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Meeting Minutes
April 20, 2015

Attendees

  • John Bechtel
  • Dave Bieter
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • John Evans
  • Bob Henry
  • Brad Holton
  • Greg Nelson
  • Jim Reynolds
  • Steve Rule
  • Darin Taylor
  • Rick Yzaguirre

Staff and Guests

  • Henry Atencio – Deputy Director, Idaho Department of Corrections
  • Cleve Colson – Bingham County Prosecutor
  • Seth Grigg – Executive Director, Association of Idaho Cities
  • Representative Phylis King
  • Paul Loomis – Mayor of Blackfoot (via teleconference)
  • Representative Rick Youngblood
  • Bill Larsen – Treasure Valley Partnership

Mayor John Evans opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to Garden City. He had asked Bill to put a block of time at the beginning of the meeting where we don’t have any guests so we can have our free flow discussion.

Open Discussion

John indicated they have a lot of things going on in Garden City. One of the biggest things they have happening is their west pedestrian bridge which is a major connection across the river for the greenbelt. The Foundation for the Ada County Trail System Director, Bill Gigray, came over and his vision is to continue to look for avenues to acquire rights of way for the greenbelt clear to the Snake River. He seems to have a real impetus for this project and it will be pushing into Canyon County pretty quickly.

John asked what is going on around the valley. John B. said he and Brad will be talking to the railroad to start talking about a pathway between Greenleaf and Wilder.

Brad said he was curious; John E., Jim and Bill got to talk with IDWR regarding the water rights issue. He asked if they were sold on their direction that flood control releases is part of the assessment of our water rights and the refill needs new water rights. John E. said he learned a lot more about it. Matthew Weaver will be coming to our next meeting to help explain their position. One of the areas of confusion was whether things are going to be done differently than they have historically. His question was how this change affects municipal water rights. Their water is all from wells so there really isn’t an impact to them. The frequency of the flood control releases is another interesting topic in that it is not an annual thing. Additionally, the relationship between new water rights and how this impacts senior water right holders is another area that is easy to get confused over.

Bob asked if anyone knew the story with Pete Wagner. John E. said he got a better job with United Water. He is going to have a territory that includes all of Idaho down to Salt Lake.

Bob said they opened up a new 65,000 square foot library in Nampa. They still have the old library which is setting empty. Their Building Dept. has said before they will give a certificate of occupancy there are some things they have to improve like ADA access. He was told that the City of Boise got rid of some property where they sold it to a private enterprise. How do you insure the private enterprise does what they say they are going to do? Dave said they sold the old Armory. In that case they deed restricted the property where they put some requirements in.

Steve said he would be careful about deed restrictions. They just went through an Ethanol Plant hearing. One of the big things was the previous owner had deed restrictions on it that didn’t allow an Ethanol Plant. Somehow through exchanges and things, they got those deed restrictions lifted. It was a terrible fight with the public over whether these deed restrictions actually got removed when they were in place 8-10 years ago. But for this particular structure, he felt deed restrictions would work real well. He said be cautious and make sure those meetings are air tight.

Dave said the other way to go is you can give it to the redevelopment district without any compensation and let them worry about it. They have more leeway than the City would.

Dave said he had some courtesy from the group he wanted to talk about. With regard to the Dixie Drain there were some appeals come in front of the County Commissioners. He understands these things can and will happen. If we could commit among ourselves, before you file the appeal, please call the jurisdiction and talk about the issue. We all are going to do what we have to, but before the filing of the appeal, a conversation would be a nice courtesy.

Darin said he agrees with Dave that this caught him off guard and on behalf of Middleton he should have made a call. After looking back at the history, he is not sure Boise thought the project would involve Middleton at all.

Darin asked to go back to the topic of water rights and the refill water. His question is whether IDWR has made a determination of what the recharge amount is in the Treasure Valley.

John E. said, according to Matt they had just recently implemented a recharge strategy with regard to the aquifer. He felt this will be a good discussion.

Rick said that Gary Spackman, the Director of IDWR is a neighbor and they have known each other. He suggested to him and Bill that we need to have this discussion with the full Partnership. The issue is extremely complicated and we need to have the discussion. John E. said it is a complicated deal and we need to get up to speed on the particulars.

