Field Of Dreams Or Financial Nightmare?

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.

REMINDER: We offer space tao all candidates running for city council to state their cases.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I’m proud to oppose this project 100%! We need a change in Boise and we need leaders who will allow citizens to vote on long-term public debt.

    There are a lot of reasons why this project simply doesn’t benefit taxpayers, but I think the greatest red flag is that the citizens aren’t even being allowed to have their voices heard via a vote.

    Please join me tomorrow, Tue., Oct. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Payette Brewing for the second open house about the project. I think it’s important we show support and allow our voices to be heard.

    Logan Kimball

  2. No Vote No Stadium
    Oct 9, 2017, 10:43 am

    If there is NO VOTE their should be NO STADIUM!

    If the deal is such a good deal then the voters will support it with their votes. If it is not then let the voters say so.

    That was, and still is, the intent of the constitution of the State of Idaho. All Bieter does is look for ways around the people. He does not want the citizens to voice their opinion other than coming to pre-staged, city sponsored open houses.


  3. The problem is that the proposed stadium is in the wrong place.

    It should be out in that new development at 10 Mile and the freeway. Or across from the CWI campus that is planned by the rive in Boise.

    The parking and street infrastructure around the current proposed area cannot handle the project.

    Lights, noise, traffic, parking, police services, fire services, residential parking, lost tax revenue – all big issues.

  4. Just a bunch of fraudsters with our money
    Oct 9, 2017, 11:01 am

    Just another scam on the people of Idaho by the Great State of Boise. ALL of these scams enrich the middlemen and at zero risk to themselves. The scams will continue so long as the few people who vote continue to robotically elect Bieter and his icky band of liberals.

    Bieter has a desire for the big city problems of crime, corruption, poverty, drugs, and massive public dept. He dreams of being the founding father changes leading to these degradations in Boise. The word non-profit is orgasmic to them. Otter is so old and stale he agrees with Bieter now too.

    I pray the next economic downturn extinguishes their dreams before becoming my reality.

  5. BG wrote: “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.”

    Of course services are concentrated there, that’s where the people concentrate. 10s of thousands flood the downtown area from other Boise neighborhoods and elsewhere every single day except Sunday.

    Move the homeless shelters to Meridian if you want police service to be less frequent.

  6. I’m neither for nor against, but let’s look at some other things.

    Let’s say the stadium becomes privately owned. How would it be assessed? There are few if any comparables. The assessor would have to use the income method of appraisal. And if it makes little to no income, as most of you think, what then would they pay in property tax? $0? Or maybe only on the land but not the business?

    Remember the special assessment deal Micron got due to the uniqueness of their property?

    EDITOR NOTE–Good point! You refer to the same Micron that just announced layoffs of 500 employees, previously dumped hundreds more, and always “put Boise on the list” for possible sites for new facilities.

  7. It is weird that we all have become so enlightened that we can’t accept our democratic republic…
    Reason might be that so many of the representatives screw up so badly, i.e., ACHD, BPD, and Bieter’s trolley.

    REMINDER: we elect people to do our “voting” for us.

    A vote:
    We saw how that went in the past- where the city hijacks city money to advertise and promote their opinion.

    A private developer would never do the project- the benefits are not enough for ONLY the property owner. However, the benefits to the overall city ‘could’ justify such a project.

    I’m not saying it’s a good project, but opposing it simply because there is not a vote or that is uses taxpayer money is more than a little short-sighted.

    Stating (emphasizing “never”) if the city owns it, “it will NEVER generate any tax revenue to the city” is NOT exactly correct. That’s like saying the BSU stadium doesn’t bring any tax revenue to the Boise.
    Such a facility will generate sales tax with admissions and concessions. Sales tax does come back to the city (ies). Additional wages, visiting tourist lodging, beer sales, permits and licenses, and increased property values on adjacent properties would indirectly benefit the city/county as well.
    Growth is growth and it inherently means more taxes for the city.
    And when the city (county) gets more tax dollars, they WILL find some way to spend it– even if it is wasteful.

    EDITOR NOTE: Easterner, you are pickier than my 8th grade English teacher! City owned property never generates PROPERTY TAXES, ok? As for the surrounding “appreciated property values,” the taxes on those parcels are DIVERTED to CCDC for 20 years. Hot dog and beer taxes generated by Lyle Smith-Bronco-Albertson Stadium do little to offset lost property tax revenues BSU has taken from Boise just through buying houses for expansion.

  8. Honestly, I don’t see the need other than to support yet another poor out of state developer who desperately needs this project or most certainly he’ll go under.

    Projects like this makes everyone involved in saying YES feel impotent, er I meant important. The fact is a new, shiny stadium will result in higher costs in too many ways.

    If I don’t attend the Hawks games now why do you honestly believe that I am going to spend even more money to attend the games just because you feel I should visit your new stadium?

  9. It’s apparent that Dave Bieter’s self nomination to the CCDC has created a conflict of interest! He works harder for out of state developers than his constituents. I believe some city council members are also on the CCDC board. Didn’t Dave Bieter say he wanted to be transparent? He must of meant just for the, internal, Foothill bond fund screw up? If 25% of BPD services are devoted to the downtown core and if CCDC collects revenue instead of taxing districts would it be fair to say that A MINIMUM 75% of downtown core properties YIELD PROPERTY TAX REVENUE ONLY TO CCDC?

    EDITOR NOTE– Clarification is in order. The taxes on improvements and appreciation are diverted to CCDC. The base value when the urban renewal district was created goes to the local governments and schools.

  10. I’ve been totally out of touch about BSU baseball. Where will they play? Could we please collaboratively build some multi-purpose facilities that several users could use and share the cost/upkeep?

  11. Spread the word
    Oct 10, 2017, 10:17 pm

    Didn’t someone just build a baseball stadium at Warm Springs and Broadway? Is it also a soccer field?

    I would appreciate someone who has all of the time and information about sports facilities, private, state, city, or school, making a list to show how much this area actually has.

  12. Jim Redfield
    Oct 11, 2017, 3:20 pm

    You might be interested in a book (Field of Schemes) and accompanying website:

    “ is the companion website to Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit, by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Since 1998, we have been casting a critical eye on the roughly $2 billion a year in public subsidies that go toward building new pro sports facilities.”

    In particular why should the public fund a stadium for only 5,000 fans. In the early 1950’s Boise had a baseball stadium with space for 5,000 customers. Boise is now 6 times as large as in the 50’s and should be building a 25,000 seat stadium so we can attract a AAA baseball team. All at no cost to the taxpayer.

  13. warm springs and broadway is donna larsen park, a Boise State track and softball field, not large enough for baseball.

    However I am curious if the fields by Fort Boise are large enough when combined for such a space.

  14. Chickenhawk
    Oct 13, 2017, 8:52 am

    I know this drum has already been beaten enough, but I am sure pleased to see the news media finally waking up and reporting the other side of this looming “white elephant” of a stadium. Props to the Daily Paper for getting the ball rolling. For a while there I was starting to think that the TV news was just going to be arms of the City PR Department.

    I thought we were done giving bailouts to multimillionaires after the 2008 crash. So far, Mr. Kimball has my support.

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