Urban renewal board votes to loan itself $250,000

By Sandra L. Lee of the Tribune

Thursday, April 16, 2009
The Lewiston Urban Renewal Agency board agreed Wednesday to borrow $250,000 from two of its revenue allocation areas to pay for a project in a third area where the Port of Lewiston Business and Technology Park is located.

A resolution approved by the board called it an “investment policy,” and Daniel Marsh, a board member and the city’s administrative services director, cautioned against calling it a loan.

But it has all the characteristics of a loan. Repayment would be required within six years, although the board voted to make annual payments of at least $100,000. If the money is needed in either of the two areas where the money originated, the board would have to find a way to repay it immediately, City Attorney Don L. Roberts said.

It’s not legal for property tax money generated in one revenue allocation area to be used in another. This agreement for repayment changes that, Roberts said.

Interest was set at 4.5 percent, less than the 7 percent that bonds would have demanded and more than the 1 percent the money is presently earning setting in a reserve account.

About $40,000 would have been spent on selling bonds for the $806,000 project, which includes building a street and utility lines into port land east of Juniper Drive.

Another $200,000 of the cost will come from property tax money generated in the area that includes the port land and Nez Perce Plaza, plus $100,000 from the port itself.

Urban renewal agencies get their money from increases in property value, either through inflation or new construction, starting from a certain date, which in this case was Jan. 1, 2005.

The port commission plans to meet at 3:30 p.m. Monday to award the contract for the work to the low bidder, M.L. Albright and Sons of Lewiston.

The company is ready to go, and this will put local people to work, Port Manager David Doeringsfeld said.

Some money remains from bonds issued previously for water system improvements in the North Lewiston revenue allocation area, Community Development Director Laura Von Tersch said. A recommendation probably will be made at the board’s May meeting to use it to either make an additional payment on those bonds or to take on some extra work in that area, she said.

Lee may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2266.