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Meeting Minutes
December 8, 2008

Attendees

  • Phil Bandy
  • John Bechtel
  • Tom Dale
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • John Evans
  • David Ferdinand
  • Brad Holton
  • Vicki Thurber
  • Margie Watson
  • Paul Woods

Absent

  • Dave Bieter
  • Scott Dowdy
  • John Evans
  • Nate Mitchell
  • Garret Nancolas
  • Hal Tolmie

Staff and Guests

  • Keith Allred
  • Joe Borton
  • Jeff Lavey
  • Pete O’neal
  • Bill Larsen – Staff

Tammy de Weerd opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to the new Meridian City Hall. She introduced Joe Borton who is the Chair of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He mentioned that January is National Mentoring Month for the organization. They are trying to spearhead a proclamation for each city to have a Big Brothers/Big Sisters week in January. They will be talking to each member individually to encourage members to participate in the event.

Margie mentioned that Parma does not have a Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization but does have a mentoring program. She asked if this proclamation was to recognize the organization or mentoring that communities have. Her mentoring program is run through the school district. Joe mentioned the idea was to recognize mentoring activities and does not necessarily have to just recognize the organization.

Phil felt there was another way to get the message out and that was by approaching our local legislators and see if we can get a joint resolution at the State level.

Tammy mentioned that a Christmas tradition in her family was to give an ornament. At this time she gave out Christmas ornaments to those in attendance.

SAUSA Report

Margie indicated that they had their conference call on the applicants for the SAUSA Project. There were 32 really good applicants. The group has reviewed the candidates and interestingly enough, each member came up with the same top five applicants to interview. The will be interviewing candidates on December 22nd. She felt real good about the type of person we are going to get from this applicant pool. The interview team was happy that the governor had put in the $25,000 for this next years funding.

One thing Tom Moss did say is that as he talks to candidates he wanted to be able to reiterate the longevity of the SAUSA Project. Margie reiterated with Tom the Partnership’s commitment to maintaining the project.

David asked about the timing of this SAUSA Project hire. Bill mentioned that it takes about 6 weeks for the Feds to do their full criminal background check on the candidate.

Tammie asked if we had heard back from the Governor’s office on the funding. Bill mentioned that the $25,000 is in the Governor’s proposed budget. Bill pointed to two handouts for the SAUSA Project. The SAUSA Project income/expense report indicates that at Christian’s last day the remainder in the project will be approx. $6,600. He pointed out that the 2nd year’s 4th qtr payment has not been made to the project yet. So theoretically, there is an added $25,000 going to be in the project at start.

One of the questions from last months meeting was the pay scale for AUSA’s. Bill provided the pay scale for the federal employees. He mentioned that people located in Boise get a bump in their wages. Therefore, the scale for an AUSA in Boise is anywhere from $56,000 – $73,000, with 0-3 years experience. We were paying Christian $68,000. Bill asked for a decision on pay or guidance to give the interview committee.

Paul mentioned that we could experience a lot of turnover for the 68,000. David said that they are paying some of their PA’s in Canyon County, somewhere around $80,000. Bill stated that the crux of his analysis, at five years of experience, for example, what we were paying Christian was on the low end of the pay scale.

Margie mentioned that all the candidates with less than three years of experience were not invited for interviews. Tom added that we do not have to be the top pay but we should be competitive with the range.

Paul asked why we were liability insurance. Bill indicated that early on in the process ICRIMP had a problem putting this project under liability coverage and the liability insurance we did receive covers Owyhee County. David mentioned he would check and see what kinds of liability insurance Canyon County has and if they would be able to put the SAUSA employee under this insurance.

TAP Legislation Support Letter

Tammy asked if everyone had a chance to see the letter that Garret and Bill had put together on the TAP legislation. She did mention that she did see the addition they requested on economic certainty. Margie moved and Tom seconded to approve the TAP Legislation Support letter. Motion carried.

