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Meeting Minutes
March 17, 2014

Attendees

  • John Bechtel
  • Tammy deWeerd
  • Keith Green
  • Bob Henry
  • Brad Holton
  • Greg Nelson
  • Jim Reynolds
  • Darin Taylor
  • Rick Yzaguirre

Staff and Guests

  • Kathy Alder – Canyon County Commissioner
  • Craig Hanson – Canyon County
  • Commissioner Bill Larsen – Treasure Valley Partnership Content

Kathy Alder, Canyon County Commissioner led the meeting off and welcomed everyone to Canyon County. She introduced Commissioner Hanson and apologized for Commissioner Rule as he is on vacation. A couple of things that are going on you can see as you drive into the parking lot. She encouraged everyone to drive around the block when they leave to see the construction that is going on.

On one side they are adding onto their juvenile detention center. This facility will handle juvenile court and family court. They are financing the construction with lottery money and court fines. They are proud to say that none of the construction is being financed with tax money.

On the other side is their new administration building. This is going to the home of practically everyone. Part of the new admin building will include their in-house public defense personnel starting next fiscal year. They have been told their public defense contract is not legal; hence they are bringing the function in-house. As you know, public defense is a State responsibility that has been given to the counties.

The Assessor the Treasurer and the Clerk will be moving into the administration building.

Tammy asked how the county got lottery money for part of the construction. Kathy said, there is lottery money that goes into juvenile probation. Anytime someone wins the lottery in the State, money goes into juvenile probation. There was as much as $600,000 in that fund for Canyon County. Then the Court has been putting court fines of upward to $90,000 aside for some time. This totaled approximately $500,000.

Keith asked if any of the lottery money gets put down to the cities. Kathy said the lottery money is for juvenile probation, period.

Also, Kathy said, the County has been scrutinized because you are supposed to keep the adult and juvenile population separate. This has been an issue and this construction will solve that.

She said, Canyon County is in good shape as a county. They have a good fund balance and have sufficient money to cover their needs. As a result, they lowered taxes this year.

Open Discussion

Indigent Fund

Keith asked about the indigent program and if there was any movement to change that? Kathy said that it appeared the legislature was not going to tackle that issue this year so we still will have high indigent costs this next year. Medicaid expansion would have done a lot. She added that she would like for hospitals to step up and pay for insurance for the indigent. Hospitals would be way ahead as they would get more in insurance payments than they can get from the County under the indigent programs.

Bill asked if there had been any discussion with regard to just buying insurance for this population. Kathy said the federal government used to have a program PCIP which worked real well. But then the federal government decided they didn’t want to do it anymore. That was insurance for people who came in early with regard to major surgery or other procedures. If they qualified for indigent services, the program would pay the premiums which saved the CAT fund a lot of money.

Legislature

HB 571

Tammy said that everyone should have heard from AIC or IAC with regard to HB 571 on eminent domain. She believes we all operate under a philosophy that eminent domain is the last resort. It has been a useful tool as having the threat of it will bring people to the table and get a final resolution. If this does get a hearing in the Senate, we will need counties and cities to weigh in with that legislative committee.

Right now it is being considered with Senator Pierce with the Resource Committee. He was going to meet with the City of Caldwell and Pioneer Irrigation District that morning to get an idea of where they are at on with their lawsuit. At least the Senate understands that it should be the legislative and judicial branch. She said if Senator Pierce is satisfied there is progress and desire to find resolution, he has no interest in running with this bill.

Bob asked where the design review legislation is. Tammy indicated that she had heard this bill is sitting in someone’s drawer.

Payday Loan Legislation

Darin asked about the payday loan legislation he keeps getting emailed about. Bill said he was unsure of where this was at in the legislature.

John said there are flaws in almost every bill you could put out there. However something needs to be done to keep people from getting into a cycle they cannot possibly get out of.

Bob questioned how we can change behavior with a law. When we do a zoning thing ordinance, all they have to do is go an extra mile to get the service. He doesn’t see that as a solution.

