HURA's December meeting leads to board chairman John Young's resignation
Memo from Attorney General's office stuns board.
John Young Resigns from HURA Board
The Hayden Citizen has learned from multiple sources that John Young resigned today as Chairman of the Hayden Urban Renewal Agency (HURA).
On December 12, 2022, HURA held its regular monthly meeting. The meeting included agenda items such as Urban Renewal District expansion and an Executive Services Agreement with Welch Comer for Executive Director services.
Roetter’s Surprise Twist
In a surprise twist at the end of the meeting, HURA board member and Hayden City Council President Matt Roetter revealed that he asked the Idaho Attorney General’s office, via Idaho State Senator Mary Souza, whether a HURA board member is allowed to own property in the HURA district. Roetter quoted from the AG office’s response, “If the Board member voluntarily acquires real property within the urban renewal project area, that Board member violates Idaho Code § 50-2017.”
Idaho code 50-2017 states: “No public official or employee of a municipality (or board or commission thereof), and no commissioner or employee of an urban renewal agency shall voluntarily acquire any personal interest, direct or indirect, in any urban renewal project…” The legislature added this statute in 1965 and amended it in 1986.
During further discussion, HURA legal counsel Pete Bredeson said he had asked board members about their acquisition and timing of acquisition of properties within the HURA district and had yet to receive a response from everyone. He asked for “over and over again” when the properties were acquired. Bredeson stated, “Anybody that owns any property in the district, I need to know when you acquired it.”
Young’s resignation may relate to the ownership and/or acquisition of property in the Hayden Urban Renewal District. We will follow-up with more details in another post.
The Hayden Citizen has obtained a copy of the opinion and the response from the Attorney General’s office to State Senator Mary Souza. Or read on below for more information about what happened in the meeting.
Other Dec. 12 Meeting Notes
Executive Services Agreement with Welch Comer
In the HURA meeting, the board voted 7-1 in favor of accepting an Executive Services Agreement with Welch Comer that allows them to pay up to $250/hour to the agency depending on the services provided.
The only dissenting vote was Matt Roetter, while John Young, Steve Meyer, Colin Meehan, Ronda Mitchell, Michael Thayer, and Randy McIntire voted in favor.
Hayden Urban Renewal district expansion or creation of new district
The council moved on to discussing Hayden Urban Renewal District expansion. They discussed the trade-offs between expansion or trying to add a new district.
Steve Meyer said, “I expect a new district is going to create some passionate feedback from the [City] Council.”
John Young re-opened public comment 35 minutes into the HURA meeting to allow Ed DePriest to comment on public perception of HURA.
Ed DePriest said, "The people that are the most open to education are the most complacent." He continued, "Social media is going to be a huge aspect. No matter how factual you are, they are going to put out there that you aren't.”
John Young weighed in saying, “Our role here as board members for the Hayden Urban Renewal Agency is to look at opportunities that benefit the City of Hayden and what urban renewal can do for the City of Hayden and that may mean that we analyze a West Hayden district and have that all ready to go and pull the trigger when this district starts going off the books.”
Matt Roetter: “If you add another district it’s conceivable that, depending on the growth of it, that the amount of property taxes collected on the increment could be more for HURA than for the City of Hayden. Is that good or is that bad - it’s the perception of ‘Hey, there’s an unelected board that’s collecting more money in taxes than an elected board (the City of Hayden).’ ”
The board moved on from the expansion action item without making a motion.
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