CCDC Seeks Expansion Despite Statewide Opposition

Boise’s Urban Renewal Agency–CCDC– seeks to double the acres where property taxes are diverted away from City, County, ACHD, and Schools with a new District in the 30th Street area. They will have to hustle to get ahead of growing opposition. The Daily Paper has a DETAILED REPORT.

Most of these major downtown structures pay NO TAXES to city, county or schools.

Urban Renewal agencies throughout the state have come under fire for not following the Idaho Constitution when it comes to financing debt. Rexburg won a Supreme Court victory which touched off a move by UR opponents to seek legislative changes in the 2011 session. That Eastern Idaho city sought to spend about $11 million for an outdoor swimming pool and go into debt without voter approval.

Even the Republican Party has a plank to bring the UR agencies into line with a state constitutional requirement that local governments must seek voter approval for debt. Current law declares urban renewal agencies to be “independent bodies corporate and politic.”

Once a district is created–usually by a city council–all the taxes on improvements and appreciation are diverted from the coffers of cities, counties, school and highway districts. Meanwhile the rest of the taxpaying public living OUTSIDE the district has to make up the lost revenue.

Worst of all, urban renewal districts have NO OVERSIGHT of any elected governmental body and are totally apart from cities, counties or the State after they are created by a city council.

Nearly all the taxes are diverted from BoDo, the Grove Hotel, and all of the downtown towers built in the past 25 years. The widow on fixed income, families, and others are forced to make up the shortfall in taxes to pay for the police, fire, and municipal services to the area within the urban renewal district.

It may be a noble cause to “renew” blighted areas, but it should be done with assent of those of us who pay the bills and not serve to benefit a select number of developers as is often the case.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I have repeatedly proven that properties in the Fairview/Main corridor already are not paying their fair share of property taxes.

    The Goodman Oil property, a stone’s throw from me, with greenbelt frontage and C2D zoning, pays less property tax per square foot than I do with no greenbelt frontage and a lesser zoning classification. I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure the same is true of the abandoned Bob Rice Ford property.

    I’m coining a term today— Eyesore Exemption. It seems all one has to do to avoid taxes is to create an eyesore, and voila, tax exemption.

    There are at least 4 factors which contribute to the area’s decline and prevent it from ever coming back.

    1) The completion of the Broadway/Chinden connector diverted traffic which used to support businesses on Fairview/Main.

    2) New planning and zoning requirements, implemented since the area’s lots were carved up, such as off street parking and storm water retention basins make it impossible for any redevelopment of those small lots that make up the majority of the area’s land.

    3) ACHD’s widening of 27th in 1974 was a real hatchet job. 27th used to be a nice trolley street like Bannock, and 18th and 24th north of State, and now it’s arguably one of the lousiest streetscapes in all of Boise and one of the busiest residential streets in all of Ada County.

    4) The concrete plant which is now the proposed Esther Simplot Park was part of a compromise in 1972 regarding Boise’s annexation of that land. It could have been zoned park land back then but politics kept it an industrial site in the heart of a residential neighborhood for 4 more decades.

    The government is directly responsible for the area’s urban blight and it should be the government’s job to fix it.

  2. Let’s all hope the Republican dominated legislature can actually do something to curb the abuses of Urban Renewal Agencies in Idaho.

    Last session, 2010, the legislature turned the task over to CCDC and their attorney Ryan Armbruster. The effort wasn’t even a disguised effort to widen the powers of UR agencies. IT was blatant “fox in the hen house” piece of legislation.

    UR agencies impact every county taxpayer where they exist and should therefore have voter oversight and approval of:

    1. Formation of UR agencies

    2. Board members standing for countywide election with defined terms of office.

    3. No public legacy buildings constructed with UR funds without a vote of the people.

    4. Debt instruments mirror the requirements of the Idaho Constitution Article 8 sec.3.

    Urban Renewal has become the tool of choice by Mayors and City Councils all over Idaho to circumvent voter oversight of how property taxes get spent. People need to understand it is a massive shift of property taxes into the hands of a few people having no voter oversight.

    Voters no longer get to vote up or down large capital budget projects in their cities due to UR laws of Idaho.

  3. Rod in SE Boise
    Jul 11, 2010, 1:34 pm

    We need to get the government to stop subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich with oppressive taxes on the poor and middle class.

    Governor Otter: Stop collecting taxes from me and giving the money to people like the late JR Simplot and Steve Appleton, who make enough on their own.

  4. Abuses of Urban Renewal Agencies? Tax revenue has been spent to subsidize suburban expansion for decades. Where’s your outrage over that?

    Not one of you has yet come up with an accounting of what the current urban renewal districts cost you let alone what the new one will. Instead you use appeal to emotion scare tactics.

    Remember, any new businesses or residents attracted to the area will still pay sales taxes, gas taxes, alcohol taxes, income taxes, registration fees and driver’s license fees.

    EDITOR NOTE–Cynic, there is just so much outrage to go around! The GUARDIAN has made it clear we favor a VOTE of the people when it comes to UR funding. We favor the same thing when it comes to annexation against the will of the people being annexed as well as those of us who have to provide services to the “newcomers.”

    It is the politicos who don’t want our voices heard. It was the politicos who mucked up the ownership of the Fairview area purchasing two sites for a police station in a flood plain and then screwing up the trade deal with the Docs for a private hospital that never happened. Even the rock wall is now a doggie kennel!

  5. We can “bitch and moan” all day. The problem is that these jerks (CCDC) were started by city hall and are still the go to group for “plausible deniability” for the mayor and city council! Sure, it’s a lousy idea to start a new UR district, yet everyone at city hall seems to receive a pass from the citizens!

  6. Dr Spiegelvogel
    Jul 11, 2010, 10:23 pm

    Could someone walk me through how revenues generated by a UR agency are diverted from the cities coffers.

    Wouldn’t the UR’s revenue be in addition to a city’s tax revenue?

    EDITOR NOTE– Just as the post explains. ALL TAXES on improvements and appreciated value go to the UR agency and for the duration of the district (currently 24 yrs max) all of the levying authorities forgo their share of taxes whether they like it or not. It is grossly unfair since neither the taxing authorities or the public have any voice in the matter.

  7. Otter is a Simplot relative so what does he care about widows and orphans. I love this debate. And the Republicans are the supporters of urban renewal. How’s that for a twist. In Minnesota, the Republicans don’t care what goes on in the urban area. Their constituency is in bib overalls.

    EDITOR NOTE–Butch is no longer part of the family and the Repubs are against UR.

  8. May I remind everyone that the Republican stacked Idaho Supreme Court just last November ruled in favor of Urban Renewal.

  9. I have an idea, how about we have all the “churches” that own property in prime real estate areas start paying property taxes?

    EDITOR NOTE–Don’t forget those “non-profit” hospitals that dominate our economy.

  10. How much tax revenue does the Eastman building HOLE generate? Fix the HOLE first, talk expansion later.
    Many of the CCDC properties in Downtown Boise will fall into such disrepair because no one is allowed to use them, they will be worth only the land they sit on. An example are the empty buildings on 8th Street/BODO.

  11. The 8th and Main property is now in private hands. CCDC and the City of Boise have nothing to do with it now.

    Exactly what CCDC properties are falling into disrepair because no one is allowed to use them?

    EDITOR NOTE–For clarification there is a difference between CCDC OWNED properties and parcels within the CCDC urban renewal district. Those owned by CCDC generate NO TAXES, those within the district are taxed at the usual rate, but revenues go to CCDC.

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