June 24, 2013
- John Bechtel
- Dave Bieter
- John Evans
- Brad Holton
- Jim Reynolds
- Steve Rule
- Darin Taylor
- Rick Yzaguirre
Staff and Guests
- Chris Atwood – SAUSA Project
- Rafael Gonzalez – USDOJ
- Wendy Olson – U.S Attorney, Idaho
- Garrett Randal – Veteran’s Day Parade Committee
- Senator Chuck Winder
- Bill Larsen – TVP
Mayor Dave Bieter welcomed everyone to Boise. He described some of the work that was done on the remodel of the Boise City Council Chambers.
Dave asked if anyone wanted to add any items to the list for discussion.
State-Wide Gang SAUSA Proposal
Bill stated he has a proposal for the Partnership on the SAUSA Project. He has been working on a way we can increase the State’s share of the SAUSA funding. He introduced the State-wide Gang SAUSA Proposal.
Bill said that virtually every legislator he has talked to in regards to the SAUSA Project, has had a concern that this was a “State of Ada” sort of project. Having lived in the rest of the state, Bill said this attitude is a major hurdle.
In developing this idea, he has talked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and County Prosecutors in Kootenai, Bonneville and Bannock Counties. At this point, these County Prosecutors have exhibited great interest in bringing the SAUSA function to their area of the State.
He said he is at a point where he needs the Partnership to say yes, pursue this or look at something else.
John E. asked if Bill’s perspective is to gather additional support from around the State. Bill said his original concept is centered on using the Partnership model where Cities and Counties surrounding the areas in Northern and Eastern Idaho, would get together and fund a certain percentage of the costs for a half-time SAUSA.
Dave said there is safety and numbers and it seems we need to enlist Cities and Counties. This would seem to be the next step. He suggested Bill begin working with the Association’s to see if he can garner support for the concept from Cities/Counties near the two locations. Dave continued that this project has been so effective that it makes sense to try to take it state-wide.
Dave asked where the funding percentage was at. Bill stated that this last legislative session the legislature raised its contribution to $35,000. Under this proposal, Bill is proposing a 75% – 25% split between the State and the local coalitions.
Bill pointed to a memo from Director Reinke in reference to the presentation we gave last winter to the Criminal Justice Commission. In his closing remark, Director Reinke said “the SAUSA Project is definitely a model worth replicating throughout Idaho”.
Bill stated he has been trying to narrow down a date for the Partnership to host a luncheon for the legislature. From his discussion with Representative Bolz, Thursday’s worked well generally and he is proposing October 3 as the date. He will send out a separate email in this regard.
Bill said he wanted everyone to start thinking about what the Agenda for the Legislative Luncheon would look like. John E. said one of the things they had quite a discussion about during AIC the previous week was NPDES Storm Water regulations. There is an ongoing issue with permitting waste-water as well. Right now we are dealing with storm water by siphoning money from our enterprise funds or street funds to deal with the continuing escalation of unfunded mandates on storm water. The legislative question is; should there be an authorization to develop Storm Water Districts.
John E. continued that we have the problems encountered in Lewiston and other places. So this is a topic and Jerry Mason with AIC is very versed in this issue.
John B. said that Transportation Funding seems to be a good topic. Both Dave and John E. agreed that this is something we want on the Agenda. John E. said in the recent discussion at AIC really centered on the maintenance of our current infrastructure. There really wasn’t any discussion about expanding lane miles anywhere or dealing with transit or any other issue.
Steve Rule said at their recent IAC meetings, there were mentioned three options in this regard. 1) A straight sales tax increase to go to transportation. 2) A 6% fuel tax. 3) A registration fee increase and a raise in the fuel tax. There was one commissioner that liked the sales tax across the state. The overwhelming majority got behind the third option. He added we haven’t had a fuel tax increase since 1996. This would be a way to tax the hybrid cars and the vehicles that are not paying at the pump and would be a good way to get them to participate in the funding of infrastructure. Steve continued that we all realize that we have to get more revenue coming towards highways. Bridges particularly are becoming a problem.
Hospital Satellite Property Tax Exemption
Steve during this IAC meeting, another piece of legislation came up he would like to mention. He said they in Canyon County got upset. The other day during their tax exempt hearings, hospitals came in requesting exemption on a bunch more doctor’s offices and personal properties they had purchased and wanted to bring them under their hospital tax exempt status. He stated they saw several million fall off the tax rolls in Canyon County. The very next day, the hospitals are in the indigent welfare hearings. They are beating on us because we are not sending out subpoenas and getting their fees paid fast enough. They as a commission said this just isn’t right. They (hospitals) are asking for more on one end and taking our tax base on the other.
Steve continued that we have some nonprofit back in Iowa or Illinois is showing at profit of $999 million profit and this hit the national news.
