Treasure Valley Partnership
Parma Ridge WineryStrategic Planning Meeting 2018
March 23, 2018
- Kelly Aberasturi
- Alicia Almazan
- Chad Bell
- Tom Dale
- Tammy de Weerd
- John Evans
- Brad Holton
- Debbie Kling
- Nathan Leigh
- Joe Stear
Staff and Guests
- Gregory Hill, PH.D. – Director, Idaho Public Policy Institute
- Lantz McGinnis-Brown – Graduate Assistant, Idaho Public Policy Institute
- Bill Larsen – TVP
Purpose of the Partnership
Chad welcomed everyone to the TVP annual strategic planning session. He said there were several new members and he wanted to spend a few minutes talking about the purpose of the Partnership.
Tom said he started with the Partnership in 2002. The organization was already firmly established at the time. It was started in 1997 and the creation of the organization was driven by then Mayor Brent Coles and Garret Nancolas. The whole purpose of the organization was for regional collaboration.
They thought it would be a good idea to get the city/county elected officials every month to talk about issues that we all share. The purpose was two-fold. One was to provide an opportunity for Mayors and Commissioners to get to know one another. The other was to use these opportunities to create relationships with peers that may have ideas that can help you in what you are doing in your job.
Tom continued that over the years, the Treasure Valley Partnership has done some really good projects that have arisen as a result of our monthly meetings. In his estimation, the most impactful project we have done is the SAUSA Project. It was Mayor Bieter, Mayor Nancolas and he that got together in the Governor’s Office with the U.S. Attorney at the time to talk about the local gang problems. They had heard that this SAUSA might be an option to help combat the problem. Tom said the three of them said at the time that they would pay for the salary. They then took the idea to the Partnership and the group decided to take it on as an organization.
Projects are not the purpose of the Treasure Valley Partnership however. They are what-ever direction we want to go as a result of our monthly meetings. Over time, we have taken on Pseudoephedrine in getting it behind the counter and we coordinated on covered loads. Bill added that we also did an Ozone related public relations campaign.
Tom reiterated that the projects have turned out to be very valuable, but that is not the primary purpose of the Treasure Valley Partnership. The primary purpose is to get to know the other leaders in the valley that are doing the same thing we are and to learn from one another. The purpose is not to create projects, per se, but it is to create relationships among each other.
We all face the same challenges. Small cities face the same challenges as the big cities, but the degree of the challenge may be smaller.
John said we had a pretty active legislative session. The key piece of legislation this year was the Magistrate Court Funding bill. They are confident the Governor will sign it. Over a five-year period, total magistrate court funding responsibilities will be transferred to counties. At the end of that five-year period Idaho code 1-2218 will be repealed and at which point the obligation of cities to provide for magistrate division of the district court will be relieved. Section 1-2218 is the code that allows a district court to order a city to build and furnish court facilities. This will be funded by capturing a portion of the growth of the liquor fund as it is distributed.
They also worked with the police on a trespass bill. The genesis of this bill was rural problems of farmers and ranchers with constant encroachment on their property by hunters, recreationalists and vandals. The language it had, increased penalties and enhanced first offence enforcement. It didn’t distinguish between rural and urban issues.
There were a couple of attempts to attach riders to bills that would impact distribution capabilities. One of them would have disallowed the ability to use revenue sharing money to make a payment to another taxing district.
He encouraged everyone to look at the AIC website to see what legislation was enacted that impact Cities. He added that he was hosting the April 30th Partnership meeting and the new AIC Director would be in attendance.
Tom said he was involved with the Health District board and they were successful at getting the Crisis Center funded. This will be coming to a reality and will be up and running by the end of the year. Southwest District Health will be the administrator on a contracted basis out to a provider. They are still hoping that St. Al’s will come through with a building.
