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Meeting Minutes
November 23, 2009

Attendees

  • Dave Bieter
  • Tom Dale
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • John Evans
  • David Ferdinand
  • Brad Holton
  • Vicki Thurber
  • Fred Tilman
  • Margie Watson

Absent

  • John Bechtel
  • Scott Dowdy
  • George Hyer
  • Nate Mitchell
  • Garret Nancolas

Staff and Guests

  • Ellen Berggren – Corps of Engineers
  • Helen Harrington – IDWR
  • Carrie Smith – Canyon County
  • Bill Larsen - Staff

Tom Dale welcomed everyone to Nampa. He congratulated everyone for being reelected. He asked for an update that happened during the elections. David stated that he is disappointed over losing Margie. She stated that she did not run for re-election. The President of the Parma City Council prevailed by 30 votes over former Mayor Bob Flowers, who waged a write-in campaign. 68% of the electorate voted. Summaries of election results are as follows.

John offered that he ran unopposed.

Vickie stated that she had a new 25-year-old councilman get elected. Additionally they had a 3 million-sewer bond that passed. They were successful in getting stimulus money for this project.

Dave indicated that all incumbents were re-elected.

Tom mentioned that all incumbents to the City Council were retained. He mentioned that he has noticed that in any election, you almost always see a certain percentage of no votes, because people vote against everything. To pass any kind of bond measure or other kind of civic improvement activity, you have the deck stacked against you right from the start. It points out the undemocratic process of the super-majority vote. The members were all in agreement.

National Association of Cities Conference

Tom stated he had just got back from the National Association of Cities Conference. They had some real good training's. The most significant thing he got from the conference, was that the prognosticators in the country are not agreeing that the recession is over. They say for municipal planning purposes, we need to count on another two or three years of limited budgets. They do not see any significant upturn in the economy for the next two or three years. The recession is not clearly over till we start hiring and seeing jobs created and this is not happening.

Overall, anytime you artificially stimulate the economy like we did, you will see a down side. When we see home starts come back and we see people becoming employed, then we can see improvements in our budgets. Till then, the advice is that we need to be tightening our belts and nation-wide cities will be reducing services. In Idaho, Tom stated we seem to be fairing better than the nation.

David indicated that November 20th was the deadline for the taking of properties because of three-year delinquencies. They ended up without about 80 properties that were not able to make their taxes. Normally there are only about 30 per year in Canyon County. Most of these were rentals and there was one business involved. He felt this was a good indicator of where we are economically. Mortgage companies usually step up and pay these back taxes. But now they are not.

Fred indicated Ada County is about three times higher on uncollectables for taxes than they were last year. What that means is there could become a cash-flow problem. Cities should anticipate that they will not see revenue come on a timely basis like they have in the past. We will not know on this till the December tax date.

Dave asked if the delays in tax revenues would be based on jurisdiction. Would the delinquencies from Garden City or Meridian affect the City of Boise's cash flow? Fred indicated that what ever jurisdiction saw that delinquency would also feel the cash-flow effect. But it is across the board and we do not see any particular jurisdiction with a higher rate of delinquency.

Comprehensive Aquifer Management Planning

Tom introduced Helen Harrington, with the Idaho Department of Water Resources. She indicated she had spoken a couple years ago to the Partnership and wanted to provide an update on the planning activities that are underway. The Comprehensive Aquifer Management Planning (CAMP) Program was originally funded by legislation in 2008. This program is under the ID Water Resource Board. They are responsible for water planning in the state and establishing of policies and programs for this end. They work across the broad spectrum from agricultural to municipal water planning.

This new program is focused on developing plans in basins to meet water needs. The legislature appropriated $20 million for this ten-year program. It will consist of studies and monitoring for ten basins around the state.

Because of funding cutbacks, they believe they can complete two basins out of the ten-basin program. They are the Rathdrum Prairie and Treasure Valley basins.

They are currently underway on the Treasure Valley study. In September/October they had a facilitation firm begin the process of surveying the people on the issue. This situation assessment will be completed by about mid December. One of the recommendations from the assessment is to form an advisory committee. A representative from each district in the basin will bring necessary issues and concerns. The appointments will occur in January of this next year.

There are a number of studies currently going on. The northern and eastern Ada county ground water studies for example are the types of tools they are using to refine the existing information they already have. They are doing some seepage work in the river and studying ground water surface water interactions. They are looking at hydrology and trying to understand the movement of ground water better than they already do.

The primary purpose of this basin study is to plan for the long-term water needs of the Treasure Valley. They are looking at 50-year plan in time frames of 10-year increments. There are a lot of variables such as climate change and other issues that affect the plan. Another big aspect is the multi-jurisdictional nature of the treasure valley plan.

The advisory committee is to put forth their recommendations by June of 2011.

Helen stated that if any of the TVP members have names or contacts for individuals whom would be good to have involved in the process, please forward that contact information to her. In addition, if the cities and counties have information such as water use data, please forward that information over to her as well. Information such as current uses, future needs would be helpful.

Helen anticipates between 20-30 people will comprise the advisory committee. The list of those that will be recommended for the advisory committee will be available by mid December.

Tammy mentioned that over the last couple years we have been talking about drilling practices and the possibility of ground water contamination as a result. Will these practices be part of the considerations? Helen indicated that this is a planning program. It is not an administrative or regulatory program. The quality of water is important to be available for needs. She is not sure how water quality will play out with respect to water supply and availability.

Dave stated they have done some visits with other States. The City of Tuscon, AZ has been amazingly effective at getting their water consumption rates reduced. But they control the reigns of that process because it is a public utility. With the prospect of the strain on the system your technical people might be seeing, the likelihood of Cities like Boise being more aggressive with consumption rates does not look good to him. What does the Water Resource Board see?

