After voters twice denied the Greater Boise Auditorium District bonding authority for a new convention center, the board agreed Friday to take a lesson from Boise City and do an end run around those pesky voters.
The deal calls for developer Gary Christensen to pay one dollar to lease valuable public land at 13th and Front, build a “private” convention center with no public input (because it is private) and then lease the package back to the Auditorium District for about $2 million a year.
The GUARDIAN thinks if the deal is so sweet Mr. Christensen should take all the risk and receive all the benefit–it is simply wrong to spend our public money on his private deal.
Here is another dirty little secret: taxes on his $25 million PRIVATE building should be about $460,000 a year and all but the schools portion would go to the urban renewal agency and nothing to the City.
The widow living on the Bench and the family in the North End have to pay for police, fire, and other city services in the Downtown area. No taxes are paid to Boise City on any of the IMPROVEMENTS in the urban renewal district –it all goes to fund (CCDC) the urban renewal district.
The Auditorium District owns the existing Center on the Grove and it is funded by a 4% hotel room tax. The tax is aimed at promoting tourism in Boise and the surrounding area. In every respect it is PUBLIC MONEY. The land for the proposed scam is PUBLIC LAND. The board members are elected PUBLIC officials.
Last year when voters rejected the proposed convention center a second time, a spokesman for the District vowed that a convention center would be built, “one way or the other.” So much for honoring the will of the people.
The only proper expenditure of the $ 2 million hotel room tax is to lessen the financial burden of police, fire, roads, parking, sewer etc. placed upon the city taxpayers by visitors–WE should get the 4%!
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