Tom said in Canyon County they have been working on jail stuff. From conversations with people all over, the tolerance for building new jails with a local option tax is much greater than funding it through property tax. He took a proposed piece of legislation to Brent Hill and Gary Collins and distributed it through a number of people. The legislation proposed was to allow local option sales tax on a 66 2/3 vote for a jail. Chris Yamamoto proposed adding court houses in the legislation. They will be continuing to push on this for the next legislative session.
Kelly said the counties asked for a small increase in the justice fund. This didn’t even see the light of day. He said the counties battle the same things with the legislature that cities do.
John said, with Seth Grigg moving to the County association and with his relationship with the new Cities association director, there is greater opportunity that we will have a unified block on legislation coming up. We also have a very good tie in with the School Board Association.
Tom said this is a very important point. If you realize the power and strength that exists with the county and city associations, and you tie in the school board association, we become a pretty big force. We once all stood together and held the line on personal property tax.
John added that the Sheriff’s association and the Chief’s association are going to start funneling some of their legislative agenda through the Cities and Counties associations.
Tom said, this body, the Treasure Valley Partnership represents a majority of the population of the State. When we come together on a particular issue and through our elected representatives and senators, we are a powerful force. We have not taken advantage of this unity often enough. In order to do that, we have to have the counties and the cities on the same page and collectively work our legislators.
Debbie asked where people are regarding waste-water upgrades. Brad said they are in a new permit cycle, so they will have to be doing upgrades. Brad said their base rate for waste-water is at $86 and change.
Tammy said they still have a $40 million upgrade.
Joe said their monthly fee for sewer is about $30 per month.
Kelly said that the City of Bruneau’s will probably end up costing the 40 households about $220 per month. Brad said we have a community here that had upgrades similar to Bruneau. Roswell will be $150 per month.
Chad mentioned they have a new filtration system and their flat rate for sewer is $25. Brad said if Star continues to discharge into the Boise, that won’t stay that way. Chad said he know that and they have a large development north of town that is willing to pay the bill to take all their discharge water to their development, because they don’t have any water.
Tammy said they have great retention rates. However, right now she fears they are going to start losing people. She has had a couple staff mention they need to go somewhere where they have some mobility. When they see how hard people have to work their priorities are more of a work/life balance.
Nathan stated they just put lights on their runway. These are solar lights which is nice.
Tammy said this project grew out of proportion and we need to narrow it back down to something we can do in a timely fashion. Whatever we do will be a springboard to the larger group.
Debbie said she had been talking with St. Luke’s and they indicated they would partner with us in an education campaign. This is doable if we decide education is something we could tackle.
Brad felt this is a title wave and education is a small component. It is going to impact all of our police forces and health care. For us, this going to affect the quality of life in our cities. Right now, you have to be not in the middle of a drug issue to even get help.
Debbie said we are seeing heroin usage in Nampa at levels they haven’t seen in a very long time. This is because it is cheaper than the pharmaceutical alternative.
Tammy said, they have two workshops scheduled for the AIC annual conference. They will do an Opioid workshop and will be focusing on what we can be doing in our communities. There will also be a drug 101 workshop where they will talk about other drugs and their impacts on our communities. For example, what John is doing in his community is huge and is an example for others to avoid problems with CBD retailing.
John said they wouldn’t give them a permit to sell CBD. To keep from getting thrown in jail, he put some sideboards on it. They had to prove to him that the CBD oil doesn’t have any THC in it. If they can do this, certify through a lab that there is no THC in their product, they will be allowed to sell CBD oil in Garden City. The requirement is the manufacturer has to send a sample of the product to their police department. It then goes to the State Lab and if it has THC in it, they won’t be allowed to sell it.
What was presented in the legislature with regard to the sale of CBD oils was a request to sell CBD that had up to a 0.3% trace amount of THC. This passed the House but was held in committee by the Senate.
Businesses don’t need legislative approval to sell CBD if it doesn’t have any THC in it.
Debbie said she met the new Mayor in Greely, Colorado. He is a former police chief. He said the legalization of marijuana as brought a high cost to the city.
Debbie said in their downtown core they have ended up with a couple of different vaping stores that have come in along with tattoo parlors. John said, some jurisdictions are reclassifying vaping into the same category as nicotine.
