C. College Vote Means Windfall For CCDC

Unless someone can prove differently, the GUARDIAN is of the opinion that approval of the Community College ballot measure will mean yet another windfall profit for Boise’s urban renewal agency, CCDC (Capital City Development Corp).

Here’s how it works. Under the tax increment financing scheme that funds the CCDC (and urban renewal agencies around the state), property taxes on improvements and appreciation go to the urban renewal agency– NOT to the schools, cities, and highway districts.

Unless the Community College supporters were able to slip something into the law, it appears to us that a vote for a community college will mean increased revenues for urban renewal agencies in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, etc.

Several years ago Boise passed a “Foothills Levy” which raised $10 million for preservation of the foothills. When the GUARDIAN editor raised this windfall profit issue, the CCDC and the Coles administration quietly cut a back room deal to have the CCDC reimburse the city for revenues it received as a result of the increased levy.

While it was “morally right” to give Boise the foothills portion of CCDC tax revenues, it was illegal to spend funds outside the urban renewal district for non-urban renewal purposes. CCDC was actually purchasing foothills land.

Allowing the CCDC to pick and choose which taxes it wishes to ignore and which ones it wishes to honor (pay) sets a dangerous precedent. These people are not elected and it is not within their legal authority to make such decisions.

A similar situation exists in Coeur d’Alene where the school district is asking voters to approve a bond election. Local opponents of urban renewal funding are forcing the school district to inform voters that urban renewal districts will benefit from passage of the school bond because the urban renewal folks get to KEEP the tax increase that should go to the school bond.

Before we get in any deeper, it is important clean up the urban renewal laws as well as better define the community college proposal.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Please excuse my ignorance. What does CCDC stand for? It made reading the article much less meaningful to me, which was kind of wierd.

    EDITOR NOTE–CCDC is the Capital City Development Corp. It probably doesn’t help much more, but it is a “quasi government agency.” Mayor appoints all members with consent of council.

  2. So who is sending out the absentee ballot requests along with the promotional material for the college vote? Someone is using money to buy votes!

    If we need a community college let the statehouse folks fund it as a part of the normal process. Let’s not create yet another one-off funding scheme!

  3. Dave, I need to be walked through this once more — slowly. I think I know what you’re telling us but it’s a little murky — oh, as is CCDC, whose proper name I can never remember either.

    And, to Mad Voter, the last time I looked, a community college is established by a local taxing district. At least that’s what it always has been.

    I wish someone in the media would do a comprehensive piece on how the two community colleges we have were established and how they opperate today. And also give us the background on Boise Junior College (the old name for community colleges), which had a taxing district until the bonds were paid off in the 1970s, after the school had become Boise State University.

  4. Carol: CCDC stands for Citizens Controlling the Dollars of the City. I think the Editor slightly mis-spoke. CCDC is more of a ‘quagmire govenment agency’ than it is a ‘quasi govenrnemnt agency’. The beauty of CCDC is that ‘nothing is impossible for a few appointees controlling the revenue generated by all Boise citizens’. It protects our elected officials from the unpleasantries of having to govern and having to be responsible to the citizens for the decisions made. Private business cannot run this way but elected officials trying to insulate themselves thrive on it.

  5. I think that Dave is absolutely correct on this. Until the time expires on the tax increment (which may have been extended) CCDC, the downtown Urban Renewal Agency (which has extended its boundaries twice, I think, since it’s original 12 block downtown area) does receive the tax monies generated in those urban renewal areas.

    I believe these areas now extend down the connector to Broadway and to 15th St. I’m not sure of the northern boundary but the southern boundary does include all of BODO, perhaps it’s River St. This is a large area.

    Boise City, Ada County and the incomparably corrupt ACHD receive nothing over the baseline until the tax increment time expires. Then they would get all the taxes from then on, leading some in the past to claim that it would be a windfall, which of course it would not be.

    I often thought that once the taxes raised serviced the garage bonds, paid the administration and the maintenance, then a rebate should be given back to the main taxing districts. What happended instead, of course, was the extension of the tax exempt, urban renewal districts. Using money from one district in another may not have been kosher. Perhaps that’s the topic of another study Dave? Or at least an article that might be picked up by the Statesman after it’s written by someone who actually does research!

  6. To paraphrase…

    All that bad people need to succeed, is for good people to bitch and moan. And then do nothing.


  7. Sara, that’s a pretty good analysis of how TIF has been applied here recently – including its failures.

    However, I beleive TIF, when properly applied, is an investment in the long-term vitality of a place. Without it, the parking garages, streetscapes and public squares would not be built and development would not occur. When the bonds are paid off, police and fire and other local governments will get their tax revenues back – and much more, as the value of the property will have increased considerably due to the TIF-funded improvements.