Firearms Training Facilities

Tammy introduced Jeff Lavey, Meridian Chief of Police who was there to talk about firearms training facilities. For several years the Meridian police have looked at the opportunity to build their own training facility. The idea was to build an indoor facility. His question was what were other jurisdictions doing with regard to training facilities. There have been a lot of articles in the paper about the lack of facilities.

As he slowly sees the space in the valley begin to fill up, there becomes a need to secure a facility for firearms training. His question was more future oriented and geared to a 20-year long-range plan. He felt that his peers in the Treasure Valley were all concerned with finding a way to fill current needs, and maybe we could look at a cooperative venture to build a facility that could fulfill all the valley’s needs.

Tammy mentioned that as they were looking at the price tag for fulfilling their own departments training needs, they quickly realized the possibility of fulfilling a need regionally. The City of Meridian would like to have a state-of-the-art facility. We want to plan at accommodating future needs. We know we cannot do this alone and we know that any one of our individual jurisdictions can not do it alone.

Her proposal is to get the TVP members and our Chiefs together and start this dialogue. She indicated it is important for Partnership members to be in the room to listen to their dialogue. The City of Meridian is willing to pay for someone to pull all of this together. It will help us with recruitment of talented law enforcement officers. This will also benefit our current law enforcement officers to get them maximally prepared to do their jobs.

Tammy mentioned that this is one of those issues that it makes sense to have a regional solution. We would love to work the Cities and Counties to insure that we have a predictable place to do our training in.

Jeff felt that we shouldn’t do this alone. We should build something once and get together and share it together.

Tom felt that his understanding was that there was not a training concern for the Nampa Police Dept. He added that he believes in a more dispersed idea was more efficient. There was a lot of inefficiencies in coming from all over to a central facility. He felt there was not a lot of interest given the economy and other priorities right now.

Tammy felt that discussing a facility like this worth the dialogue. She encouraged the group to discuss this issue. If Canyon County feels that their needs are being met. Then maybe it is just a need being experienced by Ada county jurisdictions.

Discussion on Air Quality

Tammy asked if everyone saw the article where Director Toni Hardesty was talking to the City Club. In the article she said, “maybe we are in non-attainment, maybe we are not? As a member of the Treasure Valley Air Quality Council, this announcement was a shock. They have not met to discuss this revelation. She did want to get the discussion going to see if we could be leaders in the discussion around air quality.

Keith indicated that the state of Air Quality today is kind of confusing. Really what this is all about, is we have an air-shed in the valley that has physical constraints and is well defined by DEQ. A major portion of this air-shed is made up of Canyon and Ada County. The Air Quality Council made four recommendations. Two of them had to do with governmental action. Stage one vapor recovery is one. Hopefully through the first half of 09, most of these vapors will be captured as a result of grants that are being let to tank owners. The other is this idea of emission testing and maintenance of convoluted legislation that went through this past year. This process is being strung out and what ever we come up with probably won’t have an impact on the testing during the summer of 09.

The other two recommendations is that we need to change our behavior and drive less. Automobiles combine to produce a little over 50% of the VOC’s in the air-shed. Those things combined with the heat and sunshine create the ozone. In the long run, cars are getting cleaner. The fact is there are a lot more vehicles in the valley. If we marry the ideas of land-use planning with transportation planning, we won’t have to drive as much. This is a long-term solution.

The reason the EPA set air quality standards in the first place. Last summer it was announced that because of lowering the standard for ozone standards we had reached non-attainment for ozone. In 08, we had a cool summer and didn’t get those long sections of hot temperatures and the high prices of gasoline did in fact get people to change their behavior and they drove less. Putting these two things together, our measurement was below the 75. Depending on how you rounded the numbers, we may reach attainment.

The State DEQ has until June 09 to submit the data to EPA that substantiates whether we do or do not have a problem. We ought to make a blitz effort to make sure we do not exceed the standard in the summer of 09. At that point in time, we will be able to say we had a problem last year, but we have done all these smart things and have improved on our ozone problem.

