Meeting Minutes
June 28, 2021


  • Trevor Chadwick
  • Ryan Davidson
  • John Evans
  • Brad Holton
  • Debbie Kling
  • Lauren McLean
  • Garret Nancolas
  • Joe Stear
  • Rich Skyes
  • Pam White

Staff and Guests

  • Kathy Griesmyer – Director of Governmental Affairs, City of Boise
  • David Miles – Chief of Staff, City of Meridian
  • Bill Larsen - TVP

Welcome and Introductions

Mayor John Evans welcomed everyone to the City of Garden City.

Growth has hit Garden City just like it has hit everybody. They have redevelopment occurring on the river including a 6-story, high-end, 278-unit apartment complex. This is the first phase of a major new construction push right on the river at Veterans Parkway. There is also an approved 8-story motel next to this that will be adjacent to Veterans Parkway on the river.

They are seeing more on the condo market in Garden City. John said they have a good, successful model that’s helped keep downtown Boise alive by including a residential component right in town.

Lauren asked if there was ever a branded down-town. John said there isn’t a down-town, but there was one in the 50’s. It was basically where the Riverside Hotel is now, at 35th. Back then, Garden City was fully funded by gambling revenues, city taxes and sewer and water fees. There were nickel slot machines and the Police Station served as a bank on the weekend. It was really a different time. They have pictures of the police and the casino owners together recovering the coins from the back of the slot machines. The funding to the city from this source amounted to roughly $250,000 in circa 1950.

In Garden City. they are seeing replacement housing, which is sad. We worry about the displacement of folks that have no other place to go. Some of this is unavoidable as it is a private sector driven market. They do have a good partnership with Neighbor Works. Neighbor Works is a non-profit that develops workforce housing. To develop workforce housing is challenging. Because over time, maintenance, turnover and other issues make it extremely difficult. Neighbor Works has a good model where they have campus-style developments on small parcels, where they imbed an exterior maintenance program.

They have one, taxpayer assisted 64-unit apartment building in town and are still struggling to find housing for low-income folks. In addition, they still have a significant number of folks that get out of the prison and are residing in Garden City. This is a constant issue with them.

They have one really significant, multi-group success occurring in Garden City. That’s their future Charter School. This was built through acts of their developers where they took a piece of ground along the river next to the boys and girls club and sold it to the charter school folks. To make the most use out of the property, there wasn’t room for a gym, or cafeteria and they wanted the entire building to be utilized for the school.

So, the school, the boys and girls club and the Albertson’s Foundation got together and created an innovative solution. The school was built, and the city did a land-swap to add on enough room to the boys and girls club for an up-to-date cafeteria. The Albertson’s Foundation funded the cafeteria. Now we have the school that utilizes the boys and girls club cafeteria and a city park for the playground. And of course, there is a gym at the boys and girls club too.

About 70% of the kids in the Charter School are under-served kids with low incomes. You can drop your child off at the boys and girls club at 7 am where they can get breakfast then go to the school. After school, back to the boys and girls club where they can get a snack, homework assistance and other activities clear to 6 in the evening.

John is proud of this collaborative effort. They had a private developer, the city, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Albertsons Foundation work together to provide for a much needed Charter School. As a bonus, in the summer when the Boys and Girls club population expands, they use the school for their programs.

Open Discussion

Affordable Housing

In regard to affordable housing, Debbie said they just recently received a lot of “nimby” attitude on an affordable housing complex in Nampa. What is it with nimby? How do we deal with?

John said one of the problems we have created for decades is how we zone property. You know why it works in East Garden City? It is all mixed-use zones. That is the way it has been. They have million-dollar homes sitting on the river, and within a stones-throw there are places you can get your transmission fixed. They have economic diversity and social diversity.

Over time through our zoning, we have kind of boxed ourselves in with single-use zones. He thinks this is where some of the nimby attitude comes from, because of the expectation you create through your zoning.

