Treasure Valley Partnership
Meeting Minutes – June 25, 2018
Johanna Bell – Association of Idaho Cities
Jess Harrison – Association of Idaho Cities
Mary Anne Nelson – Idaho Dept. of Environmental Quality
Bobby Sanchez, – City of Nampa
Bill Larsen – TVP
On behalf of Mayor Kling, Chief of Staff Bobby Sanchez welcomed everyone to Nampa and the Treasure Valley Partnership meeting. He indicated Mayor Kling is attending a conference centered around Opportunity Zones, infrastructure and transportation. This is a group she hooked up with before she came into office. It is with the John F. Kennedy School out of Harvard.
He thanked everyone for their patience and understanding as there is a lot of road construction going on in Nampa at the moment.
The City of Nampa is in the process of setting their budget for the next year. Simultaneous they are in the midst of negotiations with police and fire. For them, this is the first time they have had these negotiations under the open meeting laws. They are live streaming these events and are taking good notes as they go along.
Bobby said the media has picked up on a potential development called Project Bronco. It is reflective of other developments that are underway. If everything falls in place, it could mean potentially 1,500 jobs in the Nampa area within the next 16 months.
He indicated the members had probably heard of their water tower issue through the media. As they reach out to their community they are asking about what to do with their water tower. They sent out a survey, and at last count they had 2,000 responses.
John said they are having a lot of gatherings along the river. They have a developer that has purchased a lot of parcels and has cleared out the trailers that were along the river. Until she gets a development underway, she has vendors come in and they have little parties at the location.
John said they have three motels that were built in the 50’s that are, for the lack of a better term, drug houses. They have had a chronic nuisance ordinance on the books for quite some time. It was designed to deal with locations that have repeated calls. They file a complaint against the property owner and prosecute. This has worked well to get behaviors to change. However, they have been hesitant to use this ordinance with the motels, because the people causing the problems are transient. The City Attorney wants to give this a shot.
Tom said they had one of these in Nampa and they ended up buying it, tearing it down and building a police station at the location.
Nathan said their motel, the Parma Inn, receives a lot of calls for the Police Dept.
Stan asked if people have been tracking suicides in their jurisdictions? Chad said, they have not necessarily been tracking them, but he can say they appear to be more prevalent currently.
Stan said, since the suicide of the policeman that lived in Star, they have had two teenagers and a couple others. They have a councilman that is a psychologist and he is working with the police department to see if they can do anything to curb suicides.
Tom said he took a trip the previous week on an invitation from the White House. It was an invitation for County Commissioners and Legislators to go back and speak with White House staff and heads of departments on issues pertaining to local government. It is an initiative from the Trump Administration to get all 50 States invited to the White House. To his knowledge, no other President has attempted to engage county governments.
They have gone through half the States so far and Utah was with Idaho during this recent meeting. It was an enlightening meeting and facilitated relationship building between the administration and local governments. They got to hear from Rick Perry, the Energy Secretary. He talked about the things the U.S. is doing to not just be energy independent, but energy dominant. Right now, we are exporting more compressed natural gas to 30+ countries in the world. We are receiving that money in the U.S. And this also gives these countries freedom in the sense that they no longer have to just buy from Russia.
We have more energy reserves in this nation that have remained out of reach because of government bureaucracy. We are removing red tape and moving forward to get these energy resources developable. Rick Perry said we are presently on a course to become totally energy independent. They are doing a lot of good things with coal and have developed some technology to clean the use of coal up.
They heard from Ted Williams, the Undersecretary of Interior. The Secretary of Interior, Zinke, who is from Montana, is doing some reformations on the management of the BLM, Forest Service and others. He believes it will be very beneficial to local governments for states that have a large percentage of Federal land.
The amount of restrictions they have removed so far is beyond belief. They have taken the chains off of business, so they can go to work.
Vice President Pence came in and talked with them. He indicated we are in some difficult times in our nation and he encouraged people to prey for our nation. Tom felt this was really unusual to hear a Vice President say that to the crowd of 130+ people.
One of the things they talked about was the need to reform the NEPA process. Anything you do environmentally where you are using federal money, requires you to go through this NEPA process that can take upward to 10 years. One of the things they are instituting in this process is, when they receive an application that application has to be answered within six months.
