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Why I Voted Against the Proposed Hayden Urban Renewal Agency (HURA) Expansion:

Updated: May 5

On Tuesday, March 26, the proposed expansion of the HURA district came before the Hayden City Council.

Here's a link to the meeting and the HURA portion starts at about the 39:00 minute mark:

First of all, HURA was started in 2005 by the then Hayden City Council and is set to end in 2029. HURA is a district (see graphic) and certain property taxes are diverted to go to the HURA board which was appointed by former mayors. The HURA board decides on projects within their district to spend money on and invest in development, among other things. The accountability of the HURA board seems to be in question at present. The HURA board meets on the 2nd Monday of each month at 3PM at Hayden City Hall. (See graphic)

Last year HURA made a proposal to the City to enlarge their district by 10% and these 3 areas were proposed:

Area 1 was approved 3-1. (see graphic)

Area 2 was approved 3-2 with Mayor Davis breaking the tie. (see graphic)

Area 3 was denied 4-0. (see graphic)

I voted against all 3 proposals for the following unresolved reasons:

  • Lack of accountability-ultimately who decides on what projects will be done?

  • There are millions of Hayden taxpayer dollars available at the discretion of an unelected board.

  • No clear plans as projects are not specific and only general estimates.

  • No clear division of financial responsibility is in writing and Hayden will still most likely need to come up with money to fund part of the projects.

  • No recourse for the City of Hayden if "agreed upon" projects are not done or plans get changed.

Some of the council members seem to trust HURA 100%, but I’m not content to govern a city based on trust or blind faith. We are here to protect you, the taxpayers of Hayden, and I don’t think it’s wrong to ask for contracts, signed agreements, and openness where millions of dollars are concerned.

This expansion proposal is now off for a study at the expense of the City of Hayden. The results of this study will come back to the City Council, I believe, so this is not a “done deal” as far as I know.

If we were to do these projects without HURA’s help will it raise our property taxes by thousands of dollars as the former mayor pontificated in public comment last meeting? Again, what projects specifically? Wouldn’t it be better to just close HURA 5 years early, have every taxing district affected get some money back, lower our property taxes across the board, and have control over our own projects? Why aren’t we taking a look at that option as well? This option was never discussed.

I realize that Urban Renewal is a very confusing topic, but I want you, my constituents, to know that I am acting in what I feel is the best interest of the city, standing true to my campaign promises, and relying on my now three years of research on the topic of Urban Renewal.

I am re-posting the HURA workshop from last month for your information:

Please feel free to write to me with any questions or concerns.

Sandy White

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