The Daily Paper tells us there are no fewer than 11 condo projects currently in the works for downtown Boise.
It looks like all but one has already been approved by the City. If you are into growth, more people living in “a vibrant core area that creates economic vitality,” lots of cars, and dirty air your dreams are coming true.
If you are saddened by the literal shadow cast by 17 story skinny buildings and stay away from downtown because it is jammed with cars and some of the unhealthiest air in the state of Idaho, you need to get to the polls for the November Boise City elections.
This horse obviously ain’t dead yet, so we will beat it again:
TAXES ON THESE NEW STRUCTURES WITHIN THE CCDC URBAN RENEWAL DISTRICT ALL GO TO THE DISTRICT TO CREATE MORE DISTRICT.
NONE OF THE TAXES ON THESE ‘”IMPROVEMENTS” GO TO BOISE, ADA COUNTY OR THE ADA COUNTY HIGHWAY DISTRICT.
That means the vast majority of citizens have to pay an INCREASED TAX LEVY to make up for the revenue shortfall to fund police, fire, and roads for the residents of these new condos–many valued in excess of $1.5 million. They habitually consume more city services than residential areas elsewhere in the city.
If you think it is a worthy cause to help the developer’s cash flow, vote for mayor and council incumbents in November. You can bet they will have payments from their developer friends.
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Feb 16, 2007, 12:44 am
For us common peasants…can you explain how the urban renewal district are exempt from other taxes and levies?
EDITOR NOTE–They are not exempt. Property owners pay same taxes as anyone else…BUT IT ALL GOES TO THE CCDC and not the city, schools, county, and ACHD! Those agencies that provide services get their funds from us common peasants ONLY!
Feb 16, 2007, 7:03 am
I agree with your criticism of the taxes — but I beg to differ with your pollution comments. The more dense the development, the less driving is required. The more traffic choked the streets, the more likely people are to use other means of getting around.
The pollution is from the people driving 30 minutes from Caldwell to work downtown, and the prevailing winds that bring all of that into the west end of the valley.
I think your energy would be best spent working for tax reform rather than fighting the growth. If we’re going to grow, which seems inevitable, we might as well confine it, rather than sprawl.
EDITOR NOTE–Good points. However, if memory serves me correctly, the monitoring station downtown habitually reports the highest levels of pollution.
As to sprawl–when Boise builds fire stations and sewers in the south desert and your mayor and county commishes approve and even ecourage developments from the north county line to the Elmore line you have sprawl regardless of what you call it!
Feb 16, 2007, 7:13 am
Exacly what is the CCDC? Wasn’t it some Federal mandate that had to be formed as a seperate tax entity. Had to do with the Urban renewal Money the city recieved.
EDITOR NOTE–Robert, you get it half right. Fed agency Housing and URBAN DEVELOPMENT gave money for urban renewal some 40 years ago, but mandated a “depository” for the money so it wouldn’t just get mixed into city budgets…that’s what is happening now with federal transportation funds.
All that was PRIOR to Idaho passing the Tax Increment Financing scheme which diverts taxes on improvements away from needy cities and toward EXPANDING and perpetuating the CCDC which has no taxing AUTHORITY while garnering millions in diverted taxes to a board of UNELECTED members. Dirty, dirty, dirty.
Feb 16, 2007, 8:32 am
Defintely bad idea: more high rises downtown. Not a good plan. Bank of Idaho was tallest building when I lived there.
Feb 16, 2007, 8:42 am
Is it safe to assume that at some point in time the CCDC loses the tax revenue from this land and it reverts back to the city? I would hate to see the schools, roads, infrastructure, etc lose out forever.
EDITOR NOTE–tax (which is minimal) on land stays with city and county. The tax on the IMPROVEMENTS and appreciation goes to CCDC. It is usually 20-30 years, but they “renegotiated” and EXTENDED the period. They also keep creating NEW districts, so it is truly a self perpetuating thing. The more grandiose the proposal the more potential income for CCDC.
Feb 16, 2007, 9:16 am
I worked on one that is 4 stories. They should create less pollution, as the previous commenter said, because people can walk to work. I think they are likely to be bought by retired people who want to be active in town. Also, as far as energy consumption, these condos take less to heat and cool per residence than your average tract house. Overall, it’s a good thing. If there is a tax loophole, it should be closed.
I’m hoping the market corrects the Treasure Valley’s overdevelopment. I can tell you that a lot of houses are sitting unsold right now.
Keep up the good work Dave.
Feb 16, 2007, 9:18 am
I have to agree with .m.r. on this one. I think your energy should be channeled towards tax reform. I see these buildings as good growth. The air might be bad but at least at that height you’re indoors, right? What major downtown core in the country doesn’t have bad air?
What is your idea of good growth, because all I hear is that everyone else’s ideas are bad (and no growth is not an option on this question?) It seems like there is never an alternative to this GROWTH problem, except elect new people that agree with you. What about if you were those new people, how would allow growth, clean up the air, reform the tax system, and stay elected? Much easier to sit back and comment just like I am doing, right?
EDITOR NOTE–Simple answer, IF they can pay their way without tax breaks, financing schemes, or publicly funded assistance not offered universally, welcome aboard. If they adversely impact others, they have to correct it.
Feb 16, 2007, 9:38 am
.m.r. is correct when he says that density is important for creating walkable and I would add bikeable sectors. Public transit can’t function w/o density either. I’m having a hard time understanding what it is that you want.
State law prohibits any city government or county from outright stopping growth. I think that should be changed. We also need county commissioners that will stand up to the plate and begin denying sprawl on grounds of unwanted impacts.
If you want a perfect solution, you’re going to have to physically strip everything down and start over with critical thinking faculties supervising a rebuild, understanding that there are consequenses for EVERY move you make.
The people who want to have their cakes (McMansions on Crescent Rim) and eat them to (no density) are living unsustainable lifestyles.
Now, there are limits to how much vertical density you can have as well. Big buildings produce their own set of impacts. The new Banner Bank bldg. is the only one that tries to offset it’s own impacts, but it still creates margins of consumption that should be addressed.
Lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle! That is the key. The party’s almost over. I finally learned that lesson a few years ago and have adjusted accordingly.
Feb 16, 2007, 9:53 am
If the taxes for the structures goes to CCDC, won’t any additional taxes from the residents (i.e income, spending, etc) all go to Boise, Ada, or the State to support all of things you mention. More of a quesiton than a comment I guess.
EDITOR NOTE–Boise, Ada, ACHD primary source of revenue is PROPERTY TAX. Residents generally CONSUME services for the TAX they pay…new roads, state police, education, social services, etc. In the case of CCDC, residents consume, but they don’t pay to the city which provides the bulk of the services.
Feb 16, 2007, 10:26 am
Dave, I believe that some of the reason that air quality measures bad downtown and on the Eastside has more to do with the geography of the valley than anything.
The Boise River is the low point of the valley and downtown is protected by the mountains. Most of the pollution originates elsewhere in the valley and funnels down the river valley toward downtown. Simply put it has nowhere else to go when the inversion starts. The only exit is up, and that only happens when the weather changes.
So, that being said…if suburbia drives less, downtown is less polluted. If the absolutely worthless legislature provides a local option tax authority for public transportation, downtown is less polluted. If their is higher density development and the associated needed goods and services downtown, then it is less polluted.
EDITOR NOTE–Good arguments, but they fly in the face of the planned 400 parking spaces planned at 6th and Front for the new condo project. CCDC’s primary expense in life is providing MORE PARKING. That’s because they want to ATTRRACT more people downtown.
Feb 16, 2007, 10:32 am
Regards your note to Robert. Are the CCDC’s books open to the public? Are they accurate, even if open to the public?
