Tracking code caldwell guardian

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Taxpayers should have say on costly projects

 
The following is a letter to the editor of the local newspaper submitted by Bob Gaddis and is reprinted here with Mr. Gaddis' permission on March 14th, 2013

Taxpayers should have a say on costly projects

"Mayor Tom Dale and City Council members Pam White and Martin Thorne have voted in favor of spending $350,000 of our money on the renovation of the old Mercy Hospital and yes, urban renewal money is property tax money.  The only one at the previous meeting speaking in favor of this expensive project was the private developer, although 12 taxpayers objected.

Councilman Thorne commented several times that he couldn't understand why people are opposed to urban renewal.  Perhaps I can answer his question.

The taxpayers of Nampa will soon be over $100,000,000 in debt without taxpayer approval on any of the projects.  The cost of the public safety building, with interest, is $31,500,000.  The estimated cost of the new library is $55,990,774. To upgrade the sewer treatment plant will cost $17,00,000 (passed by judicial approval).  The total is over $104,000,000.

We have subsidized the Idaho Center more than $1.5 million in 2012 alone and will continue to indefinitely. (note: Mr. Gaddis says the total here should be $1.775,000 when the cost of a new roof is added to the Idaho Center costs to Nampa taxpayers.)

City Attorney Terry White stated that normally they would need voter approval for the sewer project but because of time constraints, they had no choice.  We have known about this since the early 80's but had to pass this immediately. 

Over $100,000 of our tax money was spent on attorney fees to prevent the taxpayers from voting on the public safety building.

The disagreement has never been about whether or not these projects should be built but whether the taxpayers should have to opportunity to say yes or no.

Please contact Mayor Dale and the council members if you agree that we as taxpayers have the right to have more input than just to pay the taxes.  You might also want to ask why our taxes are double those in Meridian and are the highest in the state."

Bob Gaddis
Nampa, Idaho

11 comments:

  1. The quickest fix for this is at the ballot box. Quite simply, Dale, Thorne and White need to go.

    Spending money on dubious projects just because they can and send the bill to property owners is WRONG and how they can deny it is a clear symptom of the tax and spend disease that has permeated Nampa for years.

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  2. Please tell us when Thorne, White, and Dale are up for reelection.

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  3. This time around the Mayors and half the city council members along with appointed city councilors are up for election that will take place this November.
    Nampa and Caldwell URA's will have spent nearly $200 million when it all said and done via Urban Renewal and not a single vote of approval from property owners who are paying for all this. Canyon County levy rates are 40% higher than levy rates in Ada County.

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  4. By my count the total take by the URA's in Caldwell and Nampa is:
    1. $88 Million for the URA that gave us the Idaho Center
    2. $104 Million for all the new URA projects in Nampa
    3. $62 Million for the Caldwell URA

    My addition gives me $254 Million spent and not a single vote cast for any of this money spent by Caldwell and Nampa URA's.

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  5. What pray tell is a city councilor?

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    Replies
    1. A city council is the Legislative Body of the city. Urban Renewal boards are not elected but are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council.

      Urban Renewal Boards operate independently and are not subject to oversight by any body politic nor are they answerable to anyone for their actions. Voter oversight is not allowed.

      I hope this answers your question

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    2. A preying parasite of the first order.

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    3. No it doesn't. I am referring to your comment of "This time around the mayors and half the city council members ALONG WITH APPOINTED CITY COUNCILORS are up for reelection that will take place this November."

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    4. I will try to clarify the issue with appointed city council members. Those who are appointed to fill terms when someone resigns from their position. The Mayor gets to appoint a person to fill the vacancy v. holding a special election. The appointed person(s) are required to stand for election at the first general election. In this case Mike Pollard and the person appointed to fill another vacancy created when David Clark resigned from the Caldwell City Council will have to stand for election. Hope this answers the question about "appointed city councilors".

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  6. The Library IS sorely needed.
    The police department and its design were not needed. Very poor planning on their part. The building is already an eyesore surrounded by decay and blight especially on first street. Think of the costs to heat and light the place, not to mention the costs with the dispatch center alone with the VHF, UHF and 700MHz radios and computers.

    The Old Mercy Medical Center is an eyesore and should be torn down NO EXCEPTIONS. The sprinkler system and no doubt asbestos abatement forced the shut down almost 20+ years ago. Will both of these expensive problems be addressed? Doubtful.

    The horror of it all will be when St. Paul's Church and School across 16th Ave. S. move to their "new" facility. Will this too become a money pit for the taxpayers? OOPS, I better shut-up before someone figures this out.

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  7. Mr. Thorne, we the taxpayers, aren't opposed to Urban Renewal when it benefits everyone. We are opposed to the following.

    1. The way you use Urban Renewal to raise taxes and then throw away the money to a developer that uses the money to benefit a slim few. No you are not providing long term jobs here.

    2. Use the money to continuously bail out people you willing allow to mismanage a facility, the Idaho Center comes to mind, when the rest of us can manage our finances.

    3. Continuously allow blight and decay to permeate our city. Especially around the new police station. Very distressing. Just for once drive around the city and actually look, with your eyes open, at how many vacant and abandoned buildings exist. Some of these buildings are around Costco and were built by overzealous developers. Are you now in a running for being a sister city to Detroit.

    4. Basically, we the taxpayer, want accountability and see line item spending in the Budget and be very well informed on the issue at hand before we vote in the affirmative. It is clear you hold a very strong disdain for the voters. Since we are merely little people and you and the Mayors pet projects are "too complicated" then maybe we should give you another line of work. UNEMPLOYMENT from the City Council.

    5. No simply means NO. Why is that too hard and no doubt complicated for you to understand? If the voters deny your project accept that and move on. If your families business operated this way, I would think you should be out of business by now.

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