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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Urban Renewal Question Best Answer..Bob Henry of Nampa

We would like to thank the Idaho Press Tribune for asking city council candidates questions about URBAN RENEWAL. THE GUARDIAN went online to see candidate answers (long version) regarding urban renewal.

The candidate with the best answer award goes to Bob Henry of Nampa.  The short version of the main question:
How would cities do projects without urban renewal?  They would have to go to voters and ask permission via a bond election.  We also liked the response from Mr. Kren who is also a supporter of asking permission of voters when it comes to spending millions of their tax dollars for big ticket projects.

Mr. Henry's answer:

Bob Henry
"How would cities do projects like Nampa's new public safety building or Caldwell's Indian Creek project without urban renewal, or should they be done at all?

It's simple. Go to the voters and ask them to pass a bond. During the twelve years I was on the School Board, we needed to ask the voters several times for approval of bonds to build new schools, we were never turned down. The citizens of Nampa have a history of approving bonds if they feel the need is great. One additional benefit of going to the voters for approval is that the bond must be very specific. If the citizens had approved a bond to build a library, a library would have been built, not a public safety building. As a side note,when the old URD was retired, the leaders went to the voters and asked for a bond to fix Garrity and Kings Corner. The bond passed the very first time. 

How do you respond to residents who say urban renewal ultimately raises their taxes since it takes revenue away from other city needs?
I agree that it does. There is no magic money pot from which urban renewal money comes. The money that is diverted to urban renewal is money that is not available for the city to use for its other obligations. There are those who say that an URD is less expensive over the life of the District because of the interest savings over bonding. That would be an accurate statement except the Nampa URD approved bonding for the public safety building. They are now paying off the bond, including interest. This is no different than if the voters had approved a bond, except the voters didn't get to vote.

If you could change how urban renewal operates, what changes would you make?

I would require that in order for an Urban Renewal District to be formed it must be voted on and approved by a super majority of the affected population. Also, the City Council would have to be very specific on what projects would be funded by the URD and neither the City Council nor any newly formed URD Board would have the authority to change projects.

Do you think urban renewal is a benefit or a liability for your community? Please explain.

I think ultimately it's a liability. Look at our tax rate compared to the surrounding communities. One of the reasons our tax rate has increased so much over the past three years is the diversion of tax dollars to the Urban Renewal District. There are only two options available for a city to replace tax dollars lost to the URD; cut expenses or raise the levy rate, Nampa has chosen the latter. As a citizen, I find it extremely frustrating that three City Council members voted to form an urban renewal district with the clear intent to build a new library, and then, after the district was formed, changed their minds and are constructing a public safety building. Not only is that wrong, but it also fuels mistrust people have of elected officials."


  1. Clicking on the link above and reading the other responses, particularly galled me. Shannon Ozuna made the idiotic statement that Caldwell has not increased its mill levy in the past several years. Obviously she can't read numbers or do first grade arithmetic. Caldwell's mill levy increased nearly 2 percentage points, nearly 20%, from 2009 to 2010 and will likely increase another 10% for 2011 on Decembers tax bills. These people will say anything but it does not make it true.

  2. Anonymous said...
    You folks think you have problems you should see what Urban Renewal has pulled here in Pueblo Colorado. Our city councils past and present just let them lie all they want and never ask a question. This Nazi mentality has caused great financial harm to our local schools and to our library district. Now they are trying to pull off another scam and aided by our governor Hickenlooper, a former micro brewer with no leadership skills, and his Tourism Committee that will hand over $33 million to this shadow government of good old boys.
    Monday, October 10, 2011 12:26:00 PM

  3. Do these politicians openly lie or are they so stupid as not to know? Either way they should not be in "public service". Thanks to Bullroar for being blunt. Until the voters turn blunt, the pols will continue to openly lie, make things up and generally stick it to the taxpayer.

  4. I am supporting Bob, helping Bob pass out flyers, and voting for Bob. Bob wants to find out and put an end to all this monkey business that is going on in Nampa.

  5. As much as I despise Urban Renewal Districts and what they stand for, I know how they came about and why they did. They came about because of people like Mr. Henry who vote no for everything. Mr. Henry's view of democracy is more like a dictatorship. If you disagree with him, you are wrong. If people like Mr. Henry would stop trying to force their small minded tea party values down everyone's throats, there would be no need for Urban Renewal Districts. So my stance is, as much as I hate URD, I can't help but root for them because at least they are trying to make the community better instead of letting the whole community go down the toilet. Tell me Bob, what would you spend money on? Nothing, I bet. It's all about dodging as many taxes as you can, huh?

  6. There is confusion about what the tea party is all about. The tea party is all about supporting corporate national socialism. The true capitalist which is the small business guy is becoming a thing of the past in our communities, and in this country. If we the people want our communities, and our country to become strong again we are going to have to elect representatives that will support the small business type capitalism, which is the real engine that keeps us going. Nampa is becoming to chummy with these corporate national socialists. They are they only ones that can afford to locate a business here, and pay the high taxes and fees. I am supporting the one who has faith in the small business guy, and wants to keep the taxes and fees down.

  7. Can we please get Bob Henry to run for office in Caldwell.

  8. If you go to the IPT webpage candidate navigator there are several candidates who align with Mr. Henry. Their answers may take some reading but worth a look.

  9. I don't care what the tea party stands for any more. They lost focus and now have gone off on a tangent. They are losing their base by following extremists in the movement and are going overboard in their zeal. They need to go back to their roots if they want to continue to enjoy support from the common man. They have allowed too much influence in their ranks from corporate America.

  10. I would almost bet that dime that I found in my couch that quite a few of the original tea party people are now involved in this occupy movement that is growing in our cities.

  11. Wow, the comment posted by "anonymous" is so far out in left field that I feel compelled to reply.
    First off, I am not against spending. My problem with urban renewal is that tax dollars are being diverted to URD, causing tax rates to go up without voter approval. I was on the school board for 12 years in Nampa. We ran several bond elections, getting the necessary 67% approval and got the schools built. In Nampa, the URD was approved by the vote of 3 City Council members. That's wrong.
    Nampa's levy rate is 10.15, Boise is 6.98, Meridian is 4.75, Eagle is 2.96. If you don't think there is still fat in the budget, you just don't understand budgeting.

  12. Mayors Dale and Nancolas can sing their hearts out but the property tax rates per $1k of assessed value pointed out by Mr. Henry above along with the $11 rate of Caldwell should be troubling to everyone connected to city governments of Nampa and Caldwell.

    The people we elected to the City Councils of these two cities have clearly let government costs spin way out of control. If you are OK with the tax rates then you need to support the incumbents if not Mr. Henry has made a point.


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