Boise Councilors Oversight Failure

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.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Connie Messley
    Aug 8, 2019, 8:13 pm

    This adds to my unease about the F35 tone-deafness and the attempts to circumvent the will of the voters/taxpayers re the library and sports arena complex projects.

  2. I looked at links at the Boyer Website. Their Executive Team consists of 21 (I counted) white men. Not a single woman. Boyer: The anti-Diversity Company.

    There is no excuse for City Council not asking questions about this deal. It’s City land – where they should have a heightened sense of responsibility to understand what is being proposed. You gotta love how Elaine Clegg always dons the mantle of having a great institutional memory and taking her role on Council Oh So Seriously. Yet this kind of BS Sweetheart deal goes down unquestioned by her or anyone else.

  3. Hubris? The finger? Chance of a lifetime?

  4. Makes one wonder what the Mayor got out of the deal? Twenty or so untaxed commercial structures would be a substantial tax loss over 20 years or so. As a small business owner in Boise that pays over $12,000/year in property taxes I would like something like that. How about it Mr. Mayor? I’ll be glad to pay you 12.5% of my net operating revenue for the tax exemption and even vote for you in the next election.

  5. Have we been had?
    Aug 9, 2019, 9:59 am

    Please wake up Council – ask better questions, question why or why not, actually discuss issues and even disagree on record, admit when you are wrong, did not have accurate information, and/or made a mistake (you are human), ask for all documentation to be made publicly available in advance of a public meeting, post it all on the City website in an easily accessible manner, really listen to the citizen concerns,uphold the sworn oath of office you accepted (to represent the citizens, not deep pockets), stop being misled and misinformed by “the experts,” otherwise we have all been had.

  6. Dave Kangas
    Aug 9, 2019, 10:14 am

    Sweetheart deals- The Cabin, BioMark bldg 40 yr leases on properties bought for the Library, Gateway East URA and imagine there will be more enlightenment as the Bench URA also moves forward. I wonder how many developer deals are in there, especially the “tank farm”. Boy Mr Frazier, you and Don Day must be enlightened by “Dark Money” or why would question Mr Bieter???

  7. Boisean Since Forever
    Aug 9, 2019, 11:32 am

    More sweetheart commercial projects means more jobs means more people means upward housing prices means greater assessments means more money for city hall “without raising taxes.”

  8. What an excellent campaign issue for the challenger to hammer on. Too bad on the same team.

  9. Vote for someone else
    Aug 9, 2019, 7:04 pm

    If you went for a mortgage you would be paying 35-40 % of your income for it, plus taxes and maintenance. Doesn’t the city attorney have to presign off on contracts for the city? I think so. Is there an agency that can do an investigation, ie the attorney general? The lack of procedural correctness with the consent agenda, which is abused, can cause the vote to be void. If all these things are true, the public has recourse. Somebody, like legal minded lawyers, just needs to implement the remedy.

    Bieter needs to go into the real estate business with his own money, and good luck to him.

    EDITOR NOTE–Only the county prosecutor has jurisdiction over city. AG can investigate county officers because the prosecutor is the county attorney and can’t rep both sides. Look for more news on city lease deals soon.

  10. Sweet heart deals
    Aug 9, 2019, 9:06 pm

    Editor’s Note says to look for more City lease deals soon . . . or how about real property purchases that are a conflict of interest. The City may purchase the real property containing the Foothills School from Wilcomb LLC for the parking garage needed for the downtown library, or CCDC may do this.

    Interesting how the initial Construction Management General Contractor (CMGC) contract for the Civic Center/Library was awarded to KC Gardner, Jordan-Wilcomb Construction, and Okland Construction as a partnership deal by City Council on May 2, 2017. Yet Jordan-Wilcomb was not a part of the RFQ response – they later came in at the interviewing step during the decision process, and were to provide the real estate development consulting services.

    A December 2017 City Council work session presentation shows a real estate deal is in the works. On Aug. 13, 2018 the contract was amended and removed Gardner and Jordan-Wilcomb from the agreement.

    Boise Dev has done a couple of good articles about this potential “conflict of interest” with the City adamantly saying it was not a conflict. Yet the Wilcomb family ends up with the parking garage deal, while the Biomark building is brushed aside. A building that is already owned by the City, was purchased for the expansion of the library, would not be an additional expense for the taxpayers, has easier access for handicap parking, and would not require an expensive sky bridge.

  11. western guy
    Aug 9, 2019, 10:00 pm

    How many hot potatoes can Dave and the Dreamers keep in the air at one time?

    Are they hoping we will take our collective eyes off the facts surrounding their malfeasance and total tone deafness?

    Even former Mayor Coles, not known for his ethical leanings, thinks the Library project is a sham.

  12. Well… right on the Boise City website, his honor’s mission statement is to “transform the city’s government culture” and “build on Boise’s reputation as a welcoming city.” He can’t do that if he always has to follow the rules… right? And he likes to welcome new people with lots of money… courtesy of the good taxpayers.

    You Boise Guardian people need to quit asking so many questions. Mayor Bieter knows what’s best, so just shut up and vote him another 4 years, willya?

  13. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. As I always have said: We should see the checking / savings accounts, etc. of all politicians after we hear of these “necessary deals.”

    No wonder Boise is such a welcoming city and the 13th warmest on record with idiotic decisions like this and a tone deaf government at all levels.

    Send Bieter to early retirement or at least unemployment.