The challenge in the short run is getting the word out so that people will change their behavior. What some of the members of the council would like to do would be to get the Boise Valley Economic partnership engaged in raising money for an awareness campaign. He felt it was important that we do not have the Treasure Valley get labeled with bad air quality.

Margie mentioned that two small gas station owners in her area did not know anything about the vapor recovery grant. Tom mentioned that this activity will remove a tremendous amount of the VOC’s. Tammy mentioned the Treasure Valley Air Quality Council will be looking at their reporting and working with the Boise Valley Economic partnership because the leader in this effort need to be the business community. We can be leaders by providing the information but we need to create the groundswell and information on all the little things that can be done. And if we can get people to take on little pieces of the overall problem, we will have a large effect on the outcome.

Phil was concerned that if we are not proactive, we are going to be forced into doing mitigation. All of the mitigation efforts are unfounded. Smaller investments now will save us on this big investment.

Tammy provided an example of a small paint shop that made some small capital improvements to do their part of cutting back on VOC emissions. This business is recouping these costs. Phil mentioned he supervised the pollution prevention program at DEQ for awhile. The economic impacts and making people aware of that, were the best way to go. If you explained that people could make small changes they could get below the regulatory threshold, and they don’t have the regulations apply to them. In the long run, it was much more efficient to make the small changes to avoid regulatory requirements.

Brad mentioned he recently flew his plane to Bakersfield and when they flew back, there was a frightening amount of similarities. In Wilder in Canyon County, a vehicle emissions testing program is a bittersweet pill to swallow. For the bang on the buck it sucks. To him it is easier to pass a valley-wide ordinance on that if your car smokes any patrolman can pull you over and you have to get certified that your vehicle passed or you fix the problem. Instead of having all the people test, we could test only the problem vehicles

Is this not a Treasure Valley Partnership issue that needs to be pulled up on our priority of issues. He can think of several industries that are pumping out VOC like mad. Let’s go after the long hanging fruit that is really easy to grab and create the lists and communications to businesses and industries about VOC emissions. As a leader he feels like he has no traction. He is frustrated that we do not have a game plan.

Tammy said that we have to get beyond the data and make it a healthy air issue and an economic attraction issue. She has passed out what they are doing as ideas. She would like to collect from the members what they are doing. If the members have stories of what the business community is doing in this regard, please share this. We have got to highlight the good stuff and we have to highlight what people are doing that is different. The idea generators have a cumulative effect that is positive.

Steve mentioned he has been trying to put a working group together to solve the problem. Tom indicated Canyon County is getting together tomorrow and are coming back together in the near future on this issue.

Beer/Wine Taxes

Steve mentioned that the Id Dept of Correction projects there is going to be $1 billion in new prison costs coming down the road. There lots of policy options where you can spend less and get more out of it.

Most of these options cost a lot of money. One however is appropriate and that is to raise the beer and wine tax and have the funds be dedicated for State substance abuse efforts. 85% of the offenders in our prisons have substance abuse problems. The State has done a great deal to increase effectiveness and oversight in the substance abuse system. Nationally, for every dollar you give into substance abuse treatment you get back 9 dollars in taxpayer savings and 8 dollars in savings for victims of crime.

This year, the office of drug policy has come forward with a 19 million request for the legislature this year. There has been a roller coaster in funding in this state and providers do not want to open. We think it is important to telegraph out into the future a stable funding for substance abuse treatment.

The beer/wine taxes have not been raised in over 20 years. The notion behind these taxes are, they are there to offset some of the cost that alcohol abuse imposes on communities. The idea is to raise the beer/wine tax to a level that would offset the substance abuse treatment needs…..the 19 million.

Tom moved that we approve the letter of support that was provided and send it to the State legislature. David seconded, motion carried.

Paul Woods thanked the partnership and said his time with the Partnership was very rewarding.

John moved and Tom seconded to approve the financial statement and minutes from the previous meeting. Motion Carried.

Meeting adjourned.