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Meeting Minutes
November 25, 2013

Attendees

  • John Bechtel
  • Tom Dale
  • Tammy deWeerd
  • John Evans
  • Brad Holton
  • Garret Nancolas
  • Greg Nelson
  • Jim Reynolds
  • Steve Rule
  • Darrin Taylor
  • Rick Yzaguirre

Staff and Guests

  • Mark Bryan, Pastor – Harvest Church
  • Bill Larsen – Treasure Valley Partnership
  • Jeff Lavey – Chief, City of Meridian Police Department
  • Terri Sterling, Director, Idaho Community Action Network
  • Christine Tiddens, Public Policy Coordinator, Catholic Charities of Idaho
  • June Vining – Executive Director, TIP – Portland/Vancouver Affiliate

Mayor Garret Nancolas opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to Caldwell. The previous Friday they held Winter Wonderland. If you have the time to come to downtown Caldwell between now and Christmas, it will be well worth your time. He doesn’t think you will find a light display like this anywhere around us. They have a half million LED lights in the display. What is really fun about the event is they have a lot of statues and figurines, a ginger bread house, a winter play land for the kids, Santa’s workshop, swings made out of candy canes and all kinds of attractions. Their Street Department does this event voluntarily on their own time. They make the statues and figurines out of materials that are left over from construction projects.

John E. said he can attest to how nice the Winter Wonderland event in downtown Caldwell is. He will be bringing his grandchildren over again this year as they always enjoy the event.

Open Discussion

John B. said is a Wilder is a small town and doesn’t have much money. He asked if any of the Cities had any old playground equipment that is not being used that could be donated to the City of Wilder to put in their parks. What little bit of playground equipment they do have, is pretty much worn out.

Secondly, John B. said a couple months ago, Darrin Taylor gave each of the members of the Partnership a copy of a book. He read the book and it is a fictional story of a possibility that could happen. It deals with the fact that all electronics could be wiped out if we got hit with an electromagnetic pulse. He would like for the Partnership to hold a meeting where we could discuss what old equipment we have and communication equipment we have that we could pool together. Honestly, if something as serious as this happened, we would need to have some sort of communication and a way getting around in order to take care of the systems we manage.

Brad said, in the hurricane that recently hit the Philippines, the only communication they had for days was the 2 meter ham radio equipment. This is low hanging fruit, you can buy radios that are less than $200 and have them on car batteries and could talk for weeks if not months this way. The ham radio enthusiasts in the valley have a repeater up on South Mountain that has gigantic propane tanks that would run the repeater for over six months.

Garret said that Canyon County does have an emergency preparedness plan in place. The plan deals with all kinds of disaster scenarios. Todd Herrera put on a dry run of an earthquake recently. It was a real interesting mock emergency we had to go through. Maybe Todd could do a presentation to the Partnership.

Steve indicated that Todd goes out and speaks to groups all the time and would be more than willing to come to your City. He said he agrees that when lightning strikes and it really gets bad, the ham radio operators are the ones that get things straightened out over the air waves.

Jim said that every couple months he gets a briefing from a couple of guys that deal with these things. They would be happy to come out and augment the discussion.

Tammy suggested we invite the Ada County folks to come to a meeting as well. Bill said he would put together a meeting in the near future on this topic drawing from the Ada and County emergency preparedness folks and the people Jim had mentioned.

Tom mentioned that the City of Nampa won the High 5, $300,000 grant. Darin stated that Middleton got the $150,000 grant. Greg said they also got a $150,000 grant from the High 5 program.

Tammy said she has been traveling around Southern Idaho Cities for these elected official trainings through the Association of Idaho Cities. She was second vice president and then all of a sudden starting in January she will be President. It was really interesting to go to those trainings. We have cities of all sizes. What we have in common is a concern for transportation and urban renewal. In these small towns, urban renewal is what gives them their infrastructure improvements. If they did not have urban renewal, they wouldn’t have replacements that are sorely needed. Certainly jobs are heavy on the mind of the city leaders in these small communities and water rights are a huge issue.

Tammy said as they go to next month, the City of Meridian hosts the meeting on the 9th. She wants to have a legislative issues discussion. This will fall on the heels of the AIC legislative committee meeting the Friday before. She asked the members to be prepared to talk about legislative issues that are important to your community. If you have something specific, we can organize a speaker on that particular subject.