    True, the demands for service will also have increased. But I contend that run-down properties generate their own demands for police and fire service and none of the needed tax revenues. Run-down commercial properties also threaten the surrounding neighborhoods with decay, making them less attractive to middle-class families, who flee to the suburbs. TIF is one tool local governments have available to them to fight urban decay – again, when it is used correctly.

    TIF has its proper time and place and has been used to good overall effect. I want to live in a city that has a TIF-assisted skyline like the one shown above, not one full of decaying strip malls.

  8. I am wondering what kind of oversight on CCDC there is, and who gets to see their books so the people (usins)can get a better idea as to how the money they take in is spent. Also,how much money does the CCDC board members get paid.

    EDITOR NOTE–Board members serve without pay. Books are a public record, but the council has been woefully negligent in oversight role. That is supposed to change Tuesday (tomorrow) when councilor David Eberle calls for a “performance audit” of CCDC.

  9. Candace Brown
    Apr 16, 2007, 2:41 pm

    This is the ridicoulous! It seems that Dave is trying to tar and feather CCDC, but let’s now use the community college issue as a pawn. This is two VERY seperate issues.

  10. Of course wonk, TIF has it’s place in the pantheon of economic development. It was started as a spark to get things moving downtown, I don’t think it was envisioned as the be all and end all forever. However, at one point I know for a fact that the taxes collected were more than enough to provide rebates to the taxing districts. CCDC never acted on that suggestion.

    I think an investigation would show that taxes from the original area have subsidized the new urban renewal areas. I don’t believe that was in the spirit of the TIF law and it may not have been in the letter of that law either.

    Regardless. You seem to be one of those that think that once the increment wears off there will be some huge “windfall”. The taxing entities will not get their money “back”. Those taxes are gone forever. In fact, those forgone taxes were borne by the rest of the community for the fifteen or twenty years of the TIF.

    I believe the CCDC, after losing the ridiculous dream of a mall downtown in 1986, has done some good work. And many of the projects, like the Grove Plaza and the first parking garage (Capitol Terrace) were real leaps of faith which then sparked the renaissance in new and refurbished buildings downtown. But the extension of the district to the County Building to finance their parking garage, which only gives the first 10 minutes free, was not the most appropriate of uses. And I think that BODO would have happened without the help of the CCDC.

    In any event, trying to get people to vote for a community college district, when quite a bit of money goes to an unaffiliated entity and not telling people that is what is going to happen – is just wrong.

  11. This may be a little off topic but still relevent to the discussion.

    Mark Rivers op-ed piece in the Daily

    He has some good ideas and vision that I see lacking with our current leadership. He is probably too growth friendly for most here. And either he doesn’t understand the Tax increment financing or he is drumming up more business(taxes) for CCDC. Here is a quote from that article.

    “Downtown can expand west to the river, along the Fairview and Main corridors, where land is less expensive. Thoughtful planning and ingenuity can create a vital new neighborhood of appeal and a significant new tax base.”

    EDITOR NOTE–Clancy, he said the same thing about the Library condo project and it simply was not true. I am told he knows full well there is no new tax base for the city–only CCDC.

  12. Depot Bill said it all in few words. I’m all for increased education but not so CCDC can fatten it’s paunch. CCDC is nothing but a cover for an irresponsible city government that wants to promote mis-use of taxpayer funds by an unelected agency. I’ve got an idea for a new logo for CCDC! A large picture of the massive “Hole in the Ground” at 8’th and Main” should embellish their main entrance with the Motto ” CCDC at it’s Best!”

  13. Candice – Dave is dead right and the two issues are in fact VERY connected.

  14. Mad Voter, and to anyone who’s voiced concern, the Community College Yes campaign is sending out the absentee requests along with the promotional materials about the campaign. This is NOT paid for by the government or by some shadowy entity. The campaign raises donations like any other campaign and it pays for ads and things like absentee ballot requests.

  15. Vicki said that the Community College Yes (CCY) is simply raising donations to fund its campaign efforts. A LOT of money I might add. Multiple radio spots and 4 color mass mailings cost someone a bunch of moola. So in the interest of no “shadowy” entities, let CCY publish the names of their top 50 donors (over $100.00 lets say) along with their donations. The public can then decide if there are any shadows that need illuminating. Is anyone taking bets on whether we ever see such a list?