Brad said we legislate interest rate caps in some markets, why is it so hard to do this here. He thinks there needs to be some logical cap and it will thin out what kind of businesses open shop in Idaho. Darin agreed that this is the only thing that makes sense.

Bill said he prepared an analysis of the payday loan ordinances from around the country. He said he found a survey of all the payday loan ordinances/laws across the country. This report was published in October of 2012.

This issue has been addressed all across the country. Several jurisdictions restricted the hours of operation. A couple of jurisdictions have put restrictions on interest ranging from 24-36%. And there were a lot of zoning sorts of solutions.

He said he has heard loud and clear that the members don’t really like the zoning solution. He has found two different sets of ordinances that address this in a different manner. Both Beaverton, Oregon and Dallas, Texas enacted different ordinance provisions. They are: payday loans cannot be renewed more than twice, and a borrower must have to pay at least 25% of the principle. In Beaverton, the customer can request a payment plan at any time. Once this is requested, there is no renewal of the loan. In both cases, the payday loan can only be renewed twice before it must be converted to a payment plan.

Bill included a copy of these two ordinances for the meeting. He mentioned that in both cases, multiple jurisdictions passed the same ordinance. In the Beaverton, Oregon case, jurisdictions as far east as Burns participated along with other jurisdictions in and around the Portland area to pass the same ordinance.

Brad asked, in Idaho, does a City have the authority to make some of these restrictions on interest? Bill said he does not know the answer. Everyone asked Bill to look into this and be able to report to the next meeting.

Bill pointed out a package that Mayor Evans had provided. The package of information from federal reserve banks on the kind of economic service that payday loan businesses provide.

Note: SB 1314 was passed by the Senate and House. Its primary provision is that a payday lender shall not make a payday loan that exceeds 25% of the gross monthly income of the borrower when the loan is made.

Code Enforcement

Bob asked the group, who supervises code enforcement in other jurisdictions. Tammy indicated, in Meridian, this function rests with the police department. Craig said that was handled by DSD and they have one code enforcement officer. Darin said they have a code enforcement officer, but they have so few employees.

Rick indicated that Ada County has code enforcement officers that worked in Development Services. About two or three years ago they moved to the Sheriff’s department but continue their close ties to development services. That has worked so much better for them as they have someone in uniform performing the task.

Bob indicated that the City of Nampa’s code enforcement is supervised by economic development. He is looking at the Police department but is getting a lot of push back on this. He was glad to hear that is generally where this function is housed. Rick indicated they are using a lower level type sheriff who is not post certified in this function.

Greg said, in Kuna, planning and zoning decides if there is an issue and it gets forwarded to him. He gets to make the decision along with assistance from the sheriff.

Tammy added that her planning, legal, police department and code enforcement get together frequently to discuss what is coming up. They still behave as a team across departments.

Director’s Report

Bill pointed to the SAUSA Proposal included in the meeting packet. He has been working on setting up the Eastern Idaho meeting. He included a listing of eight jurisdictions that have indicated they will be attending the meeting in Pocatello. He anticipates 3-5 more jurisdictions will be attending and there are six jurisdictions that he has not gotten to talk to yet. In the packet, he included a funding scenario for the Eastern Idaho SAUSA proposal. If all the anticipated jurisdictions to participate, the cost will be around 10 cents per population.

Tammy said that she speaks for all the members and thanked Bill for his leadership on this effort. This has been pretty impressive on how Bill has worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to see how we can expand this program.

Bill said his thought is, if we can get an agreement or MOU from the jurisdictions in Eastern Idaho in regard to funding the local portion of the SAUSA, the State is going to have a hard time not coming up with the funding. He added that Northern Idaho might be a harder sell because there just isn’t the population to support it at this rate.

Bill indicated that Garret has said he will be attending the Eastern Idaho meeting on April 22nd. He asked if there were any other members that were planning on attending. Brad said he was going to attend. Tammy indicated that she also has it on her schedule.

John asked if Bill was going to be reimbursed for mileage for going to Pocatello. He indicated that last fall; he went to Potlatch and just requested reimbursement for the cost of the gas and said he was going to do the same this time.

