allows the municipality to circumvent legislated debt limits.

General Obligation Bonds:

A general obligation bond is a common type of municipal bond in the United States that is secured by state or local government's pledge to use legally available resources, including tax revenues, to repay bond holders.

Most general-obligation pledges at the local government level include a pledge to levy a property tax to meet debt service requirements, in which case holders of general-obligation bonds have a right to compel the borrowing government to levy that tax to satisfy the local government's obligation. Because property owners are usually reluctant to risk losing their holding (homes or businesses) due to unpaid property tax bills, credit rating agencies often consider a general obligation pledge to have very strong credit quality and frequently assign them investment grade ratings. If local property owners do not pay their property taxes on time in any given year, a government entity is required to increase its property tax rate by as much as it legally allowable in a following year to make up for any delinquencies. In the interim between the taxpayer delinquency and the higher property tax rate in the following year, the general obligation pledge requires the local government to pay debt services coming due with its available resources.

The full faith and credit of taxpayers is pledged with G O Bonds. Revenue Bonds allow cities and counties to get around legislated debt limitations and cost everyone more money. Urban Renewal agencies operate with REVENUE BONDS when they go into debt.

With all 0f the above in mind, the city of Los Angeles is the latest California casualty of this recession. Los Angeles will run out of money on or about May 5th, 2010. It can happen here as well if we don't keep our financial house in order.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Nampa Urban Renewal Heads Down Yellow Brick Road

Mayor Tom Dale and his Urban Renewal Board puppets are about to pull the trigger on $68 Million in public works projects in downtown Nampa. The first project will be $18 million for a new police station then a new library and new city hall. New digs for the Nampa coppers will get started in a couple of weeks after a lengthy court battle over the lack of voter oversight on this project.

All of this will happen without a single taxpayer vote and will cost every taxpayer in Canyon County more in property taxes over then next couple of decades or so. Urban Renewal (aka Nampa Development Corporation) will issue revenue bonds without the voter oversight. Most people do not realize urban renewal funds come from property taxes. Urban renewal agencies impact every property taxpayer in Canyon County.

City elected officials love urban renewal as it cuts voters out of any capital project decision making. Tax anticipation debt can be issued in the form of revenue bonds without any voter oversight or approvals. County Commissioners and other taxing agencies hate UR as it forces them to increase their levy rates to all taxpayers.

Nampa Urban Renewal takes in all of the Nampa Marketplace retail and the downtown of the fair city of Nampa. All of the property and the incremental increases in taxes from the date the agency was formed go directly to NDC to spend as they see fit. All other county and city taxpayers get to subsidize urban renewal as well.

How does this happen? All of the new construction property taxes in all of the various Urban Renewal Agencies goes to the agencies and none of it goes to dilute your property taxes. I live in Caldwell and not in the UR zone, however, my property taxes are about 30% higher overall due to UR agencies in Canyon County. None of the property taxes generated in the district go to dilute my city or county property taxes. None of it goes for police, fire, streets, schools, highway districts, ambulance districts, mosquito abatement or any other agency unless the UR boards give them your money.

Most property owners do not realize how UR agencies impact every farm, home, commercial and business property taxpayer in the county. UR is used in Idaho to get around voter oversight of capital projects and it is all perfectly legal under Idaho law.

One would think the people of Nampa would be very sensitive to the abuses of Urban Renewal given the waste, fraud and abuse that went on with the Idaho Center project. Team Tom is now moving forward with this new and improved effort to fleece Nampa and Canyon County property taxpayers. Caldwell also has its share of taxpayer abuse with the duplication of a community college building costing $9.5 million to be paid for by all county taxpayers for TVCC in downtown Caldwell.

There are sixty-two urban renewal agencies in Idaho and they fleece about $52 million a year from property taxpayers. There is no voter oversight of how all this money gets spent because they perpetuate the myth that UR costs property taxpayers nothing. This is the "BIG LIE" urban renewal agencies get away with. The truth can be had by visiting the Canyon County Assessor's website and click on the left side menu about Urban Renewal.

Urban Renewal agencies are the fox in the hen house of all property taxpayers. Take a good look at your property notices when they come out this year right after the primary elections and ask yourself why you are paying 25- 30% higher property taxes. The short answer is Urban Renewal agencies in Canyon County.