For those of us that are expanding our footprints, it makes sense to go with pure residential zoning. But he thinks it is really fun to be down here, where you live, work, recreate and have limited retail all in the same mixed-use area.

Years ago, in Garden City they stared with mixed-use zoning when a funeral home wanted to be built along State Street. They wanted to have a residential component on top. Not necessarily for the owners to live in but as residential rentals. Of course, you couldn’t do that according to code. But they are small and nimble, so they just changed their code.

Ryan asked about the mixed-use neighborhood John described and whether the new people moving in complain. John indicated he doesn’t get any complaining about the mixed-use nature. He has concerns with parking. He feels it is going to get scarce.

Lauren feels that parking is one of those nimby things. It is expensive to acquire. If you look at the cost of parking as it relates to how much land it consumes. Then there is the long-term economic effects if you cut off parking.

Bill asked, in regard to affordable housing, if any of our jurisdictions thought of requiring affordable units withing the housing subdivisions going in? Debbie indicated they have a development going in where there are units being built for Nampa School District homeless families. Idaho Housing is a partner in that program.

John said if you are going to do something like that, there has to be an opportunity for the developer to save money in another aspect of what might be required. As a developer you are operating under an entitlement property right that you have in your zone. If you don’t have those things created in your zone, then you to do it through an incentive format.

Robert said you could add the requirement for a specific percentage of units in a development to make an impact on what we need. If we took every single development application to 10%, it might take anywhere from 2 to 6 years to see these units come on board. But we would be in a better place. He felt we need to look at what we can immediately do and what is the long-term best case for solution people with low incomes.

Horizontal Apartments

Trevor asked how people are dealing with horizontal apartment subdivisions that are built as rentals. They have one going in in Star. 50% of the homes are going to be rentals. John said he is seeing a similar thing happen in Garden City.

There was a lengthy discussion around this trend and the implications for HB 389. John felt it would be treated like commercial property by the tax commission where it incrementally comes on. Trevor said that was their concern. A residential zone that will be treated like commercial. This has become a problem in Georgia and he has reached out to some jurisdictions there.

John pointed out we have a different investment with homeowners. From our perspective, the people that volunteer and really get involved with the city are overwhelmingly homeowners. If you do an analysis from the police department you will see statistics along these lines as well.

HB 389

Brad asked how others are reacting to HB389? In Greenleaf, it is a game changer. They are going to be the jerks of the world because they are going to have to throttle growth.

Trevor said it impacts Star a lot on new construction. They lost a lot to new construction, but they did get an increase in revenue sharing. For this year they can make it work, but it is not sustainable. He has to hire additional officers and wouldn’t get to do that without the revenue sharing. However, this adds to the following year’s burden.

John said it is going to get messy enough that someone will be taking a look at it. If you were at the previous AIC Conference and listened to Alan Dornfest’s analysis of HB 389……it is a complete mess. Joe agreed and is very disturbed when a guy like Dornfest stands up there and says, he does not know how it will work.

Ada County Fairgrounds

Ryan asked if anyone participated in the Urban Land Institute interviews for the future of the fairgrounds. Last year there was a citizen review panel that came up with three potential scenarios for the fairgrounds. This Urban Land Institute, through a grant, is to provide a fiscal analysis to the three proposed scenarios and how they can be implemented. They are still soliciting community input.

John indicated he had participated and felt they did a pretty remarkable job considering they only had about five days to put the analysis together.

Ryan said, a big hurdle is to move the Ladybird Park that’s along Chinden because it is federal. You cannot move it unless you swap it for land of equal value. They would like to be able to put that park along the river and free up the space along Chinden and are waiting to hear back from the feds on the park swap proposal.

ARPA Funds

As several members have received ARPA funds, John felt it was a good time to have this discussion and get an update. He introduced Kathy Griesmyer, the Director of Public Policy for the City of Boise. He thanked Kathy and Lauren for the ability of the Partnership to have access to the resources of the City of Boise.

Kathy said Idaho got $1.9 Billion under the ARPA. Cities are connecting with the State Controller’s Office to get the funding. The State Portal should be open and the following are some nuances of the ARPA funds.

