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Idaho Lawmaker: Put Urban Renewal Funds on Shorter Leash for City Hall, Library Construction

In particular, Rep. Rick Youngblood pointed to city halls, libraries and governmental office buildings

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Saying that he didn't "whole-heartedly support" using urban renewal dollars for fund the construction of a number of government buildings, an Idaho lawmaker wants to put those federal dollars on a shorter leash, and instead have voters determine if they want to foot the bill.

"I think of urban renewal as developing economic purpose," Nampa Republican Rep. Rick Youngblood told the Idaho House Local Government Committee Monday afternoon. "But I have seen several projects in my own district (No. 12) where that's not always the case."

In particular, Youngblood pointed to city halls, libraries and governmental office buildings. For any future projects that total more than $1 million and urban renewal funding would exceed 51 percent. His proposed measure would exempt parking garages.

A number of committee members repeatedly questioned Youngblood on his definition of an "administrative building."

"That's a building used by public employees. A city hall," he said.

Twin Falls Republican Rep. Lance Clow said the bill, as written, might contain what he called "troubling language" when it came to trails, streets and parks. "Some parks can be bigger than anticipated for those urban renewal dollars."

But ultimately, the committee agree to have Youngblood's bill stand for a full public hearing before a vote.