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OPINION: Clarifying a few things about urban renewal in Hayden

by JOHN YOUNG/Guest Opinion
| November 16, 2022 1:00 AM

As the chair of the Hayden Urban Renewal Agency, I feel that I need to respond to clarify and respond to several items in Mr. Regan's opinion column published on Nov. 11.

First, I disagree with Mr. Regan’s characterization of URDs if he is intending to apply his definition to the Hayden Urban Renewal Agency.

Since the current district was created in 2005, the majority of the projects that HURA has participated in have been infrastructure improvements for the city of Hayden and investment to remediate blighted properties in the Central Business District of Hayden. A history of HURA projects is available on the HURA website.

Having served on the city of Hayden’s Citizens Task Force that made the recommendation to Hayden City Council to add additional deputies, the Hayden Base Budget Increase, which was approved by over 63% of voters on Tuesday, I am very familiar with the city of Hayden’s challenges with adequate budgeting for law enforcement.

This funding challenge is more to due to a historical low levy rate and significant residential growth over the last 20 years than the commercial growth in the Urban Renewal District.

Secondly, Mr. Regan’s statement, “How much does HURD siphon off of the paid property taxes? In 2016, it was about $550,000. What a coincidence. The missing funding needed for law enforcement is roughly equal to the funding being siphoned off by the URD for public art, among other things," is a pure misrepresentation of the facts.

In fact as Mr. Regan noted earlier in his opinion piece, taxing entities can only increase their budgets by a maximum of 3% plus a percentage of the new growth. This had been the limiting factor in the city of Hayden’s ability to budget for additional law enforcement and why the Base Budget Increase was necessary. Lastly, it appears that Mr. Regan didn’t take time to review a tax bill for the city of Hayden. If he had, he would have noticed that out of every dollar that city of Hayden taxpayers pay, only $12.29 cents is received by the city of Hayden. This is based on tax year 2021.

The balance of the tax monies go to Kootenai County, Northern Lakes Fire District, North Idaho College, Community Library District, Lakes Highway District and many more. In short, the Hayden Urban Renewal Agency is using the tax increment monies, where 87% would go to other taxing districts, to work with the city of Hayden to improve public infrastructure for its citizens.

Mr. Regan, please take the time to get all the information in the future. It is important to provide an accurate portrayal of the facts, and to use your tag line, it’s just common sense.

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