Warning- We interrupt your Christmas season with an important concern:
How many times have you entered into a business arrangement with someone, given them a blank check for millions of dollars, and hoped that they would do what you wanted, without getting a signed contract first? If you have any business smarts at all, the answer should be NEVER! And yet that is exactly with the people of Hayden are being asked to do in regards to the proposed Hayden Urban Renewal Agency (HURA) expansion.
On October 24, 2023, at a Hayden City Council Meeting, HURA's Executive Director, Melissa Cleveland, (also the one who led the way for Hayden's Comprehensive Plan), spoke and asked that we move forward with an expansion. I then asked Ms. Cleveland if we would be able to have a legal agreement with Urban Renewal that only those properties …only those projects ….would be done if the expansion is granted. Her reply was "No, I don't believe that would be appropriate. The HURA board operates independently."* So basically, we are being asked to enter into an agreement with a blank check and no contract.
This Tuesday night (December 5) is the Hayden Urban Renewal Agency's (HURA) Town Hall regarding HURA's proposal to grow by about 70 acres that would give them a total of 770 acres of territory in Hayden. The attached map shows HURA's existing district in blue and the areas they would like to attain in green. This town hall might be an opportunity for citizens to ask questions and see what the actual proposals are for each of the properties they are asking for. But, without getting into the weeds too much, please realize that ultimately HURA is accountable to no one but themselves. I am greatly concerned that saying yes to any of their requests will not come with a guarantee of fully funded improvements being made according to our wishes.
HURA already has $6,000,000+ of our property tax dollars, with about one million more to come each year until the set expiration date in 2029. The choice we are being given on Tuesday is how much more property do we let them have in their district. Should they get all of the 70 acres they are asking for? Do we allow them to increase their tax base even more? Do we just give them specific properties for a few intersections and hope they offer to improve them and pay for all of it and not just part? What if they decide to do something other that what the people of Hayden intend? What if by saying yes, we are also opening up the door for more eminent domain to be exercised? Or do we say enough, and end this governmental overreach and ask for our tax dollars to be returned to the taxing districts it was taken from and be our own masters?
Your voice matters. Your opinion matters. This is important for the future of Hayden.
Remember, HURA is not accountable to anyone. The only ones directly accountable to the voters are your elected City Council Members and Mayor. Even more important than coming to this meeting is that you email us and let us know if you think we should vote NO to the proposed HURA expansion.