Greg said the Gateway West transmission line was approved up to the last two segments. One of these segments is proposed to go right through Kuna and the other is slated to cut Melba off from growth. There has been a committee put together and we are working out a compromise on these two segments. The goal would be to take the route off of private property and put it back on BLM ground.

Garret said he had the privilege of attending the National League of Cities Conference in Seattle. He attended one session that served as a reminder on how lucky we are in the State of Idaho. Yet at the same time, where it comes to opportunity we are limited. This session he attended talked about the economic down turn and how cities are recovering from that. What is amazing to him is, on the good side, because we are largely dependent on property tax it took about two or three years for the recession to really hit us. Those that felt the recession first were those that had sales tax revenue as part of their funding mechanism. However, the Cities and Counties that got hurt the worst were those that were only dependent on property tax. And they are taking the longest time to recover.

The Cities and Counties that are recovering the fastest are those that have revenues comprised of sales tax, property tax and some sort of income tax. Those areas that have the local option tax are the ones that are recovering quickly and their projects are being completed. What was surprising in the down economy, because people wanted projects to continue on, it was amazing to see how many of these projects were passed by the voters, but it was on the 50% simple majority? Those that had to go get the super majority largely lost those elections.

Trauma Intervention Program

Tammy said during the last meeting we discussed the TIP program. There was a request we bring it back this month and have someone come in from the TIP Program to discuss this further.

Jeff said that not everyone was at the last meeting where we discussed this. He hoped people had an opportunity to read the minutes from the meeting. The minutes did an accurate portrayal of the TIP Program.

He wanted to clarify one of the things in the minutes where he misspoke. He had indicated the TIP Program would be run strictly by volunteers. This is not true. Actually the Executive Director starts out part-time and if it is successful the person would go full time.

When they originally started talking about TIP, they were going with Meridian and involved Ada County. They quickly realized they need about 400,000 in population to support the program and make it work. This also ensures their volunteers get enough work.

What he has done is to reach out to TIP national, the founder about what is next. Everyone is going to want to know how much this is going to cost my jurisdiction, what are the overall costs in general and how do we get started if we are interested. With that being said, he introduced Mark Bryan the Pastor of Harvest Church and June Vining, the Executive Director of the Vancouver/Portland TIP program.

June said she started with the TIP program in Portland; right at this point, when the program was brand new and just starting to be talked about. She has been with the TIP program for 21 years. She started out as a volunteer working a shift. A short time later she worked as a scheduler for filling out the volunteer shifts and worked as a team leader calling people out on calls. Within a couple years she was the Executive Director. She ran this program for 10 years by herself and with volunteers before it was time to hire another person.

When they were brand new they had 25 volunteers in the first graduating class and she was hoping and praying for the volunteers to learn and stay interested in the 10 calls they got the first month. Fast forward to now, they have included more Cities and Counties and she has started a teen program that works with the schools to provide crisis support to teens. They have almost 200 volunteers that handle 150 calls a month. She has helped start chapters from the beginning point all the way up.

Tammy said they had a town hall meeting centered on seat belt safety and some of the teen deaths they have had. They had families who had lost their children in the room and their number one feedback during their times of grief was how alone they felt. Also, the kids in the school were lost because the teachers did not want to talk about and it was a gaping wound that is still unresolved and it left a ripple effect throughout the school. This teen experience started the City of Meridian down the path of exploring how to help families and teens during times of crisis.

June said that when an event happens it is like a rock being thrown in the lake. The event itself is the plop. But then there are all the ripple effects of where kids go to school, where parents work, the neighbors, the church, etc. All aspects of society are affected when people aren’t allowed to voice, grieve or share in the disbelief of the tragedy.

The whole belief is that you put somebody in a person’s life right after they have been given bad news or witnessed something to get that needed emotional support. They tell people that when something bad happens, people are in this big black pit. A lot of people will yell into the pit to, “come on, be strong for the kids, you have to make a decision”. Some people will reach into the pit and pull the person out and sit them on the ledge and say I’m a super helper I pulled them out of the pit. But the aggrieved is not being given any skills to take the next steps.

