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Friday, February 25, 2011

Summary of Urban Renewal Bills in Idaho House

Summay of UR Legislative fixes in ID House of Representatives, Copy of letter sent to all House Members.....Senate support needed.

The Taxpayers Accountability Committee, with legal counsel, worked nine months to craft the Urban Re-newal legislation before you. Our objective is to establish public accountability and transparency to all urban renewal projects. We strive to restore taxpayer input into the process by requiring approval by vote on the establishment of new districts, district leadership and bonding transactions.
Following is a summary of the Urban Renewal bills currently before you.

HO95—This legislation is the most comprehensive of those that are before you. It has widespread sup-port from several governmental agencies and Urban Renewal Districts. The bill amends Title 50, Chap-ter 20 and Title 50, Chapter 29 by:
1. Require a majority of voters in a citywide election to authorize an agency to conduct business;
2. Requires a majority vote of the Board to remove or seat a UR Agency Commissioner;
3. Removes language allowing the mayor to appoint agency officers and returns that responsibility to
    The commissioners;
4. Extends the time for presenting recommendations to the planning commission from 30 to 60 days.
5. Sets the maximum bonding period to 20 years;
6. Defines “deteriorated area” and sets parameters on how agricultural and forestry operations are to
    be handled;
7. Adds provision to extend revenue allocation provision under special circumstances.
This legislation awaits action in the amending order on committee–suggested amendments brought forth by parties of interest in the bill.

HO96— This legislation requires a statement of total assessed value of the revenue allocation area as it compares to the total assessed value of all property within the municipality. It also allows an opt-out pro-vision for overlapping taxing districts who wish not to be included in the proposed rev allocation area.

HO97— This legislation limits an approved plan of UR to a single project to be completed within a speci-fied time with remaining funds remanded to the taxing entities.

HO99— An Urban Renewal Agency may issue bonds required to finance such project, upon approval by
two thirds (2/3) of the qualified electors voting in an election held for such purpose. This legislation awaits action in the amending order on committee.

HO110- Adds a public hearing to the process of establishing an Urban Renewal Project.

HO114– This legislation calls for a county-wide election of commissioners to an Urban Renewal District and places authority to replace commissioners with the Board of commissioners. Currently the responsi-bility for naming commissioners to the Agency lies with the Mayor and the local governing body.

Summary: Urban Renewal activities are not accountable to voters around the state which has re-sulted in many projects of questionable value that have caused substantial public unrest and criticism. It would not be fair to omit a note of praise to those very few good projects that have been completed on time, in budget with an occasional payback of excess funding.

Editor Note:  The above legislation aimed at putting a fair and reasonable amount of voter oversight on Urban Renewal Abuses has a good chance of getting passed in the House of Representatives.  The Idaho Senate is another matter, If you agree with this effort please contact your representatives and let them know how you feel about this effort to bring back taxpayer oversight of how property taxes get spent and stop urban renewal abuses in Idaho.


  1. Rachel says...

    I have watched urban renewal districts across this state since l988 strip the property tax base, which supports essential services for our cities and counties. There are now 69 UR Districts in IDAHO, and last year they skimmed $52 million from our property tax base.

    I can’t express how unfair I think it is to have unelected commissioners (appointed by mayors) spending property tax dollars without a vote of the people. It is taxation without representation! It is bonding authority without the people’s vote! It is condemnation authority! It is authority to take huge tracts of land into URDs without our vote! It is authority to skim property tax without our vote! It allowed Capital City Development Corporation to skim over $9 Million off the BOISE/ADA County property tax base last year! DOES THIS SOUND LIKE AMERICA?

  2. And we wonder why the county animal shelter is talking about shutting down, why the county sheriff has reduced services to the public, why county employees were switched around to 10 hour days and we were forced to accept closures of certain public services by one day per week to save money and still Mayor Tom has money to build a new cop shop, library and whatever else suits his fancy. We voted down a jail we couldn't afford, but we have no say in anything else. We didn't give county employees raises so why are we giving city employees then? Dump urban renewal, and balance the distribution of tax dollars the way it was intended.

  3. I am reading the paper this morning (2-27) and everything is looking good for the people. The organizations that have been working to put a check on this urban renewal have done some hard work for the people's democracy. Now, it is in the hands of the politicians, we are from Nampa, so here is the message to the politicians in Districts 12 and 13, we the people have not wanted urban renewal here since 1994, WE ARE GETTING TIRED OF IT, WE ARE TAXED TO DEATH, AND WE HAVE NOT HAD ANY SAY SO ABOUT IT, IT'S OUT OF CONTROL. Remember what we the people are thinking and saying when you make your decision.

  4. Ron says...
    I saw that bunch of articles in the newspaper and I thought that they were all very good. Too bad that Tom Dale and Nancolas want to be dictators and run our cities like they own them. Hopefully, we will get some relief and the legislators will clip the wings of our dictator mayors here in Canyon County.......

  5. We the people should be taking a hard look at these local chambers of commerce. Seems like the benefits of urban renewal have been to their favor.

  6. I read the article in the Press Tribune this past Sunday and was amazed at just how weak Mayors Dale and Nancolas were on justification of urban renewal. They know best what is good for all of us and there is no need for any elections when it comes to urban renewal property taxes and how it gets spent.

    Gimme a break! They are not only poor leaders but think they are all wise and know more than the people who put them in office.

  7. A good example of our local leaders poor leadership is why I and others have to sign on as anonymous. These guys don't like criticism.
    Believe you me, they will send their goon squads out with their goon squad tactics, to deal with the criticism. Just some useful intel here.

  8. Hey, I was just scanning through the legislative logs, and I noticed that HB99 and HB114 are failing. District 12 went in favor of the people, but District 13 went to the special interest groups. With the exception of one, it looks like Districts 10 and 11 are in the back pockets of the special interests, also. We live in District 12 so I am happy with them. I hope that those who live in the other districts will remember that your legislators went against the will of the people; when it is time to go to the ballot box again.

  9. City Mayors do not want taxpayers having any say when it comes to urban renewal pork projects. House bills 99 and 114 called for an election for debts created via urban renewal and for election of board members of UR Districts. They want to keep this in the room none of us ever get to visit but want taxpayers to foot the bills for all their waste and spend antics.

  10. I saw something interesting yesterday when I walked by Nampa's Chamber of Commerce there on 11th. I may be jumping to conclusions, but I think that the pro Tom Dale forces a setting up a PAC group in some space in that building, for the upcoming city council elections. Folks, keep an eye on that front business there, and remember that Tommy D doesn't like criticism or opposition. Just a hunch. (so far)


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