Brad said he has a little different perspective on the refill issue than Gary does. He thinks Mr. Spackman is a good guy so their differences are not based on personalities. But in essence they are taking an Eastern Idaho solution to a Boise River watershed that doesn’t have a problem. In the most simplistic of forms, you have water that is coming into our reservoirs, so you have spring run-off mitigation so you don’t have a flood condition. In his understanding what they are trying to do is take any water releases to mitigate spring run-off so there won’t be flood conditions, those are assessed to the water assessment to subtract from the 3.5 acre feet allotment. When the spring run-off is over and they refill the reservoir that will become all new junior water rights which he has to get in line with everyone else for that water right. That is a change. It used to be that any spring flow that was released to mitigate flood conditions was not subtracted from his assessment. In a high flow year, he can’t see that it is in their favor to have this changed.

Brad said he will forward to Bill the irrigators position against the three page document that was distributed to us and the legislature. On several points they have a different perspective than IDWR.

Brad indicated the “Draft TMDL” on the Boise River was agreed to by the WAG and the Lower Boise Watershed Council. It will be going out to public comment very soon. This is the beginning foundation we need to have for trading. He has seen the document, but believes it is a good document.

Dave said he would echo the same thing. It is not a perfect document but is the basis of some good opportunities.

Steve said he was pretty active on this TMDL process in the beginning because he was afraid it was going to end up costing Canyon County Cities or tax dollars. He asked if there was anything in the draft that is problematic. Brad said there is some potential for problems as clean water costs money. Where we (Greenleaf) will get into financial problems is if the winter flows and winter standards are taken away from us.

Brad said there is consumptive use of ground water and there is pass-through. The people that are doing consumptive use, which the City of Nampa is contemplating, that is going to go against your water right. So, the 12+ million gallons the City is looking at putting in a farmers field will go against a water right. So you will have to have junior water rights to pump that out of the ground. But if you let it go down the ditch or into the river, then it is not consumptive and you can pump all you want. There are some setups that will have ramifications.

Brad said they are also contemplating getting totally out of the river like Nampa. But during the winter they will still be dumping into the river because they can’t afford the lagoons for storage during the winter.

Dave said he has two events to highlight. First, they have a Basque festival during the last week of July. And on July 29th there will be a big soccer match featuring two pro teams, one from Mexico. All the proceeds will go to the Boise State Basque program.

Rick said the National Association of Counties has designated April as National County Month. Ada County will have an event that weekend where they will showcase the County. The theme this year is transportation and Valley Ride and ACHD will be there to show off what they do.

John E. said in July the State Cattlemen’s Association will be down at the Riverside Hotel. They are going to shut down the boulevard and drive a bunch of cattle to the fairgrounds.

John B. said that in the last week of June, they are going to have a Bluegrass Festival in Wilder. They are expecting between 5,000 and 10,000 people in attendance.

John E. asked everyone’s impression of this year’s legislative session. He said that it is not too early to start thinking about what we are going to have to do for this next year. Tammy said that Seth feels that they will be back after new construction this next year.

John E. said we have this interim thing on urban renewal. He is going to have an opportunity to spend some time with Representative Youngblood and he has been sharing information with him and trying to paint the picture on this issue. Bob said the problem is Nampa. John E. said that Bob had a good comeback to the problem and the citizens of Nampa took care of that issue.

John E. said that he sees some interest in bringing back modifications of eminent domain. The issue will be distinctions between voluntary and non-voluntary. The other issue will involve the distinction between urban and rural.

Statewide SAUSA

Bill stated that during this last legislative session there was a lot of interest shown on the Statewide SAUSA proposal. As a result of this and a conversation with ID Dept. of Corrections Director Kevin Kemp, it was felt we needed to start this conversation to solidify the funding for the program and make it more permanent. As it is now, the funding for the SAUSA is a pass-through from the Governor’s Office. So the purpose of this meeting is to talk about this and how we move forward with the Statewide SAUSA Program.

Bill said he would like to start with the result from this last legislative session. He heard throughout the session about many different options and wanted to know the end result of where this ended up.

Henry said the agency receives funding from the legislature in the amount of $35,000 for the Treasure Valley SAUSA. Last year, representatives from Northern and Eastern Idaho met with then Director Reinke to talk about expanding the SAUSA Program throughout the State. This is something the agency supports. It is important to know that funding comes from the Legislature as pass-through funding.

Henry said he is not privy to the discussions at the State Legislature. However the end result was that their agency was funded $35,000 for the continuance of the Treasure Valley SAUSA. In addition, they will receive $35,000 for the development of both the Northern and Eastern Idaho SAUSA Program, for a total of $105,000.