  14. I am not a city resident; however I have lived here for a very long time. It seems to me that to get rid of Bieter and McClean, two things must happen: 1. Someone qualified and not from the north/east end has to run, and 2) the rest of the city has to show up to vote in the same numbers as the north enders. The chances of both of those happening are very slim.

  15. How come this information isn’t on local news channels? Isn’t it worth informing the public about? We need to direct questions towards the news casters don’t we?

  16. The city buys a lot of advertising.

  17. Upcoming Property Stories?
    Aug 11, 2019, 6:58 pm

    Editor – You mentioned upcoming city-property stories; will any have to do with the Hillcrest Library location? The Main Library website shows one of the ways to pay for the new mega-library will come from delaying the Hillcrest Library property purchase of $1.5 million – what property is this referring to? The Hillcrest Shopping Complex, where this branch library is currently located, is listed on the market for $19.6 million, so this would not be enough for that location to be bought out.

    I ask about this because I question why the City is also spending to expand and improve the current Hillcrest location while they may be simultaneously considering purchasing property elsewhere? This expansion project started with a contract amount of $626,250 and through 6 Change Order requests is now at $707,283 as of a resolution dated Feb. 26, 2019 (RES-71-19).

    By continually upgrading and repairing the existing branch libraries and upgrading the parks that have been fully built out for a long time, this leaves nothing leftover to add amenities to the outlying areas of the City that do not have branch libraries and have had undeveloped park land for years.

  18. As an FYI, anyone can ask for an item to be taken off the Consent Agenda and thereby open up a public discussion of the item. It’s a good idea to check out each meeting’s agenda ahead of the meeting to determine any request-worthy items.
    It is Council members’ job to know about all items on the agenda, regardless how how much reading that entails. However, by the time the Council meeting rolls around, they may have had their concerns answered in either the Work Session or the proverbial Back Room.


  20. Deep Midnight
    Aug 13, 2019, 8:07 am

    I just read that Canyon County forwent their 3 percent property tax increase; meaning they were able to do their budget without taxing the citizens to death.

    I remember reading an article about Ada County and their claw-backs a while ago. In which the current city counsel(?) stated ‘I couldn’t believe the incompetence of previous budget setter’s’ – meaning the individual believe they were incompetent because they didn’t raise taxes to pay for crap we don’t need.

    As far as not voting for Bieter…the woman is much worse than he. At the very least she is just another version of Bieter, but in reality her leftist agenda is much more robust.

    So, chose not to vote for Bieter if you wish but keep in mind this woman is of the spend and tax category; she will see you forced out of Boise in favor of that good old Californian money coming in. Besides, Californians vote yes on anything especially if they have only lived here a year or so; its a win win.

    They dont care about you or us. What they care about is extravagant libraries that no one wants, a rail car, and higher property taxes. And of course their stupid ‘refugee welcome’ stickers all over their cars; except most of our government lives in the north end where no refugee will ever be able to afford; so basically what they are saying is refugees are welcome in your back yard, not theirs, and you will pay for it with higher taxes and you will like it.

  21. We all grew up programmed to reflexively watch the evening ‘news’. Because of this reflex the local and national newscasts still enjoy fairly large viewership. This patronage in spite of the obvious useless garbage they pump out. They’ve basically become nonstop PR infomercials for zombie viewers. They will not step on a big advertiser like Boise City. In other words reprogram yourself and only view or read outlets that publish fresh and relevant news. Let the legacy garbage producers rot from lack of audience.

  22. This is a product of tribal loyalty to a City Council that too many in Boise vote for because they think the Council and Mayor are “woke” and “progressive.” They don’t care about the corruption and sweetheart deals, they just want liberals running the city because of the successful brainwashing that has permeated the culture for decades.

    More of that brainwashing is in the form of nicely made signs showing up on the lawns of Team Dave true believers. Who paid for these signs? The signs say “I support the new library” and Bieter signs sit next to them. The homes are of the more affluent variety and I don’t expect many to show up on poorer properties. Elitism is rampant here.

    Why are City Council members lax in oversight? At some point you begin to consider that there are control files on every one of them. Epstein anyone?

  23. Are there any of us left out there who remember the days of CECIL ANDRUS? He was honest and trustworthy to the core and we could believe every word he said or wrote. He wanted only to do his best for our country, our state and our people. If only there was reincarnation, Cecil Andrus would be on my top ten list.

    Oh, and remember, please don’t vote for Bieter in November… He is greedy, crooked, disgusting, and ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO GO SOMEPLACE ELSE !!! I would recommend a jail cell in Texas….but most likely, he’ll end up as a real estate developer in Boise.

  24. Our Despot Mayor
    Aug 14, 2019, 2:11 pm

    No wonder our Mayor has gotten so bold & irresponsible. He’s been practicing for years! He knows the people he is supposed to represent haven’t the time for a second career attending council meetings. And so it starts with small steps to see what can be gotten away with. Until one day, the over-reaching has gotten so out of control the public pushes back. But is it too late to take back our city when the only option is to vote him farewell? This aberrant govt will not go away until the Voters rise up!!!

  25. Discuss It Publicly
    Aug 19, 2019, 10:18 am

    A citizen has requested that this “deal” be removed from the August 20, 2019 City Council Consent Agenda, and that this be discussed in the public forum.

  26. Res 326-19

    and Ord

  27. Deane Blakeslee
    Aug 21, 2019, 6:25 pm

    Brave Dave runs our city like it’s his own business, and we are just supposed to “trust” him!?

    If there’s too much to read then why don’t council members ask trusted advisors to each read s section& give a synopsis, as they understand it?

    We,tax payers, function as investors, Brave Dave. Please treat us accordingly!

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