  • You must have the funding obligated by December 31st of 2024 and spent by 2026.
  • The Interim Final rules for ARPA are expecting to be finalized sometime in July.
  • There are 4 main allocation purposes for ARPA.
  1. Respond to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19; An example from the City of Boise includes ongoing staffing expenses for fire and EMS services.
  2. Address reductions in revenue for government services.
  3. Make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.
  4. Provide appreciation pay for frontline COVID workers.

John asked, on the reduction in revenue, is there some kind of definition on what that is? Kathy said the revenue loss section is not as straight forward as some of the other sections. In the rule that has been issued so far, there is a specific formula that is to be used to calculate revenue loss. For entities that that have questions about the formula that is subscribed in the interim final rule or the FAQ’s, the Treasury Department has a question portal where you can submit questions.

Kathy volunteered if members want, members could also forward those questions to her, and she could run those questions through their federal lobbyist.

Some rules that are not yet finalized include:

  1. Revenue loss formula focused on aggregate loss
  2. Premium pay rules don’t allow reimbursement of appreciation pay to city employees.
  3. Infrastructure investments must be tied to a Qualified Census Tract with the emphasis for underserved communities.

When Robert’s staff took alook at the Revenue Loss, their Finance Department said they had about a $9.8 Million revenue loss under what is proposed. He felt this might be due to the magnitude of growth and the size of the city. He asked if this section of ARPA would be applicable to any City?

Kathy said it is available to all Cities.

From a State Perspective. ARPA was a real hot topic at the end of the legislative session. They passed a bill S1204 to make it so the legislature will appropriate the funds instead of DFM being able to appropriate the funds. So, everything that will be spent at the State level must go through the process. It is unclear if the legislature will reconvene as they never officially signed out. The legislature created an interim committee for ARPA to make recommendations to JFAC for 2022.

At this point, the City of Boise’s strategy moving forward will be to:

  • Wait for final Treasury Guidance to be released mid-July and have Legal & DFA review for compliance requirements.
  • Review 2020 US Census Data to determine eligible communities for investment based on Qualified Census Track determination
  • Fund immediate needs, forecast long-term needs, and determine overall allocation of funds by category.
  • Identify opportunities to stack benefits from other federal and state ARPA programs for maximized investment in the region in partnership with the County and TVP.

One idea they are considering is bringing on an ARPA Consultant that can help to do needs assessments and be a point person to specialize in all things for ARPA.

Is there a way for our jurisdictions to collaborate to maximize the impact of these ARPA and other funds? Lauren inquired if we could work together on these funds. For example, the school district receives funds for technology, the County receives funds, etc. Is there a way to map the infrastructure needs for example wireless or broadband?

Kathy, said while all of the ARPA stuff is moving forward and there are allowances for infrastructure investment, there is also the large infrastructure bill that is moving forward on the federal level which has cross-over with ARPA.

Lauren said we have an opportunity here. She feels we need to be talking as a region on things that are needed.

It seems to her that we will all receive funds but there is much more to be had if we find there are larger projects that we all want to commit to or could benefit from. There is the potential, if we unite, to get substantially more funds to fit that joint need.

Lauren sees opportunity in Broadband. There are a lot of our areas that don’t have access to fiber. The transportation issue is also interesting. A regional transit system has been on the board for many years. This is the opportunity for us to take a united front for some regional investment.

Debbie said she is not sure where to go with broadband from a regional standpoint. In Meridian there is a broadband installation going in and a few communities around the State have looked at taking that on as a utility. In Nampa, they are just in the mode of allowing the private sector to do it.

Robert said, in regard to broadband, what they have talked about when looking at the whole, is how do we encourage the private sector to go into areas they otherwise wouldn’t for economic reasons? It is not like it (broadband) is not coming, but will it be quickly enough. At the same time, these funds need to be spent by 2026.

He thinks it makes sense to have conversations around broadband. Otherwise, we would all be trying to do something we can’t pay for or they cant do because they don’t have the resources.