John E. said it is not too early to start figuring out how we approach this for the 2016 legislative session. He said the presumption is that we will have to make contact with the Governor’s Officer early to insure this program makes it into his budget.

Representative Youngblood said in 2012 when he was elected he was appointed to JFAC. The first thing they told him was that he gets to follow Representative Darrel Bolz around. He worked with public safety concerns for JFAC. He subsequently was told by the JFAC Chair that he would be working in public safety concerns after Representative Bolz decided not to return to the legislature.

For the last several years he has been following Representative Bolz and Bill with the SAUSA Program. It was always encouraged to extend this program north and southeast. The crux was that we wanted to get $35,000 for all three areas for the SAUSA Program. It has been budgeted. He would be happy to coordinate or visit with legislative members in the north and southeast.

Representative Youngblood said he knows Representative Malek up north is very up to speed on the need in Northern Idaho. He would be a good one for us to connect with as he pushed this for the Northern Idaho program. In Southeast Idaho, Senator Roy Lacey would be a good one to contact.

All he knows is they fought hard in JFAC to get the funding approved and it is a part of the Department of Corrections budget.

He said we need to get Representative Scott and Senator Nuxoll up to speed, as they were the two dissenting votes on this program. They didn’t feel we didn’t needed a federal prosecutor to take care of these and that Idaho should do these types of prosecutions on their own.

Representative Youngblood asked if the Northern and Southeastern coalitions were ready to take on the program at this level. John E. said it was our understanding that these two coalitions were prepared to move forward contingent on State Funding

Mayor Loomis said that they understand the funding for Northern and Southeastern Idaho was one-time funding. His understanding was that the Director and the Governor identified $35,000 for both Northern and Southeastern Idaho to get this program off the ground. And, JFAC put in an additional $35,000 for these two new programs. Their expectation is that there is $70,000 for the Northern Coalition and $70,000 for the Southeastern Coalition to get the program off the ground. If this is the case, they are prepared to move ahead with this program.

Representative Youngblood said JFAC only earmarked $35,000 for the two programs.

Mayor Loomis said that is exactly what they expected with the JFAC appropriation. But their understanding is there is an additional $35,000 for each of the two programs in the general fund. Bill said that he had a conversation with the Director in regards to an additional $35,000 for Southeastern Idaho and that was his understanding from the conversation.

Representative Youngblood said it was interesting that Mayor Loomis heard there was an additional $35,000 per area. Mayor Loomis said that if you look at the population of the Treasure Valley in comparison to the population of the Southeastern coalition and the Northern coalition, it was perceived they would need additional help.

Representative Youngblood said he would contact DFM and the Governor’s Office to see if there is an additional $35,000 for the north and southeast. This is the first time he has heard this and Representative King has not heard this.

Mayor Loomis said this was a statement from the Director. Representative Youngblood said it sounded like that he and the Deputy Director need to chase the Director down.

Mayor Loomis reiterated that if you look at the population of the three regions you can understand the need for the additional help.

Representative Youngblood asked if Southeastern Idaho could get $70,000, you could get the program up and running. Mayor Loomis said he already has commitments from all the Southeast jurisdictions to get this up and running financially from their end.

Cleve Colson, Bingham County Prosecutor was also on the conference call for the meeting. He said during the discussions they were initially under the impression there would be no funding through JFAC. The Director talked to them about the additional $35,000 prior to JFAC taking this issue up. He was cc’d or received a forwarded email that the Director indicated there was going to be an additional $35,000 for a total of $70,000. He knew that $35,000 was the starting point of the discussion. He thought they had progressed to the $70,000.

John E. said he was glad Mayor Loomis and Cleve were on the line and we will get it sorted out. He thinks the ultimate goal is to make the case that by prosecuting and sending these individuals out of state to federal prison, that there is a significant cost benefit for Idaho to continue the program which would be justification for higher levels of funding annually. This has been our position all along and the bare cost/benefit analysis the Partnership has done demonstrates that.

John said that the cost to house a prisoner in Idaho for a year is approximately $21,000. We have prosecuted 32 individuals on average annually. So the cost avoided by the Department of Corrections as a result of the Treasure Valley program is $672,000 annually.

Representative King asked what the $35,000 goes for. John E. said the $35,000 goes to pay a special U.S. Attorney to prosecute gun and gang crime primarily. Representative King asked if the SAUSA had a lot of work to do, and could he do more if he had more money.

