August 28, 2017
- Chad Bell
- Dave Bieter
- John Evans
- Brad Holton
- Garret Nancolas
- Stan Ridgeway
- Darin Taylor
Staff and Guests
- Nora Carpenter – United Way of Treasure Valley
- Emily Erickson – Boise State University
- Angela Taylor – Dignitas Agency
- Bill Larsen – Treasure Valley Partnership
Mayor David Bieter welcomed everyone to Boise.
Dave indicated that we should know about the F-35 in 4-6 weeks. The decision should come between late September and early October. He mentioned having a discussion with folks who have been awarded an F-35 Base, and they said to work even harder if you win the base award. Because there is a certain group that would help in bringing the opposition around. They had 3,000 homes in the noise impact area and we have 250.
He has been saying this for a while but doesn’t believe the word has gotten out that well, up until the mid-90’s the Gowen Air Base had the F-4. The F-4 noise level was akin to the noise level of the F-35. At that time we had 48 F-4’s and we are only talking a total of 18 F-35’s.
In summary, Dave felt optimistic about our chances of landing the F-35.
Bill indicated he had talked with Matt Borud of the ID Dept. of Commerce the previous week. It was Matt’s opinion that it was not too late to gather support from the community and that we need to continue getting people signed on to the website. Matt asked for the Partnership to send out our guest opinion letter to the newspapers again. It was consensus that Bill proceed.
Garret said Friday, September 1st was a big day for the City of Caldwell. The theater came in and applied for building permits so their financing is a 100% go. This will bring 11 screens downtown. The other announcement indicated there would be three additional businesses locate near the theaters.
Next spring will be a big a time as the plaza will be up and running, along with a skating rink and sound stage. Then just a block over will be the movie theater and three new restaurants. This has been a lot of work and has been three years in the making.
Darin said they had to call the bomb squad over the previous weekend. They had a package on a residential street that was suspicious. The bomb squad from Boise went and detonated and it was made of glass and cardboard.
Darin said the City of Middleton has a contractor hired to build their $958,000 parking lot. He said was amazed at the cost. John said it doesn’t take much of an area to build up a big cost for a parking lot.
Governor Andrus’s passing was discussed. It was agreed that the Partnership should send a card and Bill said he would get it done.
Treasure Valley Community Needs Assessment
Nora Carpenter of the United Way of the Treasure Valley said she was honored to work with each of the communities in the valley. Every three years United Way conducts a very comprehensive community assessment. Her presentation would be on the highlights of this assessment. If members would like to dig deeper into the data, the full assessment will be on the United Way’s website or you contact her and she would be happy to come and personally share the assessment to any jurisdiction that wants.
Nora said United Way wakes up every day fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every person across the Treasure Valley.
To sum up the 2017 assessment in a couple of words, people want to live here. However for business leaders and their employees that are working at that middle to low end of the wage spectrum, they heard a disconnect. They want to be here, but it is getting harder and harder to stay here.
They also heard that folks realize there is a bounty of resources available to them wherever they are in their life, but getting to those resources is difficult. The time cost of accessing available resources is tremendous. If you are low income, working 2-3 jobs, time is a commodity they don’t have.
Comparing barriers that were identified in the 2014 Assessment with the 2017 Assessment, livable wages continues to be identified as the top barrier. People who identified this as a barrier also identified the need to receive training to increase their skillset and their earning potential. Mental Health service needs rose to the second biggest barrier in 2017. This is because there are not enough service providers, services are basically unaffordable, and the complexity of services available depends on the jurisdiction. If counseling services are prescribed for a low income child, then people have to take time off of work which creates a cycle of hardship.
Affordable housing barriers came in next in their assessment. This is not news to members of the Partnership. Housing and early childhood education/care have become employment issues as well.
People however are living in a tenuous situation. They feel they are; one broken down car, or a lost job away from being homeless.
Dave asked if there was anything positive. Nora said there is good news a little deeper in the assessment. This news rests in some of the solutions that are being implemented. For example, in Caldwell and in Boise, embedding preschool into the schools has helped. This creates a center, or a home for some resources.
