UPDATE: A reader sent us a link 10/11/17 to a great website called FIELD OF SCHEMES which includes a Washington POST op-ed story published October 11, 2017.
The easily applied metaphor of “Field of Dreams” for Mayor Dave Bieter’s publicly funded sales pitch for a downtown stadium is all too true.
Like many of Team Dave’s projects, the tactic to avoid citizen’s approval at the polls when it comes to financing is being used with the proposed ballpark.
While the local media has covered the proposal and the first “open house” where city-paid staffers make their sales pitch, no one has mentioned that NONE of the proposed funding sources has voted to approve any funds (Boise City, Greater Boise Auditorium District, or the CCDC). A host of elected board votes, public hearings, design-review, and assorted agreements await the project. The city council with at least two new members will determine a home run or strike out for the project.
The funding formula and ultimate ownership presents a convoluted web of financial “what ifs,” aimed at avoiding a bond election where citizens can vote to approve or deny funding for the project.
Council Candidate Logan Kimball passed out a flyer with reasons he opposes the stadium funding scheme. While we don’t endorse candidates, his reasoning seemed pretty sound.
–If the City of Boise, or a public agency like CCDC, own the stadium it will NEVER generate any tax revenue to the city. Citizens will have to pay for the upkeep.
–If this project is privately owned instead, the tax revenues will go to our city, schools, police, ACHD, etc., but that’s not how our leaders are planning it.
–If the project is within an urban renewal district as proposed, it will be taxed, but the commercial and residential property taxes on any improvements will be diverted to the Capitol City Development Corporation (CCDC), not the city, county and schools.
–About 25% of all Boise Police services are devoted to the downtown area, but the rest of the city’s citizens have to pay the bill. A downtown ball park would only add to that expense.
–If the stadium proposal is worthwhile, let the citizens VOTE or allow private developers to invest THEIR OWN money in the project, instead of having taxpayers subsidize the for profit venture.
–Idaho’s Constitution Article VIII, Section 3 mandates a two-thirds assent of voters for public debt. Using the CCDC to sell bonds is merely an “workaround” to avoid an election. The entire funding scheme is structured the same as the GBAD expansion of the Convention Center. In that case, the Auditorium District spent $750,000 on attorney fees alone to deny the citizens their constitutional right to vote for or against public debt.
–If the city won’t let the citizens vote on this public project, it raises a red flag.
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