April 30, 2018
- Kelly Aberasturi
- Alicia Almazan
- Dave Case
- Gheen Christoffersen
- Tom Dale
- Tammy de Weerd
- John Evans
- Brad Holton
- Debbie Kling
- Nathan Leigh
- Garret Nancolas
- Stan Ridgeway
- Joe Stear
- Darin Taylor
Staff and Guests
- Jess Harrison – Association of Idaho Cities
- Sue Paul – Warhawk Air Museum
- Bill Larsen – TVP
Mayor John Evans welcomed everyone to Garden City. He introduced Jess Harrison the Director of the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC). He had her come to update us on what happened during the legislative session.
Local Option Tax and the Legislature
During the recent leadership conference, there was a lot of discussion on local option taxes. He thought there seemed to be interest from the business community in assisting in this legislative effort. Debbie said, from a chamber of commerce perspective, they have been advocating for this effort. But she realizes to raise the bar on this it is going to take the Association of Idaho Cities, the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC), chambers statewide and the way to make a difference is to have several different entities across the state advocating for local option tax.
Debbie said there are a few legislators that are in favor of this effort. She thinks everybody needs to have a sit-down with their local legislators on this issue. She believes this next year might be the year we get it done. We need to set a lot of ground work this summer and fall before the session. If it is a collaborative effort between all the entities, this is the year we might be able to get it done, depending on the election.
Garret believes IACI needs to take the lead on this issue. IAC and AIC have taken the lead on this, but the legislature doesn’t hear us on this issue. He thinks we need to keep engaging, but the business community must take the lead on this effort. The real way to get this passed is to elect a governor that will support it. Hopefully this will trigger a change in leadership in the legislature. Tom said he talked to about a dozen different legislators this past year about a proposal that their county attorney drafted that would narrowly define local option to build a jail. Gary Collins was receptive to the idea. He believes if we are going to get something through, it must be a collaborative effort between counties and cities to get a law that is beneficial to both entities. That language must be hammered out may be this summer. Then you get IACI involved to communicate their support.
Tom continued, cities and counties need property tax relief. One of the ways to get property tax relief through is to get another source of funding for some of these things that are needed. He agrees that this is the time that is right as we may have leadership changes in the legislature. There will be a turnover of up to 25% of the legislatures and there is opportunity here.
Debbie said we all need to be on the same page before we go into the legislature. If we are fighting about our language during the session, then we are not going to go anywhere. Jess said this will be the easy part. Getting IACI on board would be a good thing, but they are going to want personal property tax exemption. So, there is going to have to be some give and take.
John said they are anticipating there will be some effort to look at the redistribution formula. There are a couple of components that make up how the money is distributed. The point is because we have fast growing cities and we have cities that their population has stayed stagnant or declined. A couple of years ago Ammon said there should be more emphasis on the population component.
Obviously, if you have cities that are growing and there are those that are not, you are going to have winners and losers based on the population component. Then AIC is stuck in the position of supporting a proposal because it impacts some of the members adversely.
Tammy said that representative Monks has been trying to talk to cities and has been trying to look at addressing it. She added that during the AIC board meeting they have been talking about how they can be the solution rather than having the legislature solving something without looking at the compromise piece.
John said that lunch is being provided today by Life’s Kitchen. They will be relocating their headquarters to Garden City. They have a unique mission. He introduced Tammy Johnson, their Executive Director.
Tammy Johnson thanked John for using their catering service which is one of the training components for their program. Life’s Kitchen’s program is for 16-20-year-old at-risk youth. It is a 16-week program where they serve 475 hours in the kitchen learning culinary theory, cutting techniques, working in the café and school contracts. To help them understand how to give back to the community, they also do meals for Interfaith Sanctuary where they serve about 165 meals a day.
Part of the program includes life skills where they learn how to open and administer savings and checking accounts. In addition, they also provide services kids that want, a GED.
She said they also have a café at 1025 S. Capital Blvd. across from BSU where they offer lunch from 11 – 1. They have about a 80% placement rate after they graduate from the program.
Garret asked how far away Life’s Kitchen will cater and how large a group can they handle. Tammy said they would cater in Caldwell and typically have a minimum of 20 people for catering orders. They just catered for Roby Creek which is about 2,500 meals.
John introduced Jess Harrison, the Executive Director of the Association of Idaho Cities.
She thanked the AIC board members that are Partnership members.
As staff, they monitor and track the legislature. Every Friday they do a conference call where they go through each piece of legislation and the board votes to support or oppose legislation. They have staff that serves as resources for members.
There is a statute 1-2218 that says judges can order a city to provide support for magistrate court that can include a whole variety of things, including providing facilities. A work group was formed in 2017 that included mayors and commissioners from around the State as well as the administrative arm of the State Supreme Court. After seven months they hammered out a solution that includes a redistribution of the growth in liquor revenues. The city share of the revenues will be reduced by 2.2% per year. And the State will chip in a fixed portion of every State Court case filing fee will be put into the Magistrate Court fund. This will generate from $1.5 – 2 million annually.
State-wide the liquor fund grows from 5.5 – 6% each year and is fairly recession proof.