Kelly said SWDH classifies vaping as nicotine.
Chad said in their ordinance they classified vaping with smoking. So, if there is no smoking, there is no vaping. Like in a restaurant or in parks.
Tammy said vaping is a big problem in high schools. If you talk to your SRO’s they will confirm this. The issues with vaping are much larger than they are for smoking. Because you can’t smell it, you could put marijuana oil in it and would not be able to smell it as well.
Bill pointed to a handout in the packet that included membership dues for 2018 on one side and a budget for 2018 on the other. On March 6, he and the Officer’s got together to talk about next year’s budget. They decided there was no real need to change the dues configuration for the Partnership.
During the meeting they discussed changes in next year’s operating budget. They include small increases in the budgets for accounting, photocopying and mileage. The officers also directed Bill to purchase a laptop computer. On that note, said he was surprised to find out you couldn’t purchase MS Office anymore, you must lease the program.
Chad said, during the meeting they also discussed Bill’s salary. Bill hadn’t had a raise for several years and they felt they should catch up with that. So, they decided to recommend a 10% raise this next fiscal year as it has been a while. They also propose that the Partnership keep up with at least a 3% raise each year.
Tom said he sees the SAUSA is still at $100,000 and asked how the State’s contribution worked. Bill said, each year in December, the Partnership writes a check to Canyon County for $100,000 for the annual cost of the SAUSA. Prior to December, the Partnership invoices the State Dept. of Corrections $70,000 for the year and we receive the payment from them in the fall.
Brad said the officers also discussed the fact we hadn’t addressed the $100,000 for the SAUSA for years. We are researching if we are behind on the pay scale for this position. John indicated he had talked with Rafael Gonzales with the ID U.S. Attorney’s office about. Rafael was doing some research on the question whether the salary the SAUSA is making working out of the Canyon County Prosecutor’s office is on par with what he should be making as a U.S. Attorney.
John indicated that by next meeting we will have the information back from Rafael and we can then discuss if we need to make any adjustment in this budget item.
Bill said as a point of information, in the SAUSA trust account at Canyon County, we have over $70,000 that has built up over the years. He felt there is room within that trust account to go over the $100,000 budget for salary and benefits.
John said, we have had a lot of turnover in the position over the year’s and this analysis was an attempt to insure we are competitive with salary.
Tom asked how the $100,000 was split up. John said the last time he remembered, the salary was in the high $60’s and then benefits rounds out the remainder. Tom said he could see that we might want to bump this budget up a little bit. However, you must remember, this SAUSA position is a highly sought-after position because it provides a stepping stone to become a U.S. Attorney.
Tom asked Bill how many years in a row we went and talked to the ID Criminal Justice Commission. Bill said it 5 or 6. Tom continued that he and Bill faithfully went before this Commission showing that this program was saving the State millions of dollars and they needed to kick in. This $70,000 we now get is something we shouldn’t take for granted because it took a lot of work.
Debbie asked how we continue to get the $70,000. Bill said, he sends in quarterly progress reports and the SAUSA Program is now a regular part of the Dept. of Correction’s annual budget along with $70,000 for the Eastern Idaho SAUSA program.
John said you will find what he calls a place holder in the budget. The Special Projects line contains $5,000 that is available for us if something comes up that we will want to pay for or participate in. Sometimes we have joint press conferences or participate in a public relations campaign by paying for air time.
Bill said that when he started years ago, the Partnership had over $100,000 in the bank. This got drained in the first several years of the SAUSA Project as we were pretty much paying the full cost of the project ourselves. One of his goals has been to return the balance to previous levels and by the end of our fiscal year, the Partnership’s bank balance will be somewhere near $70,000.
Brad moved we approve the member dues and proposed budget for FY 18-19. Tom seconded. Motion approved unanimously.
