G-BAD Seeks To Skirt Voter Approval For Debt

The Greater Boise Auditorium District (G-BAD) is tiptoeing around the law once again. This time they are aiming to deprive voters of their constitutional right to approve long term debt for a $38 million dollar kitchen and ballroom.

Article VIII, Sec 3 of the Idaho Constitution requires a vote of the people to approve debt. G-BAD lawyers have formulated a convoluted plan to have CCDC go into debt (which it can legally do), but not use CCDC funds–all on behalf of the auditorium district.

The plan as it stands now is to launder a loan through the Capital City Development Corp (CCDC). The terms of the so-called lease agreement call for CCDC to sell 24 year bonds in the amount of $22 million using the G-BAD credit and ability to repay.

G-BAD figures they can somehow convince a judge through a “judicial confirmation” petition they will merely be leasing the “project” on an annual basis. The project is actually a condominium portion of the new building proposed by the Gardner development group of Zion Bank fame.

The lease agreement blatantly uses an interest and principal component and even bases the rental payments on the cost of the bonds. Those close to the project refer to the CCDC role as a “pass through” which will not use tax money diverted from schools, city, county, and ACHD to fund urban renewal.

In layman terms the deal is like renting a house with the intent of owning it after making payments for 24 years, but using someone else’s credit rating and including a “non-appropriation” clause which says you don’t have to pay the rent.

Even though the intent is to OWN the project after 24 years, G-BAD is asking a judge to find they are not really going to PURCHASE the project, just LEASE it and magically get title at the end.

Ada County Treasurer Vicky McIntyre testified at a G-BAD public hearing last Wednesday and told the board she is a frequent purchaser of bonds on behalf of Ada County, but would never invest in bonds which have a “non-appropriation” clause and call for a third party to ultimately own the project.

GUARDIAN editor David R. Frazier also testified before the board urging them to hold an election as mandated by the constitution. He said the project at $38,000,000 was “so profound it deserves the vote of citizens, not just a single judge.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. The convention center is in the original CCDC area, which is set to expire in a few years. How can 24 year bonds be sold if the entity selling the bonds won’t exist for 24 years?

  2. Grumpy ole Guy
    May 26, 2014, 5:51 pm

    Hold the vote. Any cost of the election will be worth the price of good will of the electorate. The people deserve a say.

  3. This sounds like another “63-20” corporation scheme similar to what the North Idaho College Board of Trustees did in Coeur d’Alene. I explained the scheme here. The benefit to whomever loans the money is that if it is loaned to a nonprofit organization, the interest paid to the bank is free from federal tax.

  4. There’s a bigger issue at play. I don’t think there has been such a narrow minded and singular focus from City Hall since the days of the downtown mall project. Indeed, this smells like a downtown mall project Version 2.0. Want proof? All 6 councilors and the Mayor approved the bike lane project? Seriously? Not one disagreed even though public sentiment is 50/50 at best? Not one of them is listening to their constituents?

    The city council, through years of appointing its sycophants every time a councilor retires has given us this narrowly focused single minded entity we now have. I hardly think the current council really represents more than a small percentage of Boise. And anyone who has read this forum for a long time knows that I’ve opposed the Guardian’s views 90% of the time. But times change. The current proposal at The Grove is dubious at best.

    Anyway, the big picture is that Boise City Council needs to be expanded. And, no more appointments. If a councilor retires then that seat should remain vacant until the next election.

    Commissioner Baker; Didn’t ACHD expand from 3 to 5 commissioners in the not so distant past?

    Boise City has had 6 councilors, as far as I can tell, since 1890. Truth is, it’s been so long that not even the paid historians know. The population has grown by nearly 200,000 and therefore our vote is worth a fraction compared to those who lived and voted 100 years ago. How is this justifiable?

    Guardian and others, though it may have its own problems, the easiest route to solving the current lack of debate at city hall is to add elected debaters to the council and end appointments to replace retirees.

    EDITOR NOTE–ACHD was expanded in an effort to get rid of commissioner Gary Richardson who was a bike advocate (still is). The legislation was orchestrated by Boise City by the previous mayor who instructed the city lobbyist to get a law which had reps from specific geographical districts (wards). That way they could get specific demographics and not have a countywide vote. Currently we citizens cannot vote for 80% of the members.

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