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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The "MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL" = Property Taxation Sleight of Hand

Mayor Nancolas in this year's 2011 State of the City address spoke about the "MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL".  We requested a copy of the Mayor's speech and were amazed at the superlatives selected by Mayor Nancolas to inform us about all the MAGIC inherent in urban renewal.

The reality of urban renewal is what Mayor Nancolas failed to tell us in his address.  Urban renewal in Caldwell costs every Canyon County property taxpayer an additional $88.41 per $100k of assessed value; each Caldwell property taxpayer an additional $298.55 per $100k of taxable value.  There is NO MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL.  It is a massive property tax shift most people do not understand.

Mayor Nancolas showcased a number of projects he stated that would not have happened except for the MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL: the YMCA, $23.6MM in sewer upgrades, some minor support to Caldwell and Vallivue School Districts (they gave up millions in tax revenue to urban renewal), a skate board and BMX park (most kids can't get to due to the location), the Job Service building in Sky Ranch (should have gone downtown), a $6-9MM building and grounds for out of state TVCC (the city purchased with rainy day funds for water, sewer, cemetery funds on deposit with the State Treasurer).
(You can read about all of the magical projects when the Mayor's speech is posted online, urban renewal discussions start on page 7.)

The point we would like to make is all of the property taxes diverted from nearly 50% of the land mass of the city of Caldwell go directly to Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency.  It has amounted to over $6MM a year getting spent on all manner of things with no voter oversight.  Your property taxes are 30% higher due to the MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL. Taxes in Caldwell went up nearly 3% this year and in Nampa they went up 5% due to the MAGIC.

Urban Renewal districts put other taxing districts and agencies on a 24 year fixed income and they have no other choice to deal with the increased growth in demand for essential city and county services and have to increase their budget driven levy rates.  THE MAGIC IS higher property taxes to offset what urban renewal agencies legally steal from property owners and taxing districts that supply essential city and county services.

The proper funding mechanism for all the wonderful stuff Mayor Nancolas talks about in his support of the massive tax shift of urban renewal is BOND ELECTIONS and consensus building for community support of the projects.  People get the opportunity to either approve or not approve projects with the full faith and credit of taxpayers.  Urban Renewal strips people of their right of taxation with representation.

Mayor Nancolas did not address a single instance of the outright giveaways of urban renewal funds for YMCA memberships for himself, his family, UR board members, the $150k in YMCA memberships for wellness program subsidies for private citizens, handouts to developers as "entitlement money".

The MAGIC OF URBAN RENEWAL is nothing more than 3-card Monte with property tax dollars shifted to a body politic with no voter oversight or citizen reviews of any kind.  Citizens who do take the time to complain are quickly marginalized and ignored by Mayor Nancolas and his Urban Renewal Board members.  We would offer the coffee shop in the TVCC building as an example of this behavior.  Citizens were heard and propmtly ignored when they took the time to attend a CEURA meeting regarding the coffee shop funding of a business in direct competetion with their businesses.

Final note: The IPT had an online poll this week asking if Caldwell is headed in the right direction.  Oddly, the results indicated 68% of poll respondents said NO and 32% said Yes the city is headed in the right direction.


  1. If there was a real news paper in this county the public would understand they are being fleeced of their money through urban renewal. The news is always waving extolling the mantra of people having the right to know.What the paper really is saying is the public has the right to know only what the paper decides to tell them. The ITP would rather create news than report it.The truth is the only reason people in Nampa and Caldwell are not outraged is simply that they don't know they are being screwed by their politicians on their property taxes. The politicians have sold the public on the idea that the urban renewal money is some how free money and doesn't cost them a thing.
    The press tribune is either to lazy or is not willing to expose the truth.

  2. Nancolas sees a vision of moral order in the Universe, AND THERE ISN'T ANY.
    Those stars twinkle in a void. The two legged creature will believe anything,

    Whales speak French at the bottom of the sea.
    The horses of Arabia have silver wings.
    Pygmies mate with elephants in darkest Africa.

    I have sold all those propositions.

    You stay with "Garrett Nancolas" and you will wear silk...What
    else can a man of Powers wear but SILK.

    (Comming from a distance) TAR AND FEATHERS I RECON

    Taken from an excert of the movie LITTLE BIG MAN, just before the town
    leaders catch up with Allerdyce T. Meriweather, explicitly tar and feather
    him and ride him out on a rail.

  3. Mr Crabb above failed to mention that he was also Tarred and Feathered in the above ephisode of civil discourse and rode the second rail. This bending of the truth just never stops.

  4. James Bond says..
    Couldn’t agree more with your views on this issue. Urban renewal is the realm of the greedy, corporate welfare queens. I despise it, and I will be watching the Legislature very carefully on this issue.

