Tracking code caldwell guardian

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TVCC Wants Urban Renewal to Fund a $20k Sign.

The following is taken from the Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency monthly minutes, May 2013 meeting:
"#4 Consider TVCC Marketing Request
Chairman Waite presented a request from TVCC for approval to use their marketing funds of
$20,000 for the purchase and installation of a sign on Blaine Street. Discussion ensued with the
salient points being:

o Signage at that location should be a marketing tool and include reader board capabilities
for college events.

o $20,000 in marketing funds could be used to directly increase student enrollment.

o Signage for the TVCC building could be a URA project and utilized for marketing both
college and community events.

o Reviewing TVCC’s current marketing plan and potentially partnering with them in
further development of a plan to utilize future marketing dollars was suggested.
Chairman Waite noted that TVCC’s student enrollment is meeting projections and their growth
is on target. Dr. Kathleen Robinson will be invited to the June meeting to provide more
information to URA commissioners"

The main questions about TVCC are:
1. Who asked Caldwell taxpayers to fund this project?
2.  Why are Caldwell taxpayers now asked to fund a $20K sign for out of state TVCC?
3.  Why are Caldwell taxpayers funding a redundant community college effort to College of Western Idaho that won overwhelming support in an election process?
4.  What education void does TVCC fill that isn't already filled by CWI?

THE GUARDIAN won't even attempt to answer the above questions but the multimillion dollar support of TVCC from Caldwell taxpayers is a troubling issue when you factor in Caldwell property owners are getting a double whammy of taxation for local community college efforts.


Friday, May 17, 2013

It's OK to Rejoice Again Caldwell

Once again we read and hear about all there is to be happy about with downtown Caldwell and our community.  We can have this for only another $65,000 when Roger Brooks comes back to town with yet more ideation and a plan to cure Caldwell's civic problems.

The latest idea for Caldwell is to make it a "tourist destination" and Mr. Brooks will help create yet another plan for a better future for Caldwell.  THE GUARDIAN has lived in Caldwell since the 1970's and witnessed the downward spiral of downtown in the face of several other plans that come to mind:  First, there was the RUDAT Study done in the early 1990's at a cost of $25,000.  Next we have had the Tom Hudson study for about $10,000, then we had the Dave Leland Report for a mere $140,000, then Oppenheimer Development for a starting price of $50,000 (and more), then the Master Framework Study with the help and inputs of Caldwell concerned citizens.

Now we have Roger Brooks who came to town for $30,000 to start via the sponsorship of the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Brooks got the good chamber members all fired up and feeling good.  Now there is a fund drive to bring Mr. Brooks back at the cost of an additional $65,000.  All this will be done with private money and contributions from the good people of Caldwell.  The Mayor and City Council are sitting on the sidelines in this effort.

It's OK to Rejoice Again Caldwell!  However, here's the reality; we have lots of studies in the file cabinets collecting dust for the lack of "political will" and funding from our Mayor and City Council.  Yes, we have a redundant TVCC annex funded by Caldwell citizens and yes we have a nice five block addition to the park system via Indian Creek.  What we lack in downtown Caldwell is a reason for our people to spend time an money in our downtown core. 

Mr. Brooks will no doubt make the people paying his fee feel very good but it will take public funds (urban renewal money) and political will to make anything meaningful happen in downtown.  Until then we will have another report full of pretty pictures and proclamations to take up space in a file cabinet. But there will be much rejoicing upon the return of Mr. Brooks to Caldwell.

Note of clarification..  CEURA will sunset on taking out additional bonding December 2014.  All the cash will still flow to the agency but they will send a cash windfall of property taxes to all the taxing districts that gave up their share of property tax money until December 2014.  Caldwell will have something north of $1MM/year flowing to the city coffers not dedicated to paying off revenue bonds.  The question is; what will they do with the money.  Downtown did not see much in the way of "renewal".  Perhaps it may be time to invest those funds in building community with what little cash left in the URA scheme.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How Much Debt Via Nampa URA Is Enough?

The following is a guest opinion by Guardian reader, Kim Blough, Nampa Idaho.  May 7, 2013

Since 1994, Nampa City Hall’s mantra has been “Tax ,Tax ,Tax, Borrow, Borrow, Borrow and SPEND SPEND SPEND”.
The result?  Urban Renewal spending and debt of $192,000,000.

 What did we get for our money you ask?  Here are examples of how effectively our tax dollars were (or are about to be) spent.
Urban Renewal tax dollars paid $1,891,815.23 for a 17 acre parcel of bare land which was at the time tax appraised for $13,500.

That’s right…$100,000 per acre for land which tax appraised for $796.00 per acre.

What “willing seller” would say NO to a “willing buyer’s” offer of 125 times more than the assessed tax value!
Just to sweeten the deal and make sure the Seller wouldn’t say NO to such a “hard driven” bargain, Urban Renewal threw in a no-cost sewer line connection across the entire 17 acres PLUS interest of $180,293.28 on the new $1,199,413.08 promissory note held by the seller.  (See Pioneer Title Escrow #PN58395)

 This was called the “IDACOLD” purchase and it certainly did put a lot of taxpayer’s dollars on ice.
Then current Urban Renewal Commissioner/Councilman Thorne signed all the IDACOLD purchase documents in behalf of the North Nampa Urban Renewal District.

 No surprise that Mr. Thorne is now on record of not caring that 8.6 MILLION dollars of taxpayer money for the Mercy Rehab Project will be melted down to a taxable value of only 2.5 MILLION (with  NO positive tax-flow from the project for at least ten years).
The IDACOLD purchase pales by comparison to the $50,000,000 cost of the Idaho Center (plus six-figure losses every year since it opened in 1996).

 Current appraised price for the Idaho Center?  It doesn’t matter.  No one wants to buy it for any price.
How many more “good” deals can we afford?  NO more, not one.

 Sincerely yours,
Kim Blough
Nampa, Idaho