The concept of “zip code” syndrome, (where somebody lives really defining how successful they will be) is absolutely real. It is also clear that our 20th Century Systems are not going to serve us well in the 21st Century. Policy systems and environmental shifts will come into play. As we think about the 21st Century we realize that “one size does not fit all”
The story they heard over and over for lower wage earners is: They would like to have a livable wage. They would love to have affordable housing and transportation somewhere near where they work. They want quality care for them and their children. As an aside, the cost of child care is equivalent to college tuition. People would like to have their health to continue and would like to advance their education to enhance their wages.
For some good news, overall poverty across the Treasure Valley is down. However, poverty among children under the age of 18 is up dramatically. Again, where you lives matters.
She showed a chart (included in the presentation) that showed the number of homeless children as defined by the school district. This number has risen over 300% over the last ten years.
Across the country, accessing affordable housing is an issue. She showed a chart depicting the percentage of renters and home-owners that were spending more than 30% of their income on housing. According to the chart between 47 – 52% of renters are spending more than 30% of their income on housing where only 10 – 15% of homeowners are spending more than 30%.
Nora said this is concerning, in that when you add transportation costs into the mix, housing and transportation cost comprise over 65% of house hold income, it leaves very little else.
Stan asked the average cost of child care across the valley. Nora said it varies widely, but it is about $1,000 per month. And, the younger the child, the more expensive it is.
Stan interjected that with housing, transportation and child care there is not much left in a low income family’s budget.
Nora showed there are solutions for increasing stability into people’s lives. She highlighted expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. It exists and low income wage earners automatically qualify for it. But in Idaho, 25% of those eligible for this don’t claim it.
When we get into tax season, Nora said she was going to ask the members to join United Way in getting people to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. In Idaho it amounts to about $2,500 per wage earner and would be helpful.
Brad asked if they had a flier that they could insert into the utility bills. Nora said they absolutely have these fliers and they will be reaching out to the Partnership when it becomes time to push this effort.
Nora said they have called employers as solution holders. Employers have to understand that housing, transportation and child care are issues. In the 21st century, moms work. That is the reality of it. We need to come up with ways to inspire employers to come up with subsidized child care. There are a number of plug-and-play opportunities with the YMCA and others.
She said that according to the USDA, we now have what is called food deserts in the Treasure Valley. They consist of a few areas on the Boise bench, some of Garden City, the I84 corridor through Canyon County and virtually all of Owyhee County. A food desert is an area that does not have easy, affordable access to high quality nutritious foods.
For one of their Policy/Systems/Environmental solutions, they recommend adopting a health in all policies approach. When you are conducting your daily business, pause and ask yourself this question. If we do this thing, or change this thing….what are the health implications. Are we making it easier for our families to; walk and bike safe, access foods, etc. or not.
In the light of education, a lot has been said about early reading. You will find it in the documentation and we still have kids way underperforming in their literacy. But they wanted to concentrate in math and compare it to a child’s families socioeconomic status. At 4th grade, kids that come from low-income families underperform compared to their peers in math. By 8th grade it gets worse. Again, this idea of making sure we have cohesive systems is really important.
When it comes to solutions to education issues, again, Caldwell and Boise are at the forefront with their imbedded preschools. But we need to think about; internships, externships, imbedding technical education into every opportunity, and increasing college scholarships and applications. Kids in the Treasure Valley leave a lot of money on the table when it comes to college scholarships.
Another thing we can do is increase saving incentives for college. Mayor Nancolas has done a great job with their Caldwell Saves First initiative. Families are putting money into those accounts.
Nora said, if you are interested in working with United Way on an effort, let her know. There is a ton of things we can do together. They are working with several of jurisdictions, but there is still a lot more we can do as partners.
Dave asked how many cities were CDBG cities. Community Development Block Grant money is the best. It has the least strings attached. It is the best way to go in a lot of respects, but especially on affordable housing. In 1975, the City of Boise got $5 million. Boise was 70,000 in population then. Last year, they got $1.2 million. If this would have kept up with inflation, they would be getting $23 million a year, not even allowing for the growth in the population.