  5. bob says..
    In the old days the good old boys had to go to government for favors. Nancolas put a stop to that when he took his oath of office. Then he created his own group of good old boys at City Hall with millions of tax payer dollars called urban renewal which is managed by a hand picked committee appointed by the Mayor with no citizen oversight or input. Next,they promptly went behind closed doors and started spending as they pleased.

    What I can’t understand is where the City Council is while this is going on and why "we the people" aren’t screaming about this. It is just wrong and a perfect case of mismanagement and improper governmental actions with scarce tax dollars.

  6. Try the coffee at the coffee shop at TVCC. It's actually pretty good. Better than any swill served downtown Caldwell.

    They will lose business because their product isn't any good. Improve your product and people will come to you. Look at Dutch brothers for crying out loud. What a bunch of winey babies!

  7. Coffee? Christmas lights? For $15,000,000.00? What the?

  8. I'm glad you were able to sip some TAXPAYER-SUBSIDIZED Java. Add in taxes like every other business pays and it won't taste so good anymore.

  9. A reader supplied us with the costs of the coffee shop operation at TVCC:

    1. Retail Space Allocation $115,210
    2. Cost of equipment 35,309


    The above numbers were obtained via a freedom of Information Request filed with the Caldwell City Clerk's Office.

  10. If Caldwell hadn't spent $15,000,000.00 or whatever, paid for by the taxpayer, there would be no coffee shop, or Christmas lights, or an Oregon based TVCC. Pretty pricey digs down there! I don't think the average Caldwell taxpayer can really afford any more of this manic/depressive behavior by Caldwell's General Authorities. A coffee shop brought to Caldwell by a bunch that piously refuses to drink coffee? What a bunch of phonies!

  11. If CWI was in that building instead would that make you feel better?

    I was reading today how Caldwell city gets no representation on CWI's board but Nampa does. Hmmmm.

    CWI charges more per credit than TVCC. Hmmmm.

    TVCC has a broader curricula to offer as well other than nursing or truck driving which seems to be the primary focus of CWI.

    Be happy at least one college is willing to service this dying community.

    You people really are something else. You want to drive the only affordable act in town out of town. Amazing!

  12. MG says..

    If CWI were in the building, I would feel better because we all got the opportunity to vote on CWI. We were given no opportunity to vote on TVCC; it was shoved down our collective throats. The rent of $200k/yr doesn't even cover the depreciaton on the building.

    I'm very unclear why we have two taxpayer supported community colleges in this valley.

  13. LH says..

    Quick thought---billboards at the entrance of city limits---You cant afford to live or work in this city Urban renewal has destroyed us by taxing us out of our homes-We don’t make enough to come close to adapting to the ever increase in taxes.

    Yea too long but you get the drift.

  14. I'm unclear why the Idaho college doesn't cater to the needs of the community it serves and offer a broader curricula. I guess if you don't want nursing or trucking and you live in Caldwell your screwed.

  15. How the rumor got started that CWI does not cater to the needs of local students is just plain goofy. A quick check via:

    Shows the wide variety of classes and undergraduate general education classes that can be taken at CWI. All their classes are fully transferable. I would suggest people investigate before they invest time and money in either CWI or TVCC. The Professional Tech offerings at CWI look to be pretty extensive and comprehensive.

  16. The rumor started in Caldwell City Hall!

  17. Paul,
    I have no use for Urban Renewal and it should be done away with. My question to you is how you acquired or put together the numbers you cite for the Urban Renewals affect on property taxes? I am constantly trying to find information on the workings of Canyon County and the City of Caldwell.

  18. We would offer to the above inquiry on how information is obtained:

    1. Public records requests (specific so we do not drive the folks who are trying to help nuts, fishing expeditions are not a great way to get info)

    2. People on the inside of government agencies who are willing to help us ask the right questions when we file records requests

    3. Research of public documents, audits and just plain tenacity.

    We endeavor to make certain all our facts are correct and when wrong make a fix when needed.

  19. Remember, this is an election year for council
    members here in Nampa. We have one council member here that is for the average citizens.
    It seems like the rest of them vote for the favors of those who line their pockets. We need
    to elect members that can put a check on this authoritarian Nampa government that has plagued us for the past 10 years.

  20. Great analasis on local tyrany! Thank you!And we thought we only had to worry about the fed taking away are rights?

  21. Paul,
    Thanks for the response on how you go about getting the information on the Urban Renewal or any other City or County information. The reason I asked is that I would like to participate in assiting the procurement of these records. If you ever need a person to do some work in this area let me know.


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