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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.

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