September 18, 2017
- Chad Bell
- Dave Bieter
- John Evans
- Bob Henry
- Brad Holton
- Nathan Leigh
- Garret Nancolas
- Stan Ridgeway
- Joe Stear
- Darin Taylor
Staff and Guests
- Renee Ackerman – Post Master, Middleton Post Office
- Dave Fisher – General Manager, Republic Services
- Courtney Frost – Blue Cross of Idaho
- Amy Stahl – Community Relations Manager, St. Lukes Health Systems
- Rick Youngblood – District 12 Representative, State of Idaho
- Bill Larsen – Treasure Valley Partnership
Mayor Darin Taylor welcomed everyone to Middleton. He indicated that the General Manager Republic Services and the Post Master from the Middleton Post Office were invited to talk about what they learned last year about providing services during the big snow event and what should we do to help considering the upcoming winter. He indicated that the Farmer’s Almanac has predicted that we will have a winter like last year.
Darin said had run into Representative Rick Youngblood a couple days prior and invited him to come to our meeting and talk about things that might be coming up in the legislature. Rick said we are moving into an election year and nobody really knows what is going to happen. He indicated that they may be looking at a grocery tax cut this year.
Like he told the Boise Metro after the session was over; when revenues are going up, why would be we be talking a tax cut when we can’t get anything done. We have infrastructure, education and growth things we need to get taken care of. For the first two months of the fiscal year, we are up $42 million in revenue.
Rick said he is working on our Region III Crisis Center. There are three regions left without a crisis center, Lewiston, Pocatello and us. He will be touring the Twin Falls area in the first part of October and will be visiting with their Crisis Center. During the spring tour they visited the Coeur d’Alene Crisis Center. They just had their second year.
The crisis center program works like this. The State initially gives $200,000 for concept then $1.5 million to fund it. In two years a five year plan is to be developed where local funds would cover at least half of the annual costs.
Eastern Idaho was the first one and they are coming up to their five year period. They are not going to take up to $150,000 that they could, but they still are struggling with how to pay for the Center.
Representative Youngblood said the Crisis Center is really a 24 hour hold for drug or mental health problems. The facility has about 20 beds and they try to get people stabilized and have the make-up on where they send the person after the 24 hour period.
He sits on the Governor’s Workforce Development Task Force and they released 9 points they are going to work on. Workforce Development is a huge issue involving increasing technical skills and training. The facility at the College of Western Idaho has been a huge success.
Earlier this year Dr. Clark in a discussion with the Board of Ed., said that it is time for Idaho to move past the “60 Go On” and we need to recognize our community colleges and K-12 and start talking about careers. The legislature funded additional dollars this last two years to increase school counselors to talk about careers. Now they are going to hold schools accountable because they are not convinced schools are using these funds for career development. They will not be bashful about bumping this funding up if the funds are being used correctly.
He mentioned that everybody has probably heard of the Governor’s Idaho Health Care Plan. We all know about the Medicaid gap and the problems associated with what are we going to do with these folks? Representative Youngblood said he understands that some of the gap will be solved with Medicaid Waivers.
Stan asked if the distribution of sales tax will be looked at. Rick said he is not looking at this at this point in time. John said this is an AIC issue and they have been looking at it. There are winners and losers because the pot of money stays the same. He added the distribution penalizes high growth cities.
John asked about Local Option Tax. Rick said he is for local option tax. If you got a specific thing you want to do, and then let’s vote. His added that his whole deal with urban renewal was, no public buildings without a vote.
Garret said he goes back to the National League of Cities quite often and hears of all the wonderful things going on around the country. He always asks how you are funding this. The answer is always, local option tax. When they go out to compete to get a business to come in, they (the business) are not always looking at infrastructure things like water, sewer and power. They look at the amenities that are in the area and local option comes into play. He added that local option, if used properly can be a great economic driver. He sees it work in countless communities.
Denver, Colorado can be considered the poster child for local option taxes. They have used it to rebuild their downtown. They have used it for mental health issues, senior housing issues and a whole host of concerns. All they do is present it and it is a simple majority vote to get it passed.