What they teach ordinary, everyday citizens to do is brazen up and be willing to jump into that pit with the aggrieved person and hang out….and hang out….and hang out. Because pretty soon, the person will say, now what do I do? That is the magic word. It is when they are ready to take the next step. There is something about an emergency that people think you need to hurry and get things done quickly. Their strategy is to slow things down, let it be and then take the steps once a degree of healing has taken place.

June said they get involved with some big things. TIP was there at the recent mall shooting and even set up a kiosk inside the mall to be able to reach the citizens that were affected by this tragic event. However, June said, she thinks the most important call they get is when that little old lady wakes up and her husband of sixty seven years has died in the night. It is not a crisis for the city and it is probably not a crisis for the neighborhood. But, for her, her whole life has changed. Who walks in and stays with her till her support system comes. They go on between 30-50 natural death calls a month. She said that is their bread and butter. That is how we are taking care of our community members when nobody else does.

June said their TIP volunteers are normal everyday people representing all walks of life. They have volunteers that are students, professionals, etc. For each volunteer they conduct a background check and put them through a classroom training consisting of 55 hours over a two week period. They teach the volunteers how to provide the emotional support. They are teaching them what to say and more importantly, what not to say.

Once a volunteer passes classroom training, they undergo a three-month field training program. In her experience, people are on their best behavior under the classroom training time. But once they hit the field training program, then they figure out if it is something they can and want to do. This three month period where the volunteer is with a veteran, helps so the volunteer can figure out what they are getting into and how to interact. They do a lot of screening to find the right person.

Once the volunteer has gone through the training academy, they pick the days on the calendar they are on-call. Once they are on-call, they are on-call in twelve hour shifts, beginning at 7:00 am or pm. The calendar is filled out and when they get requested by the com centers, they check the calendar and call that designated volunteer.

They do a lot of training with the emergency responders. There is really no call that is too small.

What you need at this point is someone we can call a Crisis Team Manager. This is someone that leads and recruits this group of volunteers. This person is not only responsible for developing the volunteer base but is the liaison with the emergency responders.

The Portland/Vancouver TIP was a chapter of TIP National up to 2006. In 2006, they became their own nonprofit with a contract to TIP National. Right now they have three staff people and their annual budget is about $250,000. Half of those funds are raised through contracts with user agencies. The rest of this budget is fundraised through donations and grants.

John B. said here we have a lot of very small communities. Wouldn’t this have to be on a county basis in order to get this done? Jeff said, right now we have law enforcement interest and almost all of the fire department interest in all of Ada County. It would be one of those things where we would start there and push it out to other agencies that want to be involved. Agencies that want to be involved with it have to have some sense of ownership. That is where the12cents per person fee comes in.

June said she would like to break the twelve cents down. Beside some of it going for a staff person, the next biggest expense is for liability insurance. If a volunteer goes out and says or does something that causes conflict, TIP has its own liability insurance so the participating jurisdictions are not liable for this. In Portland, in 21 years, they have yet had to use the liability insurance.

They also spend some money for a resource guide that has all the information such as phone numbers and addresses that people need. This resource guide also has some coping strategies included as a helpful guide to the people they are serving. This guide also has forms that are used for getting a death certificate for example.

TIP National has one annual meeting where all TIP staff gets together. Part of the 12 cents pays for the local TIP staff person to attend the meeting.

Jim asked if the group does anything with pets. June said pets are huge. They do a lot work around pets including even going to the pet crematorium to help a family member. She herself has a comfort dog that goes out on calls with her. It is highly trained and can even open and close doors on command.

Tammy said for those who were not here last time, TIP goes out on death notification calls with your police officers and help get your staff back on the street. It is also stressful for firefighters or police officers to leave someone in distress until a family member or their support system arrives. She added it is real costly to have your police officer or firefighter sitting there a couple hours while this person is trying to deal with their grief.

Tammy reiterated that TIP is a perfect fit for their community. Rick and John E. were involved with wanting to bring this program to the Partnership and seeing what other members thought. She thinks this is a good resource for our valley in terms of showing compassion and being there for our citizens’ greatest time of need.

Jeff said a couple of days ago a family that was in an SUV were traveling through the area. They were involved in a rollover. A nine year old boy was killed and a seven year old child was injured. Mom was arrested and there were others in the car. None of the people were from that jurisdiction; they were from several states away. It is bad enough to have a tragedy at home, but if you ever have a tragedy away from home you don’t know where to go. This is where TIP would go into the hospital or police station and help those people get back on track.