Veteran Suicide Awareness Proclamation
Bill said he heard the previous day that the Governor’s office is also going to declare April as Veteran Suicide Awareness Month. There is no word from them yet on the extent of their participation in an event. We are shooting for April 7th as the day of the event, but this could change.
He has been working with Steve Exceen who has been a force in this effort. Steve assured him there will be veterans at the event when the date and time is decided upon.
Kelly mentioned he was impressed when Bill came out to a Owyhee County Commission meeting recently to get the proclamation signed. Bill said, he had a good sized road-trip that day to obtain remaining signatures. He was under time pressure to get all the member’s signatures as he was told by the Governor’s Office they would not sign a proclamation till they got to see that everybody in the Partnership had signed the proclamation.
Nathan moved to approve the February minutes and this month’s financial statement. Tammy seconded. Motion approved.
Strategic Planning Session
Chad pointed to the goals of the Partnership in the incorporation documents. These goals have not been changed and/or updated for a while and asked members to think about these goals as we go through this strategic planning session. The goals of the Partnership are.
Goal 1. Create coherent regional growth and development patterns.
Goal 2. Link land use and transportation.
Goal 3. Reinforce our community identities and sense of place.
Goal 4. Protect and enhance open space and recreational opportunities.
Chad introduced Dr. Greg Hill and Lance Brown who were here to facilitate our strategic planning session.
Dr. Hill expressed Dr. Stephanie Witt’s apologies. She had hurt her knee and was unsure if she could physically facilitate the meeting and asked Dr. Hill to fill in for her.
Dr. Hill said he and Lance, a graduate student, work together in an organization called the Public Policy Institute. About three years ago their BSU department reorganized themselves into the School of Public Service. The school is made up of the academic programs they felt represent public service (Political Science, Public Administration and Criminal Justice). Every one of these programs have some sort of their academic and research interests involve reaching out into the community.
Part of that restructuring included creating an organization that would actively go out and work with communities. The Public Policy Institute is a non-partisan organization. A couple years ago they did a job with the Eagle Fire District when they were talking about consolidating into the Boise Fire Department. The Institute worked to provide them with enough data and research to support them in their decision.
Dr. Hill said that the goals for the organization have been the goals since it’s inception. The question we want to ask is, are these goals still relevant or do we want to change them.
Tammy said we just talked about, economic development, community identifiers, affordable housing, smart city technologies and shared data.
Debbie asked why Tammy had mentioned affordable housing. Tammy said she toured a community in the Netherlands that had a whole different approach to affordable housing. They integrated affordable housing intermixed with mansions. If you could get a developer to include 5-10% of their subdivision as affordable housing. When it is intermixed, no one even knows what property that is. This makes everyone on the same plain.
Debbie said she would like to enhance shared best practices and have data that is usable among the treasure valley. There was some discussion around the TVP becoming a clearing house on information like this.
Dr. Hill said this session is a step-back session. Is the mission of the Partnership the same as it has always been and where do we need to adapt to ensure everyone around the table is getting the most out of the organization? He asked everyone to take a few minutes to write down what they think the mission of the Treasure Valley Partnership is.
Tom said the purpose of the Treasure Valley Partnership is to develop relationships among TV local government and elected officials that are beneficial to serving the public and improving quality of life for all. He added that out of this activity comes all the activities of the Partnership. Dr. Hill asked a clarifying question, so main the mission is the development of relationships with an outcome that the relationships benefit the entire Treasure Valley?
Debbie said she wrote down developing collaborative partnerships for stewarding our economic and environmental resources.
John said he wrote down pretty much the same thing as what Tom had wrote but would add creating relationships among cities and counties.
Alicia said she agreed with what has been said but said she liked that the Partnership comes together to address a common cause or issue.
Tammy agreed and said she finds the sharing of best practices to be very helpful. Our collaboration on policies such as the SAUSA Project was a huge thing that brought us all together, especially during the recession.
Tammy added fighting together legislatively to protect local government.