Rick said when they increased the gas tax recently; it hadn’t been looked at since 1996. When they got this started, it was totally grass roots driven. He feels that this is how we get local option. It has to be a total grass roots effort.
Darin asked about local funding of court rooms and public defender services. In reply, Rick asked how long it took to get the State to adequately fund the SAUSA Program. Bill said it took 8 years. Rick said he was involved the last four years and it finally got there. This is going to take some time and you can’t give up and you just need to keep pushing.
Darin said the cities perspective is, if courts need more space, they hold their quasi-judicial meetings in their public meeting rooms with recording devices, etc. They would like to have those public meeting rooms qualify for additional court room space. This is a direction that is plausible without costing a lot of money.
Garret said there is a better fix. It is called fairness in taxation. What seems to be forgotten, and it would take a legislative fix, is that Garret Nancolas lives in the City of Caldwell. He is also a Canyon County resident and a State resident. Why should Garret Nancolas who lives in the City of Caldwell have to pay extra for services that other county residents don’t have to pay for? The real issue is, if it is a County Courthouse, everybody in the County should be paying equally for it. There shouldn’t be extra costs for city residents for the Courthouse because you live in the city.
Garret said their City Attorneys have done the research work on this and he would be happy to have them come in and speak with us on this issue. Rick said whenever these types of issues are brought to him, his reaction is to say let’s get the legislation out there and have people look at it. He can either help put this together or if you have your legal personnel, you can do it as well. What he will do is take it to the legislative service office and see if it makes sense under current statute.
Rick said that you have to know with any of these issues, leadership and chairmanships have to be broached first. Again, you just have to keep trying.
Rick said they just had an Article 5 team go to a national conference. It is not going anywhere at this point, but it will be on the floor. Article 5 is a constitutional convention of States. He believes there are 27 States on board on this concept. It is scary because issues such as a balanced budget amendment and term limits have been broached.
Darin asked the group how they would feel about being a part of proposed legislation on this fairness in taxation issue. Garret said he could have Mark Hilty come to our meeting and present this information. Dave said we have three Boise State studies going back 25-30 years that conclude the county double taxes city residents. Dave said he would bring the three studies to our next meeting.
Darin said he would like to entertain a motion that the Treasure Valley Partnership take this up as a subject, identify draft legislation and get this to a sponsoring legislator. Rick said he supports the Partnership and says this is a great subject to have discussions about. Garret moved and Brad Holton seconded to have on the next TVP meeting agenda, fairness in taxation information from Caldwell and Boise, as well as move forward with drafting proposed legislation on the subject.
For discussion, John said we do have County Commissioners on the TVP and we have to keep our eyes open that we do not further strain relationships. He personally would like to hear the information that Mark Hilty and Dave have.
Garret said one of the reasons this organization was formed was an effort to address city/county issues and have these tough discussions. He agrees with John that this discussion may ruffle some feathers, but what better format to discuss these issues than in the Partnership. It is a conversation that needs to be had.
Garret would like to amend his motion to just have this issue, fairness in taxation, as a topic for discussion at our next TVP Meeting. Brad agreed to rescind his original second and second’s this modified motion. Motion carried.
Joe Stear said the downtown revitalization project in Kuna is in full swing. With elections coming up there are two seats open on their city council.
Nathan said there are three city council seats open in the City of Parma. Jackson’s car wash just developed a new car wash in the city. Most of their Ag businesses are expanding they have about $2 million in building permits that have been issued inside city limits.
Bob said there are three city council seats as well as the Mayor position are up in the City of Nampa.
John said the Mayor and two council seats are open in Garden City. They are still doing a little pick up from the flood. They have a couple big trees they have to get out of the floodplain.
Brad said they have two council positions as well as the Mayor is up for election this year. They submitted their application for renewal of their NPDES permit and it was accepted without comment. If people are following the water lawsuit that is going to the State Supreme Court in December, we had flood control releases that are about 1.9 times the amount of water that is allocated. Given this as the case, there would have been no water for irrigation or for cities starting in March.