They had a couple pieces of legislation that they worked on cooperatively with other entities. They worked with Ada County and the Association of Counties on HB 568 which says you can’t use referendums to reverse a land use decision.
They also got together with Counties, the Farm Bureau and the Water Users Association to ensure notification requirements on land use decisions. The agreement says that water delivery entities are responsible for notifying either the city or county of their current contact information if they want notice of land use decisions.
They had a couple bills regarding elections. The first one involves campaign finance reports for city officials. Currently there is a 5,000-population threshold that requires people running for city elections to file campaign finance reports. There was a provision in the law that said those were expected electronically and there were several cities that were not able to do that. The legislature gave us a reprieve that said those sunshine reports do not have to be filed electronically, with the hopes that the Secretary of State will be taking over all those reports.
The Public Integrity Elections Act was legislation they worked with other stakeholders including the school boards association. For the last several years the Idaho Freedom Foundation had brought legislation to try to limit the information you could provide to voters. Essentially the first bill they brought last session said the only thing you could tell your voters is the amount of a levy and the impact on the taxable value. You can educate your voters on a bond or levy, but you can’t tell them how to vote. In this legislation they codified existing court case law so if you get questions on a bond or levy, it is hard to point to case law it is much easier to point to a statute. The main trigger for this is, are you using public funds to do more than educate. You can use public funds to educate and encourage people to vote. You can’t use public funds to encourage people to vote “yes” on a bond.
The next piece of legislation everyone should be aware of involved DEQ. It authorizes DEQ to take over NPDES programs instead of the EPA. Fee collection for municipal permittees will not start till July 1, 2019. The fees have been set and are available through the DEQ website.
Tom said, this is something that started back in 2009 and it took this long to get this accomplished and it is great to have this happen.
The transfer to the State starts July 2018 and after that you will no longer be working with the EPA, only the state DEQ. The fees won’t start till 2019 and will be $1.74 per person.
Regarding transportation, when the State sets its budget and there is a surplus, 50% will go to the State Budget Stabilization fund and the other 50% will go to transportation projects. 60% of these funds will go to the State and 40% will go to local transportation entities. The amount for 2018 is $27 million and $11 million will go to locals. The important thing is this was set to sunset in July 2019.They will need to work actively over this next legislative session to lift the sunset provision.
Finally, they hope the Supreme Court in the South Dakota case rule in favor of States to require online retailers to collect sales tax. The ruling is expected to happen in June. The legislation, to go into effect in July sets the nexus for when out of out-of-state retailers must collect and remit Idaho Sales Tax. The threshold is if they generate sales of $10,000 or more to Idahoans. Some companies, like Amazon, have voluntarily started to collect this tax.
The Tax Commission estimated this amount will be $20-$30 million annually.
There was a piece of legislation that involved action items. So, if you anticipate taking a vote on an item on your agenda, you need to designate this as an action item. There is no penalty if you designate something as an action item and don’t take a vote. Only if you end up taking a vote on something you did not designate as an action item.
Stan asked for the reason for the legislation. Representative DeMordaunt said people will go to the website and look at the agenda for a meeting and will want to be there for the vote. So, there is a need to know when there is going to be a vote during a meeting. This will also apply to the legislature. There is a 48-hour window for this notification and if you decide to change this under this time frame, then you will not be able to take a vote unless there is an emergency. The statute did not define what an emergency is. Stan asked why you wouldn’t just say that all items on the agenda are action items. Jess said, you could do that, and it would comply with the legislation. This requirement takes effect July 1st.
In response to campaign finance reform, they expect the next legislative session to take action that all of this will be given to the Secretary of State’s Office.
John introduced Sue Paul with the Warhawk Air Museum. Sue said their mission is to honor Idahoans who have served in the military. She showed a video on the museum and handed out a book on the Warhawk Air Museum to those in attendance.
They have two wings in their museum. One specifically highlights WWII and the other highlights WWI, the Vietnam war and others.
They preserve history to inform people about the price of freedom. They also believe it is important to have this history in a public domain so that all can learn from it. It serves as a repository for the private collections so that others, including our children, can learn from the sacrifices of our forebears.
They have an education program where veteran’s come in and teach children’s groups. This program is extremely popular and serves the mission preserving our history for future generations.
They get around 4,000 students on field trips visiting the museum annually. Also, there is over 30,000 people visit the museum on an annual basis. They have over 45 veterans that volunteer to serve the museum.
NNU did an environmental impact study for the Warhawk Air Museum. For the combined years of 2015, 2016 and 2017. Their study indicated there was a $217 million impact on the community. This included tourism, employment and other economic impacts of the museum.
Bill said he attended a recent meeting at the City of Boise regarding the Treasure Valley Opioid Strategic Planning Meeting. They have set June 7 & 8 as the dates for this meeting. Bill mentioned that Mayor’s Kling and Evans were our representatives during the Veteran Suicide Awareness press event. He believed it turned out well as there were a couple of TV stations in attendance as well as over 100 people that watched the proclamation event. Darin moved, and Stan seconded to approve the minutes and financial report.