Six of the seven urban renewal bills were introduced on unanimous votes, clearing the way for full hearings; they'll appear online on the Legislature's website with bill numbers tomorrow. The first, a compromise bill from Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, and the Meridian Urban Renewal District, would make various changes, including requiring a public vote to start a district, setting time limits, and requiring consent from farmland owners before they're included in a district. The second, from Moyle, would let any taxing district “opt out” of an urban renewal district when it's formed. The third, from Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, would require advance, narrow descriptions of urban renewal projects and binding expiration dates, and would require unexpended money to be refunded to local taxing districts.
The fourth, from Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, would require countywide elections of urban renewal board members; it was returned to her for a wording change, and will have to be re-introduced at another hearing. The fifth, from Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, requires a countywide two-thirds public vote for urban renewal bonds; the sixth, from Hart, adds public hearing requirements; and the seventh, from Rep. Robert Schaefer, R-Nampa, would eliminate urban renewal.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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