As you wrote:
“…CCDC which has no taxing AUTHORITY while garnering millions in diverted taxes to a board of UNELECTED members. Dirty, dirty, dirty.”
WHEN is some investigative reporter going to lift the rock…and shine a light on the slithering vermin that hide beneath all of this?
EDITOR NOTE–Books are indeed open, but hard to understand. try the court house for example! It is owned by CCDC, county owns the land, Civic Partners leases it to county, etc, etc.
Feb 16, 2007, 10:58 am
My family came to Lemhi County in the 1880’s, and to Bingham County in 1919. I don’t know a single one of their descendents who can afford (or would want) to pay $229,500.00 for a 715 square foot home in the North End, let alone a half million for a slightly bigger condo in downtown Boise.
My feeling is that our city is being raped by out of state developers, and populated by out of state purchasers. We are becoming an enclave for the upper middle class and the wealthy. Is it too dramatic to say that are city is being prostituted?
EDITOR NOTE–Susan, I love it when you talk dirty!
Feb 16, 2007, 11:48 am
Whoops! I meant “our” city. Missed that morning cup of coffee!
Feb 16, 2007, 12:10 pm
I agree with Susan about the price of properties. It is hard for me to understand why anyone would pay that much for an apartment. Frankly I would prefer a manufactured home in Hagerman to living in such a crowded area.
On a related matter, the Statesman cheerfully reports a developer who has a spec home for sale in the $5 million range. It has 10 bathrooms. Does anyone conceive what kind of family would require 10 bathrooms? Where are the people coming from who have that kind of money and where did they get it? There are lots of McMansions here in Eagle but they pale in comparison to this one.
I agree with you, Dave, this growth is very discouraging to us oldtimers.
Feb 16, 2007, 1:10 pm
I don’t understand why these condos won’t generate property tax.
You pay property tax on the fee (fee simple absolute) of the property. Whether that fee is the property rights to ground or airspace you still must pay property tax.
To read “improvement” to mean all property rights contained by an “improvement” seems to be a strange reading.
Seems to me building up is the best way to get lots of tax dollars from the smallest space possible.
EDITOR NOTE–Once again. Downtown owners of new buildings or condos (“improvements” on the land) pay property taxes. NONE of the taxes on the value of the buildings or the appreciated portion of the land go to the city. ALL those taxes go to CCDC. It has nothing to do with fees or airspace.
Feb 16, 2007, 1:23 pm
Dave, how in the world is attracting more people downtown a BAD thing? What exactly do you have against residential growth downtown? All you are is against economic and cultural growth downtown. WHY?
Okay Dave we get it already, you don’t like idea of downtown density. Again… WHY? Did you not get the memo? DENSITY IS GOOD in a city. Vancouver, B.C. vs. Las Vegas. Put on your thinking hat and give that a good ponder Dave – do you want to end up like LV with their massive traffic and pollution problems, enormous taxes, thinly spread utilities and public services, and row after row of ugly cookie cutter houses? Or does being a nice, neat, compact, and more environmentally friendly higher density city sound better?
Your logic is incredibly flawed on the pollution – and naive.
Downtown “habitually” (way to break out the thesaurus there – and still manage incorrectly use the word) reports more pollution than any other locale in Idaho. THIS SURPRISES YOU? Dave, pull your head out of the sand. Downtown Boise is the ONLY true urban core in Idaho – of course its going to top the pollution charts (respectively) when you’re comparing it to the rest of Idaho; the next largest “urban” core, if you really want to call it that, MIGHT be downtown CDA, Lewiston, or Idaho Falls – all three of which are dwarfed by the size of Downtown Boise.
You want to talk pollution? Go to Seattle, Portland, Salk Lake City, Denver, or anywhere in southern California. Maybe you should make a couple trips to places with REAL – not imagined – air quality control problems.
You spew this mindless garbage like its going out of style, Dave. Condos creating more pollution – give me a break. You’re barking up the wrong tree. Why don’t you complain to Canyon County for not have emissions testing? Wouldn’t that be more worth your time?
Affordability though, that’s an issue! I think we can all agree on that. These condos are expensive. But then again, simple economics of supply and demand dictate how truly “expensive” they are – as long as people keep snatching them up, which they are – there is obviously a market for them. Griping about how nobody can afford these expensive condos – when in reality people are buying these things in droves – smacks of envy and nothing more.
However despite all of that… more affordable housing downtown needs to be built; we don’t want the battle of the “have’s and the have not’s” much of the country is fighting with itself – and increasingly our little valley – to spill over into our downtown.
So why cant affordable housing be built? WHY OH WHY!? Because of the price point of construction, people, developers haven’t figured out how to keep their costs low enough to make building such apartments. Nobody is raping anybody, Susan, they have a business to run and they can’t make ends meet by taking losses. The rental price point barrier is about $950 in Boise. If you’re Joe Average, and you can spend $950 on a condo – or mortgage your very own cookie cutter home somewhere in 2C, what are you going to do?
Again Susan, Boise is not being raped. And most of these “out of state” developers are in fact NOT from out of state.
Dave, on second thought, maybe you should keep you head in the sand. Maybe then with your mouth full of dirt you’re your trashy, unfounded, ultra-conservative commentary would be less audible.
Quit your NIMBY whining and let Boise grow up to be the best city it can be. Growth is inevitable. You CANNOT stop it – so lets be smart about it instead.
Feb 16, 2007, 1:34 pm
Development and/or infill development in downtown Boise will actually create a healthier city for all. If downtown were left to die and compete with cheaper retail/business developments going west or to the desert, you would see more traffic like the vicinity around the mall or the retail on Eagle experiences.
You are justifying the sprawl with the delusion that condos in downtown Boise are going to create more cars in the downtown. By having more inhabitants in the downtown core;, more business will spring up since they can now be supported. With the creation a healthy business’s in the downtown, residents will be less likely to get into their cars to go sit at stoplights spewing exhaust into the air on Fairview or Milwaukee.
Developers do end up paying for some of their way in impact fees. There are sewer, ACHD, Boise Parks, etc….. I know of some developers would love for CCDC to disappear. More often than not CCDC is a hinderence to development. They could not even give clear direction to the developers going after the River Street project. http://www.idahobusiness.net/archive.htm/2007/01/23/Hosac-objects-to-CCDC-design-evaluation-criteria.
From reading another article on the IBR website, CCDC will have nothing to do with the parking at the condo development by C-Squared on Front St. between 6th and 5th.
EDITOR NOTE–Clancy, you shoot yourself in the foot! We don’t justify sprawl, we hate it. However if you aim to get more people living close to their “suppliers,” downtown isn’t the place to encourage residential development. More people equals more cars downtown. Meanwhile Eagle, Milwaukee, and Cole/Overland will still be a disgrace. Realistically, given your stance we should be looking at creating COMMERCIAL outlets amongst all those houses the councilors and commishes have created in the outlying areas. THEY are the cause of downtown problems.
Feb 16, 2007, 2:22 pm
Dave, It is possible to live in Downtown and the Northend of Boise without a car. It is the ULTIMATE planned community. I use a vehicle for the purpose of transporting items that cannot fit on my bike (I am thinking of building a trailer for my trips to Capitol Lumber) and trips out of town.
The commishes are allowing commercial outlets in the outlying areas, they will exist in Planned Communities. They don’t contain every need for everyone but they do allow you to buy a 1/2 gallon of ice cream without having to drive over 2 miles to get it. The first attempts at PC have not been so good, but I think that will change with communities such as “The Cliffs”.
I do think the CCDC needs to be reformed as to the inherent problems you have stated and to ones that I noted in my previous post. They are not easy to work with and some developers do not like the constraints.
