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Eye On Boise

Urban renewal panel favors letting cities opt for appointed or elected boards

The Legislature’s interim committee on urban renewal is meeting this morning, and hashing through its ideas on how it proposes to change the state’s urban renewal statutes. First up: The question of the makeup of urban renewal boards. Current law simply allows mayors to appoint three to nine members to the board, with five-year terms. Members of the panel are talking about giving cities or counties the option of having urban renewal boards be elected, rather than appointed, and agreed that that's something they'd like to include in their final report of recommendations. That report will be drafted and presented to the panel at a subsequent meeting.

Rep. Robert Anderst, R-Nampa, said, “I think it makes sense to allow cities this option. I would tend to agree with Rep. Clow – I think the cities may even have this option (now). But to clarify it in code makes sense.”

Legislative staffer Mike Nugent told the panel that cities currently have the option to do more than what the law requires; for example, Twin Falls imposes term limits on its urban renewal boards.

Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, who along with Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, submitted a list of proposed changes, spoke in favor of giving cities the option. “I don’t think it needs to be very complicated, and I do think we can leave a lot of the details ... to the local discretion of the local government,” she said.

You can listen live here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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