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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Time to Kill Vehicle Emissions Testing

There is a significant push back from citizens to dismantle vehicle emissions testing this year and the rationale is not opinion based but fact/data based. 

The evidence put together to support VET in the first place was based on outdated data over ten years old.  As older cars with carburetors hit the scrap pile virtually all emissions data are trending downward or away from any non-atainment conclusion. 

Our friend Al Freeman in Nampa and his helpers in submitting data have found it difficult to get anyone in the legislature to pay attention to what he has discovered and the DEQ's flawed data to support VET in the first place.  However,  year there may be enough of a headcount in the legislature to dismantle VET in this valley.  It has been a dismal failure and has done nothing but inconvenience people in every way imaginable and costs vehicle owners have had to endure to get their cars checked by their mechanics when nothing was wrong in the first place is more than a minor inconvenience. 

Example, if you replace your car battery you will fail the test.  If you let your car battery go dead and head in for a test your car will fail.  If your gas cap gets put on incorrectly and the check engine light comes on you will fail the test.  The list goes on and on and the goofy waste of time people have to spend on this along with expensive trips to their mechanics for no good reason continue. 

Add to this most of us are not getting a two year cycle due to some goofy decision by DEQ that has resulted in a lot of folks having to go in again in a little over one year for another check. (had this very thing happen to me) 

Also, in the world of screwing up your cars computer; I took my trusty 98 Chevy pickup in for a early mandated VET and passed the test but not more than a mile down the road my check engine light came on right after the test.  Luckily, my mechanic did take the time to do more than a casual read of the codes and with some expertise was able to restore the system to normal function.  It is time for this waste of taxpayer time and money to simply go away.  We can only hope the Legislature makes it happen this year.

I would gladly pay the $10 to the DEQ every year for all their good works but the waste of time and lack of evidence this program is doing anything to improve air quality remains suspect from both a data and opinion view of vehicle owners.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Propety Taxes Much Less In ADA County

THE GUARDIAN has always maintained there is about a 40% difference in property taxation between Ada and Canyon Counties with Ada having the lower levy rates.  Today I opened my Gmail to find the following from a Guardian reader, Greg, who researched property taxes based on square foot comparisons between Kohl's Department Store in Meridian at Ustick and Eagle Roads and Kohl's at the Treasure Valley Marketplace.

Here's the data provided by the Ada and Canyon County Assessors:

Kohl's, Nampa Value $6.8MM  Value/Sq.Ft  $77.29   Taxes/SqFt     $1.92  Total taxes $169,295

Kohl's, Meridian Value  $7.3MM  Value/Sqft  $75.66   Taxes/Sqft    $1.14  Total taxes $109,101

Difference in property taxation  $1.92/$1.14 = 68.4% higher property taxes in Canyon County!

This is just one of many examples of how high property taxation is driving business decisions for companies to locate in Ada County.  It is also a stark picture of just how Urban Renewal property taxes are impacting businesses in Canyon County.  Nearly all of the property taxes in the Treasure Valley Market Place go to the Nampa Urban Renewal Agency. 

This is a great example of the difference in the property tax burden for like businesses in Ada v. Canyon County.  We thank Greg for the supporting information for this post.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Old Mercy Hosp. Another Urban Renewal Money Pit

The following is a letter to the editor of our local paper.  It appeared on January 2, 2013 and is here on the Caldwell Guardian by permission from Mr. Osborne. 

 Nampa City Council will hold a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7 (late note: the meeting has been pushed back to February 19th at the same hour) to hear input from the public on whether the city should, through the Nampa Redevelopment Corporation, put up $350,000 toward renovation of the old Mercy Hospital building to be renovated into low-income housing.

The cost of this renovation is estimated to be $7 million, or $150,000 per unit. Financing would come from a mixture of private and government funds. In material I’ve seen published by NRC, a new building could be put up for $100,000 per unit. It also compares with what I’ve heard is $75,000 per unit for new four-plexes being built on Birch Lane.

This project is being sold as a way to furnish housing for low-income seniors and others, and preservation of a historic structure.
It is unknown how much money the city of Nampa has contributed to the museum downtown, but recent news suggests they could use more money, too.
Is it in the best interests of Nampa to send our money to Washington and get it back in the form of subsidies at 50 cents on the dollar?
Overhead of NRC has to be considerable and will extend the life of urban renewal. Good job security, no doubt, and as the library project is nearly done, what else can we think up?
Not much question this project is a waste of money, but it is being pitched as a good waste of money. The developer loves it. NRC loves it, and some city officials are on board as loving it, too. What could go wrong?
Since some of the proponents of this are the same ones who said a waste-to-energy plant in Nampa would pay for our new library, forgive me if I question the whole concept.
Hubert Osborne, Nampa