The Nampa Development Corp. filed a legal petition today asking a 3rd District judge to reverse a decision by Canyon County to tax the parking structure in Nampa Library Square.
In a split 2-1 vote Feb. 1, Canyon County Commissioners upheld Assessor Gene Kuehn’s determination that NDC, Nampa’s urban renewal agency, must pay taxes on the taxpayer-owned property. Commissioners Steven Rule and Craig Hanson voted to uphold that decision. Commissioner and former Nampa Mayor Tom Dale opposed that decision.
Rule and Hanson supported the assessor’s decision despite advice by the Canyon County deputy prosecuting attorney who said the parking garage is exempt from taxation under Idaho Code 50-2014(b).
“The decision to tax the parking garage is tantamount to charging taxpayers money to pay taxes,” Nampa Mayor Bob Henry said.
“I would concur with the NDC interpretation of 50-2014(b), that it is tax exempt. We can't collect tax to pay tax,” Nampa State Rep. Rick Youngblood said.
Youngblood, who co-chairs a state committee to develop new urban renewal agency legislation for consideration by state lawmakers, said the new proposal includes a provision that public parking structures are to have the same consideration as publicly owned infrastructure.
“By not following the counsel of their own legal team in the interpretation of State Statute 50-2014(b) as it relates to the Urban Renewal Law, the county commissioners have caused the unnecessary expenditure of tax dollars based solely on the interpretation of the statute by a tax assessor,” NDC Chairman Randy Haverfield said.
The tax on the parking garage for 2016 would be estimated at $77,495.96 according to a Canyon County Assessor’s office official. If NDC paid the tax, $3,457.57 would be distributed to the Nampa School District and College of Western Idaho for exempt levies and $8,199.98 would be distributed throughout the taxing districts from the base value. The remainder of that money would come back to NDC as increment tax revenue. Assuming that property taxes don’t fall, the minimum total tax liability to NDC during the next 15 years would be $174,863.25.
NDC collects increment tax revenue to pay off the bonds used to construct the garage. NDC collects about $1,700 monthly in parking fees and that’s projected to total about $20,435 in annual revenue. Annual expenses to operate the garage are $107,850. Additionally, NDC pays twice a year on the Library Square bonds with this year’s payments totaling $1.33 million.
The City of Nampa established NDC Oct. 26, 1994, thereby creating the urban renewal agency which provided the mechanism for a tax on new growth. The 2006 Nampa Economic Development/Redevelopment Plan which was adopted by the Nampa City Council included the new library and an accompanying parking structure.
Construction of the Library and Parking Structure was substantially completed on Feb. 1, 2015.