They will be sending legislation forward that will be addressing the issue that outlying offices and properties are not eligible for being included in the tax exempt umbrella of the hospital.
Dave said they went through a fair amount of this several years ago. At one time the law was really strict on how you got an exemption, but it has loosened and agrees these outlying properties should not be under the tax exempt umbrella. When you look at the assessed value it is outrageous. For example, St. Lukes has a billion dollars of property in Ada County. He reiterated that it started with a B. Dave added it is going to be hard to press this issue. The hospitals have real lobbying presence that it will be an uphill climb.
Steve stated we are starting a state-wide effort to address this issue and will have something ready by the time of the October meeting.
Rick said what is ironic with St. Lukes is, there is a need to file the exemption appeal by April 15th. Last year they forgot to do it. Some VP at St. Lukes had a stack of exemptions on his desk for all St. Lukes properties. They were inadvertently overlooked. Rick said they called St. Lukes and informed them they had not made their filing. He doesn’t know if that person is still working there? (laughter)
Steve said they are going to sponsor the fight next year. They are going to exempt the hospital. But for all those doctor’s offices and outlying properties, they are going to go ahead and deny those exemption requests at the County level and send them up to district court.
During this next coming legislature there will be language in place. It would be helpful if the Association of Cities could have some input on the language. Dave said he would talk to Ken in this regard.
Highway Tax after Annexation
John E. asked if anyone knows. Several years ago Tom Dale brought up the issue of the highway tax with the highway district after the city had annexed the property was only being passed back at only 50%. He asked if anyone was familiar with where this issue was.
Brad said another issue that is long term but short term. The Boise TMDL is going to be in the middle of negotiations over the next few years. With the Partnership, everyone but the city of Notus are members and we are participatory of discharging into the Boise. Right now he feels we do not have a proportionate amount representation on the WAG, the group that is going to determine what the trading is going to be. It would behoove us to get proportionate representation on this group. He said the City of Boise is investing a lot the other municipalities need to step up.
Brad continued that Cities are the only political subdivision they can target to charge significant money too. This is a coming taxation to our people and we need to get representation on the group that is formed for trading when the TMDL is done.
Note: Lance Holloway with the DEQ is going to come to the Retreat and talk about how the trading process will work.
Darrin said he has been reading a book that he thought was fascinating. He brought all the members a copy of the book “One Second After”. It is about an electromagnetic pulse and the chaos it would leave behind. He is going to do some things with the City of Middleton with this in mind.
Local Option Tax
Dave introduced Senator Chuck Winder and said the Partnership really appreciates his joining us and sharing some thoughts on legislation that is near and dear to our hearts.
Senator Winder said there are two kinds of approaches going on with local option taxes. There is one let’s call the Traditional Approach. This is one that Roy Eiguren is working on and supposed to be working with Speaker Bedke on. It will require a constitutional amendment to get out of the House. But because of consolidated elections, they are willing to consider lowering the super majority of 66 2/3% plus one to 60% plus one.
There are a lot of us that don’t think a constitutional amendment is required. That’s an overly conservative view on the House side.
About a year ago, he was asked to accompany the Metro Chamber and local officials to Oklahoma City to learn about what they were doing on local option tax and how they were able to make the investments they were doing in the City. In Oklahoma City, most of their revenue comes from a sales tax and so it was not unusual for them to take a local option sales tax expansion to their people.
They learned how Oklahoma City had been able to identify certain projects that were community wide. One of them was the fair grounds and another was a performing arts center down town. They knew based on their survey’s they had done, they could not get a majority of people to vote for any one specific project. By putting them together along with seven or eight other projects they had a total somewhere in the 5- 600 million dollar range. By doing that, they got a pretty good vote. They got 54% the first time.
The process that was set up was they could collect a certain percentage of sales tax let’s say it was a penny, for example. Then they said these projects are going to cost us x amount. It will take us 5-7 years to collect that amount. And once they collected that amount, they went ahead and built the projects. So they didn’t have any constitutional restrictions on debts or that sort of thing. They were able to bring this forward and they are in the middle of their third series of projects.
Oklahoma City had it, that if the project was in the county, then all cities had to agree by basic proclamation.
Senator Winder said the issue we are faced with in Idaho are we haven’t been funding cities that much from sales tax. It, the legislation is already in draft form and they have been soliciting feedback from stakeholders. They are on about their second or third redraft.
One of the things Mayor Bieter asked us to change was that it could be city wide and did not have to be a county wide thing.
He said there does appear to be more interest now in the legislature on local option. If we can get away from the debt side and the constitutional restrictions on 66 2/3% it would be a good thing. They are basically going to run both approaches (the first which is 60% and this second which is a simple majority) up the flag pole and see how it turns out with local officials, the legislature and obviously the Governor is going to have a say on it as well.
