December 14, 2020
- Trevor Chadwick
- Tom Dale
- John Evans
- Brad Holton
- Debbie Kling
- Lauren McLean
- Jason Pierce
- Robert Simison
- Joe Stear
Staff and Guests
- Karen Echeverria – Idaho School Boards Association
- Dave Jeppesen – Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
- Quinn Perry – Idaho School Boards Association
- Bill Larsen - TVP
Welcome & Introductions
Robert welcomed everyone to the December Partnership meeting.
School Impact Fees
Karen Echeverria and Quinn Perry, of the Idaho School Boards Association.
They intend to add school districts as a public entity that can collect a development impact fee. There are three goals that can be achieved through this legislative change.
- It would provide property tax relief. As you know school facilities are only funded through a plant facilities levy or a general obligation bond.
- This would enhance planning activities around school facilities.
- It would provide assistance to school districts where it is nearly impossible to pass a general obligation bond. 66 2/3 majority for these votes is extremely difficult.
Hurdles and Talking Points
- This will not effect every school district in the State. There are many school districts that are not experiencing the growth the larger metro area districts are seeing.
- The School Boards Assn. has gotten some stakeholder buy-in. They have support from AIC and IAC and have bi-partisan support in the legislature.
- This legislative change is not merely as simple as adding school districts to the impact fee code. Other sections of code will need to be looked at. For example, an additional change may need to me made to be able to apply the impact fee it to existing bond or plant facility levy’s. They are working with financial experts on this regard.
- There may be a constitutional issue regarding schools being able to collect impact fees. They have received some guidance from the AG’s office and feel this will not create an issue.
- With all the home building going on in the Treasure Valley and other parts of the State, impact fees would increase housing costs and affordability, but on the back end doing nothing is impacting affordability as well.
- Debbie asked how school districts are funding the renewal and replacement costs for facilities across the state. The School Boards Association has been trying to reduce the super majority requirement (66 2/3%) for many years with no luck. Currently school districts are funding renewal replacement costs through a bond, a plant facility levy and some lottery money. The lottery money received for this purpose is not enough to cover costs. For example, Nez Perce High needed to replace their HVAC system. The cost was $250,000 and they ended up having to go out to bond for that.
- We need to stay focused on utilizing impact fee laws that exist today. We don’t want to make too many changes.
- John asked who is opposing school impact fees. They haven’t seen much outright opposition. The Farm Bureau supports impact fees for schools which is a pleasant shift. IACI and ATI were hesitant but acknowledged they are former directors of the Idaho Realtors Association and admitted they have taken that bias into their new roles.
- There is a concern impact fees would be used as a way to strip the ability of school districts to use other tools. The Association is steadfast in keeping the tools they have. For example, there are 4 dates in a year that school districts can run elections. The legislature has been trying to pare this down for years. The reason we cannot give this up is, 93 of the 115 school districts in the State rely on supplemental levy’s to meet the day-to-day obligations of their schools.
- Even in Boise, an impact fee wouldn’t pay for a new school. But it could perhaps pay for a new wing to add to the school’s capacity.
Cat Creek Energy – Brad Holton
- This is a concept that has been done before. Grand Coulee Dam has a similar complex where they pump water up into a second reservoir. They pump the water to the second reservoir at night and let it out during the day when rates are higher.
- The difference is the water rights. This Cat Creek Energy project has a weird double water rights application. The first one is for 100,000 cf. the second application is for 80,000 cf. This is where the problem comes in, under the second water right application, they would have ownership rights and would be able to sell to whom they please.
- There are three canal districts that have tentative MOU’s with Cat Creek. But there are other canal districts that are outside the agreement.
- The water board has asked Cat Creek to address ten questions. One of these was to contact the municipalities along the river.
Property Taxes and the Legislature
What can be some of our talking points?
- Brad felt the low hanging fruit is the residential home-owner exemption. The trouble is increasing the home-owner exemption makes sense here where we have values going through the roof. What does this do to the rest of the State. If you increase the hard number on the exemption then this would impact the revenue of municipalities where there is no growth or increases in property values. A percentage might be something that could work in this instance.
- We shouldn’t be tying new growth to any standardized increase. New growth needs to come in at its full value.