John E. said the $35,000 is a portion of the costs to employ this U.S. Attorney. The Treasure Valley Partnership picks up the remaining costs of this person ($65,000) on an annual basis. The Treasure Valley Partnership’s argument has been the State would be justified in picking up more of the annual cost of $100,000.

Representative King asked if this program saves the State more than it saves the Cities and Counties. John E. said the impact to the Cities monetarily is they want the people off the street. The resources the U.S. Attorney’s Office brings are significantly greater than we can bring through the County system. There is no parole system in the Federal system so if you get 60 months, you serve 60 months. Again, there are no Federal Prisons in Idaho. So when these people get convicted, they go out of state which breaks up their connections to their gangs. This is an issue we deal with in Idaho in that the State Penitentiary inmates still have their connections to the local folks who they were associated with before they got incarcerated.

John E. said our goal is get the State to share a larger percentage of the costs for the SAUSA Program. Eventually we would like to see this be a State Program, because the State would see the benefit of expanding this program to help mitigate the rising costs to the State Penal System.

John E. said the benefits to this program aren’t a “cost savings”, they are a “cost avoidance”. That is the State avoids the costs associated with the folks that go through the federal system by federally prosecuting them and housing them out of state.

Bob said he would be happy to use Nampa as and an example and he would be happy to get the data. Once we started prosecuting these people federally, we saw a drop in drive by shooting from like 200 down to 2. There is now teeth in the law, and this SAUSA Program is the single thing responsible for this number.

Mayor Loomis said with regard to “skin in the game”, the Cities do not bear any financial burden in the costs associated with the penal system, but we are desperate to get these people off the street. The focus in Southeastern Idaho is not drive-by shootings and gangs, the focus will be on firearms and drugs The I-15 and I-86 corridors have become a transition point for drugs. As far as skin in the game, the Cities are up to participate and the Counties are up to participating.

Mayor Loomis stated the U.S. Attorney’s Office will also have skin in the game. They will train, house and pay for the travel for this Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. So they are providing in-kind costs.

It is all about capacity. The problem is if you look at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, their staff based on federal formula’s, is not going to grow. The only way we can get additional capacity through the federal system is through the Special Assistant Program.

Cleve added that the issues they are dealing with in Southeastern Idaho are exactly what the mayor indicated. But he would like to preference his statement. We do have the presence of gangs in Southeastern Idaho. We do have the presence of the formulation of gangs. Our governments do not want to be in the position where we have to address the drive by shooting issue, where we have gangs fighting over turf. We want to prevent that.

He said he thought the focus of the SAUSA in Southeastern Idaho will be guns, drugs and gangs. We also have other issues they have already addressed with the U.S. Attorney. We need to deal with issues such as human trafficking and child pornography which is much more easily prosecuted in the federal system. He is sure the SAUSA would be available for those kinds of cases as well.

John E. said he thought plan to go forward is to continue to reach out and get this information to the appropriate folks, to gets some timetable to get a discussion with the Governor’s Office and we can talk to our respective associations of Cities and Counties to see if we can add some coalition strength to the locals.

Representative King said, so we are paying for one U.S. Attorney and he is located here in Boise. And we will need two additional U.S. Attorneys for Northern and Southeastern Idaho. She asked for some SAUSA Program clarifications. Then she asked why cant we get the feds to pay?

John said the feds pay but it is not in hiring staff, it is office space, support training, travel, ete. Bill said this is approximately $42,000 annually.

Steve said the point he wanted to make is that the feds are really involved in this SAUSA Program. He said that he should not be speaking but the County Sheriff and law enforcement should be speaking. These are the guys that could tell you the effect of SAUSA in Canyon County. Our quality of life has improved so much as a result of the SAUSA Program. He said that Representative King knows this and Representative King, he could not emphasize what control this gave us. The dispersal of these criminals by the feds taking them out of state has broken up the cohesiveness of the gangs and coalitions.

We have had them pick up and prosecute 20-30 at a time in Canyon County. Leadership and cohesion of these groups is truly broken.

John B. said we would love to have more help from the State. Regardless of whether they do are not, we and our Partnership members are dedicated to doing this because of the safety of our communities and the criminals it is taking off the street. We will continue but would love to have more help.

John thanked everyone for coming and felt it was a good meeting. Just to reiterate, Representative Youngblood will follow up on the funding question we encountered. Hopefully it is confusion on our part on whether it is $35,000 or $70,000.

Mayor Loomis reiterated it would be a deal breaker for them. They won’t be able to make it work with a State contribution of just $35,000.