He can’t find any more telling statistic than this. When he goes to conferences around the country, he hears; use your State Trust Fund, use the local option tax, use inclusionary zoning, use rent controls. These are the solutions to affordable housing that are being used around the country and we don’t have any of these tools.
Dave said the upside is what United Way is doing with these inclusionary schools. He thinks there is no more exciting possibility that has been employed successfully.
Garret said they had attended a session on community schools. This is something we can do; have our school districts and united way partner on this effort. From what he can tell, the health providers are more than willing to jump in on this as well. This community schools program is a really big deal as far as breaking the cycle of not having kids prepared for reasons that could be solved.
*Note* The following is a link to United Way 2017 Assessment page that includes all their research.
Diversity as a Business Driver
Angela Taylor introduced herself as an employee of the Dignitas Agency. She was there to talk about diversity and inclusion. She wanted to talk about not only diversity in race, gender and other items but diversity of thought.
She said there is no formula or book you can use for addressing diversity and inclusion. But if you want to have transformative diversity and inclusion you have to have leadership on the idea.
Emily said she is with BSU’s Responsible Business Initiative. This is a Wells Fargo grant they have had for three years. They bring in executives from around the area to speak to sustainability, social responsibility, environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion. They provide content to both the business college and the community.
Last November they got together during their annual summit, they brought in some CEO’s in the valley to talk about diversity and inclusion and where they thought were. What came out of this was one activity to write diversity statements in each business involved with BSU supporting that effort.
Angela said she wanted to provide some context on what is diversity vs. what is inclusion. She said diversity is a fact, inclusion is an essential practice and equity should be a fundamental goal. Diversity is a unique set of characteristics, perspectives, and life experiences that define us as individuals. Inclusion is creating an environment where all individuals contribute fully and feel valued, engaged and supported to reach their full potential. You don’t just want to have opportunities for people, you want them to feel like they actually fit. This is why they want to stay.
Angela says she works with business all over the country on this topic. She say’s this program (the Responsible Business Initiative) is unique in they don’t see business leaders coming together to work with other leaders to work on diversity and inclusion type issues, anywhere.
This fall they are going to hold three workshops with the CEO leadership roundtable they have. Their goal is to continue to work on and develop diversity and inclusion skill sets beyond the individual statements they are writing. They also will have another summit to share with community members.
Angela said the goals with these workshops; revolve around intention, action and results. The diversity statements will represent the intention and they will move through the process of creating diversity and inclusion through action.
Dave said he thinks the biggest challenge we have, is people make the assumptions about our diversity and inclusion based on the reality that our population is mostly white. You can be an open welcoming community and still have our population mix, but unfortunately that perception is going to be with us for a while. He added that this perception can have its impacts. He has heard that we “may” have lost relocation of a sizable company over the concern that employees wouldn’t feel comfortable.
He thinks it is to our advantage to counter this with everything we have.
Angela said it is not just a numbers game. But the thing we can control is diversity of thought. As we are posting an announcement, we need to craft the announcement so that it might appeal to different audiences that think differently.
Dave said their HR Dept. has learned a great deal about how the City markets jobs and how they reach out. Maybe they can craft something from that which could be helpful to other members of the Partnership.
Bill said he has started working on the data for the crime trends analysis and pointed to a packet of information. He is not done with his approach and will be working to refine data on drug arrests and some of the other information.
Bill said the Lower Boise Watershed Council Trading subcommittee has finished their recommendations and will be presenting these to the full council in September. He had included an outline of what those recommendations were. Primarily, the two recommendations that stand out in are; that both attached and dissolved phosphorous in included and the default trading ratio of 1:5-1 will be carried forward as part of their recommendations.
Dave said this is good work, but it will potentially be tough to hold on to these recommendations through the process. Brad said as these recommendations go forward in the process, we probably should think about bringing our technical people into a TVP meeting to discuss aspects of the trading documents, if there is a possibility these can get blown up. Dave agreed and this would be a good idea. Bill said he would look to have this be a part of an upcoming meeting.
Bill said that the next meeting was scheduled for September 18th at Canyon County. There was some potential they would not be able to host, as Tom was going to be tied up with a medical procedure that day. Darin said Middleton would take the meeting if Canyon County wasn’t able to.