Feb 16, 2007, 2:28 pm
Treva, ten bathrooms I can almost understand, but five kitchens as well strikes me that polygamy is actively engaged here in the Treasure Valley.
Or it’s just conspicuous consumption without any other purpose. And they got that five million dollars from the studio they just sold in San Francisco.
I’m pursuaded somewhat on the boondoggle of urban renewal districts in the way they are currently set up in the state. They are self perpetuating with limited accountability. But they do serve a necessary planning purpose to focus efforts in making otherwise centrally located blighted areas more useful and attractive. And that is a goal of better planning. I strongly disagree that that going vertical downtown is a bad thing. I think Dave’s point is that if CCDC is killed then the allocation of tax money into urban renewal will again be done by city leaders who are accountable to the voters, rather than to feeding the beast that never stops growing. But either way tax money will be going to developers, won’t it Dave?
EDITOR NOTE–You guys are really making me work for free today! We encourage planning, and a healthy city, including downtown. Do away with diverting taxes and it would be a much more level field of play. The city is so much MORE than just downtown. Boise spends an inordinant amount of time, money, and effort devoted to downtown. Vista, SW, and old south Boise deserve equal treatment.
Feb 16, 2007, 2:30 pm
Your rude attitude and name calling puts you on the same level as the Meridian guy who alienated the entire United Kingdom with his ill thought remarks. He ignored his wife’s advice to not speak. Perhaps you should consult your wife. She must be a saint if you are married.
While you may be threatened, I agree with the bulk of the G argument which centers around Boise, Ada County, Schools, and ACHD getting their fair taxes on downtown properties. You seem to think ill of lower income hard working people to the west as well. I can’t respond further to your ilk.
Feb 16, 2007, 3:04 pm
Most of the builders in the treasure valley (and developers also, began doing business after 1985. That means they have never seen a downturn or weathered a market storm. I personally don’t see a downturn coming, but a correction at least.
While rural 2 acre estate lots and highrise condos may continue to be hot, hot, hot, it will be interesting to see how they manage inventory with entire subdivisions of new homes sitting with “for rent” signs in the front yards. This is the case in many new subdivisions. Even the out of state speculators who came in and bought the homes last year and turned them into rentals are smart enough to know a glut in the market when they see it.
Someone recently told of a deal where an out of state buyer had a million dollars of non-refundable money on the table for land at 75k an acre and he walked away, because it is no longer financially wise to pay that much for land here. In the end, we all get what’s coming to us.
EDITOR NOTE–Tam or anyone else, walking away from $1 million seems a stretch. If you can tie it down, we would love some leads. You know where to reach us.
Feb 16, 2007, 3:24 pm
Mr. Logic, I’m not excusing any behavior, but maybe Dale just got fed up with some of the “illogical” articles and posts that he sees here and blew a gasket. I know how he feels. I shout “Boise Guardian” in vain every time I have to park at the airport and there are no damn parking spaces left.
EDITOR NOTE–Jon, your councilors won’t let you vote for the parking garage. It would be paid for with fees (still public money), but they will not let you vote for a bond. The council election is coming in Nov.
Feb 16, 2007, 3:34 pm
It is amazing how much people give away about themselves by their posts. Likely birth places, growing up places, age, income, politics, etc.
Boise and the valley used to be a wonderful place. We have allowed too much crap to happen and accumulate for too long.
Feb 16, 2007, 3:54 pm
Wow, that’s a really beautiful picture of the CCDC-produced skyline at boiseguardian.com’s masthead. Glad to see this site appreciates how great a job CCDC has done.
What The Guardian doesn’t tell you is that the indebted improvements (parking garages, public squares, landscaping, benches, flower pots, trees, etc.) wouldn’t have happened in the first place unless the CCDC applied its urban renewal program in the first place.
Without urban renewal, downtown would probably look like an office park, with suburban-style buildings surrounded by acres of parking lots. Or it would resemble the miles of decaying strip mall arterials that infest Boise. The city if full of forgotten, unloved, under-performing properties that produce relatively little tax revenue and continue to decay (and these sure won’t wind up on anyone’s Web site masthead).
Urban renewal and tax increment financing are long-term investments in the prosperity of a city. Unless you freeze time and space and never grow, you need programs like this to deal with older areas that need reinvestment.
Feb 16, 2007, 4:28 pm
Great coverage in few words,Oh Sage Guardian! Bieter and council are using CCDC to hide behind. As Kushlan’s developer buddies get rich Mayor and Coucil can say ,” Oh, we are not responsible for all the condo’s, cars and pollution, that’s CCDC.
Well,Mr. Mayor and Council ,You created CCDC, and they are getting richer and fatter off of tax-payers dollars. Team Dave just increases our tax levy-CCDC keeps every penny of taxes they pull in- to pay for our basics!( Police,Fire,EMS )
It’s right out of COMMON SENSE !! Come November vote Mayor and Coucil OUT OF OFFICE!! Let them know NOW what you are planning to do and WHY. I will volunteer for the people of Boise to work for candidates for Mayor and coucil who WILL WORK FOR THE PEOPLE OF BOISE not CCDC! Joe Moran,208-426-8097 firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb 16, 2007, 4:33 pm
“The city is so much MORE than just downtown.”
Not to me Dave. The downtown is the heart and soul of Boise. When I think of Boise I don’t think of the mall. A vibrant downtown gives Boiseans a distinct identity, a center of culture and a place for unique architecture(still working on this). It makes us civilized (except maybe Dale).
We should encourage people to live close to their work and the centers of commerce and these condo units do just that. Of course there are parking garages because we are not ready to give up our cars but having these downtown units makes going carless possible for these residents.
I understand that the city limits extend much further but you’re advocating actually servicing and thereby encouraging the sprawl which I never thought was your goal. I still think City leaders would be obligated to divert funds to urban planning if the beast is destroyed. Your way may be more egalitarian, certainly more accountable but not necessarily better and would likey result in more balkanization of the City than we already see.
Oh and Dave, welcome back. As you can see we’ve been starved for your company.
EDITOR NOTE–I do NOT advocate sprawl!! The remark about building commercial space in the suburbs was INTENDED to show that approving HOUSING out there created a need for SUPPLIERS.
My desire is to STOP STOP STOP approving all the rural housing as Team Dave and Commishes are doing. THEY create demand for cars and roads and then cry about downtown needing to get bailed out. Build all the crap you want downtown, just give the citizens the tax revenues they deserve!
Feb 16, 2007, 7:59 pm
I really don’t know a great deal about CCDC, but just knowing it exists is more than most people in Boise are aware of.
I am concerned that CCDC does create an unfair competitive advantage for downtown developers, especially with regard to west downtown or upper Vista, less than a mile away physically, but outside of CCDC’s district and a million miles away in many other regards.
I beg you to create a separate page that is always available with as many facts as you (or we) can come up with regarding CCDC, then maybe we (all of us) can discuss CCDC in a more enlightened way. Call it the CCDC FAQ.
What really bugs me are your comments such as “citizens have to pay an INCREASED TAX LEVY to make up for the revenue shortfall to fund police, fire, and roads.” EXCUSE ME, but roads are already in place in downtown Boise, as are fire stations, parks, water, sewer, gas, electricity and geothermal.
It is we, the residents of downtown and the northend and the bench, that are subsidizing suburban developments. Guardian says it himself in his EDITOR NOTE to kevin: “Residents….consume… new roads.”
And there’s the gem of a comment about pollution which easily fits the –appeal to emotion logical fallacy– better known as a red herring.