Hopefully when we get back in session, we will have a draft and also have the support of the Cities and Counties Associations as well as a majority of those in the House and the Senate.
Dave said his concern would be the operations part. He said that when they survey citizens, they say public transportation is always in the top one or two in priorities. Without an operations piece there isn’t enough to man the system. Senator Winder said he has asked legislative services to develop language that would provide funds for operations in this process. One of the issues they are dealing with the separation of capital expenditures vs. operations. Your capital expenditures may take 5-6 years to generate and the operations for the piece would be say 20 years. We are trying to reduce the amount of sales tax. Let’s say it was a penny for the capital and ¼ of a penny for the operations. How do we stop at the end of five years and lower the amount by that penny. What complications does this create in the retail sector?
Senator Winder said his goal was to include an operational segment so you could use a portion of that on an ongoing basis.
Dave asked how the Partnership can help. Senator Winder said what he would like to happen is have both the Cities and Counties Association’s look at this legislation and say this is something we can get behind. It will take a significant effort to get anything that is perceived as a tax increase through the legislature. The reason he wants the City and County Association’s to be supportive is it takes away from the Ada County or Canyon County theme. It used to be the “State of Ada” now it is the State of “Can Ada”. There is a lot of fear that the population density that is here, will take over the State.
Darin said that one of the reasons that GARVEE was successful was there were projects spread throughout the State.
Senator Winder would suggest that when the members of the TVP have the opportunity to talk with the Mayors of Twin Falls, Pocatello etc. tell people that this effort is going on and see if they will start talking about it and how their community might use it. You have to build that coalition of benefit around the State if we are going to get legislative support.
Dave said he went on the same trip to Oklahoma City and the things they were able to do were amazing. Senator Winder said he thought they were on their third round of funding. He stated they built an Olympic Rowing Facility on a piece of the river that previously was completely dry. They built this rowing facility on the property and it is quite a facility. They have done art museums, public street improvements and transit sorts of projects. Dave added they built an Arena for the Thunder and did a lot of capital improvements to their public schools.
Brad said that when he has traveled around the state and participated in discussions around local option taxes, you have a group of people that blow it out of proportion. He thinks that it would be best if we got a listing of projects that were done in Oklahoma City to use in our discussions.
Note: I have added a link to the webpage describing the current projects in Oklahoma City being funded by their local option tax. http://www.okc.gov/projects/index.html.
Senator Winder said that is one of the reasons why he calls this their Oklahoma City Model.
Boise Veteran’s Day Parade
Dave introduced Garrett Randal with the Veteran’s Day Parade Committee. Garrett thanked the Partnership for the opportunity to come talk about the Veteran’s Day Parade. He has come to the conclusion that most of the people in the Treasure Valley area are unaware that we are conducting a Veterans Day Parade anywhere, let alone in Boise.
It is difficult on Veteran’s Day to not become aware of the severely wounded. There are constant TV and radio advertisements about the wounded warrior’s organization or other organizations tied in with serving severely wounded veterans.
They on the parade committee want to create awareness so there is a better turnout at the parade.
A street parade is a very traditional way to honor a group of people. As he was growing up in Boise, it seemed the Veteran’s Day Parade was an institution in town. Every year the Veteran’s Day Parade was something he looked forward to, either marching in the parade or as a spectator. Somewhere in the 60’s there ceased to be a Veteran’s Day Parade. When he became a member of the committee, he investigated and never did find out why the parade ceased to exist.
They do have the Parade reenergized and they have conducted an annual parade since 2001.
Who would they like to be in the Parade? Garrett said the Parade is by invitation only. They make it an invitation only event, because of insurance reasons and for the need of insuring the participants adhere to the parade purposes. They invite veteran’s related organizations, law enforcement agencies, schools and other associated groups. This year, however, the active guard units have been told by command not to attend these types of events. This was in response to a lack of funding via the sequester act.
Who they don’t invite is as important as who they do invite. From the beginning they have insisted the parade be nonpolitical and noncommercial. They had a rare instance where one unit in the parade tried to insert an advertisement for a particular company. Also, they keep people out who want to march with a placard in demonstration against some issue.
Although they have 12 successful years behind them on the Parade, they are not real happy with the turnout. Last year they had an attendance of 4,200 (est.) people lining the parade route. This has been an improvement, but he believes there could be more. They have stepped up their preparation for the Parade. It used to be that they started their preparation when the schools started up. This year, they began their prep in January. One of their committee members, Warren, who is an old public affairs guy with the air force, started working the radio and TV outlets and they have had good interactions with them. Indications are they will get good support from media outlets.
They are also going to have booths set up in various community celebrations, mainly as a way to raise the funds needed to put on the parade. Darrell passed out some commemorative coins they are using as souvenirs they will be selling as a fundraiser.
