Cd'A City Council approves Front Street LID - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Cd'A City Council approves Front Street LID

Amount property owners must pay reduced by $100 per front foot

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Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 12:53 am, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

COEUR d'ALENE - Front Avenue property owners won't be asked to contribute as much as originally proposed.

The city of Coeur d'Alene agreed to create a Local Improvement District Tuesday, but reduced the amount for affected property owners by $100 per front foot.

So Front Avenue property owners who live across from McEuen Field will pay $300 per front foot, not $400, as previously considered. It breaks down to $845,100 for those owners, down from the previous $1.2 million.

"I think it's a decent compromise," said Steve Widmyer, one of the property owners who protested the original amount, when reached by phone following the council's decision. "I think it's still a little high, but it is a compromise, and we need to move forward."

The LID will pay a portion of the estimated $2.9 million Front Avenue reconstruction project that is accompanying the McEuen Field reconstruction project in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Part of the council's decision, which passed three votes to two, was to determine what benefit property owners would receive from the project. Enhanced parking, pedestrian and aesthetic components would be gained, the City Council said, but it capped the amount property owners would contribute at 29 percent of the overall street improvement cost.

"LIDs are for everyone," Councilman Woody McEvers said of the funding mechanism that has been used across the city for street improvements. "To pick through every little, individual" component isn't beneficial ... "It's how it's worked everywhere."

Affected property owners would include several businesses and condo owners along the road to Seventh Street. McEuen Terrace residents wouldn't be affected. Parkside Towers has approximately 54 individual owners.

How the city funds the difference will be decided down the line. The City Council has been deciding on the last detailed components recently as the entire park project gets ready to go out to bid at the end of the month. Last week, it decided on including a limited traffic, pedestrian-friendly version of Front Avenue between Second and Third streets near The Coeur d'Alene Resort to reduce traffic congestion on the street and increase pedestrian flow, as recommended by the park designers. Limited traffic means emergency vehicles, buses and service trucks can access the road, as could vehicles during special circumstances. Hagadone Corp. will be included in the LID.

But the reduced LID also means that the city will be responsible for bridging the gap with the $2.9 million Front Avenue project.

The city could whittle away some components of the street plan, though not too much without altering the design dramatically, officials said.

"Beyond that, it really takes away what you're trying to do on Front Avenue," City Administrator Wendy Gabriel told the council during the meeting.

Now, the city could look for other revenue streams. Other possibilities are the project bid coming in under estimated costs or that the money set aside for contingency possibly covering some of it.

Tuesday's meeting was the latest step crunching detailed designs and costs with the project now two years in the making.

"They are getting harder and harder to track down, because they do change," said Deanna Goodlander, council member, before Tuesday's meeting, on the multiple design decisions the council has addressed in the last several weeks. "As the plans change, it obviously changes the numbers."

One of those recent decisions by the city was to request the city's urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp., pay up to $4.2 million more for the project to pay for amenities that were recently put back into the plan.

The urban renewal board has already pledged around $12 million on the project, and will decide whether to commit more funding at 4 p.m. today in the Community Room of the public library.

So far, with the added amenities, the high end estimate on the park project is around $17.6 million. But the total proposed estimated cost of the project including money that has already been spent on it, such as work already completed and architect and engineering fees and contracts, would be $20.8 million.

The City Council's decision Tuesday, however, does put a hard figure on one of the financial components of the plan that hadn't been settled.

"I don't want to stall anymore, I want to get this done, " McEvers said. "Let's just move forward."

Council members Dan Gookin and Steve Adams, who have opposed many elements with the park design, opposed the LID.

One concern for Gookin was pairing the street and park project together appeared as though the property owners were paying for more than just the street, but the park project itself to a point.

"Where actually is the line?" he asked.

But it's the third downtown street to be assessed an LID as part of downtown improvement, as Sherman and Lakeside avenue property owners paid into them in previous years, officials said. That three street approach was adopted by the city years ago as part of its "Main Street" revitalization approach, and Front Avenue property owners are being asked to pay for improvements just as the others had.

