Growth

Big Lie Continues

The Idaho Statesman ran a front page puff piece Sunday about BoDo, the newest development about to open in downtown Boise and included the ”big lie” which remains untrue, though oft repeated.
BoDo.jpg

The Statesman reported, “The project will also boost Boise property tax revenues, create hundreds of jobs and is expected to trigger new Downtown residential and commercial construction.” NOT!

In fact, the new downtown buildings and “improvements” yield NOTHING for police, fire, parks, libraries, and other city services. They just CONSUME services without paying for them.

Truth is, businesses outside downtown have to provide their own landscaping, parking, and lighting. These infrastructure improvements are paid by TAXPAYER funds throughout downtown.

A more accurate story would have been, “Spurred on by subsidized development and active night life, Boise’s downtown area has been the scene of 60% of the city’s homicides this year. Three of the five murders during 2005 have taken place on the streets of downtown Boise.”

Perhaps one of the reasons the cops are so strapped for officers and funds is the HIGHEST VALUE property in the state of Idaho pays practically NOTHING to the city that supports it. All but the school tax on the new buildings goes to the CCDC redevelopment agency to perpetuate and expand itself.
Even the COUNTY courthouse is owned by the CITY.

On the flip side of the coin, the Day family has remodeled and expanded Vista Village, the first Idaho shopping center, entirely with private funds.

In a September 19 posting the GUARDIAN called for dissolution of the CCDC board, noting that all members are appointed by the mayor and council and their funding also comes from city taxes. Yet, the mayor and council continue to hide behind the claim of, “That is CCDC, not city.”

Idaho law permits the council to abolish the board with a simple ordinance and take responsibility for the actions of the agency which is REALLY part of city government.

Incumbent councilor Jerome Mapp is a long time member of the CCDC board and he is seeking re-election against Jim Tibbs. He is a pro-growth planner by trade. It would be interesting to hear his take on BoDo at a candidate forum.

It its never ending quest for more and bigger, we find it absurd the city planners and councilors would approve a megaplex theater, hotel and shops between the two busiest streets in town. We are destined to experience gridlock or intolerable traffic congestion prompting folks to “avoid downtown” like some many of us “avoid Eagle Road.”

To paraphrase former New York Yanke catcher/manager Yogi Berra, “It is getting so crowded no one comes here anymore.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Not Impressed with DODO
    Oct 24, 2005, 11:32 pm

    Mr Mapp is very supportive of this type of development. It keeps the Chamber of Commerce happy by making them think downtown is growing while the CCDC collects the tax revenue and makes out like a bandit.

    This is just another ploy where the “city” thinks smarter than the real people and they will not pay attention anyway.

    They are sooo smart that they think that these BODO businesses will actually make it……let’s see if they too go the way of the DODO when Meridian, Eagle and Nampa continue to shift the popoulation to the west.

    Maybe building 10,000 more “condos” in a dead downtown will help…or maybe the light rail will save downtown or maybe this will just be yet another example of the Blueprint for GOOFY Growth!

  2. Sharon Ullman
    Oct 25, 2005, 8:49 am

    On Sunday morning I sent the following e-mail message to the writer of the Statesman article, and copied it to editorial page editor Kevin Richert:

    In your Sunday article about BoDo, you wrote, “The project will also boost Boise property tax revenues, create hundreds of jobs and is expected to trigger new Downtown residential and commercial construction.” Although the property owners will pay property taxes like everyone else, the project will not boost Boise property tax revenues at all. Most of the money generated in the city’s three urban renewal districts goes to CCDC, which in turn offers incentives (like parking garages and streetscaping) to developers to build projects like BoDo in Downtown Boise. The method CCDC uses to skim off the tax money is called “tax-increment” financing, and all the rest of the taxpayers in Boise City and Ada County end up having to subsidize the property owners in the urban renewal districts. We end up paying for their fire, police and EMS services, since only a fraction of the property taxes they pay goes to the city and the county. It would be great to see a follow-up article that fully explains tax-increment financing and details where the additional money generated by BoDo is really going.

    Just my two cents worth on the project itself: I’m sure that people who live in the north end and southeast Boise will enjoy going to the new, closer, Edwards theatre complex in BoDo, and there will be people who visit all the new stores and restaurants, but I wonder about the long-term success of this project. It reminds me of the ParkCenter Mall that has struggled for years to retain tenants. Boise Towne Square is centrally located, and everything is there in one place for shopping and restaurants. Want to go to a newer movie theater and you live in the Southwest Community, west Boise, or Meridian? Edwards 21 and the Majestic are closer and parking is free. I don’t recall that anyone I know has said they are anxiously anticipating the opening of BoDo. In fact, some of my friends and I have had conversations that are quite the opposite. (i.e. Who would want to go there? The location is inconvenient because you have to deal with downtown traffic and pay to park, and the name is stupid. It sounds like “Bozo” – the clown!)

    That was where my communication with the Statesman about their error ended. As of today, Tuesday, I have heard nothing back and have seen no evidence in the online version of the Statesman that the paper has printed a correction about the property tax issue. Perhaps someone else has seen a correction that I missed. I’d like to know if anyone has (sharonu@cableone.net) Not only do the politicians need to be held accountable, but the media as well.

  3. I worked at Broadbent Development Co. in the 70’s when BRA – now known as CCDC, was buying all the old buldings downtown. Broadbent was a family company and all the old members owned bonds in the company and received income every year. Eventually all properties owned were sold to the BRA, some income was reinvested, but the company eventually went under, after I had moved on, thankfully. Even after all these years I have no idea what benefit this Boise Redevelopment Agency/Capital City Development Co. has had for the city of Boise or its inhabitants. A few people have moved into political positions – a few took a salary and moved on. Perhaps someone out there with a better memory than mine will explain what all that was about. I really liked Boise better in 1973, although my daughter, who visited here this summer, thinks downtown is quite European and charming, so perhaps I am living in the dark ages.

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