October 28, 2019
- Kelly Aberasturi
- John Evans
- Brad Holton
- Debbie Kling
- Diana Lachiondo
- Stan Ridgeway
- Joe Stear
- Darin Taylor
Staff and Guests
- Dr. Marlene Tromp – President, Boise State University
- Roger Brown – Director of Govt. & Community Affairs, BSU
- Bill Larsen - TVP
Welcome and Introductions
Mayor John Evans welcomed everyone to the October meeting of the Partnership.
Property Tax Working Group
John indicated there is a Property Tax Working group that the Speaker Pro-Tem appointed. They recently met and received a presentation by Cathy Ireland with the Tax Commission. Cities and Counties also provided presentations to the Working Group. The Working group consisted of Representatives, Collins, Moyle, Furness, Andherst and Eberling. The Senate side includes Anthon, Bergoyne, Crow, Woodward, etc.
Debbie said from her observation, there were a lot of questions on impact fees, franchise fees and new construction. Her feeling is they do not understand them, hence a lot of questions.
The home-owners exception was also discussed in the working group.
Joe said that in his conversations with legislators over the last four years on schools and impact fees, it has been his observation that they need an impact fee 101 course, as they do not understand them. Debbie said Ann Wescott did their impact fee study and suggested she would be a good person to do a presentation to the working group.
There was a discussion on taxing districts. John indicated, that the State of Idaho has more types of taxing districts than almost any other State.
John said there were a couple issues we need to keep our eye on. One is the whistle blower cap issue that has implications for ICRMP and other’s. Right now, there is a $250,000 limit for non-economic issues, but the courts have ruled that whistleblowers don’t fall under that non-economic category. ICRMP believes that more people under a wrongful termination claim would file under the whistleblower category.
The other issue that may go through is the warrant-less arrest. Right now, the supreme court has ruled that a police officer cannot make a misdemeanor arrest unless they witness the incident. The impact is on domestic violence cases. You get a call and show up at a scene as a police officer. The woman is bruised and crying, but you didn’t see it happen so you can’t do anything about it.
John said it is a shame that Tammy wasn’t there but wanted to make sure everyone knew about Meridian’s Hands-Free Ordinance. Bill said for reference and in preparation for the discussion he provided a package that included the Hands-Free Ordinances of Meridian, Ketchum, Pocatello and others.
John indicated that today’s meeting is not really the day to address whether we as a Partnership wanted to undertake a valley wide ordinance as we have less than a quorum.
Diana indicated they have their Sheriff’s office running down best practices in this regard. She would like them to come in and present the pro’s and con’s associated with hands-free and/or distracted driving issues.
Brad indicated that from talking with Nathan and the Mayors of Homedale and Wilder, their Councils are united in the attitude of why you need another rule when you have inattentive driving.
Dr. Marlene Tromp – President, Boise State University
John welcome Dr. Tromp to our Treasure Valley Partnership meeting and described the functioning of the Partnership. He asked her how she is adjusting to her new role and living in the Treasure Valley.
Dr. Tromp indicated she had been living in a warm climate for quite some time and it is nice to have seasons again. She began at a small college in Ohio. One of the things she noticed at that college, was the student body was mostly comprised of children she would describe as from families that had generations of college experience. She felt there weren’t enough first-generation students.
From there, she went to Arizona State and it is an amazingly creative place and has been named the most innovative university in the U.S. for four years in a row. She left ASU to go the University of California Santa Cruz. The U of California system is considered one of the best public university systems in the world.
She wanted to find out what allowed the U of California to achieve that recognition of excellence and got a look at that. When addressing any issue, the university faced, their first consideration is “how is that going to help us serve our students and achieve excellence”.
However, the U of California is so comfortable in their “top spot”, that there was a real reluctance to change. She was hungry to be someplace where there was openness to change.
Santa Cruz is one of the fifth-most expensive places to live in the U.S. She learned a lot of cautions from this experience because there were decisions that cities and other municipal agencies made to try to repress growth that created crises. Now they have a staggering homelessness and drug problem. The cost of housing is extremely high. It is impossible to buy a middle-class home for less than $1.2 million. That is just unstable, and people just can’t do this.
