City Government

Boise Taxpayer Challenges City Budget

Richard Rogers is mad as hell and doesn’t want to take it anymore–especially when it comes to Boise property taxes. After he got his property tax assessment and estimated tax he called the Mayor’s Hotline to complain. Here is the gist of what he said.


My city taxes are going up 18.1% and that is ridiculous. I don’t mind a modest increase based on the inflation index or something like this, but this is just unreal.

I am concerned about selling assets; 230 acres, I sell for somewhere around $11 million and that figures out $48,000 an acre. That is way less than what most properties are being assessed for in this valley, and I think the city is being ripped off at that rate.

If the city is going to be selling assets, any money from the sale of those assets should be returned to the taxpayers… because initially the taxpayers’ money was used to purchase this asset; it’s only fair.

The city’s proposal was to take this money from these assets and then use it to fund new growth in the city, new projects. Once again the city is getting around taking these issues to the citizens for their approval as required by Idaho Code. This is a terrible injustice to the residents of the city. I believe that if you take it to the people and they want, they will fund it.

With respect to the White Water Park; we have excellent white water available within an hours drive from the City of Boise. We don’t need such a park here. Other cities around the country don’t have this great white water at such a reasonable distance. It’s a waste of taxpayer’s money and it should be taken from the budget.

With respect to other city park activities, there’s a host of city parks that are platted out and the land just sits there and no money has been put into those. If anything the city should be looking into further development of those parks.

Regarding Boise City Hall West Fire and Police Station, as I pointed out earlier in an email to City Hall, this is money that should have been approved by the residents of the city. It’s another way of escaping a bond issue. The city set aside money from the taxpayers’ dollars in the budget to fund these facilities. Now they want $2.5 million to furnish this building. Once again the taxpayers need to approve these types of expenditures. I don’t understand what’s going on here.

The youth center, $600,000, once again needs to be approved by the taxpayers, not the Mayor and City Council. Additional money for the libraries at two new locations totaling several million dollars; once again you don’t take the money out of one pocket; the residents need to approve these things.

The fee increases for dogs; I’m against that as there are no fees for the numerous cats running around in this city and there’s no control on them at all. You need to start putting a license fee on cats and leave the rest of the pets at the existing rate. Let’s get real here; there are more cats out damaging people’s property than any dogs.

Regarding airport runways; I’m having a real problem with this concept. I don’t doubt the runways need to be repaired to keep up with today’s standards, but if the airport could raise the fees for the parking garages and such, why can’t they just generate the money from the increased fees to handle the cost of improving the runways? The rehab center – once again I have made comments on this subject to the Mayor. You have to have after-care. You’ve got to change their environment; you’ve got to be able to offer them help in reestablishing themselves into the community. If not, most of the people will return to their destructive environment. This is a no-brainer. I guess if you’re going to do rehab, which I’m in favor of, you’ve got to have the after-care.

Citizens statewide are tired of their tax increases being out of control. I urge the city to develop some caution here, and to have a modest increase of maybe 4-5% instead of the 18.1% that I’m seeing. I also think the city needs to be up front on showing exactly what the amount of money is being brought in on new growth as compared to what is based upon the existing tax base.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. What we need is a group of citizens to form and fund an independent “watchdog organization.” Said group would monitor the city’s every move with respect to budgets, funding, expenditures and general cash flow. Whenever discrepancies such as the ones you spoke of occur, the group would complain (via certified mail) and attempt to solicit a written response from the city.

    If the response is either inadequate or lacking, the group would file suit. I, for one, would be willing to donate a sizable amount of cash toward the funding of said group. In summary, the group would basically litigate the city into compliance.

  2. Colleen Fellows
    Jul 23, 2007, 7:57 pm

    Concerns regarding property taxes are best directed toward the Ada County Assessor’s office, not the Boise City Mayor’s office. Yes, mine went up as well, but so did general values associated with lot valuation. Unfortunately, from what I can tell, it is not out of step with what lots are selling for these days in my community. Mr. Rogers is suggesting that if new programs or new city amenities are developed with said tax dollars, the taxpayers should be the ones that give the thumbs up or down. This May, voters in Ada and Canyon Counties did just that in the community college vote, and yes, yours and my property taxes are reflecting said vote. And admittedly, I voted in favor of the hike.

    Mr. Rogers also asks that taxes not be levied on existing residents, to pay for new growth. I whole-heartedly agree. Growth should pay for itself, especially when it is not contiguous with existing development. That being said, I would hope that Mr. Rogers voices his discontent with The Cliffs development slated for Hammer Flats in eastern Ada County. With current development access plans, two possible entrance points are considered, both of which would place the bulk of the exorbitant construction cost directly on the shoulders of the Ada County taxpayer.

    While I agree that citizens should be intently involved in their government, to suggest as Mr. Payne does, that we should litigate the city into compliance overlooks several very important things. Litigation ties up both time and money necessary for program operation and project implementation in a timely fashion, adds to the overall cost of operation, and in the end costs taxpayers, ie. you and me, more while slowing the services we need. Too many people these days are far too happy to jump on the litigation bandwagon.

    EDITOR NOTE–Not to take the floor for Mr. Payne, but I think his message is, “They won’t listen to us at public hearings or calls to the Mayor’s hotline so maybe they will listen to a court order….your arguments against litigation are very sound none the less.

  3. Bob Blurton
    Jul 23, 2007, 8:05 pm

    Skyrocketing taxes are a result of oil prices rising. As they continue to rise, cities with brain-dead, clueless, corporate puppet mayors like Bieter will continue to try and operate like nothing has changed.

    Austin Texas is the latest in a long line of US and world cities that have declared ‘Peak Oil’ to be an urgent emergency. The cheap energy party is coming to a close, but relatively few in America know about it. This is because our information comes from a corporate owned and operated media that knows the risk of this knowledge in a ‘happy consumer wonderland’. If folks knew very bad times were right around the corner, they would start buying gold and hoarding food, money, gasoline and bullets. …Goodby economy.

    The future won’t be about ‘how do we keep our cars running’, it will be about finding enough food to keep from starving to death.

    As for the whitewater park, they pay for themselves in two years and keep on paying the local economy. Of course, that is in the old, car driven, luxury economy that is about to go away forever.

  4. So, if I understand correctly, Mr. Payne would rather pay someone to watch over someone we have elected?? Sounds to me that we would be better off if we actually used the voting booth. I believe that we will choose our next mayor and three members of the city council on less than 40,000 votes. If we would all just remember when these folks screw around with our money and then hold them accountable, the problem would be solved.

  5. M. Minicucci
    Jul 29, 2007, 1:17 pm

    I encourage all interested residents to attend the City public budget hearings on August 14, 2007. This is your opportunity to ask questions and comment on the City’s proposed budget. The most effective comments address specific budget items: for instance my question is the item in the budget that calls for the taxpayer to pay for street lights on the new Boise River bridge so that they match the street lights in Harris Ranch. I also question why the City pays the utilities’ ACHD fees because the franchise agreements between the City and the utilities allow for those payments. This isn’t really a budget question, since the negotiations for franchise agreements are a seperate process, but it does not seem to serve the taxpayer to give a utility a monopoly on services, then help it with its business expenses.
    I hope everyone had the chance to listen/watch to the webcast of the budget hearings. It was a great opportunity to understand some of the nuts and bolts of developoing a municipal budget. There are certainly plenty of questions that can be asked about this budget, and I encourage everyone to bring their specific concerns to the attention of the Mayor and Council on August 14th.

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