Downtown Coppers Cost 25% Of Calls

A recent story in the Daily paper about Boise PD creating (recreating) a downtown precinct strikes a revealing cord, not so much about crime, but about financing crime-fighting coppers.

While ALL of the tax revenue on new buildings and appreciated value on existing structures in the downtown area goes to CCDC, folks on the bench and in newly annexed areas will foot the bill for the new police district planned for downtown.

With 25% of police calls for service originating within the downtown area, a disproportionate amount of money to pay for those services comes from the taxes on property outside that downtown area. Sure, restaurants and bars pay some property tax and they contribute to a “vibrant city,” but they suck up a ton of services.

Any way you cut it, downtown Boise costs more to protect and serve than the rest of the city. We would like to see urban renewal go away and let all that valuable property pay its fair share of taxes. (The owners do pay taxes, but the money goes to CCDC, not Boise city)

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Property tax is archaic and totally unrelated to services received. Tinkering won’t solve the problem.

  2. It could be argued that patrons of downtown bars come from all over the treasure valley so the policing expenses shouldn’t be shouldered by downtown district alone. It’s also arguable that non drinking tax payers begrudge their taxes going towards the significant expenses generated by alcohol consumption and this scenario is a good example of why a well calculated alcohol tax could generate the funding to cover it’s own inherent problems.

    EDITOR NOTE–Some folks miss our point. No doubt downtown has lots of visitors. All we want is for the property taxes already being paid by downtown businesses to go to the city to pay for services. The issue here is the folly of diverting taxes from Boise City when the area is the prime consumer of services.

  3. I heard that Tom Gardner of the “we build it they will come” Gardner Company along with Mayor Dave have openly advocated for MORE and MORE urban renewal designation so he can have more money to develop more – and not pay for local support.

    Part of putting the Computer Sciences dept. in the building next to the Convention Center must be to avoid paying any property taxes – or at least reduce them dramatically.

    More and more building…. less and less taxes to support the load on fire and police…..not good.

    And they want local option taxing authority as well????

  4. Perhaps they can increase civil forfeiture to foot the bill.

  5. “foot the bill for the new police district planned for downtown”

    What are the costs?
    Drawing a circle on a map?

    But no, in fact the Chief wants to hire additional personnel and to have an actual office space.

    Needless and wasteful.
    Give the city money and they will find some way to spend it!

  6. I think there’s some fuzzy logic being applied here. I’m betting most of those arrestees are either urban campers or alcohol related. Either way, most of the crime wouldn’t exist if not for residents of other areas flooding into downtown.

    Why should downtown residents foot the bill for policing those who are coming from out of downtown?

    I say put up immigration checkpoints at all the bridges and at 36th and State like the big border checkpoint separating Tijuana from San Diego. They even have a fast pass called the SENTRI which could aid non-hooligan types to enter Best Boise more quickly.

  7. Aggrieved Party
    May 19, 2015, 2:11 pm

    As a general rule, about one third of any city’s revenue stream is generated from real property tax. The other 2/3rds is fee based.
    The law enforcement budget is part of the “A” budget which is wholly funded by property tax, which is why the loss of post-urban renewal tax increment dollars is felt so profoundly.

    Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is nothing more than a tax shift which can literally stunt or strangulate the budgets of any other taxing entity for up to 24 years!
    School districts got smart and demanded a “post urban” split of the taxing pie and got it. In light of the clear ongoing cost vs loss of budget dollars for law enforcement occasioned by CCDC, why can’t the “powers that be” in law enforcement management demand a similar contribution from TIF dollars?

    For way too long now, Urban increment monies have funded the dreams of the few who populate City Hall (pick any city) at the expense of EVERY TAXPAYER in the county where the these municipalities are located.

    Take away this highly manipulatable CONSTITUTIONALLY QUESTIONABLE financing plan and let market forces drive development! Cities are historic consumers of money who are ill suited to the management of “for profit” businesses.

    Cities have no business being in the business of business!!! Leave business to those whose know business best….which is ANYONE but a City!