Dr. Hill asked if the organization has actively been involved in writing legislation. Tom said this is something that has not been done. But we do talk about issues that could be brought to AIC or IAC. This group of elected officials represents a majority of the population for the State. When this group comes together for a particular purpose, it can carry a lot of weight if we are all on the same page.
Brad said the ticket to be a part of the organization is to get elected. He wrote to collaborate together as a unique group of elected officials to enhance and improve the lives of constituencies.
Dr. Hill asked if our work affects the State. Both Tom and Brad mentioned that several of the things we have done have spread throughout the State.
John said, the issues we discuss and the actions we take as a Partnership are also carried to our AIC and IAC boards. There is nothing particularly unique about the cities and counties here. When you start talking to folks in eastern and northern Idaho, they have the same issues and challenges to face.
John said one of the reason’s the Partnership is valuable to him is that we have the City of Boise and we have the Cities of Wilder and Parma and Owyhee County. You get a lot of perspective and it is gratifying to see when a city like Parma with an administrative staff of one or two, that is starting to grow and needs help with policies or a comp plan, can call Tammy and get help with these issues.
John added that we sell police cars between our jurisdictions. Incidentally, he indicated he had three for sale and they are in good shape.
Tom said he would not say we are not advisors to AIC or IAC, but we have representation on those boards that present ideas that are developed in the Partnership forum.
Greg said this forum helps him feel a part of a bigger community in the area instead of just focusing on what is happening in Star, for example.
Tammy said many of us started out as city council members and before we got elected as Mayor we thought of the Partnership as the Mayor’s club. But once you get in it, you find the value of the discussion that happen around the table, the resource sharing and the collaboration that occurs in this environment. The success of one community is the success of all.
Kelly said as a county commissioner from a sparsely populated county, he is here to learn about what is happening. Currently, Owyhee County is not growing much. However, that is what his constituents want. Eventually, though, growth is going to happen, so he needs to find out what works and doesn’t work.
Dr. Hill asked if the function over time has changed or has it been pretty stable?
John said it has varied. There was a time when the meetings were program specific, but we are reverting back where we have at least half our meeting with nothing but open discussion on the agenda. You think, gosh what are we going to talk about. But we always end up filling that time.
Tammy said the Partnership has mutated. When she was first a part of the organization, it was really focused on land use, growth and a little transportation. Then the organization started to become more policy, legislative and environmental focused. She felt the organization is pretty flued. It all centers around policy, best practices, lessons learned and sharing resources.
Dr. Hill asked the newer members what they see the value in engaging in a group like this. Debbie said she agrees with everything that has been said. The word that keeps resonating in her mind is mentoring. For a newly elected official it is so beneficial to get to engage and listen to those who have been here a long time.
During the last meeting Debbie said she was dealing with some council dynamics and got the confidentiality of coming to this group to help her walk through this.
Nathan said it is important because his difficulties have been seen by others. His first few meetings he was just listening, and everybody was discussing issues that were important to him.
Debbie said having a place to come talk about issues is very helpful.
Kelly said one of the things he has appreciated is the friendships that have been made and this has been very helpful. John said we are friends. Everybody can relate to each other because we are walking in each other’s shoes so to speak.
Dr. Hill said he wanted to take a few minutes to have participants write down the challenges this group can address to make it more effective.
Joe said as a group when we see an issue we work toward a solution. The most recent example is Opioids which has been a problem throughout the country.
John said process might be a challenge. Topics will come up that resonate with the group and we gel around those. We decide sometimes to write a joint letter or we have a joint press conference on an issue. When it comes to a process, it is informal and changes. He likes this informal process and non-scripted interaction. His priority is to maintain spontaneity in regards to our open discussions.
Dr. Hill asked if the Partnership is reactive to the conditions around it. John said, sometimes one of the group has an issue they are tackling and bring it before the group and it resonates with all the members. In that sense, you could say our action is reactionary. On the other hand, you could say it is proactive when our collective efforts come to bear on an issue.
