Elected officials working
together to positively
manage community
growth.

Meeting Minutes
July 25, 2011

Attendees

  • John Bechtel
  • Tom Dale
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • John Evans
  • David Ferdinand
  • Garret Nancolas
  • Jim Reynolds

Absent

  • Dave Bieter
  • Vern Bisterfeldt
  • Scott Dowdy
  • Brad Holton
  • George Hyer
  • Nate Mitchell
  • Craig Telford
  • Vicki Thurber

Staff and Guests

  • Ross Borden
  • Jody Hawley-Ochoa
  • Mark Hofflund
  • Jim Schmidt
  • Terry Schorzman
  • Rick Stoltz
  • Bill Larsen

Ross Borden, welcomed everyone to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival facilities. He indicated that Mayor Bieter had a death in the family and he was standing in. He stated that the first part of the meeting was dedicated to the arts and their economic and cultural benefits.

Arts & Cultural Organizations: Economic & Quality of Life Benefits

Ross introduced Terry Schorzman, the Director of Arts and History for the City of Boise. She stated that a couple of times a year they try to get the cultural organizations together to touch base with the Mayors and Commissioners.

The Department of Arts and History with the City of Boise was created in 2008. As far as she knows, this is the only department of its kind (dedicated to arts and history) in the area. Ultimately arts and history support a strong and diverse economy and they help foster a place.

Their department is taking the local lead on two national studies that are currently running from the America’s for the Arts. One is the economic impact of the arts. This is the third time they have been participating in this study. In 2000, there was approximately $18 million impact and by 2005 it was approximately $38 million. By early next winter they will have the results of this year’s study.

The other study is a local arts impact which they are running for Ada County. This will be a comparison study that will give them some idea where they stack up with communities of equal size across the country.

They are now looking at the States 150th anniversary in 2013. As the Department of History, it is incumbent on them to take the lead in this celebration. They are putting together their operational plan and looking how they can run for the full year on the State’s birthday.

The Department has a public arts program and is working with the Boise Arts Commission. Their collection includes sculptures, paintings, murals and they are scattered throughout public facilities. In 2001, the Mayor and Council approved a 1.4% agreement for all capital expenditures in the City. This goes into public art, education and maintenance. They are approaching a $4 million collection in the City which is pretty impressive for a city this size.

They also work very closely with public/private partnerships where private developers downtown on the onset of a project decide they want to integrate the arts in the design of the building. They assist the developer to integrate the arts in their designs.

To continue with this program, they want to place art throughout the city neighborhoods and parks. In the next few years, they will continue to market the city as a cultural destination and will use their public art collection to do that. They like to include art work that includes local, regional and national artists.

We have really struggled to keep our locally produced artists in the community. They want to find enough opportunities to keep them working, performing and producing and keep them here.

Terry indicated they have been also working with their local cultural programs. They really have been focused on supporting events and performing arts. They are working with the industry to see what they can do to support performing arts without duplicating what is being done. They are supporting professional development workshops. They are also working with the library system to support programs for kids and the arts.

They also work on historical preservation. This is a very challenging because it is a new part of the department. They have developed a good working relationship with BSU’s History Department which has provided a graduate intern to the City. One of the core things they need to do is document history.

She introduced Judy Hawley-Ochoa with the Idaho Historical Museum. She has been there for 28 years. The museum is the old Idaho State Penitentiary and is part of the Idaho Historical Society.. Their overall mission is to preserve and protect Idaho’s heritage. They preserve the physical evidence of Idaho’s history and use it to share with visitors and Idahoans about their shared past.

They are also charged with documenting and sharing Idaho’s cultural make-up. They promote respect and understanding between groups with different backgrounds and this respect leads to a stronger community.

They have partnered with the international refuge community. We have refugees from throughout the world and they work with them to ensure they have access to the art and culture from their homeland.

The Idaho Historical Museum works with local communities to help them preserve and share their individual community heritage. They take a look at what is already there and help them build on it. They also work to identify partnerships and believe it is key to include cultural heritage in the mix enhances events and increases community identity.

On March 4th, 2013 we will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Idaho Territory. Additionally, July 7th 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the City of Boise. They are currently working on a plan on how to work with the different communities and will be getting that information out this fall.

Mark Hofflund indicated they have a pretty good tie with Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson to the federal levels of art support. He is the Chair of the State Arts Commission and said there is no reason why the Arts Commission can’t use the greater treasure valley as a pilot program, to see if we can get some federal and state financial support. Their goal is to a little bit of studying to find out what it is that identifies each community in a distinct cultural way.

Right now Idaho is seen as one of the great resources for folk and traditional arts. For example, if you have a cowboy in your town that is doing saddle work, there is a chance this person could become a national artist of prominence. If we can identify these, peoples, groups and historical places and festivals, there is public support for understanding what the resource is.

Marks contact information is 208-429-9908, extension 202, email is mark@idahoshakespear.org.

Garret indicated that Silvia Hunt, a long-time Caldwell resident, has always been involved with the cultural side of things. She works with the College of Idaho and sponsors the programs their. She is the person that organizes all of their arts events and festivals. He will have her get a hold of Mark to see if they can work together to enhance the things she is working on.