"We expect the same thing to happen on Front," bond attorney Danielle Quade said about Front Avenue property owners receiving benefit from the project, as Sherman and Lakeside property owners did on their projects. "From a gut-check level it seems fair."

The LID, which would be paid out over 10 years, is assessed at a radio of 18 to 1 between commercial and residential owners, respectively. For a commercial property owner, the reduction would take his or her assessment from around $38,000 to around $28,500.

Council member Ron Edinger was absent.

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  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:47 am on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    Great question. How is it even legal for the mayor and select members of council to ok an LID tax on a project the people did NOT even get to vote on?

  • COG777 posted at 12:27 am on Thu, Jan 17, 2013.

    COG777 Posts: 338

    My question is why should property owners who are already paying property taxes for services have to pay additional property taxes? Why should a government entity be allowed to force people against their will to do this? As I stated earlier if these people want to pay more power to them but it a big concern to hear statements that LID's are for everyone! Does this mean if you live in the city you can look forward to one in area soon?

  • Mary Souza posted at 4:28 pm on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    Mary Souza Posts: 788

    Here's a question about the LID: The city's design for Front Street took away all the curb cuts (driveways) on the north side of the street. This seriously affected three businesses: the Antiques building, the Steve Meyer & Charlie Nipp properties, and the Coeur d'Alene Mines building.

    Why is it that the city agreed to let Meyer & Nipp have theirs back, but not the other two businesses?

  • COG777 posted at 12:53 pm on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    COG777 Posts: 338

    It is about time to post it online about LID's and how in the state of Idaho peoples property tax can rise up to whatever amount amount the highway district, city council, county commissioners, water district or any other governing body wants to raise it to for any project. If there is nothing done this session there are going to be many U-tube videos explaining the dangers of LID's and why planning on buying property in Idaho can be a dangerous thing. The examples of the city of Coeur d Alene will be one presented on the video. I would also like to know the context of Woody's comment very scary stuff.

  • LTRLTR posted at 9:39 am on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    concernedcitizen: I agree. Just wondering if they have any heart of goodness, honesty and standing up for what is good. People can get sucked into believing too easily the promises of our Mayor and Council. I have too many personal experiences with how govt. works. All talk and no backbone.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 8:41 am on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    The Decline people will never admit they were wrong.

  • LTRLTR posted at 7:59 am on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    To the supporters of the Decline to Sign Campaign:

    The Mayor and Council said the McEuen Park will only cost $14.2M. You believed that statement to be true and defended the Mayor and Council by harshly campaigning again the Recall movement through deception tactics. How do you feel now? The truth is being revealed. Perhaps McEuen Park should be named Deception Park. Currently, the total project is $20.8 million excluding the costs of preparing a ball field for the American Legion. Be alert and watch what happens during construction. Do you still believe in your role models?

  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:35 am on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    "But the reduced LID also means that the city will be responsible for bridging the gap with the $2.9 million Front Avenue project."

    And just where does the city get its funds? This means you and me folks.

    as a side note, I am glad to see the city stick it to those that were sitting board members and ran right out to buy up as much as they could on Front. It is time the insiders shaft themselves. LMBO

  • wheels1 posted at 5:28 am on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    wheels1 Posts: 404

    Limiting access on Front between 2nd and 3rd to ' Reduce traffic congestion and Increase pedestrian flow' recommended by the park designers? What a spin job. AKA successful lobbying efforts(arm twisting) by John Barlow, Hagadone Corp honcho (who is also on the design committee) to finally shut off public access to Front or Sherman via 2nd with the exception naturally of hotel guests.

  • COG777 posted at 2:12 am on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    COG777 Posts: 338

    I wish I would have made that meeting. There is nothing to stop the city from doing another LID on those same people or the water district or some other district. If these people are rich and wish to pay for this more power to them. The other property taxes they pay for the services can be redistributed to other areas for roads and other things. I think the mayor and the other council members who like LID's should have to pay extra in LID's for the services on their roads and not take it out of the general fund that these people pay into.

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