Brad moved to approve the minutes and financial report. John seconded. Motion carried.

Water Quality

Pete thanked the Partnership for the time to get an update on the status of valley wide air and water quality issues. They have a wealth of information to share today. Some of it is a friendly reminder about where we are at with ozone. He thanked Jim for having them come speak to the Eagle City Council to help educate them. If any other City/County would like them to come speak to your council/commission, he would be happy to do that.

Pete introduced Troy Smith who has taken the lead on the Boise River Phosphorous TMDL. They were at a very pivotal point the previous week. They did a significant effort to model the pollution in the river. The Watershed Advisory Group voted to support the model calibration with one dissenting vote. This was the easy step with regards to the TMDL. Now we get into the part where everybody wants a piece of the pie. Unfortunately we have only so much pie to give out. The big players will be all the cities because they have wastewater discharges. Then the nonpoint sources (Ag) are big players in this issue. Stormwater also is in the mix, but their contribution is not that significant.

With the modeling effort that Troy is going to review, Pete indicated they held about 31 public meetings, just for the modeling calibration. They will be holding a similar number of meetings for the allocations they will be talking about. They will be hoping to finish, September or October.

John asked if they were going to be talking about a rumor they have been hearing about. That is the City of Boise will be taking up the lion’s share of the allocation. Pete said they will be looking at all of the allocations and all the sources. Nobody is going to be getting an unfair shake.

Darin asked who the dissenting vote was. Pete indicated it was Liz Paul with Idaho Rivers United. He was surprised by this as they felt the modeling effort was significant. Pete is setting up a meeting with her to discuss this.

Troy said he has been the lead on developing the phosphorous TMDL and project management on the modeling effort as well. The modeling effort they undertook addressed two stretches of the river. One was from Boise to Indian Creek and the other from Indian Creek to the mouth of the Boise River

A year ago DEQ and the Lower Boise Watershed Council worked together to identify what an impairment is for the Boise River. That target is 150mg per liter squared of algae. What they have to do now for the TMDL is identify what the relationship is between nutrients and other factors with detached algae in the river.

For cold water aquatic life, when you get above 200mg per liter squared of algae, you start running into problems with dissolved oxygen, changes in the insect life of the river, trout survival, etc.

Throughout the calibration of the model, they had a core group of individuals that worked with them. There were a lot of representatives from cities involved with the process.

Once the TMDL is finished they can begin the process of revising the existing trading framework. We cannot have any trading in the valley till the TMDL is completed. The TMDL allocations they develop will instruct NPDES permit writers on how permits should be written.

Lastly, they will have five year reviews for the TMDL and will be looking at subsequent information that will help them revise their decisions.

Troy said they have a report on their website that details everything they did in the modeling process. Lower Boise River Phosphorus – AQUATOX Model Report

This effort was an extensive and unique effort that DEQ undertook with the assistance of the Watershed Council and others. The Lower Boise Watershed Advisory Council voted to accept this Aquatox Model calibration as a tool to help them; develop these allocation scenarios, understand and use an adaptive management approach, and a weight of evidence approach as well.

John B. said three or four years back the City of Boise purchased land off the Dixie Drain. That was kind of a trade-off that they would take all the phosphorous out of there. He asked if this was still in the plans. Lance said, as far as they know, it is going to happen in their NPDES permit as an offset to their discharges. They haven’t started construction yet, but they have been meeting with DEQ and going through the county permit process.

Brad said, looking at it from a layman’s point of view, you have Boise that is currently discharging at certain rate and the theory is they are going to take it out of the Dixie drain. He feels that leaves very little loading for the rest of the dischargers with the City of Boise discharging at that volume. What do we do with that? His other frustration is on the lower Boise Watershed Council and their representation from jurisdictions besides Boise.

Pete said he was at the table when the City of Boise was negotiating their NPDES permit. The City of Boise does not discharge into an impaired area. If you look at the map the impaired areas are down lower in the river. What they looked at was if the Cities discharge created any hot spots in the river. The City still has to make a substantial reduction in their discharge. They are going down to 300 ppl from around 650. When you model out the 300, you don’t create any hot spots down river.