Helen agreed that having a private provider does raise some questions on how to make water consumption rates go down. The board will be looking at lots of strategies for meeting future water needs; conservation will be one of those. How much conservation will be part of the picture is not known yet.

Tom asked how the City of Tuscon was able to reduce the water consumption rates of their residents. Dave stated that they are living under what we are going to see. They developed regulations and utilized efficient fixtures, had landscape initiatives and a whole host of programs to reduce water consumption rates.

Fred asked what the boundaries of the study. Helen indicated that it is basically downstream from Lucky Peak. When we are talking about aquifers, the Treasure Valley aquifer starts about where Indian Creek is or the Stage Stop along the freeway to Mountain Home.

In north Ada County, we are studying how the groundwater flows and there is no data at this point. The study will go all the way west to the State line. They also will be looking at inter-basin transfers. This means there may be an opportunity to bring water in to the Treasure Valley watershed.

Brad asked if the high nitrate priority area would be brought into the study. Helen indicated it will be part of the study but will not be a major piece.

John asked if groundwater recharge technology would be in the mix of the study. Helen mentioned that it will be part of the conversation. The regulatory aspects of injection technology will be part of the conversation.

Margie asked if they are talking to the U of I in regards to the various agricultural watering technologies in the industry. Helen indicated that they have not yet. But agricultural water usage in terms of conversion to urban uses as well as agricultural practices will be part of the study.

Lower Boise River Interim Feasibility Study

Tom introduced Ellen Berggren with the Idaho Corps of Engineers. She is a project manager on this study and is working with the Idaho Div. of Water Resources on the study.

Congress authorized the study when they passed the Water Resources Development Act of 1999 (WRDA). This act authorized the Corps to conduct a flood control study on the Boise River. In subsequent amendments, the Act also authorizes ecosystem restoration and water supply.

The Corps is looking at water storage and is working with the ID Div. of Water resources to incorporate their findings into the CAMP study. This partnership allows them to do a comprehensive analysis of a multi-purpose storage structure that meets both agencies needs. There are in essence two simultaneous studies occurring right now.

The purpose of the Lower Boise River Interim Feasibility Study is to develop a sustainable multi-purpose plan to reduce the risk of impact of floods in the valley. The lower Boise River is defined as from lucky peak down river to the confluence of the Snake. When they are looking at water storage facilities however, they are looking outside of this area.

Prior to the Feasibility Study, there was a Reconnaissance study. This reconnaissance study indicated there is a need to reduce flood risk in the valley, a need to improve flood plain management, a need to identify water supply to meet future demand as well as address how climate change will affect current water supply. There is a need to improve water quality and restore ecosystems that have been impacted by development.

In May of 2009 they moved forward with a water storage assessment and will be initiating an analysis of flood risk. In the second phase the other issues will be addressed.

There are four main pieces of the Interim Feasibility Study. (1) Documenting existing resources along the Boise River. (2) Completing base conditions for hydrology and estimating damages from flood events. (3) Identifying storage needs (4) Developing scope of work for completing the second phase of the study.

The Boise River is a regulated river. There are three major dams on the system. Lucky Peak, Anderson Ranch and Arrow Rock are these dams. Downstream from lucky peak is a smaller dam called diversion dam that diverts water into the New York Canal and eventually goes to Lake Lowell.

The reservoir system is designed to reduce the risk of a 100-year flood event. Their objective during the flood control season is to not exceed 6500 cfs at the Glenwood Bridge. Flood Stage on the Boise River is defined as 7,000 cfs. In 1983, flows on the Boise River were measured at 10,000 cfs.

The Corps is responsible for estimating what flood damage is prevented. About 10 years ago, the Corps did economic estimate of flood damage given a 100-year flood event. That estimate was $65 million.

They are going to pick up on a water storage assessment that was done it 2006. There were 12 areas of opportunity as it relates to water storage. They will be updating the information to rank these 12 sites. Then they will put together some engineering designs and cost estimates on the top three storage areas of these sites. This information will be integrated into the Treasure Valley CAMP study.

She passed out a map of the 12 storage sites. Three of the opportunities for storage involve raising the three dams on the Boise River. If you raised the three dams each by 10 feet, you would double the storage capacity of the dams. On the North Fork of the Boise, there are two proposed storage sites. One is at Barber Flats and one is on Rabid Creek.

New dam sites have been proposed. One is at Twin Springs, another at Alexander Flats and there has been a dam site proposed at Rattlesnake Creek. On the main branch of the river there have been two sites identified one above Grimes Creek and one at Mores Creek.

Key milestones for the study have been coordinated with the CAMP Study. By the end of the calendar year they are hoping to have the hydraulic model updated. They are anticipating having the mapping of the Boise River Floodplain by the end of next year. The water source assessment is scheduled for completion in June of 2010. The economic analysis of the flood control map is scheduled for completion in the first part of 2011. These deadlines are of course dependent on funding appropriations from Congress.

Margie asked if the milestones include modeling all the way to the confluence with the Snake River. Margie stated that the old model had not accounted for changes in the river due to construction. Ellen indicated that they want to update the model all the way to the confluence. However, funding has only been provided to include modeling downstream to Eagle Island. They want to update the model all the way, but are in need of cost-share partners to complete the whole river.

Project Managers Report

Bill indicated that he received a call from Director Reinke the previous Friday. They have invited us to speak to the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission on Friday, December 18th at 10:00 am.

Bill summarized the handouts for the upcoming presentation to the Eagle City Council.

Brad moved to approve the minutes and financial report. Margie seconded. Motion approved.

Meeting Adjourned