Lauren said they have found that it is patchwork fiber in Boise. They have tried to install fiber when the streets are torn up. But it is not everywhere. They have been doing a study to see how much fiber needs to be laid for the private market to offer the service. All the providers are looking for government investment in the fiber so they can do their business. This is the missing infrastructure that would provide economic development opportunities if it existed. However, we don’t have enough funds. What we have is a drop in the bucket for what is needed.

Bill pointed out that these ARPA funds are prioritized for last-mile investment in broadband. Robert agreed that it is so restrictive, and we will have to be able to look to find out where the last-mile doesn’t or does exist.

Debbie asked if we would look at a subsidy to low-income areas to ensure that the fiber gets laid? Robert said, in Meridian they are trying to do their own fiber network as well. Perhaps through their install it would be reduced cost to customers to get access. He has talked to several providers and has tried to encourage working together. One of the problems is no provider will tell you what they have and where or even what the service need is.

Brad said we live on the river and we need more storage. If there was an opportunity to fund for example the Twin Springs reservoir, it would be beneficial if we could strike while the opportunity is hot. There will come a day when we see a once in a century flood event like we saw in 1990 on the Payette. We are way past, the time on the Boise River system and his plug would be to increase the storage.

Robert mentioned the jail in Canyon County has been an issue for quite some time. Do we pay for that with property taxes, or do we pay for this through some other funding source? Maybe, this would be another regional project that would make sense. Ryan agreed and said they are looking at jail expansion in Ada County as well.

Director's Report

Bill referred to rough draft of the agenda for the Annual Planning Meeting on September 9th and 10th. On the 9th, it is planned we are going to be at the Mountain Home Airforce Base. At this point in time, they are going to give us a tour and there will be a presentation or two (to be determined). Update: Due to a change in leadership, the Mountain Home tour is postponed.

For the 10th, he does have commitments from both Idaho Power and the Idaho Dept. of Water Resources and will be looking for additional topics.

Lauren asked what the purpose of the Annual Planning Meeting. John said there are a lot of new faces in the TVP. We can decide what we want to do during the Annual Planning meeting. It is up to us. Whether we want to do informational updates or other things. For example, he went on an informational tour with Idaho Power once that was really interesting. It was an eye opener on what it takes to manage the power grid. How they manage it, how they secure it and how dependent we are on technology to make this all work is quite interesting.

John said the information we get this next month on ARPA will most likely also lead to planning discussions. He said in past years we have used the retreat for updates on common interests. He was thinking about next month, we can have the discussion on what we will want to plan for on our planning meeting. For example, Lauren brought up earlier how we might combine our resources for some yet to named project.

Debbie said we should also talk about the next legislative session. Maybe our discussion should be how we can be most effective. Each of the city/county jurisdictions should share their legislative priorities and we could get a better idea ahead of time how we might best work together.

Robert agreed that we need to have a legislative piece for September. He would like to be able to present what they are going to propose to the Governor and Winder for example, to the Partnership to get feedback.

Lauren proposes that if we are going to get together in the beginning of September, then we don’t need to meet the end of August. She would like to see more structured time on the proposed agenda. It was generally agreed, the August meeting would be canceled.

John said one of the original purposes of the Partnership was to build relationships. This is primarily one of the reasons we have a lot of time with unstructured discussion. For example, we used to go up to Tamarack and rent a couple houses and spend a couple days.

John asked us to start thinking about additional things we could add to the annual planning meeting agenda that would interest us and generate conversation. He also asked members to think about if we want to start using these monthly TVP meetings differently. We need to be vocal about things we collectively have an interest in and pursue different types of meetings.

Maybe next year for our Annual Planning meeting maybe we could plan on spending a day at INL. There are lots of options for us.

Joe moved to approve the minutes and financials. Trevor seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Meeting Adjourned

Meridian Mayor Robert Simison and Garden City Mayor John Evans discuss the American Rescue Plan during the June 2021 meeting of the Partnership.