EDITOR NOTE–First, here is your FAQ http://www.ccdcboise.com/faq.htm
Second, all the things you cite are in place throughout the city. It is the cost of day-day operation and downtown owners simply pay NOTHING for public services. Can you not UNDERSTAND that is the central issue. Roads must be maintained, paint striped, re-engineered, firemen and cops have to be paid. Funds for all that comes from those of who live OUTSIDE the urban renewal district run by CCDC.
Your comments are simpoly in error and not true.
Feb 16, 2007, 8:29 pm
Guardian, I think you need to take a break. Many of the commenters on this post fear that you are making very good points with the focus being CCDC gets revenue from downton that rightfully belongs to local government and schools.
That Wonk character is just plain weird! He has a preoccupation with your logo and seldom has anything of substance to say. Reminds me of an old Statesman reporter who sucked up to local officials all the time, but I doubt they would hire anyone like this guy.
Feb 16, 2007, 8:32 pm
Mr Logic – comparing my comments here to Eldon Anderson (is that his name?) alienating the ENTIRE UK is absolutely ridiculous. Exaggeration to THAT degree is nothing more than sensationalism. I do any name calling either… but nice try.
You could try responding to the content of my post…? Just an idea.
(And yes, everyone, my words came in response not only from this article from Dave, but from this ENTIRE website, which I consider a waste of otherwise good bandwidth. That nonwithstanding – I dont intend to offend anybody – unless that’s what it takes to perk some people’s ears.)
Feb 16, 2007, 10:09 pm
Dale – You wouldn’t happen to be Dale Krick, CCDC Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President, Krick, Inc, would you?
Feb 16, 2007, 10:54 pm
Leave it to a retired NIMBY postal worker to launch into personal affronts at my first appearance. I’m glad my meekest posts raise his dander. Well, at least the post office gave him a place to work and think deep logical thoughts.
My fixation on the logo is no greater than the Guardian’s fixation on urban renewal. As long as the Guardian brings up urban renewal, their use of urban renewal accomplishments on the masthead is fair game.
I will continue to post here, despite the efforts of some to keep this an anti-growth echo chamber.
Feb 16, 2007, 11:19 pm
Dale, when people cry about a “subsidy” to downtown they forget the public expense subsidy that goes hand-in-hand with urban sprawl. The gigantic and non-revenue producing parking lots around the Boise Towne Square mall, for example, require longer streets, maintained at public expense. If the developers had built parking garages, roads could have been shorter and narrower, more land would have been conserved and the land that was developed would produce far more tax revenue per square foot. I don’t hear the Guardian complaining much about that.
Dale, if you think downtown development has an unfair advantage, it also has some serious requirements. We ask downtown developers to build residential and keep it affordable. But residential costs much more to build per square foot than commercial or office and rents on residential are much lower than commercial. Oh, and build parking garages at $40,000 a space, with square footage about equal to the rest of the building.
Left to the free market, downtown would look like an office park (and that was the goal in the ’60s and ’70s, with the Boise Cascade building being the best example of that approach locally). If you want pedestrian-friendly development and public squares to practice community you need to deal with the space-consumptive phenomenon of the automobile.
Feb 17, 2007, 1:11 am
Woooweee! Guardian, you sure woke some folks up.
Settle the whole problem by just changing the city limits signs to “Welcome to New L.A.” — or maybe “New NYC.”
Lotta dreamers among the bloggers this time — those who think all the folks in the downtown highrises will just stay there and not go driving around. Highly unlikely.
As for downtown being a good walking-to-work area, it is. But whether the folks who can afford to live in those new places would actually ever walk farther than from their door to the elevator to their Mercedes or Rolls or Hummer or whatever … I kinda doubt it.
I’ve seen them drive to a health club a few blocks from home, then circle the parking lot repeatedly, looking for a space within a few feet of the door so they can go in and exercise.
As for downtown smog; yep, it’s the location — so let’s block the smog in with rows of high-rise buildings and keep it from blowing out (to Oregon or Wyoming or wherever we usually send it when we get tired of it).
OK, so I don’t have any answers either. I don’t know how to create peace throughout the world — or even in Iraq, Iran or anywhere else.
I don’t know how to prevent cancer, AIDS or child- and spouse-abuse.
So does that mean we should just give up one everything? To me, the defeatism of saying growth will continue and we can’t do anything about it, kind of falls into that kind of category.
A co-worker once overheard some of us griping about the constant inflow of Californians.
He asked, “Why do you hate Californians?”
I said, “We don’t hate them; we just view them like coyotes, grasshoppers and jackrabbits: A few of them around are fine, but when they start coming in by the thousands, you gotta start shooting them or spraying them or something.”
Well, OK, maybe that’s a (tiny bit) of an exageration or something, and I’m not really advocating shooting them, but there must be some way to legally and safely at least slow the growth. At the very least, we can quit encouraging it, and disband the various agencies whose primary job seems to be to finish wiping out what’s left of the Idaho lifestyle.
(OK, you woke me up, too. Damn!)
Feb 17, 2007, 9:41 am
This is to Wonk Vader. You sound like you enjoy fighting. I don’t get too involved in all this growth, but if you were my child I would ground you! That’s what the guardian should do to you. He must be a lot more tolerant than I am.
I will bet you don’t live downtown or have your kids play in that asphalt jungle. We didn’t move here for your “dense” lifestyle. And yes, we came from California and moved into an older home. Actually YOU would fit in well down there because all you advocate exists.
Feb 17, 2007, 11:57 am
What make believe world do you live in? Downtown is not an asphalt jungle, thanks for the good laugh. Maybe the burbs where you live may be an asphalt jungle, but then maybe you don’t live in the burbs. Do you ever get downtown?
From Idaho or Main Streets a person can be in one of the many large city parks within a 5 minute walk. Boise has some of the best parks of any city I have seen and the best are right downtown and along the river. The Northend has many beautiful smaller parks as well. In fact the best of Boise is all downtown and in the immediate area.
Once again, do you ever get downtown?
Feb 17, 2007, 12:03 pm
And if you were my Mom, I’d run away!
Seriously, though, I don’t enjoy fighting. But if someone starts at me personally, I will respond.
I thank you for addressing the content of my post.
I love taking my family to downtown and my kids are fascinated with the idea that we can actually walk between many different destinations. This has been the birthright of generations of American children up until the past generation or two.
Visiting the Farmer’s Market, eating pizza on a sidewalk and playing in the fountain on a hot day have made many cherished memories.
But I’m acutely aware that the fountain and other public areas exist because cars are herded into urban-renewal funded garages and not allowed to overrun the environment. Without those garages, downtown would resemble the other 99 percent of Boise’s public realm: largely unloved and forgotten, three-quarters of the land area consisting of roads and parking lots.
Feb 17, 2007, 1:58 pm
My Dog Lucy is a barker. Some dogs dig, some chew I am blessed with a barker. Barkers are great as they warn us of danger and alert us of potential news we should be aware of. Dave reminds me of Lucy, he does a good job most of the time alerting us to potential noise that may or may not be trouble. In addition to that I appreciate how hard he works to collect information and bring it to all of us, this is contributing to public good if for no other reason it gets us talking. In this case he is clearly barking at the friendly neighbor with a scary looking beard. I’m not sure how he developed such an evil view of CCDC but I don’t understand why Lucy barks at the wind, it’s a swamp and I was taught to stay out of the swamp. Why am I posting, I don’t appreciate the tone of this forum and many of you are flat wrong!
I will disclaim this is right from the Tigers (CCDC) mouth, it’s public record and I beg someone to explain if I am misguided.