BSU is ranked 42nd nationally for innovation. She sees BSU as a university that is open and hungry for finding ways to improve services. That will to engage with the community in a fundamental and foundational way to think about, “how do we serve the community better”, “how do we produce graduates that make an impact on the city, region and the state”.
She is impressed with how the region works together and has partnerships among municipal jurisdictions, and the business community, etc. She is excited to see how various departments of BSU work with area councils to create tech start-ups, for example.
One of the things she wants to develop is to create relationships in such a way that every BSU student has an opportunity go gain hands-on experience in the community. That means internships, partnerships and students that are doing service projects in the community.
BSU’s genesis as a community college is very key in fostering this air of openness, cooperation and service. She wants to foster and develop these connections. They need to help their academic partners understand what the community thinks and help produce graduates needed in the area. Also, the community should be our partners to get the young people to go on to secondary education.
What we see in the State of Idaho is a low percentage of young people going on to higher ed. This undermines the academic health and the cultural wellbeing.
What we see from states that set goals like Idaho has for higher ed, we see an uptick in people reaching the higher ed goal. For example, Utah set a goal for higher ed and one of the results was an increase in their economic wellbeing. So, we need our local communities to help them figure out what we can do together to get people to go on to higher ed.
John said he really enjoys the annual surveys that Greg Hill’s organization produces. And he is thankful that BSU allows faculty to serve on various boards. He mentioned that he and Garden City have taken advantage of interns. They have legal interns from the U of I and have one or two each semester and through the summer.
Debbie indicated that her Public Works Director just spent time with BSU’s engineering department and really appreciated the ability to bring in engineering interns and eventually be able to hire them.
Brad said they have had a couple U of I interns at Greenleaf. One of the things he would like to see from the political science department is students gaining learning experience by coming out to city council meetings, P & Z meetings, etc. There are very few people that participate in public meetings for the purpose of participating in public government, instead of just airing a grievance.
If we could have students have a learning experience in political science it could help them connect where the rubber meets the road and would make our communities stronger.
Diana said from working with the Idaho Policy Institute the thing she has appreciated is their participating alongside and help you figure things out, instead of sitting back and writing reports. She hopes this attitude continues.
Dr. Tromp said the university service is not just about education. The mission of the university is teaching, research and service. The teaching and the research should be a part of the service we give to the community.
She encouraged the members to think about intern candidates that are studying in the humanities, social sciences and the arts. The reason for that is, that is the landscape on what they are learning, but what they are learning is how to be critical thinkers. One of the programs she is working on is recruiting rural students and have them do internships back in their rural communities. Hopefully, by participating in a learning in their rural community, a student can imagine how they can make a career in that rural community. That is the goal.
She is concerned that what happened economically to Santa Cruz, could happen to Boise. We need to do what we can to ensure people are not priced out of living based on rising costs of housing. Salaries are low and this is something they could do to put together university related panels together to explore how to increase wages. Maybe it would be a good idea for them to look at putting a forum on this very idea.
Diana said from looking at the Bay area, the city of San Francisco has put a ton of money into homelessness issues, housing affordability, etc. But all the surrounding cities have maintained their single-family zoning and not increased housing stock and prices have been driven up.
There was a large conversation regarding growth and its problems.
Dr. Tromp said they haven’t been focused enough on outcomes, and she is hoping to continue the increased emphasis on outcomes at BSU.
Darin asked what the percentage of BSU graduates last year are working in Idaho. Roger said their five-year figure is 68%.
Dr. Tromp said the University Presidents in Idaho are in the midst of exploring how they can work together on to increase the number of graduates staying in Idaho, especially in rural communities. She is excited to see how this effort produces fruit.
John thanked Dr. Tromp for joining the Partnership for our October meeting. He pulled out the hand outs for the meeting, which included the quarterly SAUSA Report. He explained the program to Dr. Tromp and indicated how it is an example how the Partnership has worked together to solve a civic problem.
Dr. Tromp marveled at some of the outcomes of the Treasure Valley Partnership and reassured the members that she wanted the university to be engaged in the group and their work. If members see an issue where we can get the university to be engaged to be a partner in future endeavors, please be sure to contact her.