Kuna City Council

Kuna City Council

The city of Kuna has taken its first steps toward creating an urban renewal district, one of several infrastructure funding tools it has considered in recent months.

City council on Aug. 6 authorized an urban renewal district eligibility study, funded by the city and facilitated by contractor J-U-B Engineers.

“It’s never a bad idea to be armed with information,” Council President Briana Buban-Vonder Haar said.

The study, slated to cost $18,240, will help city officials better understand which areas of Kuna are eligible for an urban renewal district, according to Lisa Holland, economic development director.

The council voted to expense $8,000 from fiscal year 2019’s contingency fund to cover a portion of the study. The remaining $10,240 will come from the FY20 budget.

Kuna Mayor Joe Stear said, in the long run, the eligibility study will save the city money.

The council also authorized an agreement with J-U-B Engineers, a Boise-based engineering and land surveying firm, to facilitate the eligibility study.

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According to the agreement, J-U-B will evaluate potential urban renewal district areas, develop questionnaires for potential stakeholders in those areas and prepare materials that demonstrate the study’s findings for the city of Kuna.

The expected project duration is three months.

Urban renewal, a tax increment financing tool, is one of several infrastructure funding tools the city is considering to spur economic growth in Kuna.

Urban renewal districts are meant to encourage infrastructure improvements. When an urban renewal district is established, property values within the district are recorded and capped. From that year forward, until the district sunsets, increased property tax revenue is reinvested in the district. In the meantime, other taxing districts continue to collect property tax revenue from the district, but only at the baseline property values. Once the district sunsets — typically after 20 years — increased property values return to traditional tax levies.

Kuna has considered other infrastructure funding mechanisms, such as community infrastructure districts, sales tax anticipated revenues and business improvement districts. Holland said the other options aren’t yet off the table, but the J-U-B study will focus on urban renewal districts.

Funding for the urban renewal study and the agreement resolution with J-U-B received unanimous support from the city council.

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-922-3008. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.

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