Battle over who decides how to spend Nampa taxpayer dollars

Battle over who decides how to spend Nampa taxpayer dollars

NAMPA, Idaho (KBOI) - It's a battle over who's making decisions about how your tax money is spent...and it's unfolding in the Nampa City Council.

The Nampa Development Corporation is responsible for big projects aimed at improving Nampa. It was formed in 2006 when the city started the Urban Renewal District to help revitalize the area. It's responsible for the new police station and the current Library Square project.

On Tuesday night the council heard the first reading of an ordinace that could change who makes the decisions.

So far, people in Nampa say they like the changes they're seeing.

"It's wonderful," said Mike Fenner, a Nampa resident. "It's about time."

The NDC is a seven member board made up of four local business leaders and three current city council members who have all been appointed to the position.

But now one city council member, Bruce Skaug, who isn't currently on the NDC board, is working to change who's in control.

Skaug is pushing an ordinance that would make Nampa's six city council members the NDC Board of directors instead.

But the Nampa Mayor's Office says the city specifically chose to have a board including community members at the start of the program for a reason.

"There are legitimate concerns about having the city council be the city council and then turn around and also be the development corporation," said Vickie Holbrook, spokeswoman for the Nampa Mayor's Office. "If the development corporation says this is what we want to do...the very same body is making that approval."

The NDC board has to have the city council's approval to start on big projects, but once something is approved, the board doesn't have to get the council's permission for every decision along the way.

And the mayor's office says because these projects concerns tax payer money, it's reasonable that some are pushing to give responsibility over to council members.

"They're the ones who are elected," Holbrook told KBOI, "The Urban Renewal District board members, or the Nampa development corporation, they're not elected. They're appointed."

The first reading of the proposed ordinance was Tuesday evening at 6:30. It's the first of three readings before council members will make a decision on it.