- More people coming into the system doesn’t increase any individual tax-payers rate, It has a tendency to reduce the rate. People do not seem to be able to grasp this.
- A budget and the impact on the individual property tax payer is not the same thing. If we can control the rise of property tax increase or even put a hold on any increase, that is something we can define. But if it is going to be a general budget discussion, then the difference between Kuna and Greenleaf cannot be reconciled. They want to generalize the approach on this issue and this is what makes it messy.
- When looking at changing exemptions we must realize this is in essence a tax shift from homeowners to commercial. The philosophical discussion then should be who should pay the most tax. Nearly 70% of all property taxes in the State are paid by residences. Any exemption increase would receive push-back from commercial properties because their taxes would shift up.
Commissioner Tom Dale
Bill expressed his gratitude for Tom’s service to the Partnership. He served as the Chair for many years and helped guide the Partnership through addressing issues like pseudoephedrine control, and was an influential in the development of the SAUSA Program.
Tom said Pam White will be taking his place on the Partnership. He said the purpose of the Partnership needs to be remembered. The purpose is to provide a forum for local elected leaders to share ideas outside of the public eye. We have had some incredible projects over the years, however the purpose of this group is to not do projects, but to meet together and talk about ideas and share solutions.
Being a member of the Partnership is one of the highlights of his tenure as Mayor and Commissioner. Of all the groups he will be saying goodbye to, this one he will miss the most.
Covid-19 Vaccinations in Idaho
Dave Jeppesen – Director, Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
The Idaho Coronavirus Vaccine Advisory Committee voted on priority for vaccine distribution. Priority Tier 1A is health care workers and long-term care residents/staff. Roughly there are 45,000 health care workers across the State. Long-term care residents/staff consists of another 40,000 people.
When they start work with the long-term care facility population, they are going to be leveraging pharmacies. Places like Walgreens will actually go to the long-term facilities and conduct the vaccinations. 99% of the long-term care facilities have signed up to do that.
Tier 1B will be the medically compromised and critical infrastructure workers such as police and fire. They anticipate getting through the second dose for this category by early March. Once we get through the phases, the goal is to have the vaccine available anywhere people might go to get a vaccination.
The Phiser vaccine is for those age 16 and older and for Maderna it is 18 and older. There have not been any clinical trials done on children, so they are just looking at the adult population. Roughly, 25% of the population are children so we are looking at 1.1 - 1.2 million adults. It is anticipated we will be able to vaccinate those that want, by early to late summer.
The following is a link to their anticipated vaccination timelines. Idaho Covid-19 Vaccination Timelines
These are two-dose vaccines. On the Phiser vaccine, it is about 50% effective after the first dose and about 95% effective after the second dose. It takes about a week after the second dose to bring it up to 95% effectiveness. By the end of January they anticipate having the full effect on health care workers and long-term care facilities.
The Phiser vaccine requires an ultra-code freezer and there are very few of those around the State. This will necessitate sending the Phiser vaccine to the larger population centers where there is an ultra-code freezer capability and send the Maderna vaccine to the rural the parts of the State where just a regular freezer will work.
With regard to the effectiveness of the vaccine, they have a very robust immunization reporting system. Providers will enter that data, track that data, and they must report any adverse reactions to the vaccine. They are tracking down to the vial that is being administered to which patient and by which provider.
The best science indicates to get to a place where we can stop the nonpharmaceutical interventions (masks/distancing), we need 60-70% of the population have some level of immunity. This would be our target for vaccination rates. It may be challenging to get there as we have a lot of vaccine hesitancy, even within health care workers.
In Idaho there approximately 110,000 people that we know of who have had the virus. The question is, should these people also receive the vaccine. The short answer is yes. They are not sure how long the natural immunity lasts. With other Covid viruses, for example, there is one that causes a cold, they know the immunity wears off after a couple of years.
FDA is not recommending you get vaccinated if you are ill.
With regard to mandating the vaccine, Director Jeppesen said the Governor has been on record saying the vaccines will not be mandated. These are emergency use authorizations. Under federal law you cannot mandate an emergency use authorization. He actually thinks a mandate for this vaccine would go against us.