David said they have been putting the Historic Preservation Council for Canyon County. They are looking for the list of people they need to have for this council. Mark stated there are models out there that have worked in other places and he would be happy to share these models.

John Evans indicated that Hal Bunderson has been putting together volumes of Idaho Cities’ history and has been working with the Idaho Association of Cities to amass this information. All the cities submitted historical narratives, photographs and other information to this effort.

Tax Assessments and Values

Ross introduced Rick Stoltz with the Ada County Assessor’s Office who was standing in for Robert McQuade. Rick stated he is a residential appraiser with the Assessors Office. Rick pointed to the handout and asked people to turn it over and write seven numbers on the back. He asked people to write four numbers down the left hand side. On the left write 3,650, 4,650, 6,250 and 3,000 on the right 155,000 230,000 and 155,000.

Fifteen years ago they used Polaroid cameras to document the history of residences. Now they use a digital system. Their mandate from the legislature is to value each home using the previous years’ sales figures. When the market place is racing upward and they are stuck using the previous year’s data, is this a problem? Conversely, when the market is going downward, using the previous year’s data is also a problem.

He continued that the column of data on the left that he asked the group to write down, is the number of single family homes permitted. The first number, 3,650 is the number of permits in 2000. The number of permits went to 4,650 in 2004 and 6,250 in 2006. The last number, 3,000 is the 2007 number. Last year they had 1,300 new permits.

He added that numbers on the right side are median home values. The median home price in Ada County in 2003 & 2004 was $155,000. In 2006 & 2007 the median home price went to $230,000 and dropped back to $155,000 in 2010.

Right before the assessment notices went out this year, the Idaho Statesman came out with an article that said assessments went down 11 percent. There were areas that went down 5 percent and there were areas that went down 22 percent.

The property values are being dictated by the land values, or the vacant lots that are available. Essentially, about half of Ada Counties MLS areas have more than 500 vacant lots. This data in essence tells you what is distressed and is a function of the supply and demand of vacant lots.

David stated in Canyon County, 70 percent of all sales are distressed sales. We used to not be able to use distressed sales. He asked what the figure is in Ada County. Rick indicated that it is localized by MLS area. Within two miles of each other they had 12% and 42% distressed sales.

Tom stated that sooner rather than later, the product, distressed homes, will be gone and the market will go back to equalizing itself. Rick agreed and added if they are doing their job, ½ of the sales will be for less than their assessed price and ½ will be for more.

Rick stated that the law requires that there be a physical inspection of each home every five years.

State-wide Video Franchise Legislation

Ross introduced Jim Schmidt, the Idaho President with Century Link. Jim stated he wanted to spend some time talking about Century Link. The name has changed several times over the year, but they have been here in one form or another since 1883. They have a long history of partnership with the cities and communities in Idaho. They invest a lot of money in infrastructure and over the last ten years they have invested over ½ billion dollars in infrastructure improvements.

Century Link started in 1930. A couple, husband and wife purchased the Oak Ridge Telephone Company for $500.00. They had 75 customers. Their son came back from WWII and inherited the company. He started acquiring several similar rural companies. As a background, there are still some small mom and pop phone companies in Idaho in places like Cambridge.

In 1980, they purchased the Lemhi phone company in Salmon. They stayed small till the 1990’s and 2000’s where they started purchasing some rather large telephone companies. Century Link is now the 3rd largest phone provider in the nation. Where Quest was operating in 14 states, Century Link operates in 37 states across the country.

Jim asked how many of the attendees have a landline at home. A majority of the attendees raised their hands. Jim then stated that in the younger generation, a very small percentage of people have a landline in the home. As a result of competition and cable company’s now offering phone service, their traditional landline service continues to decline at the rate of 10% a year. So for Century Link, it is all about broad band.

Previously with Qwest, all decision making was centralized. Under Century Link, the decisions are now localized with his office.

With regard to franchises, they have to negotiate franchise fees with each municipal jurisdiction. If there were state-wide franchise legislation, it would eliminate the need to negotiate with each individual jurisdiction and also makes it more attractive for investment in infrastructure to come to Idaho. The challenge they deal with is that Idaho is a rural state. And with all things being equal, the investment that is required will go where the customers are in other states.

They are interested in legislation that would set up a state-wide franchise process that would retain the control that cities are looking for in terms of establishing a fee and management of the right-of-way. This would be a tool for Century Link to use to attract more investment to Idaho

Tom asked what the difference would be. It sounds like you will still have to go to each city to establish an agreement. Under the legislation, the only thing they would have to get from the Cities is what the franchise fee is. Is it 5 percent, is it 4 percent, that is what they would assess their customers. All of the management of the right-of-way would not really change.

Executive Director’s Report

Bill pointed to the draft letters to be delivered to the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge and to the letter to the State Congressional Delegation. He passed around a signature page that would be used for both letters. He asked the members if they had any questions.

John Bechtel mentioned that he was in a meeting at the Canyon County Courthouse recently and it had sounded like even option one had some new controls on it. David added that they have maintained the county has jurisdiction over 9,000 acres. The County is going to sue the federal government that they do not rethink their CCP process. The Status Quo option is not going to be approved by the Fish and Wildlife Service. He would suggest the letter as proposed is fine.

Meeting adjourned.