August 26, 2013
- John Bechtel
- Tom Dale
- Tammy deWeerd
- John Evans
- Keith Green
- Greg Nelson
- Steve Rule
- Darrin Taylor
- Rick Yzaguirre
Staff and Guests
- Lee Belt – Greenleaf City Clerk
- Wendy Burrows – Wilder City Clerk
- Krista Bustamante – Director, Idaho Community Action Network
- Clarke Krause – Director, Boise Valley Economic Partnership
- Bill Larsen – TVP
Mayor John Bechtel called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone to Greenleaf. He thanked Lee and Wendy for getting the Salmon meal ready for the meeting. He apologized for Brad Holton and his absence. Brad had some family obligations to take care of and was not able to be here.
John hoped that everyone had the chance to read the book that Darrin had given to the members at previous meetings. He continued that he is typically a slow reader but had read through the book in two days. The problem with it is the electromagnetic pulse weapon is there. It is scary to think it is there, and that someone would use it. If you look around your cities and especially the smaller cities, everything they have in Wilder would come to a dead stop if one of these EMP weapons were used. Even if we just had a natural disaster that wiped out our electricity for a long time, there are some things we as cities need to look at. For example need to have some storage of gasoline which is hard to do now because of all the EPA regulations.
Tom added that the problem with storing today’s gas with ethanol in it, is it would go stale in about a month.
Irrigation water shut-off
Tammy asked what the other members were doing with the early shut-off of irrigation. They are out promoting conservation and putting out information on how to let your grass go dormant. Apparently, they got a phone call this morning because the irrigation district had shut off the water a week early and the caller thought the City was in cahoots with the irrigation district because of the need to use more expensive potable water for watering lawns. The City of Meridian is concerned about the volumes and it may overload their system because 80% of their homes are on irrigation. They are trying to be proactive and she is curious as to what the other jurisdictions are doing.
Tom said that three of the primary irrigation companies have said they are going to shut down September 5th. The only thing they have been able to do is cross connect some of the areas but some of the areas in town will be cut off on that date. He thinks the message to the people is that your grass is not going to die. It will go brown, but next spring it will come back. In the City of Nampa, it is ordinance to not water with potable water.
Greg said thin Kuna they had an information campaign last year and so this year when they shut down, they did not get near the amount of calls.
John E. said that when they recently lost their water main under the river in Garden City, all of a sudden they had an inordinate load on the system. They asked for a voluntary even/odd day for sprinkling and everybody complied. So they did not have the loading that the public works people were worried about.
John B. said that part of the problem with everyone using domestic water is your towers go down and if you have a fire you don’t have enough reserve.
Keith said that all the people are not set up to use domestic water and they don’t have back-flow preventers and this is a big issue. Greg said that they were a little worried about the back-flow issue and added, you have the enterprising ones will take their hose and hook up the sprinkler system.
Tammy mentioned they got a letter from a landscape office that was saying I can help people hook up to your domestic water. They called them and told them this activity was illegal and the City of Meridian has an ordinance that prohibits hooking up to domestic water. Tom added they also have an ordinance and if really you tried to hook your hose up to the sprinkler system, there wouldn’t be enough volume to run it.
Tom said that maybe we, as Treasure Valley Partnership put out a message out that it is ok; your grass is going to go brown as it does every winter. We could come out with a valley-wide statement that we are in a short water year, we live in a high desert area and the irrigation companies have shut down, so it is ok to not water your lawn. John B. added we could send the press release out to the statesman and all the newspapers in the valley.
Tom said that most of Boise is on United Water and they are already set up to water the lawn with domestic water. He asked what Eagle did. Rick stated there are four different systems in Eagle and where he lives they are on domestic water.
Tammy said they will be putting out some information in the next week. If you use a domestic water source and have an even number address then you would water on even number days in order for them to be able to maintain their flows.
Steve added that in Middleton, where he lives, it is not so bad because they have a lot of artesian wells and a real high water table. However the City might suffer some effects. Darrin said that the City of Middleton states that if you have any access to other irrigation alternatives, use these before using potable water. They have six of the older subdivisions without irrigation water. So far it has not been a problem, but if everybody did switch over to potable water it could end up being a public safety issue.
John asked Lee Belt what Greenleaf has. He stated that they do allow the use of city water for irrigation purposes, but they require back-flow preventers.
Highway Tax after Annexation
Darrin asked what this subject was about. Tom indicated this issue did not apply to Ada County, but in Canyon County if you have a street department and go to annex a mile of road, the highway district continues to collect full taxation on that mile of road and the City only gets half of that taxation. This really ties our hands. In the City of Nampa, the highway district collects $4+ million from city residents for the highway tax. The City only gets half of that and the highway district gets to keep the other half and that is used outside the City. One of the consequences is that their City road department cannot afford vehicles and equipment and the highway district has all the latest and greatest new vehicles and equipment.