Providing Services in the Winter
Darin introduced Dave Fisher the General Manager of Republic Services. He has asked Dave to come talk to us about services this past winter and what we can expect this next winter. Dave thanked everyone for being cooperative and understanding this last winter. He said this was a 100 year event and hope it is not repeated this year. He added he is seeing moss on the trees and fuzz on caterpillars and indicated that the Farmer’s Almanac has said it is going to be wet and cold again this winter.
The important thing is to identify what the expectation is. If people know what to expect, it goes a long way towards helping them resolve issues.
In regards to trash and recycling cart placement, one of the issues we had this last year is people not knowing where to put their cart. When the snow plows come, they had people setting these carts behind the snow berm. When they are behind the berm, their trucks can’t get to them. He realizes when the carts is on the front side of the berm, they are out in traffic a bit, but this the only option for them to get to and empty the trash and recycle carts.
Alley customers are the big issue. Most alleys are so tight to begin with. They are taking a 52,000 lb. truck down these alleys and a good percentage of the time they have to pull their mirrors in to be able to navigate the alley, even in the summer time. Their request is if there is more than 4 inches of snow, carts need to be placed as close to the alley entrance as possible.
In regards to cul-de-sacs their request is similar. If there is more than 4 inches of snow, they would like trash and recycling carts placed on the font side of the berm at the closest plowed street as possible.
He has been amazed by the fact that people seem to set their watches based on the time the trash and recycling service occurs. They do get a lot of calls if their trucks are ½ hour behind schedule. In the winter, you are going to have service delays, because traffic and access to carts just takes more time. They ask people to leave the carts out, even if it is so bad that their collection is delayed by a day.
Last February, they spent an extra $400,000 over what they have experienced in a normal February. In addition, they had many employees injured this past winter due to slipping on the ice.
On the commercial side, they typically have enclosures (fenced area) where the trash receptacles are in. During winter conditions, the accumulation of snow either from plowing or just normal accumulation, they can’t get the doors open on these enclosures. If they get snow built up, they are going to pull the bin out of the enclosure and then set it down in the cleanest place in the lot. Then once conditions return to normal they will take the bins and put them back in the enclosure.
Winter Challenges to Mail Delivery
Darin introduced Renee Ackerman the Post Master for Middleton. She indicated she was going to echo a lot of what Dave had just said. A lot of his issues with trash and recycling pickup are similar to theirs. A lot of carriers use their private cars and they do have mail trucks. However, these mail trucks are not necessarily built for handling a lot of snow.
Her big suggestion is to not have plows plow snow in front of mail boxes. Individual customers will also pile snow in front of mail boxes as well which makes it difficult for their delivery vehicles to access the mail boxes.
She said the best way to handle snow from her perspective is that the snow is plowed to the middle of the road instead of to the side. This last winter, plowing happened to the side and they had many locations that were sitting in 10 inches of water because all the drains were packed with compact snow and ice.
Renee said she and other post offices could provide mailers to include with city/county bills that would be instructions on what to do with snow. Darin asked what is optimal for in front of mail boxes. Renee indicated that they recommend a 30 foot approach to the mailbox and no obstacles within 10 feet on either side of the mailbox.
Mayor’s Walking Challenge
Darin introduced Amy Stahl with St. Lukes Heath Systems and Courtney Frost with Blue Cross of Idaho. She indicated they have made some changes to the program this year. The goal of this program is to encourage kids to develop healthy habits. They reached out to Mayor’s to be role models.
Last year they had several members from the Partnership that participated in the challenge. Mayor Henry has been really creative in gaining visibility and for leveraging the resources gained through the walking challenge. Winnings have been spent on parks and walkways as well as playgrounds.
They have expanded the program to Eastern Idaho this year and there will no longer be a first, second or third place.
Bill said earlier in the month, he and Brad attended the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce Ag Tour. He indicated he had never participated in a tour like this and recommended people attend one of these when they can.
Bill said the SAUSA program billing has been submitted and the MOU with Canyon County was done and the MOU with the Dept. of Corrections is in process.
Garret moved and Bob seconded to approve the minutes and financial report. Motion carried.