How CCDC works; “In simplest terms, under tax increment financing (or revenue allocation in Idaho), the taxes generated by increasing property values in an urban renewal district are used to pay for public improvements and other revitalization activities in that district. At the time an urban renewal district is formed, the county assessor establishes the current value for each property in that district. This value is referred to as the “base” value. Over time, as both public and private dollars are invested and development occurs in the district, property values tend to rise. The increase in value over the base is called the “incremental” value or increment. The taxes generated by this incremental value are shared by the school district and the urban renewal agency. In Boise, the City Council has created a revenue allocation for each urban renewal district it has formed, and therefore a portion (A PORTION) of the tax increment is allocated to CCDC. These funds must be reinvested in projects in the district from which they came. Only revenues derived from the increase in property values within an urban renewal district after its creation go to support activities of the agency, and only if a revenue allocation area has been approved. These revenues must be spent on revitalization projects in that district.”
I do not know what percent of this “incremental” tax CCDC receives vs. the city, school system, fire, police and would be curious to know. I think there is room to debate this and using the language of the “Local Economic Development Act” our City Council has the ability to adjust this. HMMM, does this give our city council elected officials control of CCDC’s activities? There is absolutely no need to elect CCDC board members as it is clearly regulated by elected officials, has two sitting board members and would cost taxpayers a huge amount to hold more elections. I for one like the fact our Mayor can place people on the board by appointment ensuring good chemistry and competence. Ask Sharon how some of our elected boards function when you get the wrong chemistry. CCDC is not perfect, name one human/company/board that is. They have however been quite effective on a large number of projects that would only be dreams without the tools they provide us. A strong Urban Core is smart/important for so many reasons; it seems silly anyone has to defend this idea. Arguing that adding density to downtown is somehow bad reminds me of George Bush telling us Global Warming is a myth. As a steward of our place I am seriously concerned about which third world country we will be depending on for our food when our community uses all our productive farmland for Mr. Logics mansion in Eagle. How will we ever develop a transportation system that does not consume and pollute without urban centers. Dale, I hope I know you because you are my hero. You are right on!
This is a war, eat food grown locally it’s fresher. Our local economy spends over one BILLION $ importing food from out of State. Don’t tell me how much we export, one fifth of our countries fossil fuel consumption is to support our food system and almost half of that is for the purpose of transporting food. Let me repeat, we can keep one billion dollars in our Treasure Valley economy if we buy food that we produce here. Or we can keep building subdivisions on our farmland. Let’s replace Sugar Beets with food we can put on our dinner table. We need people living downtown. It’s one step out of 500 that will help our community have a better tomorrow.
Keep up the good work Dave, nurturing heroism requires education, inspiration, and opportunities for reflection, we can’t always agree but forums like this inspire and educate me.
For Sharon, I disclose my Dad is on the CCDC board. For the record he is the most decent, humble, selfless person I know. He is a great example of why we don’t want every important civic position elected as he is far too humble and decent to participate in the dirty world of politics. Many men like him would never run and we lose when we don’t put them in position to participate.
Just a guy
EDITOR NOTE–Thanks for your support, I think!
Downtown density is not the issue with me as I have repeatedly said. The big issue is forcing me to pay for the services our city provides to downtown while those merchants pay NOTHING toward the operation of police, fire, etc.
Your explanation is flawed because it comes from the CCDC. ALL the increment– including most if not all the school taxes (thanks to the tax law change last fall)–goes to CCDC. Decent, well intentioned people like you and your dad have been sucked into believing CCDC is a noble calling when the truth is, the retired widow on the bench pays more for police and fire at the Grove hotel than all the merchants in downtown COMBINED!
I will bet you dinner for two at Bitter Creek that I am correct.
From the CCDC website:
“In simplest terms, under tax increment financing (or revenue allocation in Idaho), the taxes generated by increasing property values in an urban renewal district are used to pay for public improvements and other revitalization activities in that district.”
The increased value comes only in the form of new construction and appreciation.
Finally. I want the same authority over the CCDC use of my taxes that I have over Boise City–elect those who have authority/responsilility to spend tax money. You say the city calls the shots. Here is what the CCDC website says:
“CCDC is legally and financially separate from the City of Boise. CCDC has a nine-member Board of Commissioners appointed and confirmed by the Mayor of Boise and the Boise City Council.”
Dave, if they are LEGALLY and FINANCIALLY separate from the City of Boise, how in hell can the city have any “oversight” other than initial appointments? Jerome Mapp and Paula Forney were voted out of office by the citizens and remained on CCDC long, long afterward.
As long as the general population is unaware, it works just fine. I see this as a major city election issue.
Feb 17, 2007, 6:00 pm
For Dave Krick –
First, my disclaimer: Bittercreek is one of my all-time favorite places to eat! It is an asset to downtown Boise, and one of the few reasons I will actually GO to downtown Boise other than for doctors’ appointments, political meetings or to pick up government records.
I cannot debate how honorable your father is, as I do not know him. Obviously, you do. I only asked whether the “Dale” who was posting was a member of the CCDC Board, because if he is, then readers ought to be aware of his likely bias.
I have to agree with the Guardian on this issue. Those of us out in the County should not have to pay to subsidize downtown development.
Although the initial goal of urban renewal agencies, which had something to do with doing away with urban blight, was also honorable, CCDC has gotten out of control.
Do you recall the wonderful financial arrangements that were going to bring us a new Ada County Courthouse without costing any new tax dolllars? CCDC was, and is, right in the middle of that deal.
If you Google “Ada County Courthouse” you will be able to read about it. “The developers plan to build various retail shops, dining courts, coffee shops, newsstands, and some housing units. There will not be a cafeteria or any other eating facilities inside the courthouse; however, all of the other shops and eateries will be part of the combined plaza on the site, and they will all be interconnected with the courthouse so that walking will be easy and enjoyable.” Hmmmm… didn’t quite happen that way, now did it?
Now, the County is using eminent domain to take over the vacant retail space, and using public funds to do so. We still don’t know how much the (unneeded) additional space will cost taxpayers, both up front, and through lost revenue since CCDC will no longer be able to collect lease payments for the ground under the retail space. Those payments were being used to partially offset the bond payments for the Courthouse.
I guess my bottom line is that it is time to sunset CCDC out of existence. I do not believe that doing so would result in the return of “urban blight” to Boise’s downtown core. Do you?
As for “how some of our elected boards function when you get the wrong chemistry”, I stand by the positions I took when I was a commissioner: for zero-based budgeting, for giving back a large portion of the County’s $20 million cash surplus; against the faulty then-new dispatch system; against Arnell Jones and Lariat Productions taking over at Les Bois Park; and, finally against the Courthouse financing scheme. It’s not really about “chemistry”. It’s more about doing your homework and then trying to do the right thing for the public, despite criticism from one’s colleagues and the media.
Feb 17, 2007, 6:11 pm
Can CCDC Board Members be removed by the Mayor and City Council?
If so, how is it different than a Department Head who handles millions of tax dollars, but is unelected? I am asking, because in some cases (Nampa and others) the Urband Renewal Board IS the City Council. In others the City Council appoints the Board. I think if the City Council and Mayor wanted something CCDC does changed…they could change it.
I don’t agree that they necessarily should be elected. Any more than I think the Police Chief, Fire Chief, or Airport Director should be elected.
EDITOR NOTE–CCDC claims their budget is separate from Boise City. The Ada Treasurer sends taxes DIRECTLY to CCDC–they don’t do that with city departments. This agency is much more than an “advisory board” like Boise’s parks, airport, public works, planning and zoning, etc.
We would all be perfectly happy if the council took over the CCDC. They can dissolve the board with a simple ordinance to appoint the council–as in Nampa. That way we would have an ELECTED body which answers to the voters.