In comparison, the City of Nampa and the Nampa Highway District have an equal amount of center-line miles they have to take care of. One of the problems is all the highway district miles are two-lane with no curb, gutter and sidewalks. In the City of Nampa they have multiple lanes and thus twice the amount of road surface to take of, and the amount of money they have to use is far less than what the highway district has.
This is something he has brought up with the legislature the last several years and has not gotten any attention yet. This is an issue to all cities around the State that have their own street departments.
Storm Water Districts
Tom indicated that Coeur d’Alene is the only municipality in the State that has a Storm Water District set up. So far they have not been challenged on this. They are thinking about suing themselves so they can get this issue in front of the court to see if it is going to hold up. They don’t want to go down the road three years and have been collecting all that money during that time and then have it over turned by the court.
Greg asked what the purpose of the Storm Water District is. Tom said that because of new EPA standards, with the MS-4 permit you have this whole list of things you have to do from monitoring and education standpoint and there are a whole host of activities. In the City of Nampa it costs them about $1.5 million just for that permit. So the District allows you to collect money for complying with new storm water regulations. Otherwise you have to take funds out of your budget.
Steve said he spent a little time in that industry. The downstream effects are a lot more economically significant. The ultimate vision is to have catch basins that have to be cleaned, drained and maintained off of every inlet off of every stream. Or a larger more elaborate system that actually capture any kind of hydrocarbons that come off the asphalt services let alone any drop of oil from a gas station or anything like that. The impact on the taxation of a City would be just huge. He said this is what they “EPA” has on their screen over the horizon for the next level of requirements.
Tom stated that the City of Lewiston had a Stormwater District that was challenged. It was set up really like a tax and was a flat rate for everybody. Nampa had one set up that was more like a fee for service sort of structure. The City Council voted to redact it after it was challenged so it never went to court.
Coeur d’Alene’s Ordinance is modeled after the Ordinance that Nampa drew up. They made a few changes that make it a stronger fee based service rather than a tax. The argument is you cannot create a tax for that, and is something the legislature needs to fix. In Nampa, this is a big elephant in the room that is not being funded. There is no sustainable funding to comply with stormwater requirements, but it is required.
Darrin said they receive a call every month from someone that lives in Middleton and works at ACHD and says he is not paying his stormwater portion of the monthly utility bill. So he went out looked at the property and determined the property was using the stormwater service and decided they were not going to refund that fee from the monthly utility bill. But it got him to thinking, when he saw what Nampa was going through, they need to know which properties are served and those not served. And then not charge those not being served. He thinks they are going to do a property-by-property analysis and determine those being served by stormwater systems.
Tom said he believes the Coeur d’Alene ordinance called for an individual evaluation of all properties, which the Nampa ordinance did not do.
Darrin asked, for new subdivisions that are coming into cities, are you still seeing retention ponds, because they are not encouraging them anymore. They are discouraging lakes, retention and settling ponds and are requesting people to treat it on their lot. They don’t want subdivisions to have these systems. John E. asked how the City of Middleton is dealing with sloping driveways. He was thinking about having these so they drained off into the yard and was looking for suggestions.
Steve said when they started designing those retention ponds it always bothered him. Right about then was when he became a Commissioner. He said that Rick should relate to this right now because they are treating for West Nile. That kind of design seemed to promote the 2-3 inches of standing water that is a prime breeding ground for mosquitos.
Darrin added that where they do have to have some drainage coming down the hill, they are going to immediate sub surface infiltration at the bottom of the hill and they don’t want any surface settling. That is the direction they are headed.
Tom agreed that is the way they were going with new construction. You have to figure out how to retain it on the property and then into the ground. They are an older City. They did an analysis and have over 700 pipes that go into irrigation drainage ditches and stuff like that. And you are not ever going to have the money to re do all of this. And it creates a monitoring nightmare and will cost some money.
Steve said at a recent COMPASS meeting they handed out a paper out on Agenda 21. He stated that we all need to get up to speed on this.
John E. said he had a briefing on this the prior week. There are aspects of it that are troubling. Some of the conclusions that have been drawn are hard to swallow. The part that is interesting is using the environmental collective as a way to impact private property ownership and assert more control over private property, particularly in rural areas. Link to Agenda 21 information
In Oregon, for years they have urban growth boundaries. These have greatly restricted any urbanization outside the impact area. The Mayor of Portland has no control on that. They have sublet that authority to someone else. The right to farm, the right to make a deal to do something with your own property brings some legitimacy to the issue. If you plan, you are falling into a trap.
Rick said he did not know much about this issue but he was on KIDO Radio and they were talking about planned communities and does he see these coming back? The Radio started getting calls on this. He understood it was tied to a United Nations issue. From his understanding, the fear is some international body is going to designate land use. John said this is a troubling trend.