John B. asked how much the coins were going to be sold for. Darrell said they are selling them for $4 each or $10 for three.
Veterans Day is November 11th. They try to hold the parade on the first Saturday before Veteran’s Day. This year the Parade will be in the 9th of November.
Dave wondered if the Partnership could hold a press conference to help provide publicity for the Parade. After a little discussion it was determined that Ada County and Wilder/Greenleaf would exchange meeting dates to facilitate the Partnership in holding a press conference for the Parade.
Note: Wilder/Greenleaf will host the TVP meeting on August 26th
Ada County will host the TVP meeting on October 23rd
SAUSA Project Update
Chris Atwood started by thanking the Treasure Valley Partnership for its dedication and support to the SAUSA Project. This support is one of the key factors in the success of the project.
Over the life of the project there have been 230 indictments and the conviction rates for prosecution have been 94%. People have been sentenced to roughly 835 years in federal prison.
Next month marks a year that he has been in the SAUSA position. He has indicted 39 defendants since he began. Chris said that his conviction rate has been 100%. Everyone he has indicted has pled guilty and he has not had to go to trial yet.
One of the notable cases involves the Aryan Nights case. Every one of the 23 defendants involved with the case has pled guilty. 17 of these people have been sentenced and the average for this case has been over six years. We really got some good sentences on some real bad individuals on both firearms and drug charges.
Joseph Goulart pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Dennis James also pled guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to 10 years. This is a guy that was charged with murder in California and did 17 years before coming to Idaho. Jesse Delgado also pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 14 years.
Kyle Batt is a prime example of the type of person that needs to be prosecuted under this Project. He was indicted for federal firearms violations and was found in possession of firearms just hours after two Canyon County Deputies were shot. Due to jurisdictional issues, the U.S. Attorney’s Office was not able to prosecute Mr. Batt in federal court for the actual shooting of the Deputies. He was however charged with the firearms charges. He pled guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced August 13.
With regard to the Brown Magic Clica case, it is all resolved. It started in 2011 with over thirty gang members. It was one of the most significant prosecutions in that it was so complex and it produced the first racketeering case in the District of Idaho as it relates to gang members.
While they still get the individual every now and then, they are continuing to work with law enforcement and are targeting leadership in these gangs.
John B. asked what is leading to everyone pleading guilty, is it the solidness of the cases? Chris said it is a combination of things. In most instances there ar very well put together investigative cases put together by law enforcement. And they also have the federal sentencing guidelines that give defendants an incentive to plead guilty. Sometimes this incentive could amount to a couple years, vs. if they went to trial and were found guilty.
Darrin asked who the judges have been in these cases. Judge Windmill and Lodge and there are some visiting judges that come in occasionally.
Wendy Olsen said she continues to talk about the success of the SAUSA Project when she is talking to community leaders. It is such a great model and she gets tremendous feedback when she presents about it. She thanked the Partnership and especially the members that helped to select Chris. Chris has hit the ground running and has done a fantastic job. In fact, they had a visiting Judge about two months ago. He made a point conveying to her office what an outstanding asset Chris is.
Brad stated that it seems as though things are going really good. He asked if there is an effort to reanalyze what they are doing with law enforcement, to get better. He continued that a lot of time when things are going good, the common reaction is to relax. Chris stated they are doing some of this type of review work with law enforcement. The Metro Task Force meets weekly. While he does not attend weekly, he does do some short presentations on legal issues and some training on occasion. The Metro Task Force does such a great job and is doing very well on preparing the investigative reports for the courts.
Bill said that as we look at trying to spread this model throughout the state, would the potential SAUSA in northern and eastern Idaho have the kind of support like the Metro Task Force? Wendy said that they have a Northern Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force which has the same model and concept as the Metro. It is an FBI sponsored task force and has officers from agencies in the surrounding communities involved.
Wendy said, in eastern Idaho, they do not have as good a set up as here or northern Idaho. But they have coordinated law enforcement meetings. This is really an area where Rafael is focusing attention so there would be this kind of support available.
Rafael said they have been laying the groundwork to get law enforcement officers to cooperate with respect to gang and gang sharing information in eastern Idaho. They are trying to get the State Police through their Fusion Center to assist them in eastern Idaho. He has been working with elected county prosecutors in the area to identify deputy prosecuting attorneys to get them to work with the U.S. Attorney’s office and with the group of law enforcement officers, to make sure the gang members that are identified and found in violation of the law are shifted to whatever jurisdiction has the appropriate penalties.
Rick asked if this model is unique around the U.S. or is it unique to us. Wendy said you see U.S. Attorneys funded outside of the federal government. Typically it is funded by a single county not by a group of governmental agencies that have come together to sponsor Chris’s position. She hasn’t seen anything identical.
Steve moved to accept the minutes and financial report. Rick seconded. Motion carried.