  8. Aggrieved Party:

    You want to talk tax shifts? What about the tax shift to build suburban infrastructure since the late 1940s? To the detriment of downtowns nationwide.

    Are you going to look me straight in the eye and claim 100% of suburban roads, parks, schools were paid for by suburban residents? Not a single dime of North End property tax revenue got co-mingled with funds used for suburban benefits? For 50 years?

    Examples: The 2 Parkcenter bridges, The VMP bridge, the Curtis Extension and the Broadway/Chinden Connector were built before the Whitewater Parkway was built. And WWP was proposed back in 1968 at about the same time as those other projects were proposed.

    Don’t forget the Broadway Bridge project which has been needed for at least 15 or 20 years. Why did so many suburban projects get funded before Broadway Bridge? Yes, I know it’s a State project and funded differently.

    And you’re leaving out the fact that URDs sunset and the new improved revenue stream goes back to the general coffers. New revenue which probably would never have existed. New revenue which will keep your suburban taxes from rising even faster.

  9. I often wondered if the cost for police and fire were allocated to property taxes by zip code (or better yet by address) based on pro-rata calls for service if it would influence neighborhoods to improve. Landlords which allow their properties to become slums would be forced to pay more property taxes for the disproportionate public services they receive.

    In over a decade in my neighborhood, never have the police, fire or ambulance been called to my house, as opposed to the halfway house a few streets over, where the police or ambulance are there every day for a crime or medical call. Let that landlord pay triple the property taxes as me, since they consume public services so disproportionately.

  10. ” All we want is for the property taxes already being paid by downtown businesses to go to the city to pay for services”

    There you go making sense again . . .

    Not unlike the “new” CCDC District over by Whitewater Boulevard? The neighborhood schools will see zero of the increased property taxes, with the difference instead going to – you guessed it – the CCDC.

    EDITOR NOTE–Even worse, the increment for new construction and appreciation will ALL be diverted AWAY from schools!

  11. JJ, You are on to something. That is the problem with any property tax going to the county, city or URD. The tax does not match the level of service provided. The gas tax is similar. “Use Fees” are more effective in tying the service expected to the payment(tax). Oregon is doing a trial in replacing the gas tax with a mileage tax. Those who drive more, pay more. The mileage tax would make those hybrids/electrics pay for the some wear and tear on the roads that they are currently avoiding.

    Use Fees would not work for every facet of the government, but could be looked at for some of the emergency services.

  12. Clancy and JJ… That’s the inherent inequity in property tax. It isn’t tied to the cost of services or wealth. It has become more a tax on debt. And owners have no control over property values once they buy. It should be replaced with a system based on cost of services. Clancy, mileage taxes are indeed more fair and many systems exist to implement them. They have been proposed in Idaho for years to no avail.

  13. Funny that you mention neighborhood schools Micheal. See, most of the kids at Whittier Elementary, like over 90% come from Garden City. Why doesn’t Garden City build their own school? Why does Garden City even exist? Boise City handles their building permits and BSD handles their schooling.

    But back to Whittier Elementary, Boise School District can’t even be bothered with the weeds on the sidewalk along Jefferson and Idaho Streets. I asked them about that and their reply— “Not my job.” Yet they can water the street with their sprinklers.

    This is exactly why taxes collected in west downtown should remain in west downtown.

    BSD, ACHD, BFD and others take our taxes and spend it on nice suburban roads and schools and fire stations. You don’t see any weeds growing all over the sidewalk at East Junior High do you? Ditto that for Highlands, Hidden Springs and Riverside Elementary Schools. And ditto the weeds growing all around the 16th St downtown fire station while the station at Harris Ranch is a virtual Taj Mahal.

    EDITOR NOTE–Cynic, perhaps you need your own city councilor.

  14. boisecynic, perhaps you need a weedeater.

    Let’s say, hypothetically “taxes collected in west downtown should remain in west downtown”—- what if west downtown taxes were not enough to cover expenses of west downtown. Then what?

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