Elected officials working
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Meeting Minutes
June 29, 2015

Attendees

  • Kelly Aberasturi
  • John Bechtel
  • Dave Bieter
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • John Evans
  • Brad Holton
  • Garret Nancolas
  • Jim Reynolds

Staff and Guests

  • Seth Grigg – Association of Idaho Cities
  • Nic Miller – City of Boise
  • Liz Paul – Idaho Rivers United
  • Bill Larsen – Treasure Valley Partnership

Mayor Dave Bieter opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to the City of Boise. He introduced Nic Miller with the City of Boise to talk about the Trailhead.

The Trailhead

Nic Miller said they have had the building for the Trailhead since early spring. They have around 60 people using the facility at this time.

The City of Boise and three entrepreneurs recognized there is a disconnect and there is not one place where entrepreneurs can go to connect to all the different resources needed when starting up a business. Trailhead’s purpose is to help entrepreneurs with ideas to create businesses. In addition, sponsor companies such as Micron utilize the center to help their employees test out new ideas and engage with people to try to instill the innovation and creativity that happens in startups into the larger organization.

In a study that was completed, the Boise Metropolitan Statistical Area had approximately 15.7% of all business that were considered new businesses. Just a few short years later, the number of new businesses in the environment was half of that. The Trailhead facility was conceived in order to address this fall-off of new startups during the recession.

When the Trailhead is finished, their goal is to have a good connection to JUMP. They picked the location of the facility because of its proximity to JUMP, the Library and the college.

The have about 50 mentors that work with the members of Trailhead that have varying degrees of experience in building businesses. Their role is to help the members avoid some of the pitfalls that are associated with creating a business.

They also try to connect the Trailhead members to capital, the resources and services they need. They have attorneys, accountants and other specialty experts that volunteer to help the Trailhead members with the specialty expertise they need.

They have about 10-15 people that come in every day and utilize the Trailhead as their office. You won’t see any offices with doors because they want people interacting with one another as one of the goals of the facility.

Dave said the data that Nic mentioned with regards to new businesses in the valley and the drop-off experienced during the recession, mirrored what was happening in the nation.

Garret asked what the membership costs are for those wanting to use the Trailhead facility. Nic said members pay $30 per month to utilize the working space.

Open Discussion

Garret said that during the last TVP meeting he had mentioned a program called “Caldwell Saves First”. It is a savings account for college for first graders. They now have the program up and running and have some literature on the process on how the program got set up. If anyone is interested he will be happy to share with anyone.

John B. said that his son has been working legal immigration for his son’s wife and daughter for nine years. They went to Seattle this past week and picked them up and they are now permanent green card residents of the U.S. He has to give credit to Senator Crapo for helping to expedite this process.

Garret stated that the Caldwell Night Rodeo is coming up and will be the 11th through the 15th of August. He indicated he will be getting invitations out to the members and invited everyone to join them for the rodeo.

John E. mentioned that they are just finishing up pulling their MS-4 discharges out of the river. They will be sending a letter to the EPA to ask to be released from the permit. He feels this is going to get a lot of attention potentially because they don’t know of another place in the country that has done this.

Legislative Interim Committees And Urban Renewal

Seth asked if anyone had seen the make-up of the Urban Renewal interim committee. Its composition is actually not that bad. The co-chairs are Rick Youngblood and Dan Johnson with Nez Perce County. Dan actually works for the city and is one of their solid waste guys. The committee also has Jeff Sidoway, Chuck Winder, and MaryAnn Jordan who all seem to be supportive of urban renewal. Mary Souza is the only one on the Senate side that has an anti-urban renewal bent. On the house side of course Rick Youngblood is the co-chair. Others include Robert Anderst, Lance Clow, and Hi Klok. This is a good group. The committee also includes Kathleen Sims which has an anti-urban renewal bent. In all, it is a good group and seems to be a pretty balanced committee.

Seth said that Rick has this grand idea on what he wants urban renewal to be in the State of Idaho. He went to Salt Lake City last summer and talked with urban renewal folks and legislators. Essentially what Utah did years ago is put a moratorium in urban renewal. The new law they structured was so restrictive there was one site in the entire state that used it. They had to go back to get a third modification of their urban renewal statutes.

Now, the State of Utah has a chapter that deals with blight. They have a chapter that deals with economic development. And they have a chapter that deals with community development. One of the problems is the two states are completely different constitutionally. There is much more flexibility given to discretion of local governments in Utah than there is in Idaho. Because of that discretion they can do more with the different projects.

There will be three focal points for the interim committee. Public Buildings are they in or out. Representative Youngblood was part of the proposal this last year that essentially would have excluded all public buildings.

The other big issue is the focus on board accountability. Should that board be elected by the public, or should that board reside with the City? The other focus this last legislative run at urban renewal is, it would have provided some pretty severe penalties on failure to report.

Seth seemed pretty confident there would be focus again on board accountability and the reporting requirements.

The other interim committee of interest is public defense reform. This is the third time this committee has been reauthorized. The ACLU recently filed a class action lawsuit against the State of Idaho and the Public Defense Commission which is challenging the constitutionality of Idaho’s public defense system.