Economic Development in the Valley
John B. introduced Clark Krause. Clark stated he was there today to answer any questions the members might have related the Boise Valley Economic Partnership and to provide an update on what they have seen recently.
They do economic development and try to bring more opportunities to the valley as well as try to help businesses that are here. This year he has been busy increasing their game when it comes to marketing. They have gotten past the point of building a good website. He is really proud of the bvep.org website.
They have been asked by St. Al’s and St. Lukes to help them recruit doctors. They have developed a draft and he shared that during the meeting.
The other thing they have been doing a lot of on the marketing is if you go to the website you will see a lot of people interest stories about entrepreneurs in the valley. They profile people and their successes and believe that does a lot to draw people into looking into the valley.
They continue to go out and get new profiles. For example they have Kristen Armstrong and her business in the profile section and believe she is a good ambassador for the valley. In addition to creating new human interest profiles, they are starting to do some video work. Their first one was Kristen. The second video is on a The b|launched competition. It is a program that takes 50-60 volunteers that are mentored on creating businesses. They go from having no idea what their product is, to creating a product, building a business and establishing a business in six months. They have about 6-8 teams of participants that compete and the winner gets up to $50,000 as seed money for creating the business.
Their third one, is that they have been having a lot of tech companies tell them they are having a hard time recruiting software developers. They are developing a video and a website to help with this issue. Instead of website directed at attracting a company, this will be a website directed toward attracting talent.
They had a large project announcement about a month ago, Maximus which is about 1,800 jobs. They are coming into one of the old H-P facilities. There is also an announcement pending in Caldwell. They are calling it Project Sports Car which will bring about 150 jobs. Caldwell did a great job of bringing an aircraft manufacturer into our community.
Another thing happening with the Caldwell package is utilization of the Opportunity Fund ($700,000) along with about $1.5 million to help build the infrastructure needed for this new aircraft manufacturing operation. This is the first time the Opportunity Fund has been used in the valley.
Clark said their projects over the last three years have changed. They used to see a lot of office projects. Today, over 50% of the projects they are seeing are manufacturing. He believes this is huge for our economy. Four of the current projects they are working on are international. This was not the case several years ago.
Tom raised a concern with regard to the tool being developed for St. Al’s and St. Lukes doctor recruitment. He felt that if BVEP is going to put their brand on the brochure it needs to highlight the valley not just Boise. There are a lot of people that work for these outfits that live outside of Boise. Clark said that as they continue to work on the draft with the marketing personnel, he will get this concern addressed.
Welcoming Cities and Counties
John introduced Krista Bustamante with the Idaho Community Action Network. ICAN is a social and economic justice nonprofit and they have memberships throughout Idaho. There are about 2000 members in the Treasure Valley. She introduced Alicia Clements a long-time member and Ruby Mendez, one of their interns from the Star area.
Welcoming America is a national organization that has an initiative to have the U.S. become a welcoming nation. The City/County Initiative is under this umbrella. The idea is to have Cities and Counties become a welcoming place and to integrate immigrants and refugee groups into the community. A welcoming community will plan and commit a certain amount of time to have community events, hold discussions around integrating refugee groups.
Many times Welcoming America is focused on immigration issues. Although that is something they work on. The Welcoming Cities/Counties initiatives are not political and have nothing to do with immigration reform. It does address how we handle undocumented immigrants in our community.
The Cities of Boise and Wilder have passed a Welcoming Resolution. There is no membership fee. It is all about creating a welcoming environment within our communities.
The website with information on this program is Welcoming Idaho Project.
Tammy said that an immigration ceremony is quite an experience. When people come in and declare citizenship it is quite an emotional and powerful ceremony. Krista agreed and said this is a real moving experience. She added that Rosa, herself or someone from ICAN attend all the citizenship ceremonies that are held around the State.
Krista said as far as action items, is becoming a welcoming city/county something you want to pursue. Is there some follow-up they can do in order to facilitate this? She encouraged members of the Partnership to contact her if there is an interest in becoming a welcoming city/county. Her contact information is:
Idaho Community Action Network
3450 W. Hill Road
Boise, Idaho 83703
Tom said there is a citizenship ceremony at the Nampa Civic Center that is coming up soon. He continued that they do this every year and it is amazing how many different countries are represented.
Statewide SAUSA Proposal
Bill stated that he attended a meeting with Director Reinke shortly after the July meeting of the Partnership. He was pleasantly surprised by the Director’s support for the Statewide SAUSA Proposal. Director Reinke gave him contacts with the legislature and a suggestion on how to approach the Governor. With regard to approaching the Governor, Director Reinke suggested seeking out and participating in a Capital for a Day event that are held throughout Idaho.
Note: The next Capital for a Day event will be held on September 30 in Potlatch, Idaho. Bill asks if there is a Partnership member that is interested in participating.