When Bieter wanted the CCDC to get involved with a convention center funding deal he was turned down–so much for who runs the CCDC show.
Bottom line the funding and ultimate authority need to be reformed and clarified. The big stickler is the use of property taxes–that came AFTER the original law was passed.
Feb 18, 2007, 2:59 am
Hooo, boy! I love it. More people reading, writing and — Oh, my! — thinking! Way to go, Guardian.
By the way, does anybody besides me remember the BRA (Boise Redevelopment Agency)?
What brings it to mind is someone’s comment about how much livelier Boise is now than it was a few years ago.
True. However, many years before that, it was a very lively downtown, despite a much smaller population. But there were a few dead spots in it, so the BRA was created to perk it up. The main actions seemed to be to tear down any buildings that were considered old — including some rather trashy, worn-out or possibly unsafe structures … along with some very attractive, interesting and structually sound buildings. Plus a few that maybe weren’t so neat, but were historically worth saving.
Anyway, we ended up with a lot of empty lots, parking lots and dead spaces … and a rather dreary downtown. Hence the dissolving of BRA and creation CCDC (Guardian — correct me if I’m misremembering that last part).
One other thought on whether CCDC should be obliterated:
We have state, county and city governments. Then add LIDs, mosquito districts, Ada County Highway District, school districts, fire districts, sewer districts, CCDC and whatever ones I haven ‘t thought of at the moment.
How many governments do we really need?
And how many can we afford?
Feb 18, 2007, 8:45 am
When I asked for a CCDC FAQ, I didn’t mean their FAQ, I meant your FAQ. Like this: Here’s what CCDC says and here’s the rest of the story.
How about a thought experiment, let’s say we disband CCDC, then what? Before we answer that, how do we even go about disbanding CCDC. This is what should be in your FAQ, and is certainly not in CCDC’s FAQ. Even more important is human psychology, people are afraid of change. CCDC opponents might do well to assuage those fears and ensure that the new and untested course of action will be a good one.
But, aren’t you chasing one bogey-man and completely ignoring others. Let’s take S-16 Partnership for example, they own several vacant lots downtown. One became an impromptu campground last summer, until the squatters were “told” to move. Those lots are investments from which they are going to make a fortune, yet very few if any of us “average” people will share in that fortune. Since those lots are vacant, potential tax revenue is lost, irrespective of the collecting agency.
How long should the citizens tolerate a vacant usable lot? 5 years? 10 years? 100 years?
I’ve thought that there should be a vacant lot tax after a certain number of years, that would provide a disincentive to speculative holding, and an incentive to selling at a price (to a willing developer) that would make development feasible. Of course, this idea is fraught with problems, but might be worth some discussion.
I don’t have the answers, but I don’t think the guardian or its contributors have really come up with much either, other than appeal to emotion arguments.
EDITOR NOTE–Convention center proponents want to take land off the rolls FOREVER! It is vacant now because the Auditorium District owns it at present. It is public land not subject to taxes. Is this the parcel you refer to?
Feb 18, 2007, 11:00 am
Wow, thanks for the response Dave and Sharon. First, I have investigated and determined I am not related to “Dale” in this string of posts. I do still agree with him and find his language a little more hostile than necessary. Sharon, thanks for chosing Bittercreek, it’s nice to hear people like what we do, I hope you still choose to visit! Dave, I will buy both you and Sharon and your dates dinner if you are right. I’m on it, I suspect it will take a little time and I will report back what I learn.
investigative reporter and still just a guy
Feb 18, 2007, 4:07 pm
Just one more question (at the moment, anyway):
Do y’all who favor CCDC, Chambers of Commerce, nationwide promotions, etc., really think this is such a crappy town that nobody (visitors or new businesses, for example) would come here if we didn’t spend a lot of money enticing them?
Feb 19, 2007, 7:13 am
Point taken with your Editor’s Note to my last post. I was specifically refering to the corner of 11th and Myrtle, SE corner.
A couple more thoughts came to me. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the police chief or fire chief say “we’re being shorted because of the current tax scheme.” Maybe they can’t say such things because it would be politically incorrect or they might lose their jobs, but I think that would be a big coup to have them say that on camera.
Also, some churches seem to have a lot of money around here, aren’t they exempt from property taxes? Why shouldn’t they have to pay up?
How about some of the elementary schools that have huge playgrounds. I see kids playing on small sections only. The rest of the playground seems to be used only as a doggie bathroom after school hours. Why not sell off that surplus land and get it back on the tax rolls?
EDITOR NOTE–Police are fire are NOT shorted. You and I make up the difference paying a higher share of the budget (levy). Churches and schools are non-profits–taxes paid to CCDC are a subsidy to commercial developers.
Feb 19, 2007, 5:14 pm
I have never written a comment in a “chat room.” However, I feel compelled after encountering this thread. I recently moved from Connecticut to Boise with my family. Downtown Boise is a potential jewel in the making, certainly compared to the urban blight and suburban sprawl I was used to in the Northeast.
I agree that development needs to be done in a measured and fair way, and some of the questions regarding CCDC need to be addressed (as Dave Krick is attempting to do regarding how much of the incremental value goes to CCDC). However, anyone as dogmatic as this site’s editor appears to be gives me the proverbial “willies.” Apparently, if he and other “Idaho is for Idahoan” types had their way, I would not be allowed to be here, even though Boise has been wonderful for me and my family and a “soft place to land” after a difficult move from the East. And without giving too much a way, I provide a valuable service to this community in a specialty field with considerable shortage. Since growth is a fact, the best solution against sprawl is higher density communities amenable to foot traffic and public transportation. Downtown development is exactly what this area needs. It creates a vibrancy lacking in the shopping corriders along Eagle Rd. and Milwaukee. Concentration of people is well known to lead to less overall environmental impact, including usage of energy resources.
You are certainly accurate in your subtitle: a different “slant” on the news. Boise and I don’t need or want you as our “Guardian.”
EDITOR NOTE–Doc, you got it wrong. I agree with most everything you said. I just don’t want to be the one to make a bunch of developers rich at my expense. The whole deal is diverting taxes that should benefit society, not just a few developers.
I welcome you–or any anyone else who wants to make a life here–as long as you pay your own way.
Feb 19, 2007, 5:35 pm
In the process of looking for someone to blame for all the growth going on, I can’t help wondering if the anger ought to be escalated up from the city level to include the reluctance of our legislators to prepare people adequately for the future who were living here long ago.
Had there been support for enhancing the educational offering at the colleges and universities in our state a decade ago by getting ready for today’s employment offerings, there might be less of a demand to bring people from elsewhere to fulfill the needs of business. Even today the elected officials controlling the state budget drag their feet at funding nursing and other such programs — thus forcing the medical community to bring people from the outside to handle the growing health demands of those who have lived here for years.
Same goes for a poor investment in engineering programs that force the high tech firms to bring people from the outside world. In fact, it’d be interesting to identify both employment needs and high paying jobs in Southwestern Idaho and see how many such positions are actually being filled with people educated at home as opposed to elsewhere. (I read where a shortage of teachers is next). I doubt we’ll see growth slow down at all until we are able or willing as a state to educate those already here to fill the high paying (or middle income) jobs that make the area attractive. I’m sure, of course, that the suggested answer by a growthophobe or two will be to just stop providing those jobs that attract people by halting business development altogether.
Hmmm. Maybe that’s just the beginning of many ideas that would keep folks away by making this a truly depressed and low income place to live!
EDITOR NOTE–Read the amendments to existing law included in this bill which seeks to have the Idaho Housing Association (state agency) sell bonds for upper income housing and economic development. These people WANT growth and business, but business isn’t willing to pay its own way. http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/H0198.html#daily
Feb 19, 2007, 10:15 pm
Bill said alot of good things that put it simply what a good downtown means. I don’t agree with his assessment of the BG’s intentions.
