Friday, March 30, 2012

Most URA-related bills wither in Boise

1 bill goes to governorís desk

Express Staff Writer

Only one of eight bills in the Legislature with the potential to impact urban renewal agencies will likely turn into law this year.

H0519 would provide a property tax exemption for certain site improvements such as roads or utilities until building begins or until the title is conveyed from the developer.

Gary Marks, Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency executive director, has been monitoring multiple bills this session. Some bills could have had the potential to eliminate URAs or change the makeup of their boards, while others would create a lesser impact.

H0519 could reduce the value of the new construction roll reported by counties in 2012, according to a fiscal note in the bill's statement of purpose. The reduction would be temporary because the land would eventually be fully taxed. URAs are funded through tax increment financing, meaning they get the amount of property taxes that result from increases in the value of properties within the urban renewal district.

"The impact on the URA would be indirect in that it would reduce or delay the addition of new value to the tax increment," Marks said. "Its specific financial impact is unknown because it depends on future development activity that is unknown at this time."

The bill passed the House by a wide margin last month and sailed through the Senate. It is now on the governor's desk.

In addition to H0519, URA-related legislation included:

- H0504, which would have required newly formed URAs to have an elected board of directors rather than appointees.

- H0506 would have prohibited URAs from condemning property.

- H0507 would have required that every URA plan be limited to specific projects outlined in a plan.

- H0547 would have tightened restrictions on issuing bonds.

- H0560 would have repealed the authority to create URAs.

- H0562 would have prevented URAs from taking the tax increment from community college levies.

- H0580 would require a two-thirds "yes" vote countywide for issuing local URA bonds.

Rebecca Meany:

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