Ada County To Sever Ties To CCDC

Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho. ada county courthouse, ada county, courthouse, boise, idaho, court, government, buildingMost folks are unaware that Boise City’s urban renewal agency owns the Ada County Courthouse through a convoluted “lease” agreement which was used to deny voters the right to approve or reject the debt.

Capital City Development Corp (CCDC) financed the courthouse, but now the current Commishes are aiming to pay off the thinly disguised debt with a mid-August payment within the current 2015 budget. We applaud the move and hope the current Commishes will go to the voters for approval of future “profound projects” as required by the Idaho constitution.

Here is today’s press release on the Ada budget about the lease that was really a purchase as well as an outline of the proposed 2016 budget.

On Tuesday, July 21 at 6 p.m., Ada County will be hosting a public presentation of its fiscal year (FY) 2016 proposed budget. The public and media are encouraged to attend the presentation, which will be held in the first floor Public Hearing Room of the Ada County Courthouse at 200 W. Front St. in Boise. Parking is free after 5 p.m.

The presentation will cover the proposed budget of $231,435,852 for the year beginning October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016.

During the current fiscal year, $37 million was budgeted to pay off the lease and purchase the county Courthouse, scheduled to occur in August. As a result of this purchase, county taxpayers will save $6 million in future lease payments. Despite continued growth within Ada County, the removal of this large one-time expenditure is what causes the FY16 budget to be down from last year.

Highlights of the proposed FY16 budget include the second year funding of public safety initiatives approved last year. These initiatives include $6.9 million for construction of a new emergency 911 Dispatch Center. Of that funding, $2.6 million will be provided by the $1.00 surcharge applied to monthly telephone bills, with the remaining $4.3 million from new county property taxes. The FY16 budget also contains $4 million to cover a 27th pay period, due to a calendar anomaly which occurs once every 11 years. Fees collected from Drug Court have been saved over time to build a new Drug Court and treatment facility at a cost of $2.8 million. A 2% merit increase for the county’s 1,780 employees is included at a cost of $2 million, and $1.2 million is included to replace aging network systems throughout the county government infrastructure.

The proposed $231,435,852 budget is funded by $109,395,305 from property taxes, $95,996,814 from other revenue, and $26,043,733 in savings. A breakdown of the proposed budget will be made available Friday, July 17 on the county website at

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Grumpy ole Guy
    Jul 16, 2015, 9:47 pm

    “Other funds” ???
    Is elucidation possible?

  2. $37M ?!? What was the total original price tag?

    It appears as though they either over-paid or allowed the wife’s interior decorating budget to get out of hand.

    Is there still a special parking spot for that corvette convertible?

    How are the finances of the projects associated with the courthouse? Do we own those too? If I recall there are several office and residential buildings intended to serve the courts workers / lawyers etc.

  3. This raises more questions than it answers and still does not solve the problems created by the CCDC.

  4. For those who may not have been around when the “lease” was created, why don’t you explain exactly how Idaho law allows an installment purchase agreement to change into a “lease” agreement?

    EDITOR NOTE–This original deal was put together before GUARDIAN editor Dave Frazier began defending the Idaho Constitution. Here are a couple links that explain the process. also And Kootenai County was denied a similar crooked scheme when Commish Nelson stopped it in court a year ago.

  5. It seems odd to me that Canyon’s budget is roughly 1/3 of Ada’s. And Canyon has to fund roads out of that. Haven’t gotten into details. Am I missing something? Population is roughly half.

  6. maybe that “no debt” model is a bad default position.

    If you are going to occupy a building location for MANY years, is it better to lease or buy? (2008/2009 being the exception)

    Seems like that provision forces (encourages) leasing and related schemes by government agencies which in the long run is typically more expensive.

    EDITOR NOTE–East, the lease schemes are all aimed at keeping the citizens from voting to approve or reject debt. Politicos feel that if they call it a lease, there is no “purchase,” hence no voter approval required. It is simply dishonest governance aimed at getting around the voters. There are many reasons to seek voter approval. One very important reason is to prevent a 1995 elected body from forcing a 2015 elected body to pay for the sins of their fathers. Only the citizens have the right to approve debt in excess of a single year’s revenues. Long term leases are aimed solely at going around the voters and they are illegal. I have a case pending in the Supreme Court set for a September 3 oral argument against GBAD.

  7. I can appreciate your point, Guardian. Rather, it is not to “keep them from voting” it’s just govt recognizing that putting it to a vote, it will not be approved.

    But “2015 paying for the sins of a 1995 elected body” happens ALL the time; and to a significant degree in some cases.

    A deferred expense is pretty much the same as debt.

    Avoid the cost today and someone else will have to pay the consequences later… true for buildings, services, maintenance, education, corrections, forestry, water, and every other role of government.

    Is there a comparative study how “vote for debt” and debt vs leasing works in other states?

  8. Once again, the legacy of Roger Simmons rears it’s ugly head. He was the gift that keeps on “giving”.

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