Proponents tout the plan as a way to preserve the open space on the prairie. However, we urge you to vote no on this seemingly good idea. Why? Here are several reasons to vote “No.”
- The county doesn’t have any contract for the purchase of land on the prairie.
- This is a tax increase and a government intrusion into the private sector: real estate development.
- Land costs a premium right now.
- Water is limited and the open space would need water to benefit the public.
- Cities and the county already control what type of developments can take place on lands under their jurisdiction.
- Precluding large swaths of land from development will increase the value/cost of developable land and subsequently contributing to increasingly unaffordable homes for median income households.
- There is no plan! The verbiage calls for “scenic or recreational purposes,” but does not give any specifics.
- The county cannot afford current needs and obligations. Rather than trying to buy land, the county should look at ways to fund prosecutor’s office construction, jail needs, and other issues.
- The bond rate of 3.7% is significantly lower than interest rates in a money market account and results in interest payments of nearly $22 million.
Here is the text you will read on the ballot:
OPEN SPACE BOND ELECTION KOOTENAI COUNTY STATE OF IDAHO NOVEMBER 7, 2023
QUESTION: Shall Kootenai County, Idaho (the “County”), be authorized to issue and sell Open Space Bonds in the principal amount of up to $50,000,000 for the purpose of financing the purchasing and acquisition of public open-space land and/or easements for scenic and recreational purposes and development for public use (the “Project”), together with costs and expenses related thereto, the final installment of each bonds to fall due not later than twenty (20) years from the date of issuance thereof, all as provided in the Bond Election Ordinance No. 583 adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on July 18, 2023?
The interest rate anticipated on the proposed bond issue, based upon current market rates, is three and seventy hundredths percent (3.70%) per annum. The amount to be repaid over the life of the bonds, based on the anticipated interest rate, is $71,980,000, consisting of $50,000,000 in principal and $21,980,000 of interest. The term of the bonds will not exceed twenty (20) years from the date of issuance.
The estimated average annual cost to the taxpayer on the proposed bond is a tax of $8 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value based on current conditions.
As of November 7, 2023, the total existing indebtedness of the County, including interest accrued, is $0.00.
IN FAVOR OF ISSUING BONDS IN THE AMOUNT OF UP TO $50,000,000 FOR THE PURPOSE STATED IN BOND ELECTION ORDINANCE NO. 583
AGAINST ISSUING BONDS IN THE AMOUNT OF UP TO $50,000,000 FOR THE PURPOSE STATED IN BOND ELECTION ORDINANCE NO. 583