EAGLE -- Election Day will have just a very few people making a big money decision for a future home development. Voters will decide Tuesday whether $325 million in bonds should be issued to support a planned 7,000 home development by M3 in Eagle.
All told, the county clerk believes just seven people will decide on the bond issue for what's known as the Spring Valley Community Infrastructure District (CID). He says six of the seven voters are renters, and the seventh is the development's property manager, who lives in Idaho.
The two bond issues would fund public infrastructure projects for the community, including roads, sewer, water, and recreation areas. With anticipated interest rates, the CID would eventually need to repay more than twice the initial bond amounts, at a total of $781 million.
Initially, the clerk's office reports 53 ballots were sent out for this election, with most sent to the company in Arizona. But fundamental questions came out about who is legally allowed to vote in this type of election, partially because of probing by Boise Guardian blogger Dave Frazier who wanted the attorney general to weigh in, which he did at the request of Frazier's senator.
As of Monday, Ada County Clerk Christopher Rich says with the county's legal advice, it was decided voters either have to be people living on the property (owners or otherwise), or property owners who are also Idaho residents, which the project manager is.
"The people who can vote are just the property owner, so there's one vote there. And within that 5,500-acre area, there's six other eligible voters. So really seven voters, and you have to have two-thirds majority, are going to determine the fate of $325 million worth of bond election this Tuesday," Rich said.
As for the dozens of other ballots originally mailed out and returned from the company's headquarters in Arizona, Rich says they won't be used.
"Initially we were under the impression that somebody outside of the state could vote. No, they can't. So the ballots were returned from the corporation. Those ballots have been spoiled. They will not be counted," Rich said.
The county has not even opened the ballots and Rich says they will save the ballots in case there's a future legal question. M3's project manager doesn't anticipate any legal issues, and he says they are pleased with the decision to allow him to vote representatively.
"I'm a representative for the M3 Companies. I'm a resident of Idaho, and I'm registered to vote here, so we're quite satisfied with voting as a representative for the company," project manager Mark Tate said.
According to the ballot, with anticipated interest rates, the CID would eventually need to repay more than twice the initial bond amounts, with a total of around $781 million.
While few voters will determine the future financial obligations of M3 and future home buyers in the development, the company and county want to make it clear this decision doesn't impact anyone else in Eagle or Ada County.
Harris Ranch, in east Boise, is also a Community Infrastructure District some may be familiar with. Rich says that bond election was handled by the City of Boise prior to consolidated elections. M3 officials say they are using a very similar process to Harris Ranch in developing their area.