Canyon County

Nampa board challenges county decision to tax library garage

The Nampa Development Corp. filed a legal petition Friday asking a 3rd District judge to reverse a Canyon County decision to tax the parking structure at Nampa Library Square.

In a split vote Feb. 1, Canyon County Commissioners upheld Assessor Gene Kuehn’s determination that NDC, Nampa’s urban renewal agency, must pay taxes on the taxpayer-owned property. Commissioner Tom Dale, previously mayor of Nampa, cast the dissenting vote on the three-member board.

“The decision to tax the parking garage is tantamount to charging taxpayers money to pay taxes,” Nampa Mayor Bob Henry said in a city news release Friday.

State Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa, agreed. Youngblood, who co-chairs a committee to develop new urban renewal agency legislation, said the new proposal includes a provision that public parking structures should have the same consideration as publicly owned infrastructure.

The tax on the downtown Nampa parking garage for 2016 would be $77,495.96 according to an estimate from the county assessor's office. If NDC paid the tax, $3,457.57 would be distributed to the Nampa School District and College of Western Idaho and $8,199.98 would be distributed throughout the taxing districts. The remainder of that money would come back to NDC as increment tax revenue. Assuming that property tax rates don’t fall, the minimum total tax liability to NDC during the next 15 years would be $174,863.25, according to the city news release.

NDC collects tax revenue to pay off the bonds used to construct the garage adjacent to the city's new library. The agency collects about $1,700 monthly in parking fees, and that’s projected to total about $20,435 in annual revenue. Annual expenses to operate the garage, which was completed last year, are $107,850.