June said that TIP helps people get back to work and it helps the first responder’s mental health. Because they know that the person in crisis is not alone but in the capable hands of a TIP volunteer.

Jeff said last month he talked about the community resource handbook that TIP will develop as part of their program. It gives the volunteer step by step instructions on dealing with all types of problems. For all questions that get asked after the fact, the TIP volunteer will have this resource and leave it with the aggrieved. The TIP volunteers will go over the available resources and procedures with the people and highlight some areas to help to prevent the second trauma.

Note: the Tip National Website is: http://www.tipnational.org/ This website has a wealth of information and I encourage you to take a few minutes to peruse it.

Bill said as a point of reference, the 12 center per population is the same as the Partnership dues. So what you pay without the SAUSA addition is what your costs would be for TIP. He asked if the service contract for TIP is like an MOU, and wondered if we could get a copy of this out to folks.

Mark Bryan said he thinks this is a great program. His brother is involved in TIP in California. He said it has been by far the greatest thing they have done to help serve their community as a faith based group trying to supply volunteers. After his first meeting with the Chief regarding TIP, he called his brother about advice on chaplaincy programs. His brother said what worked the best wasn’t the chaplaincy programs it was TIP. It is by far the best thing you can do as a pastor that wants to help your congregation that want to volunteer in critical areas of need.

What Mark thinks is cool; the TIP founder came across this with the two great needs in the mental health world. They were counseling people who had problems in their lives psychologically, not because of an initial trauma, but because of the things that happened afterword. They call it the second wound. He kept coming up to the second wound. That is how this program got started.

Mark continued that he thinks participating in TIP is the right thing to do and encouraged the members to consider starting this program valley wide.

Garret asked what the next steps are. Jeff said the steps are: Should we do it? And if we decide to do it, who is going to be involved? He stated it doesn’t have to be everybody. Jeff believes there is enough interest right now to get it started.

Jeff said that TIP says it takes typically 4-5 months to get a chapter up and going. With the holiday seasons coming up he would add a couple months to this. He would like to know if there is interest from the partnership members. They are going to start working on their budgets in January and would like to be able to quantify interest throughout the valley while going through this exercise.

John E. said he had a presentation on TIP for his City Council. Because of his Chief’s involvement in TIP previously, they had the ability to do the City Council presentation in house. He asked if there is availability in case others want to have a TIP presentation to City Councils or County Commissions. Jeff said he would be the one doing the presentations, and said he would volunteer to come to any City that wants.

Tammy said she will call each member to see what the thoughts about TIP are.

Fair Lending Campaign

Garret introduced Terri Sterling the Executive Director of ICAN. She came to his office a couple months ago with a whole group of folks with a concern. As a result of the concern of this group and others, the City of Caldwell has taken a look at zoning regarding title/payday loan organizations. Obviously it has created quite a buzz in the newspaper.

Garret said it is amazing to him how much, organizations like Money Tree and others are willing to put into attorneys and lobbyists. This is something he thought the members of the Partnership might be interested in. He is not sure what the next steps would be. The City of Caldwell has taken this as an issue.

Garret continued, one of the things they have discovered as time has gone by, this is not just an Idaho or even City of Caldwell issue. There was actually a session on this at the National Council of Cities Conference. The City of San Francisco recently addressed this issue and it has become a national discussion. The National League of Cities did a study on the effects of title/payday loan organizations on communities. The information is not real rosy and cheery when it comes to what they actually take out of a community.

Terri said that ICAN started the Fair Lending Campaign two years ago. HB470 came out in the legislature that would restrict payday loans at 36% interest rate. For the last two years, every time they would start to get somewhere with the legislature, it seemed that it would not go anywhere because of lobbying pressure. They decided they would take this back to the people and local jurisdictions.

Around the country, ordinances are being developed that restrict the number of payday loan location per 10,000 people. When they look at Caldwell, they have 9 payday lenders in the City. This is about 1 in 2,500.

Terri said there is a reason for that. Predatory lenders target communities that have a low per capita income.

She said they were going to do a little demonstration on payday lending and how it traps people. She got members to do a role play on several scenarios. One scenario is as follows.

“Shark town is an average city in Idaho. The unemployment rate is about 10%, it is kind of high because the two largest employers recently relocated to another city. The city has diverse neighborhoods yet did not escape the mortgage crisis. The homeless shelters have reached maximum capacity and are turning away people.”