Brad said it is a weird dynamic in there are things that do rise to the top and things that don’t. As an example, the F-35 was something we could get behind it and do it. Another issue is the ID Dept. of Water Resources is trying to change the rules on the Boise River. As a group, we should be writing a letter to the Supreme Court expressing our concerns.
Tammy said that the challenge is; at the end of our meeting on an issue, we do not give Bill clear direction which creates mission creep. So, we need to be mindful of using Bill more effectively.
Debbie said she wrote down, narrow the objectives and identify specific action plans. But how do you stay flexible and spontaneous and still be specific. She thinks as we choose something, we need to also create clear objectives and an action plan to get it done.
Nathan said one of the frustrations he has in some of the discussions we have, is that Mayor Tammy or Mayor Bieter will say I have staff to do that. Well he is the staff. He supports things and is more than willing to sign on and issue a resolution for example in Parma. But having no staff makes it difficult to do much else to help with the process.
Tammy said the support is huge. This is the strength of the group. Her staff can do it and you just need to sign it. It shows that unity that is important.
Debbie said in regard to thinking about shared needs, they are behind on replacing their fire engines. The life of a fire engine is about 10 years and theirs are way over that. Some of our smaller jurisdictions might need a fire engine. If we know this, we might be able to donate or provide a deal on a fire engine.
Growth & Land Development
Dr. Hill wanted to show some work lance has done on how we can take data and present that and make available for people use in various formats. They put out a study about a year ago called Idaho By the Numbers which is a collection of publicly available data. They went and plugged a bunch of indicators (census, labor stats., etc.) into a program called Tableau. It is a data visualization tool that allows you to put the data into a more dynamic form.
Lance went through some slides that compared; Idaho growth to the nation, fastest growing cities and counties and the degree of urbanization of the valley to name a few. He indicated that this growth research will be on the Public Policy institute website listed among the projects they have done.
The website for this survey is. https://sps.boisestate.edu/ipi/files/2017/08/1704-By-the-Numbers-FINAL-web.pdf
Brad said, the census bureau data for cities/towns is an estimation and this is not always an accurate reflection of reality. Per the census, the City of Greenleaf has declined in population, but their connections to the utility have gone up. So, he cautioned using census bureau data for the small rural communities.
Dr. Hill said one of the growth problems we have is the rural counties are seeing negative growth and the bigger urban counties are growing. Lance added that the largest cities in Idaho are also the fastest growing.
John said it would be interesting to find out where the migration is coming from. Dr. Hill indicated it mostly coming from California, Oregon and Washington.
Nathan said looking long-term, this influx will impact the thinking, vision and culture of our communities. Tammy said, the number one reason people are moving here is they are moving from toxic environments.
Lance indicated that finding reliable data on where people are moving from is high on his wish list. Chad said they go to the DMV to get the data on where people are migrating from.
Debbie said she has had some concern about the inconsistency in the data on people moving in. At one point, she had heard that 80+ percent of those moving in are over 55. In talking to builders, they indicate that is what they are seeing. The people are over 55 and they are empty nesters. But, Commerce reported young families. So, she is confused on this data.
Dr. Hill said they could look at working with realtor associations and others to try to narrow down this data.
Kelly pointed out that our young people are moving out of State because pay is better. In his discussions around, there is a shortage of labor and it does little good for businesses to move here because we don’t have anybody to work for them. We must find a way to retain our younger population.
Dr. Hill agreed we have a retention problem. At the city/county level how do we think about retention. Tammy said her retention rate is 97%. She felt culture is a big part of it. They are getting a lot of private sector people applying for their public-sector jobs. She believes some of it is the benefits package and the security.
Dr. Hill said they do two surveys a year. They do a Statewide Policy Survey and a Treasure Valley Survey. When they ask people about the livability bank of questions, people love Meridian. The whole valley ranks high, but Meridian is at the top of that.
Debbie said it would be nice of Dr. Hill and company could fix a few things. One is the accuracy of data to where we have consistent information. It is really helpful from a city standpoint and for school districts to have reliable, consistent data.