  16. Yes,Everybody! Let’s send out a lynch mob for those EVIL people who are trying to bring a community college to the Treasure Valley! And, if CCDC is doing something wrong, let’s make EVERYONE pay (no affordable education for our kids!)

  17. Gemma Risher
    Apr 18, 2007, 8:22 pm

    I bet it’s the mafia! Or, maybe some Mexican drug runners. You know those groups, they are always trying to secretly inflict community colleges on we poor citizen.

  18. Candace, please calm down. The problem is with CCDC, not your noble cause. However, your absentee ballot mailing and your promoters listing Simplot, Micron, Albertson give one pause. If BSU rids itself of those with low grades and the VoTech kids, will Dr. Bob reduce his budget request? You folks just have too many unanswered questions.

  19. Gemma and Candace–If you were my girls we would be having some CHARM SCHOOL lessons right now. Forget about community college, neither of you is ready for that kind of higher education.

  20. Mom – thank GOD you aren’t my mom! By your comments, it appears that you didn’t make it past third grade.

    And, Mr. Logic in response to Candace’s comments. . .yes! You get it! CCDC is the problem. It’s TWO seperate issues. Thank you!

  21. PS. I just did a search on community colleges/charm school. I found many that did offer charm classes. I can’t wait! Mom, when we get a community college, I promise to sign up ASAP. 🙂

  22. Mr. Logic, can you please tell us what we should be supporting? Also, my daughter was one of those low grade kids at BSU a few years ago. She just didn’t transition into college well. But, she transferred to No. Idaho college, then to WSU, then to Harvard for law school, then to a Fortune 10 company. So, let’s lay off insulting kids who have low grades or want VoTech educations.

    It doesn’t mean they are losers. My other daughter tried to get into BSU, but she was put on a waiting list for the nursing program. A community college would most likely MAKE ROOM at BSU so more of our kids in Idaho can get an education.

    EDITOR NOTE–You must be proud! WIth regard to the nursing program, the problem there is from having such a well run program that is popular with students and employers (hospitals and docs). There are just a limited number of slots available and the graduation ratio is very high once they get
    in. There are just too many factors on this issue to offer informed opinion at this point. One solution would be to EXPAND BSU nursing rather than duplicate it.

  23. Dave – I think that is a great point, but what I would like to see is that we have a community college option for nursing because it is much more affordable. Then, my daughter could transfer into the BSU program. When I compare So. Idaho and No. Idaho against BSU’s credit hour price, it appears to be less than half. Why shouldn’t our kids have the local opportunity to start their college experience at half the price of a 4-year/many of the for-profit options? I know many, many successful people who have gone to a community collge first and then transferred to a 4-year to finish up. Yes, you can make the case that we need to do some more investigation I guess, but it’s my understanding that we’ve been holding up a community college for at least two decades. Enough is enough. Let’s give our kids a chance! No. Idaho and So. Idaho seem to be well run institutions and I trust that the process will be the same for a Treasure Valley-based community college. Bottom line, let’s invest in our kids like other states have done.

  24. Expanding BSU’s nursing program is not enough. Why have to pay Boise State’s high prices, just to become a nurse? Qualified students can go on to become nurses as half the price of BSU. This community college is a no brainer … I don’t see why anyone would object to something inexpensive and of a high quality. This isn’t 1970 … the Treasure Valley is the largest area in the country without a community college. Why lag behind everyone else?

  25. Vicki, actually the Treasure Valley does have a community college. There is a branch of Treasure Valley Community College in Caldwell. Now it doesn’t get taxpayer funds and for some reason it’s not good enough for those who want a taxpayer funded community college, but it does a good job. And, guess what? it wants to expand – at no cost to you or me or the taxpayer behind the tree!

  26. Sara, actually you’re right. There is another community college in the Treasure Valley … it’s Treasure Valley Community College of Oregon.

    But let’s think about this: how would you like the Oregon Board of Education telling Idaho kids what they should learn?

    When it comes to the fact of TVCC deciding curriculum, and they have to make a decision about whether to expand in Ontario or Nampa/Caldwell, who do you think they’re going to choose? Oregon taxpayers are not going to fund an expansion into Idaho. Would you want your Idaho tax dollars going into Oregon?

    And Sara, I’m sorry, but TVCC does not do a good job. Especially if you’ve seen their course offerings and what little they offer. There’s room for the TVCC “branch” and there’s room for a real college in the Treasure Valley.

  27. TVCC does do a great job – and, sends our money to Oregon. Yes, a local community college would take some tax payer dollars. A very minimal amount compared to what will be brought into the Treasure Valley if we have a cc here. From what I have found in my research, the benefits FAR outway the cost to the taxpayers.

