CALDWELL, Idaho — The Caldwell urban renewal revenue allocation area that includes Indian Creek Plaza and downtown Caldwell is sunsetting soon, and Canyon County Commissioners will need to start deciding what projects to fund with their increment of revenue from the district. One of those projects may be a new jail.
Though the revenue allocation area does not include the planned location for the Canyon County jail — the county-owned area off Highway 20/26 and Pond Lane — Commissioner Leslie Van Beek said she believes after the “no” vote on the bond for a new jail in May, “everything is still on the table” that includes the property site, funding sources and dollar amount.
The Idaho Press reports Van Beek and Commissioner Tom Dale met with Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas and City Attorney Mark Hilty on Monday to discuss the sunsetting urban renewal area, potential projects the county could use funds for, and a proposal for an new revenue allocation area.
In previous jail funding meetings, commissioners have suggested they use urban renewal money toward a jail, though it would likely not pay for the entire project.
Nancolas told commissioners that the revenue allocation area will sunset in 2022, and the city is trying to close the revenue allocation area out while including the taxing entities in that plan. He said as of Monday, the county has $2.4 million from the revenue allocation area.
A total of $7.1 million from the revenue allocation area will be available to the county when it sunsets, Nancolas said. This is if the economy and tax rates stay the same.
A revenue allocation area is a geographic area that is mapped out and generates increment tax revenue for the urban renewal agency, said Canyon County Controller Zach Wagoner. Revenue allocation areas have a lifespan — Caldwell’s started in 1998 and will end in 2022.
During the approved lifespan of the area, the urban renewal agency receives increment tax revenues as the values of the properties within the area increase. When the revenue area sunsets, the taxing districts within the area’s boundaries can potentially increase their property tax budgets by their share of the amount of increment taxes previously paid to the urban renewal agency, Wagoner said. Canyon County falls under the taxing districts within the area’s boundaries.
“That can be used for infrastructure, parking lots, water, sewer, and it can be used for public buildings,” Nancolas said. “If used for a public building, and there is any combination of urban renewal money and public money that exceeds $1 million, it has to go out for a vote.”
Nancolas said the urban renewal agency prefers county projects to be within the revenue allocation area.
The sunsetting urban renewal district does not include the area the county had purchased for the jail, but Van Beek and Nancolas agreed to keep an open dialogue about any potential locations for a jail.
A NEW REVENUE AREA
After discussing the soon-to-be sunsetting revenue allocation area, Nancolas introduced the urban renewal agency’s proposal for a new one.
The proposed area would include roughly 895 acres north of the city. Portions of the proposed revenue allocation area are located outside of Caldwell city limits and within county limits.
Nancolas and Hilty gave the commissioners “an intergovernmental agreement” that would authorize the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency to maintain the revenue allocation area. They were also given a resolution that acknowledges the need for urban renewal in that area and an ordinance making the area an urban renewal area.
Nancolas also asked that a commissioner be present at the final hearing on the adoption of the plan to Caldwell City Council on Nov. 4. Hilty said he is asking all taxing districts within the first revenue allocation area to be present at the meeting.
Nancolas and Hilty asked that commissioners approve the documents within the next week or so.
More from our partner Idaho Press: Mark your calendar for Oct. 29 Caldwell candidate forum