Should Redevelopment Answer To Taxpayers?

Tax watchdogs in Idaho are challenging the state's redevelopment agencies, and opened up the question: are they city departments, or not? And if they are, shouldn't their decisions follow the will of the voters?

"After beating back the City of Boise's plans for public financing of a police station and then a parking garage, watchdog blogger Dave Frazier and a loose-knit group of tax hawks across Idaho have set their sights on urban renewal.

If you ask any city official, they'll say that urban renewal is completely separate from city government. But a pair of lawsuits in Nampa and Rexburg argue that urban renewal agencies are a mere costume change in a phone booth from the cities they serve.

Their argument: If it looks like a city department, acts like a city department and quacks like a city department, it's probably a city department. They call the agencies "alter egos" of city government.

"By any construction and reasonable interpretation of the English language, the Nampa Urban Renewal Agency is governed by the city," Frazier wrote in court documents."

Full Story: Cities in Disguise



Should the populace have a

Should the populace have a voice and some degree of oversight over redevelopment, transportation plans, etc.? Of course, but these decisions should not be made by a democracy. You wouldn't ask the voters to defend the municipality from a lawsuit, or make public health decisions, so why should the professions of planning and engineering be different?

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