  28. Gemma, They may take our money to Oregon but really how much can it be. The major costs are the teachers/professors who just may live in Idaho. The students probably live in Caldwell/Nampa/Meridian, just like they would with a “real” Idaho CC. So they pay taxes in Idaho. And really, if TVCC is providing the education – well, isnt’ that what it is all about? I mean, the ad infinitum ads are trying to sell the taxpayer financed community college on the basis it provides education.

    And by the by, we don’t know how much the taxpayers are going to be taxed. This election is just to pick those commissioners that will decide how much to tax us. And since all the taxes in all the tax increment urban renewal areas in Boise and Nampa are off limits to the college, it will probably be more than anyone thinks.

    Meanwhile, TVCC will do it without taxpayer dollars. I think that’s a good deal.

  29. Sara, I was wondering the same thing . . .how much is this going to cost me? So, last month I called the Idaho State tax commission and they referred me to this site:

    There is a chart there that shows how minimal the property tax implications are. I was shocked at how low it was. According to this chart, it’s a no-brainer to have our own community college. I’ve also heard some strong rumors that local businesses and maybe private foundations are going to chip in to offset the cost, which could result in even more signficantly lower cost to us.

    And, even if the dollars that go back to Oregon from TVCC are minimal, why shouldn’t we keep those dollars in Idaho? I live in the Nampa-Caldwell area and we could use any boost to our economy we can get. Again, I’m not bashing TVCC. I think they can continue to have a strong role in Idaho. But, I would really like to have a LOCALLY controlled community college in the Treasure Valley.

  30. It’s sad to see people like Sara continue to cling to the fantasy that TVCC is adequate for the Treasure Valley. But, like those who still believe Saddam caused 9/11, some myths persist.

  31. Gemma, that web site is a pro community college website. Right now we have no way of knowing what the true cost to the property tax will be because the vote is only to pick commissioners.

    And Vicki – what does Saddam and 9/11 have to do with this discussion? And is your position so weak that you finally must resort to name calling?

  32. Don’t see any name calling here. A myth is a myth, and you are perpetuating one. My position is not weak whatsoever. TVCC is inadequate and not comprehensive. Your viewpoint is flawed in that in your zeal to avoid progress you cling to a fantasy that Treasure Valley Community College will somehow move on from the minor “branch” that it is to a full service community college.

    The people of Oregon are not going to fund that.

    Sorry if bringing in 9/11 offends anyone, but sometimes when issues are important, these kinds of analogies must be drawn. And yes, this IS important enough to the Treasure Valley to be passionate about it. Our students deserve no less.

  33. Sara – Look at the link! Yes, it’s on a pro-cc site, but the link I referred you to is the property tax impact estimates that were calculated by THE IDAHO STATE TAX COMMISSION (not the host site organization). Wake up and do your research! It seems like you are just arguing to argue.

    The rest of us have either researched this issue or have been directly impacted by the lack of local cc (I have done both). With the Micron CEO’s comments this past week (that they don’t need to expand or invest in the US), the Treasure Valley needs to think about how it will survive if we lose/downsize a company like Micron.

    PS – And, Sarah, I think Vicki was just making the point that many people commenting on this issue seem to have their heads up the clouds (i.e. she was making an analogy). I, on the other hand, think people have their head up something else. This really is NOT a controversial issue.

  34. Gemma, the desire to HAVE a community college is not overly controversial… who will provide it and how it will be funded apparently IS controversial.

    As for cost estimates provided by the Idaho State Tax Commission, or anyone else for that matter, how often are those accurate? Does anyone remember how University Place was supposed to work? Or the Ada County Courthouse financing scheme? Or has anyone noticed that the GARVEE bonds are suddenly funding only a fraction of the road projects that were promised?

    A local community college could be paid for with existing funding if the entrance standards were raised for the relatively costly university system, and the universities stopped offering remedial classes.

  35. As Sharon Ullman said, FUNDING of a local Community College is controversial. And to correct a possible misstatement by Sara, Ada County kids going to TVCC apparently can and do receive direct funding from Ada County government (check with Ada County on this). The extent that this program is known may be another story, but it apparently does exist.

    Ada County homeowners, among those in other areas, have been quite vocal about wanting a reduction in their escalating property taxes. Add to this that our Seniors and other fixed income folks are especially vulnerable to the present no-holds-barred property taxation scheme.

    While a local Community College (Junior College) may be a desirable goal to many, the ballot measure itself sure doesn’t shed any light on who pays how much and for how long. In fact, don’t look for any details in your Absentee Ballot as there are none – zip zero.