I fully understand the diversion of taxes from the normal channels to CCDC. CCDC takes the money to improve streetscapes, parking and purchase land for future uses. The developers then purchase land from either private parties or the CCDC to build upon.
Please explain to me how the developers are subsidized by the CCDC, if the property is purchased at fair market value. The only subsidy I see is CCDC building parking structure instead of the developer. Some developers though are building their own parking (C Squared). Developer subsidized housing is even in the works. There maybe more subsidizing in the funny arrangements with govt’ and developer (Ada Courthouse, Library Blocks). But I fail to see a direct cashflow to developers on standalone buildings.
It seems to me that there are numerous question about how the CCDC operates and how it directly effects citizens and developers alike to the readers.
EDITOR NOTE–There is no cash payment to developers and we have never claimed it.
–First subsidy is the land which CCDC sells at below market rate to encourage development.
–You are correct about parking. New Hampton Inn gets to rent 1/3 of the parking spaces for their exclusive use and pay no construction costs…Ameritel can’t get a deal like that.
–Parking spaces were removed and sidwalk widened for new Spaghetti restaurant near city hall.
In short, we would all like to have the taxes on our homes and the appreciated value of the land stay on our block and get someone else to pay for schools, police, fire, and highways and perhaps build us a covered garage to park in.
Feb 19, 2007, 10:33 pm
Idaho Housing and Finance Association is NOT a state agency. It is a corporate business, public and politic. It was created by the Idaho Legislature, but was given no funding. All budget comes from servicing mortgages and fees for services provided.
IHFA generates about 95 million dollars in revenues annually. After administrative costs the $ must go into an affordable housing trust fund. That money must then be doled back to communities in the form of grants, low interest loans.
A couple of years ago IHFA opened a nonprofit subsidiary to purchase land and accept donated land. IHFA could then do land improvements, sell the land and use the proceeds to provide low income housing.
I read the proposed changes and I see nothing that would indicate bonds for “upper income housing” are being approved. The strike and replace sections that address housing speak to the placement of low income dwellings in subdivisions or developments that are not solely low income.
IHFA is as much a state agency as Idaho Pizza Company.
I normally don’t take exception with the guardian, but in this case the information is wrong.
EDITOR NOTE–I accept everything you say as fact.
They call themselves a “quasi government agency.”
Do the employees get state retirement (PERSI) as state employees? They were created by the legislature and I can tell you Idaho Pizza was not.
This legislation is aimed at one “company”–not the banking industry.
With regard to “higher incomes” I based that on this excerpt from the law:
…”dwelling accommodations need not be solely for persons of low incomes in order to avoid concentrations of such persons in specific
Between you and Sharon we should be able to come up with a good piece to explain who, what, and why on this non- government agency created by the state government. Please help!
Feb 20, 2007, 6:59 am
The Why is because govt. cannot loan money. The excerpt you point out is merely a reference to the desire (read practice) of attempting to disperse low income dwellings among higher income dwellings in subdivisions and neighborhoods to prevent concentrating ONLY low income and creating “projects” as some larger Cities have done. And the answer to the PERSI question is NO, the employees are not eligible for PERSI.
Feb 20, 2007, 7:06 am
The IHFA may be similar in establishment as the Health Districts. The Districts were created by the legislature, but receive no funding from the state – yet the legislature sets the fees the Districts charge for their services.
The Districts are required to hire from the pool of state classified employees (who do participate in PERSI), and they must pay the employees the state-mandated level of wages (including mandated raises). Management conflicts arise when the legislature mandates pay raises (which management wants to do), but at the same time refuses to permit an increase in fees to allow the Districts to cover these additional expenses.
This is not dissimilar to the state universities, whose staff & faculty are state employees – yet where the legislature refuses to increase state contributions. By state law, public universities cannot charge tuition to state residents. The universities must then circumvent this statute by charging “student fees”.
And, ACHD is legally referred to as a quasi-governmental agency.
Sorry… I’m ranting. I guess I’m just saying that if you’re expecting logic from Idaho legislators you’ll be waiting a long time.
Feb 20, 2007, 8:31 am
Idaho Code section 67-6202. “IDAHO HOUSING AND FINANCE ASSOCIATION CREATED. There is hereby created an independent public body corporate and politic to be known as the Idaho housing and finance association.”
IHFA (originally the Idaho Housing Agency) was created by the Idaho Legislature, much like CCDC was created by Boise City.
IHFA and CCDC were both given the authority to sell bonds and incur long-term indebtedness, despite the fact that the Idaho Constitution prohibits such debt without a proper vote of the people.
Since that time, the Legislature has removed the state financial backing of IHFA’s bonds. In other words, if IHFA fails to pay on the bonds it sells, state taxpayers are no longer responsible for making up the difference. That probably helps their case, as far as the constitutionality of the organization’s activities.
It’s been a few years since I was investigating IHFA, but to the best of my recollection, IHFA employees are NOT members of PERSI but do receive other retirement benefits.
IHFA is subject to the Idaho Open Meeting Law, and after a lot of work and a long struggle in the late 1990’s, it is now subject to the Idaho Public Records Law as well, except for salaries of all but their highest level employees. (I would still like to see that exemption changed so that the rest of the salaries were also disclosable but getting them covered by the Public Records Law at all was a big victory at the time.)
IHFA Board members are appointed by the Governor of Idaho, and the Board has two Legislative liaisons who are members of the Legislature.
The differences between IHFA and Idaho Pizza Co. are pretty obvious.
Feb 20, 2007, 9:23 am
Surely there are differences between Idaho Pizza and Idaho Housing. However, my point was that Idaho Housing is not an Idaho State agency, as was reported by the editor earlier. In addition, the legislative changes are NOT intended to allow IHFA to provide high income housing, as was also reported. I believe there are 12 or 13 other states that have created a Housing Association, like Idaho legislature created. Others have created a Housing Authority (like the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority, only on a statewide basis).
I believe the IHFA employees, who are hired independently of any State practice or eligibility lists, do receive retirement benefits…which would make them like most other corporate employees in the valley.
Feb 20, 2007, 10:22 am
Tam, no doubt IHFA is a creature of statute. It is not just another corporation because such does not require an act of the legislature to become a legal entity.
It enables the government to do what is prohibited by the Idaho Constitution. Since it was originally designed to fulfill a needed public policy goal, low income housing, I assume people have had little problem with it.
But lately it looks like this ability has gone far beyond just supplying low income housing. In fact it looks like the GARVEE bonds are sold through IHFA. And the new amendments to the statute vastly expand the entity’s ability to sell bonds for just about any economic development.
To me it looks like they are gutting the Constitutional prohibition on government going into debt. The stated public policy purpose of the bill is almost laughable if it wasn’t so scary when it talks about the necessity of this measure to fill the “urgent need” to expand the economy here in Idaho.
Feb 20, 2007, 10:37 am
Dave, Ameritel could enjoy the same benefits as other hotel operators if they chose to parter with the CCDC or the convention district.
They are excluded by their own choice, and not by any action of others. Unfortunately they have decided to spend an inordinate amount of time whining, complaining, and lobbying directly against the business interests of their competitors (not just in Boise, but also in other parts of Idaho).
Makes one wonder what a great company they might be if they funneled those energies and financial resources into their facilities and marketing.
EDITOR NOTE–You fail to comprehend the point. Change the name to Shilo Inn, Holiday Inn etc. Your message seems to be, “Do it our way or public money will be used to compete against you.” Pretty tough language. I recall the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ameritel when the G-BAD boys illegally used public money for advertising.