Seth said there are three other States where this public defense issue has been litigated in court. At the end of the day, the Federal Court has decided that it is the State’s responsibility to pay for public defense. It is not the county’s responsibility.

This last year, the State had a surplus near $100 million. What they did is put half toward the rainy day fund and the other half toward the Student Transportation Fund account. You could set up a pretty good public defense system statewide for $30-35 million.

There are several interim committees that have been established. Besides these two, the other one of interest is the State has put together a committee to look into the States contracting procedures.

Tammy she is struggling with the State meddling in the local aspect of urban renewal. When you adopt a plan, it is publicly adopted, with public hearings and public outreach to share the plan. If your citizens think that is a need and it has passed through the public process, why can’t then these urban renewal projects be used to fund public buildings and infrastructure. It is a local control sort of issue. Seth said there is a relatively small minority in the legislature that is anti-urban renewal. The two hot beds seem to be Nampa and Coeur d’Alene. They are the ones that are driving this discussion. Primarily the focus isn’t the question whether the city/county can use urban renewal funds to build a public building, it’s that they are doing without a vote and they are doing it in a way that takes that property that is going to a public building and it is not adding any incremental value that can be leveraged for another project.

Boise River Enhancement Plan
Doug Fowler, Lenir LLC
Tim Breuer, Land Trust of the Treasure Valley
Derek Risso, Ecosystem Sciences Foundation
Liz Paul, Idaho River’s United

Liz thanked for the opportunity to talk about the Boise River Enhancement Plan.

Doug said the collaboration among a wide variety of organizations on the enhancement plan for the lower Boise River has been impressive.

Tim said in October of 2011, a variety of professionals met to talk about the Boise River. One of the things that come out of that was there has been a lot of planning that has been done by a variety of entities, but there was nowhere to go to find information on enhancement. So they set out with a grant from the Bureau of Reclamation to help pull together all the information and get it one spot.

Stemming from their desire to not recreate the wheel, their first step was to the Community Planning Association who did a summary of all the municipal comprehensive plans. They pulled out elements that had anything to do with the Boise River.

Derek said they pulled together information from all the entities that had workings with the Boise River. This is an enhancement plan not a restoration plan. They looked at where the River has been and where it is now. What they wanted to do was identify the best tools that are being used on the River, what are the biggest problems and what are the best solutions. What they did was take this and develop three different sections to the plan.

The four essential features to the plan are;

  1. Geomorphology
  2. Fisheries and Aquatic Habitat
  3. Wetlands and Riparian Habitat
  4. Water Quality

Geomorphology is how the earth changes in relation to moving water.

John E. asked where the group was in relationship to interaction with regulatory folks. Derek said they been working with Fish & Game, USGS, DEQ and have been involved along with all the municipalities.

Liz said this is a draft. They are going to be taking feedback for about a month. They will try and finish it up for the Mayor’s Float on August 12. They would like to have folks tell they what they like about it, what is missing, what needs to be added, etc.

Liz said the plan does not carry the authority of law. It is really meant to be a teaching tool, an inspirational tool or guide for people to come together.

John E. asked if they have had any interaction with the irrigators. Liz responded, yes. They have three members of their coordinating team from the irrigation industry. The bigger players, their job is to provide irrigation water. They are not flocking to see how we can improve the Boise River. But of course they are doing things on a daily basis.

Derek said the old irrigation dam is one of the real opportunities. From a geomorphological standpoint, they don’t pass sediment, they are fish barriers and they are safety hazards. And they are maintenance issues because they are old structures.

Brad said that fisheries are of no or little concern once you get past Star because of the warm water and the water quality. So, why does the study concern fisheries? Derek said there is a warm pool fishery because there are fish like Bass that can handle the warmer water. One of the goals is to extend the cold water fishery downstream. One of the ways you can do that is by improving water quality temperature. So, it addresses channel confinement and simplification. So having pools may be a help with this. Putting in some complex features that have deep pools and riffles and places for fish to hole up are some of the goals.

Dave said they have been engaged with the Whitewater Park and in cleaning up debris. One issue is the diversion dam in Ann Morrison Park. Derek said it is a major safety hazard and a fish barrier. Liz said this is Settler’s facility. The newly adopted Boise Parks and Rec. Boise River Management Plan definitely pushes this for renovation. It is not a tiny undertaking and will take some money to upgrade. But if the whole community can pull together we might be able to get something done.

Derek said if you can find a way to meet Settlers needs, improve safety, and find a way to pay for it, it would be a win-win-win for everyone. This is a pretty big diversion dam and there are a lot of modern options that would improve the facility.

Director’s Report

Tammy moved to approve the minutes and financial report. Seconded and motion carried unanimously.

In regards to the Statewide SAUSA, Eastern Idaho has their MOU all but completed with the Department of Corrections. They are almost complete with all the jurisdictions signing an MOU to form a partnership of sorts. They are working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to finish that detail to get the job opening advertised.

With regard to job openings, we now have a job opening as Chris Atwood called the previous week and gave his resignation. He got hired by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Bill stated we are waiting on federal bureaucracy to come up with a time-line for starting the hiring process. When we get that time-line, we will need a couple of volunteers from the Partnership to participate on the hiring team. Garret and Dave volunteered to participate.

Meeting adjourned.