    There isn’t even a simple statement indicating that a vote FOR establishing the community college district is a vote FOR creating a TAXING DISTRICT with the power to levy taxes on real property owners. That is very controversial in my humble opinion.

  36. Sharon – I’m reposting my earlier post. . .my family has been directly impacted by not having an affordable cc option in the Treasure Valley and I’m offended by your reference to not offerring remedial classes. Your comments are great, actually. You’ve made the case that we DO need a CC here. College is not just for the rich and genius-IQ’d kids. Maybe we should just make more room in the prisions. That will show our kids!

    And, I think that if we use the same model as has been used for No and So Idaho cc – things will be fine – the system has already been worked out. It’s working! It’s not like we are trying to do something in the state that is unprecidented. So, those comparisons you make are like comparing apples and organes.

    Gemma’s earlier post –

    Mr. Logic, can you please tell us what we should be supporting? Also, my daughter was one of those low grade kids at BSU a few years ago. She just didn’t transition into college well. But, she transferred to No. Idaho college, then to WSU, then to Harvard for law school, then to a Fortune 10 company. So, let’s lay off insulting kids who have low grades or want VoTech educations.

    It doesn’t mean they are losers. My other daughter tried to get into BSU, but she was put on a waiting list for the nursing program. A community college would most likely MAKE ROOM at BSU so more of our kids in Idaho can get an education.

    EDITOR NOTE–You must be proud! WIth regard to the nursing program, the problem there is from having such a well run program that is popular with students and employers (hospitals and docs). There are just a limited number of slots available and the graduation ratio is very high once they get
    in. There are just too many factors on this issue to offer informed opinion at this point. One solution would be to EXPAND BSU nursing rather than duplicate it.

  37. Carlos – Again, I think you are making this too complicated. They aren’t tryng to recreate the wheel, here. There are two existing cc’s in Idaho. Let’s us that model.

  38. Gemma – I’m not sure why you were offended by my comment that the state’s taxpayer-subsidized and costly university system should not offer remedial classes. It shouldn’t. Are you arguing that it should?

    Why should we, as taxpayers, subsidize the re-education efforts of students who didn’t learn what they should have in high school? To add insult to injury, BSU has high drop-out rates for first-year students. So what is it that our public funds are buying for us?

    Remedial classes could be offered in a night school or community college setting far more cost effectively. Administration and faculty costs could be significantly reduced, since CC faculty would not have to have the advanced degrees found desirable within the university system.

    I am not arguing against the VALUE of having a local community college. My concern is who will pay for it.

  39. Gemma – I’m sincerely not wishing to complicate the issue. We are being asked to vote for the creation of a brand new Taxing District with the power to add taxes to our bills. The proponent’s mailers and radio spots have offered little or nothing in the way of “taxation” or other financial facts. The financial impact on our wallets is simply unknown.

    The Ballot Measure sent out by Ada County doesn’t add any information for voters. Are you suggesting that we taxpayers shouldn’t ask questions about this proposal because to do so complicates the issue?

    I know nothing about the “model” you referred to and the proponents of this measure have made no effort to educate me. The Ballot Measure itself makes no effort to educate me. You apparently consider financial questions to be complications. OK, I think I get it. Let’s keep this very simple. A simple YES or NO will do. No problemo.

  40. Actually, just the opposite – the finacial questions are simple. People are trying to panic everyone about the cost, when it really isn’t an issue. I am against huge property tax increases myself, but the community college issue doesn’t fit into the huge category. . .apples and oranges. And, the model is – just as I keep saying – No. and So. Idaho colleges. THE MODEL DOES EXIST – AND, HAS BEEN WORKING FOR YEARS. Let me ask everyone a question. . .if the added tax is inline with the estimates the state tax commission release, would that be palatable? According to the estimates, it looks to be no more that $50 a year. Is that really too much to ask for our kids in the Treasure Valley?

    And, Sharon – I’m not going to dignify your “remedial” thoughts with any comments. What a snoot.

  41. BSU Employee
    May 23, 2007, 1:47 pm

    What I keep hearing over and over again, both in ads and in this thread, is that a Community College will help expand the nursing program and allow more nurses to get an education. The type of skilled nurses that are currently needed are NOT going to get any help from a Junior College. Upper division credit hours and nurses with advanced degrees are seriously lacking. Allowing for more entry level nursing classes will do nothing to alleviate the nursing shortage. The supporters merely jumped on the bandwagon of a nursing shortage and ran with it. Give Me A Chance!!

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