Feb 20, 2007, 1:03 pm
Dave, I completely comprehend the point. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean that they lack critical thinking ability. Using your logic then I would contend the message you and the Ameritel boys send is: “Do it our way or we will tie you up in court until you loose the will or lack the resources to move forward.”
What I was stating above is that they have made a CHOICE not to participate. No one has forced their hand. All I’m asking for is that they be responsible enough as corporate citizens to live with their choice and be willing to accept the consequences of that choice.
Last time I looked, both the CCDC and GBAD were conducting business in a manner that is both general accepted in the business world and legal under the Idaho Constitution.
EDITOR NOTE–The supreme court apparently sees it differently.
Feb 20, 2007, 2:16 pm
I really didn’t start this out by trying to defend IHFA. I only wanted to make it clear that:
1. IHFA is NOT a state agency; and
2. The legislative changes cited herein do NOT allow IHFA to fund housing other than low income.
I stand by both of those statements.
EDITOR NOTE–You are cool Tam and I think we have exhausted this thread…toughest one I have ever posted.
Feb 20, 2007, 4:44 pm
Quote–“The supreme court apparently sees it differently.” Dave, while you did win a hard fought battle in the case of the airport parking garage, I haven’t seen any blanket of that same interpretation of the law to the practices of the CCDC. If that were the case, then there are a number of projects that stop work orders should/would have been issued for.
EDITOR NOTE–Let’s see what happens next time they go to sell bonds! If the CCDC is NOT part of the city there is no problem. But the city can’t claim control or oversight if the agency is NOT city.
Conversely, if the CCDC turns out to BE a city agency controlled by council, they MUST obey the constitutional prohibition of long term debt without a vote of the people– which trumps the Idaho Code.
They can play it either way, but not both.
Feb 20, 2007, 6:39 pm
We up north are battling the Lake City Development Corporation(LCDC),Coeur d’Alene’s URA. Their legal counsel is Ryan Armbruster also the CCDC’s legal counsel.
We have found LCDC funding by either direct grant or OPA of high end condo projects for brick exteriors, ornate iron fencing, landscaping and other capital improvemtents normally paid by private money.
How is the Idaho Constitution’s Personal Gain doctrine applied to these types of funding? Tax dollars used for personal gain.
Feb 20, 2007, 7:37 pm
Guardian – maybe Tam and I need to take this conversation offsite! 😉 Tam (or anyone else, for that matter), feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
IHFA is the Idaho Housing AND FINANCE Association, and lately, they have been doing a lot in the finance realm. Someone already mentioned that IHFA handled the sale of the GARVEE (transportation) bonds, but they have also handled the sale of bonds for charter schools, college dorms, and the Shakespeare Festival.
I’m not knocking IHFA here. They have a very capable Executive Director and competent legal counsel. Some of their board members are very capable as well. I only mean to point out that IHFA is hardly just an affordable housing agency these days.
I’ve got to agree with the Guardian’s interpretation here, since the Statement of Purpose of the proposed legislation says:
“These amendments will permit the financing of industrial, commercial, and other projects to promote economic development throughout the state in partnership with private financial institutions and state or local economic development entities and will allow the pooling of loans for such projects to save financing transaction costs.” There’s nothing in there that says, “other than high-end housing.”
Feb 20, 2007, 8:39 pm
From the Boise Weekly interview with Dave Frazier, July 2005:
(Where will you run away to when it gets too crowded?
I’ve lived here for 37 years, and it’s not a fun place to live like it used to be. But I love Boise enough and have enough reverence for it to want to stay and fight.)
Fight for what? Boise has always been a great city to live in and it is even better now than 10 or 15 years ago. Remember downtown back then? Remember the less than attractive airport (thank goodness we have a new airport). Boise has really changed and grown for the best and I look forward to more development downtown regardless of shadows towers cast on the sidewalks.
Kudos to the CCDC and the DBA for the beautiful flower pots all over downtown and for the public art. This is just a sliver of what makes Boise such a great city.
It sounds like to me you have a personal issue and just do not like growth, so you are going to try anything in your power to hinder any kind of progression here in Boise. I am a native Idahoan and am appaled at how you and other natives on this site act. I am appaled at your comment in the Boise Weekly regarding Boise. Take your personal vandetta elsewhere. Boise is going to grow and I look forward to the day there are 5 more towers downtown and a convention center between Front and Myrtle.
Oh and another thing I have noticed is that ANYBODY who goes against your issues or frame of mind is ALWAYS wrong. Just look back through all of the posts from pro-growth citizens and how you respond to them. Boise is becoming a progressive little model city and doesn’t need close minded people with personal issues standing in the way.
EDITOR NOTE–You are an astute follower of the GUARDIAN to realize I am against growth for groth sake. Your wish for more and bigger is coming true. Congratulations Northender!
Feb 21, 2007, 9:29 pm
I am prepared to be majorly slammed, but why are so many posters such bad spellers? (Did I misspell something?)
EDITOR NOTE–Treva, it is much worse than you can imagine. Sometimes I have to admit I don’t take the time to correct them–especially when thay disagree with me! 🙂
Feb 22, 2007, 1:11 am
Yeah, but the Guardian ain’t perfect, either: The following appears in the response to Treva:
“EDITOR NOTE–You are an astute follower of the GUARDIAN to realize I am against growth for groth sake. Your wish for more and bigger is coming true. Congratulations Northender!”
(Of course, I’m not quite perfect, either, I made a mistake once. Well, actually, I thought I did, but I was wrong.)
Butt eye never mak bigg misteaks!
Feb 22, 2007, 3:57 pm
I think Treva has hit on something that older folks like me notice, particularly since spelling was a subject of importance in the “good old days.”
Among the worst (from the standpoint of my willingness to be unforgiving) are the media web sites — particularly TV since they don’t have to spell on the air but only speak for the most part. Fox 12’s site referred to people being “soar” about Eagle’s decision to require a restaurant meet its building code instead of allowing the violation unchallenged.
Even the little headlines that pop up periodically on the screen have misteaks in them. (Just kidding. Make that mistakes). I can overlook a typing error or two, but it does bug me when common words are consistently wrong. (And thanks, Treva, for letting me get this off my chest).
Mar 27, 2007, 9:53 pm
“I recently moved from Connecticut to Boise with my family. Downtown Boise is a potential jewel in the making, certainly compared to the urban blight and suburban sprawl I was used to in the Northeast.”
Bill’s got a great point. Downtown is a potential jewel. But it requires someone to see the big picture. The CCDC is building big expensive condos for people who might come from out of town. Boo-hoo. At least they’ll spend money on fancy refrigerators and cars and add to the sales tax coffers. You ever see how much an $80,000 Mercedes can generate in sales tax at the DMV?
What about the bigger picture? What about a plan for the entire TV that takes into account light rail, affordable housing, creating community spaces, a safe place for bikes to ride, more jobs than just cyclical construction trades, how about taking a look at what works in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, etc and bringing some of that insight to Boise, which is still a clean slate but oh so close to becoming an irreversible mistake in semi-urban planning.
It takes big picture thinking and the people in the right places to make it happen. Progressive thinkers, not Otters.
And for all you posters who keep talking about “out of town” developers, guess again. That enemy lives ten or fifteen minutes from you and was born and raised somewhere in Idaho. If there’s one thing for sure in the “Gem” state, a developer from California isn’t going to waltz across the state line and get his way here. He needs a buddy who knows how Idaho works.
Wonder where those guys come from?
And when are we going to get a decent Italian restaurant downtown? A place that knows how to cook pasta? That’s when this town can say it’s arrived.