If a development near the airport with as many as 22 industrial buildings is allowed to proceed, Boise citizens will be deprived of property taxes and forced to pay for the infrastructure to benefit the private project, thanks to a contract signed by Mayor Dave Bieter.
Here’s how it works. Boise City retains ownership of the land which is TAX EXEMPT. CCDC, the urban renewal agency, would pay for the infrastructure. The tax exemption would be in perpetuity for the land and only for a mere 20 years on buildings within the urban renewal district constructed by the developer.
In what amounts to pretty much a “no risk deal,” the developer agreed to pay a base rent of 12.5% of net operating revenues.
The clean way to offer fair access to public land is through an auction and sale to the highest bidder following a “declaration of surplus property no longer in the public purpose.” As the GUARDIAN sees it, these sweetheart lease deals are a way to select the ultimate user and eliminate any chance of a fair bid process.
Don Day at the BoiseDev site has posted a story revealing the insider deal between Mayor Dave Bieter’s Team Dave and a land developer.
Day explained that Bieter signed a lease agreement in 2017 with the Boyer Company of Salt Lake City promising to work on establishing an urban renewal district on city-owned industrial park land along Eisemann Road near Gowen Field. The council approved the deal on the “consent agenda” which is a catch all vote of routine items lumped together with no public discussion.
According to Idaho’s urban renewal law, “An urban renewal project for an urban renewal area shall not be planned or initiated unless the local governing body has, by resolution, determined such area to be a deteriorated area or a deteriorating area or a combination thereof and designated such area as appropriate for an urban renewal project.”
Bieter signed the contract before the council acted on the urban renewal question. The urban renewal district is now progressing.
Day has apparently caught team Dave in what has become a pattern of back room deals. The City Council failed in its duty to see that Team Dave plays by the rules. Granted, council agenda packets often contain 2,000 pages of info–more than any human can consume and comprehend during a week of part-time work. However, they can stop blindly following Team Dave and exert their authority to withhold approval until there has been public discussion, regardless of the topic.
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