Tom said they haven’t received the answer from above on how to finance the jail. The Commissioners and Clerks with IAC adopted a resolution to allow local option funding for jails. It goes to the complete IAC Board this fall. Part of the resolution is to work with AIC on this issue.
This where there will be some serious discussion. He believes the City of Boise and Ada County perhaps would like to see local option use for the operation of transit. But the legislators the has talked to have indicated they would consider local option for capital projects, but there is a slim chance it would be cleared through the legislature for operational expenses. He added that we need to work together, AIC and IAC to increase our chances of getting something through.
John indicated they big discussion on this at the AIC conference. Jess Harrison and Seth Grigg will be working to eliminate any head butting on this issue.
Dave said they haven’t given any print hearing on this issue. He felt that this is not likely to happen as they have been pulling that football away for 30 years now.
Dave agrees with the conversation that the initiative process might be the only way to go on local option.
John said, the resort cities want to make sure that any effort is isolated from the current statute regarding local option for resort cities.
Dave asked Tom if they have looked at an override option for two years for jails. It would be a two-year process with a 50% vote. Tom said you would have to increase property taxes for those two years to pay for a jail to a point where they would be totally onerous. The thing he has been pushing to the legislature is that this local option is needed for property tax relief. Right now, cities and counties have one source of revenue for anything they want to do and that is property taxes. They need a source of revenue that doesn’t impact property taxes.
John said the problem many of the cities have in the room is that their populations swell during the day and this would allow them to capture some revenue from that. The population of Twin Falls swells during the day probably more so than any other city in Idaho. They did an analysis on their police department and more than 50% of their infractions during the day involved non-Twin Falls residents.
The last time Garden City checked, 75% of their infractions came from non-residents.
Tom said if we can get some legislation done this summer then push forward in the fall. He is an optimist and recalls back in 2008-9 when they started pushing for State Primacy for water quality. It took 8-9 years to get this through and it is now a reality.
Tom said Canyon County will be taking a shot at an ordinance making it illegal to sell illegal fireworks and asked if others would be on board with taking a look at this. John said we have the AG’s opinion that is illegal to sell them. However, this is not a law. Garden City said they are talking to their vendors about not selling the illegal fireworks in the City.
Chad said they have looked at it real hard. Until the State acts, their council doesn’t want to act on fireworks.
Dave said they have already had a fireworks related fire. He said we might want to take a shot at having a joint ordinance on this issue.
Mary Anne said she was here to talk about what will be happening when the State takes over this program starting July 1. This process was about 20-25 years in the making.
The transition they are implementing will be a phased in approach. This first year they will be taking on municipal treatment. Next year they will be focusing on industrial facilities that have a surface water discharge. In the third year they will be working on drinking water treatment facilities that have a discharge. In the 4th year they will be working on storm water and MS-4 permits.
They have guidance documents in place. If you go to the State DEQ website (http://www.deq.idaho.gov) and go under IPDES Permitting, you will see a full page dedicated to guidance documents. They have a guidance document that describes how to apply for and comply with IPDES permits. They have a guidance document that tells how to calculate effluent limits. They have a supplemental that AIC is working on that gives more information on parameters that are unique on how to calculate effluent limits on temperature, nutrients and other.
They are also working on a User’s Guide, Volume 3 for industrial dischargers.
Looking at the number of dischargers they have throughout the State, there are about 2,000 dischargers they will be permitting when they are up and running in full. That number is a low estimate as she is learning that EPA did not have a good handle on the number of NPDES permits and facilities.
Based on this number, they calculated they would need about 29 bodies to work on this program. They probably will need another permit writer due to EPA’s backlog in order to catch up. EPA is about 60-65% behind on their permits and this is the number that have been administratively continued. For example, they have a facility on the books that has been administratively continued since 1982.
As they are learning, there are reasons why EPA has not been able to do things on certain permits. All the easy stuff is done and what they are facing are more complex and complicated issues. PCB’s in the Spokane River is one of them.
They estimate this program will cost the State about $3.1 million annually to operate. What that means is they got the Governor’s office to commit to roughly $2 million. The rest of that needs to come out of fees.
The fees they have in place were done during the negotiated rule-making process. They had a lot of stakeholder input during the rule making process and established fees based on the amount of time they will be spending on the various sectors. Almost half of their time will be spent on the municipal sector.