John asked Mayor Loomis considering if this is just one-time funding could the Southeastern Idaho coalition make it if the funding went back to $35,000 after the first year.

Tammy said that she; Mayor Holton and Bill were part of the road-show last year. I think this also restoring back the original conversation which was really led by Director Reinke. That was to have the State contribution go to $75,000 for all three regions, because his recognition of what the cost savings were. We would like to have the three regions for a proposal for next year.

Mayor Loomis said that when they first received word on this, the $75,000 contribution of the original proposal was really embraced in Southeastern Idaho. With their population size, they are going to definitely need help.

Bill asked Henry Atencio if the Department have had a conversation about cost-benefit analysis of the SAUSA Program. Henry said no not to his knowledge.

Representative King asked if there were any figures on the number of estimated prosecutions in Northern and Southeastern Idaho. Bill pointed to the proposal and identified that their estimates were for 24 annually. He said this number was arrived at by a discussion between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and County Prosecutors in each region.

Seth asked the Representatives perspective in identifying funding for this program. Because it is just such a small amount is it easier to ask for a general fund appropriation, or would be possible explore a dedicated funding stream by tacking on a small surcharge to an existing fee? As far as selling it to JFAC or the Legislature, what is the better approach?

Representative King said getting a fee is just almost impossible. Seth added that over the last several years, it seems the legislature has been more agreeable to justice related fees. She responded by asking where are you going to have your fee.

Representative Youngblood said from his personal experience when he first met Bill three years ago, he thought it was a no-brainer personally. He has had discussions with Chairman Bell who kind of seems to be that roadblock for whatever reason. He would not have problem going in and saying lets cover the whole thing or go to the 75-25.

He asked Bill when that figure of $70,000 developed because he was just thinking it was $35,000. Bill said, this additional $35,000 materialized as a result of a separate conversation between the Mayor of Blackfoot and Director Kempf. Director Kempf told Bill that he had slipped up and made that promise.

Tammy reiterated that original conversations with the regional coalitions were on a 75-25 split. Director Reinke gave his support and told us he was going to put this into his budget to the governor and what he would be asking from the legislature. Darin added that Director Reinke had said he would pay for it out of his own budget if it wasn’t covered by the legislature.

Bill said we have real interest from coalitions of cities and counties in Northern and Southeastern Idaho to do the SAUSA Program. The problem of it is they don’t have 600,000 + in population to draw the local share from. So if you are asking them to come up with $65,000, they are not going to be able to do this as readily as the Partnership has been able to.

Representative Youngblood said there is opposition from legislators from the North. Senator Nuxoll was adamant. She said could she vote to approve the money for the Treasure Valley and Southeastern Idaho and tell North Idaho no because they don’t want to take the money up North. Because it is a “Federal” prosecutor, we don’t want any federal involvement in Idaho.

Representative Youngblood said that when they have one abstention going on in JFAC it is going to affect everyone. If he still has that going on up there and he can’t get clear, we will just continue what we have been doing here. If we can get all three areas up to speed on what we are saving the State, he is not opposed to going in and fighting for full funding.

Tammy said Representative Nuxoll does not speak for Northern Idaho. If you look at the cities up there, they really have banded together. She doesn’t know what their issues are. She is speaking from Cottonwood and has no idea what is going on Coeur d’Alene or Post Falls. She would hate to think that her colleagues in Northern Cities would be harmed by someone who has no idea what the needs are.

Seth added, one of the challenges of this is it is not just Senator Nuxoll, there is a lot of the delegation from the pacific time-zone that are in lock step with this anti-federal sentiment. There needs to be much more communication between city and county officials and the legislature in northern Idaho on the importance of this program.

Seth said the cities in Northern Idaho and Southeastern Idaho have Mayors coalitions. In August, when North Idaho meets and when East Idaho meets, he will encourage them to have this on their meeting agenda. They will also include this program in their AIC Legislative Review.

John E. thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and he felt it was a good first step.

Director’s Report

Brad moved to accept the minutes and financial statement, Tammy seconded. Motion approved.

Bill said that we have the same two houses at Tamarack that we had last year. In addition, they are going to give us an extra day this year, so if you wanted to stay Friday night, you could.

The annual strategic planning conference is on September 10 & 11.

Dave said he has a conflict with this date and won’t be able to attend. Rick requested that we attempt to try to make it on a different date. He would be available on most other dates but this is a rare meeting.

John E. asked Bill to get everyone’s Thursday/Friday availability, August through September. Bill said he would.