Retired senior citizen hears of a new business in town that gives cash out on paydays. He has income of $800 per month and expenses of $775. He gets his new medication prescription and it is $100. He goes into the payday loan place to get enough money to buy the prescription. They give him $100 but next month they charge him $120. You don’t have the $120 but can pay $20. So you end up getting trapped paying these organizations for a long time and never get the debt paid.

Terri said that PEW did some research and the average person that takes out a payday loan is between 25 and 45 years old, generally a single mom and are trying to meet monthly bills. They get the loan to for example to keep the power on and then get into this vicious cycle.

Terri said, in Idaho the average payday loan interest is 438% APR. Other states around us have capped the interest at 36%. Cities can protect themselves in spite of the fact the State hasn’t done anything about the issue.

If you looked at a map of Idaho, the highest concentration of payday lenders are in low income communities and communities of color.

Tammy asked if Garret had a drafted ordinance. Garret said it is drafted. They haven’t passed off because once they started talking about this it was amazing to see the number of attorney’s came out of the wood work from money tree and others. They are working on the ordinance but don’t have it done yet.

Tammy asked if Garret would like all the Partnership member’s attorney’s to take a look at it. We could even then get the ordinance ironed out and all pass it on the same night.

Darin said he is an attorney by trade. He has a former client he was helping through bankruptcy that had payday loans. He was able to get those discharged per the bankruptcy and he gave professional advice to his client to not go back to these places. Within a month, she was calling him saying she needed a copy of a document because she was trying to get a loan. After convincing her she didn’t need to go back there, within a few days she was calling asking for the document again.

Darin said he thinks doing this is a good idea. Not only is it a drain on our economy, some people have trained behavior. We need to start young with our children and just say, we don’t have money for this or this, and there is no need to go to a payday loan outfit to be able to afford whatever it is.

Garret said there are several ways of doing this, from rate caps to restricting cites per population density, and they need to do some more research on the ordinance before it will be ready. He added he would love to have some help in this regard. He told Terri that it would be mid to late December before they would have something. But, he told her, there is strength in numbers and maybe some of the Partnership members would want to be involved.

Director’s Report

Legislative Luncheon

Bill indicated 14 area legislators attended the luncheon and a we had good contingent from the Partnership and felt it was a good event. He had highlighted a summary report of event and was going to mail the summary out along with copies of the handouts to all area legislators.

Statewide SAUSA Implementation

Bill pointed to a letter he had received from the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission in regard to their commitment to get the SAUSA Project in front of JFAC. He added, after discussions with Ken Harward, the timing to begin the push for the SAUSA Project needed to be put off till after the first week in January. There was some turnover in Mayors of cities in both the northern and eastern parts of the State that necessitated this.

Brochure

Bill pointed to draft tri-fold brochure for the Partnership. He felt it was a needed marketing tool for the push to implement the SAUSA Project. He encouraged members to be critical and send any suggestions to him.

Budget

Bill indicated we had the cost of the legislative luncheon in addition to our regular monthly expenses.

TVP Meeting Dates

Garret had another issue to discuss. He knows we changed the meeting dates rotating between Mondays and Wednesdays to accommodate Owyhee County but this eliminates him from meetings.

John E. asked if there was any reason we could not standardize the meetings. We used to meet on the 4th Monday and this was easy for us to maintain the Partnership on the schedule. He continued that the jurisdictions in Ada and Canyon are the roots of the Partnership and it seems kind of reasonable if others want to join us that they work around the standard that has been set and we have been using for a long time.

Rick said that Wednesdays were not good for them as they have their indigent hearings. Several other members said that Mondays are better for them.

John E. made a Motion that we standardize our meeting date and move the Partnership meetings back to the 4th Monday. Garret seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Bill asked for volunteers to welcome our two new mayors to the Partnership when the time comes. Garret volunteered to talk to Bob Flowers in Parma. John E. and Tammy volunteered to talk to Bob Henry in Nampa.

Darin moved to approve the minutes and financial statement and John E. seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Garret thanked everyone for their support during his trying medical time this last summer and appreciated all the well wishes he received. Garret expressed his appreciation for Mayor Dale and the close association they have had. Tom said he has been blessed these many years and the associations he has made and will miss everyone.