In talking about fees, they have a relatively simple calculation on how to calculate the fee that will be assessed on an annual basis. Municipal fees are annual and will start next year.
Population served divided by the average number of people per household times the rate of $1.74. It works out to about 15 cents per household, monthly, if you chose to transfer fee collection to your residential customers. The State is not telling you how to collect the fees.
They used a population-based calculation for equivalent dwelling units. If you are an engineer, this will probably not make sense.
The first invoice DEQ will send will be July 1 in 2019. It covers the time frame of October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.
John said, in Ada County they have co-permittees. Will the co-permittees get a bill? Mary Ann said they wrapped everything associated with a municipal sector together. This would include; storm water, biosolids, POTW, and drinking water treatment. This is not the best way to do this, it is the way they came up with when they were conducting the rule-making process.
In 2023, they will come back to renegotiate fees. At that point in time, maybe they will be separating out storm water from the municipal calculation depending on what happens between now and then.
They are working on their discharge authorization letters. The mayor will be getting a letter saying you will be authorized you to discharge under the IPDES Program. You will still be responsible for complying with your currently effective or administratively continued NPDES Permits.
The permitting process will be totally online. She has been going around conducting e-permitting trainings throughout the State.
One of the things that is a benefit as they move forward, is you will have someone local you can talk to if you are having trouble. They have regional compliance officers available in each region. Their goal is to help people be in compliance with their permits. This will be different from what has happened in the past.
Tom said during the summer years, Nampa’s discharge mostly gets put out on the fields. How will this affect IPDES Permitting? She said they will be implementing the TMDL. That is not to say we cannot come up with unique solutions. The Dixie Drain is such an example that helps people meet their permit limits.
With regard to backlog, they will have a current permit issuance plan. You will be able to track this online.
The appeals process for IPDES permits is a little different than the appeals process for anything that DEQ does. Most of the time when there is an appeal, you have a contested case process. So, it is basically like a mini trial. The outcome of that contested case has to go before the DEQ Board for approval before it becomes final.
The problem is that the DEQ Board has a conflict of interest when it comes to IPDES permits. The Board will not have anything to do with Permit appeal. You will have a hearing officer that will have final say. The other thing that is different for a IPDES Permit appeal is that this is an administrative record review. The hearing officer will look at all the information available to the agency at the time they make the permit decision. It is not a case where additional information will be considered. So, when you submit your permit application, it is up to you to provide all the information up front.
They are doing pre-treatment this year. They sent out an industrial user’s survey in January of this year. EPA had about 12 pre-treatment users and through this survey they have found that the number of pre-treatment users is probably double this across the State.
AIC Conference Summary
Jess said the AIC Conference was a success. They had a record number of attendees and a record number of exhibitors and sponsors.
They did a legislative update on what they see coming from the legislature this year. Her goal is to continue member involvement in legislative work.
They also had very good sessions on environmental and water issues. Johanna said they had a good session on complying with the Clean Water Act. During every single break-out session, they had at least one environment related presentation and they were well attended. One of the goals she had when joining AIC was to structure the annual conference workshops in a manner so that all sessions were well attended. The highest attended environment related session was their municipal water user’s group meeting where they had over 65 people in attendance.
Jess said Local Option Tax was the legislative hot topic from the conference. There was a lot of discussion on how to move forward on that issue.
Dave said he is starting to get positive comments from existing liquor license holders. Jess said, they had a lot of discussions in some of the round table discussions. Liquor license reform is a State-wide issue. It may be a good time for working on this reform.
Tom said we discussed this before Jess came that he had presented a resolution to IAC to have them support a local option for jails and courthouses. The purpose is capital construction projects with a voting threshold of 60%. Jess said, she and Seth had discussions on this and they had general consensus on working on this issue and will be collaborating over the next several months with other stakeholders.
Bill said that the July 30th meeting will be hosted by the City of Eagle instead of Ada County.
He pointed everyone to a draft report of the Treasure Valley Opioid Summit on June 7 & 8. Dave said heard real good comments on the summit. He said they are planning a press conference at the Summit follow-up meeting on July 23rd.
Bill said the Treasure Valley Plan, action items meshed very well with what is going on at the State-wide level for Opioids.