Tammy asked about the event and if anyone had been involved in one. Greg said the Governor comes with his staff and department directors and it is a good exchange of information.
Bill said he felt the meeting was very productive. He is in the process of developing materials and making calls to various interests in the State in regard to the proposal. The Director even suggested he get ahold of a few judges and get their support.
The Director invited the Partnership to come pitch the proposal to the ICJC – Idaho Criminal Justice Commission on September 27th and there is a possibility he would put this in his budget for this next year.
As he has been speaking to people around the state, there have been several questions. In Northern Idaho, they would like to expand the functioning of the SAUSA beyond gang, gun and drug crimes and include crimes involving child pornography and sexual offenses. They would like to expand it from the half-time person as proposed to a full-time person performing SAUSA functions. He has heard similar requests from the Eastern Idaho in this regard.
Tammy asked what that meant. Have they had anyone in Northern or Eastern Idaho up to this point? She continued, we the Partnership have been funding the SAUSA. Would they be expecting us to fund their SAUSA too? Bill stated that the way the proposal is shaking out is Northern, Eastern and the Treasure Valley would have a full-time SAUSA. Coalitions of Cities and Counties in the other parts of the State would form together to fund their regional person along with the State. The important difference is that the local obligation would be 25% of the total instead what currently happens with the Partnership responsible for 65%.
Tammy asked how we would participate in the Capital for a Day event. Bill said, Director Reinke indicated you sign up to speak and you have a certain amount of time to do so. The feeling from the Director was, this was going to be a lot easier method to get this proposal in front of the Governor instead of trying to get an appointment with him.
Bill stated that so far, we only have seven members signed up for the retreat and he has heard from everyone except Jim Reynolds. His concern was, should we hold the Retreat given this level of participation?
Darrin asked what the total membership is. Bill responded there are seventeen members.
Tom said it goes back to the reason the Partnership exists. The reason the Partnership exists is to form relationships, partnerships and to help one another. And if we are missing a lot of members then we are not accomplishing what we could be. He felt we should take a look at what we need to do in order to get participation up to where it should be. Tom added, however, that he really values this, as it is a place where we can sit and relax and talk about issues as peers who are working for the people of our communities. It gets us out of our shell. John B. added that of all the organizations we are a part of this is the most valuable.
Tom asked if there are conflicts that occur to restrict attendance, or that makes this schedule a bad time. Or, are a majority of the Partnership members still valuing that time to get away for a couple days to discuss things? If that is not the case, then maybe we need to rethink the retreat?
Steve said as the newest member, he agrees this is a different group than most the boards we gather on. The agenda is so much more open to each of us and our needs with the discussion formats. He has gotten a lot from the Partnership and apologized for not being able to make this retreat. That happened to be the time his son in Minnesota had time for a family visit.
Tammy said she is going to be there. She makes it a priority. The retreat has brought the discussion to a different level. You can be more candid and frank and she has appreciated it. Tammy added that she likes the retreat model so much she has used it for a retreat with her staff. It had similar benefits in breaking down barriers and having the beneficial result in moving us forward. This is an entire valley; we all have something at stake. We may have differences of population but we don’t have differences in the issues we face.
Keith said maybe we should try to get a different date in November/December that would work for everyone? Bill said that finding a date for the retreat is one of the biggest challenges he has.
Rick asked if we could reduce the agenda to one day. Looking at this year’s agenda, we could do the discussion in one day. You would lose the social piece. He said we could have one day of meetings in the valley and then do something like float the river, or bowling for example to get the social piece.
There was some discussion about the merits of meeting in the valley and doings something together. Tom added that he felt it was important to get away.
Tammy said if you stay in the homes, it is cost effective. What she did with her staff was to split them up into teams and make the team responsible for meals. They cooked and cleaned up together and there was great value in the time spent.
Darrin asked who is not coming. Bill said Dave Bieter ended up having something come up he couldn’t get out of. He said, of the regular attendees, Garret, Jim, John B., Steve and those not coming basically had something come up out of the ordinary. He had not heard from Kelly or Nate but doubted if they would come to the retreat. Bill said that if we cancel, we would be out the deposit of near $550. The members attending all said lets go.
John B. asked if anyone had problems with checks being compromised and requested Wendy describe what had happened to the City of Wilder. Wendy said about a month prior she was contacted by Money Tree with regard to a check someone had cashed over the weekend. It had the correct font, routing number, and account number, but had a different background. She ended up having to go down and close their account and open a new one. Then another check had come in which was cashed in the Nampa Wal-Mart. These were checks of $1,800 and $2,000. Fortunately it didn’t cost them money except the cost of ordering new checks and shredding old ones. The check looked real and she cautioned other Cities/Counties that there is a forger out there working.
Darrin moved to approve the minutes and budget report. Seconded by several members and motion approved. Meeting adjourned.