If their permit is in place and we have a TMDL that comes in place and the load allocation to them is not as much as their current permit, EPA would have to open their NPDES Permit. He does not think the City of Boise has an unfair advantage. The only reason the City of Boise was allowed to do what they were allowed to do, was because EPA wanted to get one demonstration project on the ground to show that a trade or offset could occur. Truly, the City of Boise will be pulling out about 1.5 times the amount of phosphorous out of the river, than otherwise would have occurred without the offset.

Brad reiterated that the river is already loaded at 300. Any additional jurisdiction adding to that is going to create a hot spot. He feels he is being unfairly crunched on because his city has a .07 limit.

There was a big discussion surrounding the Lower Boise Watershed Council and how they are formed and operate. Pete encouraged people to get involved and get their names on the ballot. They do not have any control over membership of this group.

He and Troy indicated that individual cities can still submit questions and responses directly to DEQ. In addition to the watershed council there is a technical advisory committee and their meetings are open to anyone. This is an excellent opportunity for someone who wants to come see the process and be able to offer feedback. Troy said there is also a group of municipalities that meet to discuss the development of the TMDL and how it affects them. He encouraged members to look into this.

Greg said Kuna put in a high-tech plant at a premium cost and yet they hear from the down-river jurisdictions that they didn’t free up anything. Pete said that we have the pie that is made up of point sources and nonpoint sources. Everybody is going to have to decrease in order to get the river where it needs to be. Unfortunately in the case of Kuna, the plant is brand new and we don’t have a TMDL in place. So Kuna had limits put in place in the permit to meet the Hell’s Canyon Snake River TMDL. There was no flexibility from EPA in the permit process. When we get this Lower Boise TMDL done, there may be flexibility for point source permits.

Brad said they haven’t mentioned the holy grail of temperature yet. Where is this issue? Pete said a big chunk of their resources is going into getting the phosphorous TMDL done. And they also are listening to the Watershed Advisory Group on what their priorities are.

Pete said, the City of Boise’s Permit was issued first. What they did is they did a compliance schedule and it is going to take them so long to get into compliance. And temperature was part of that along with phosphorous. Each cities permit will be the same way. You are going to get limits in temperature in your permits. If you cannot comply with those limits that EPA is putting in your permits, then you talk to DEQ. Because, the DEQ has a responsibility to work with you just like they are with the City of Boise and will develop a compliance schedule. In that compliance schedule there have to be really good reasons why it is going to take you ten years to get into compliance. Once we develop the compliance schedule, they certify that and those get sent back to EPA along with the permit. So when the permit gets public notice from EPA, the DEQ’s 401 certification gets public notice at the same time. The compliance schedule is part of that.

Keith asked about the TMDL on the Snake River. Pete said the TMDL on the Snake is in place, but there are some environmental groups that are attempting to open up the TMDL because it is past its five year review. These groups don’t think there have been any improvements on the Snake River, and this fact warrants the TMDL be reevaluated.

Air Quality

David Luft introduced himself as the Air Quality Manager for the Boise Regional Office. He explained the difference between PM 2.5 and PM 10 particulate pollution. He said that we have a problem with PM 2.5 type pollution basically twice a year. When we have an inversion and when we have smoke come into the valley from wildfires.

Ozone is our primary pollutant that we have to worry about. High levels of ozone will reduce crop yields. For wheat, grapes, onions and alfalfa at current ozone levels, studies have shown you have a 10-20% reduction in yield.

In 2008, the stand standard for ozone was lowered from 80 to 75. At that time the EPA advisory committee recommended a standard between 60 and 70. The schedule right now is they are to come out with a proposed standard late this fall.

We have been operating below the standard for ozone for a while. Unfortunately, 2013 saw an increase to the level of the standard. Darin asked why there was such a drop in the levels of ozone in 2011. David said it was hard to pin it on anything specific. Nationwide, when the economy went down, the levels of ozone went down as well. We also had a real good weather year that helped us a lot. Also vehicle miles were down.

Meeting adjourned.