Kelly said, the data clearly shows that the population in his area are older and even seniors. Dr. Hill asked, in this case, you are seeing a fairly stable population, but the demographic is shifting to older individuals. Kelly said this is changing what kinds of services are needed.
Brad mentioned it should be pretty easy to identify whether a family is a retired couple or a family with children by looking at the utility usage. If you worked with Idaho Power and Intermountain Gas to help narrow down demographic categories.
Chad said the accuracy of data is a frustration for all of them. They rely on COMPASS and others and they are really not accurate.
Tammy said they do data comparisons and track data by three different methods. She said she would relay to Dr. Hill the method they found to be most consistent and reliable.
Kelly said he is concerned about the growth projections being lower than reality. In his mind, we are seeing population growth beyond what has been projected. The question for all of us is, what are we going to have for infrastructure. We have a major lack of adequate infrastructure and we do not have enough high scale transportation corridors to move the amount of people we are going to see.
Dr. Hill said when we are talking about transportation and growth. We continue to expand I-84 to facilitate the movement of people. What are we doing to locate businesses throughout all of our communities instead of Boise getting all of them. What is the strategy of getting business closer to people rather than people closer to businesses? Do we have a strategic way to deal with this problem?
Greg said he didn’t think there is a strategic plan. Obviously, each of us are trying to bring businesses to our own jurisdiction. There are a couple organizations that work valley-wide but that is it. It is hard to get businesses to look at Star or outside the Boise corridor because of transportation issues. For the City of Star, getting Hwy. 16 completed to the freeway is a big deal.
Tammy said if we should all work on developing an economic development plan and start narrowing where should things go. We can’t be all things to all people. Let’s start narrowing it and do it around this table. Let’s familiarize ourselves with industries and what that means for housing. Then work with our universities and say what we need for talent. She said we should be more methodical in our approach.
Bill said he has a concern when it comes to growth. With growth, you are going to see an increase in the cost of living and a good percentage of folks won’t see increases in income to account for cost of living increases. Therefore, folks will get left out and will no longer be able to afford to live near where they work. As an example, Ketchum vs. Hailey. They have a big problem in that all the workers in Ketchum can’t afford to live there.
Dr. Hill said that this topic comes up with every jurisdiction they work with. How do we deal with affordable housing? This is an important topic to think about. McCall is seeing this problem as they are not able to get workers into their service jobs because it is too expensive to live there.
Dr. Hill asked if the jurisdictions have the digital infrastructure in place to support folks who telecommute. Debbie said this is something she is unsure of the status in Nampa. She has been asking that question and has found that oftentimes companies are not quick to share. Which company is it. Predominantly it could be Century Link but it could be someone else who is putting the fiber in.
She would like to know what sections of town are connected and which are not.
Tammy said there are management companies that manage that, so you are not just giving the house away to the first one in (Verizon). These management companies will organize and standardize it, and that is what they are looking at now.
Kelly has read studies on this nation-wide. What they found out that folks that telecommute are not as productive as maybe they should be. Baby sitting kids and other distractions occur. Telecommuting hasn’t been as successful as people thought it would be, so it might not be that big of deal. Businesses still have to businesses and if they see the bottom line is not benefiting them, then they will scrap it. They already have on certain things.
Dr. Hill said we talked earlier about people coming out with bachelor’s or master’s that don’t have the skill set that we need. They as a university have been thinking about this a lot. If he advises a senior in high school on what they want to do. If they look back ten years; the jobs people are doing now didn’t exist. So, how do you prep for that training.
This is one of the real challenges for the education community. Ten years from now, what is it going to look like. How many of us had smart phones 10 years ago? So, all the business around the smart phone are brand new. For an entity that moves at a glacial pace at best, like BSU, to determine that educational priority is an incredibly hard task.
Debbie said CWI is an excellent example of something that works. They have businesses that sit down with CWI and say we need this and CWI responds with an educational model that provides the need. They seem to have a little more agility than our major universities. The ability to respond to business needs with certification or specialized training opportunity has been a big asset.