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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Bill on Local Option Building Code Exemption for Owner-Builders Fails to Clear Senate Committee

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, February 23, 2017

A bill that would have provided cities and counties authority to have local option exemptions from building codes for owner-builders of homes failed to pass out of the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee Thursday. 

Senate Bill 1067 was held at the call of the chair, which technically means it could be revived at some future point this session, but that appears extremely unlikely.

The bill was sponsored by Kootenai County Commissioner Marc Eberlein and faced stiff opposition from AIC, the Idaho Building Code Board, the Idaho Association of Building Officials, the Idaho Fire Chiefs Association, the Idaho Building Contractors Association, the Idaho Association of Realtors, and the Idaho Bankers Association.

Excellent testimony was provided at the hearing by AIC Legislative Chair John Evans, Mayor of Garden City, and Patrick Sullivan, Director of Building Safety for the City of Nampa.

“I’m a residential real estate developer who has been in the industry since 1975,” said Mayor Evans.  “If the city or county has building codes, then the purchaser of a home should be able to assume that a home was built to the code.”

Patrick Sullivan explained described how the City of Nampa works with owner-builders to make the process as straightforward as possible while still ensuring a well-built final product. 

“We work with owner-builders who want to build their own home in Nampa and we try very hard to help these people through the plan review process and inspections to ensure that the building is safe and that there are not problems for future owners down the road,” he said.    

We greatly appreciate the efforts of city officials who communicated with legislators on Senate Bill 1067.

 

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City Officials asked to Contact Senate Local Govt. & Tax Committee to Oppose SB 1067 on Building Code Exemptions for Owner-Builders

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, February 22, 2017

On Thursday, February 23 at 3:00 p.m., the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee will consider legislation to provide a local option exemption for owner-builders from the building code.

AIC opposes Senate Bill 1067 and asks city officials to contact members of the committee to respectfully ask for their opposition to the bill.  The committee members and their email addresses are listed at the bottom of this document.

The purpose of the Idaho Building Code Act is to “…(p)romote the health, safety and welfare of the occupants or users of buildings and structures…” AIC believes that Senate Bill 1067 is inconsistent with this policy and poses serious risks for home buyers, communities and emergency response personnel.    

Exempting owner-builders from building code compliance will negatively impact our communities in several ways:

1.       Creates an Unlevel Playing Field: Under Senate Bill 1067, licensed professional building contractors would still be required to comply with the Building Code, but owner-builders with no demonstrated knowledge of sound building practices would be exempt.  This undermines the foundation of Idaho’s Building Code Act. 

2.       Undermines Building Code Compliance: Under Senate Bill 1067 there is no way to ensure that owner-builders are complying with the Building Code. 

3.       Increased Risk for Home Buyers: Disclosure of work done by owner-builders will be difficult to enforce, which means home buyers could unknowingly be put at risk for substandard work that fails to meet Building Code standards. 

4.       Increased Risk for the Community: Part of the role Building Codes play is to protect communities against risk of fire and to ensure that emergency responders can safely access buildings.  By undermining compliance with the Building Code, Senate Bill 1067 puts communities and first responders at greater risk.

5.       Undermines Uniformity in Application of Building Codes: Idaho’s Building Code Act provides cities and counties the authority to decide whether building codes will be adopted and enforced in a particular jurisdiction.  If a city or county decides to adopt and enforce building codes, then it is important for those codes to apply in a fair and uniform way. 

We ask city officials to contact members of the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee and respectfully ask that they hold Senate Bill 1067 in committee.  The committee members and their emails are listed below.

Sen. Dan G. Johnson, Lewiston, Chair:   djohnson@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Clifford R. Bayer, Meridian, Vice Chair:   cbayer@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Brent Hill, Rexburg:   bhill@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Jeff C. Siddoway, Terreton:  jsiddoway@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Jim Rice, Caldwell:  jrice@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Steve Vick, Dalton Gardens:  sjvick@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Jim L. Patrick, Twin Falls:  jpatrick@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Grant Burgoyne, Boise:   gburgoyne@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Mark Nye, Pocatello:  mnye@senate.idaho.gov

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City Officials Asked to Contact Legislators to Support HB 130 on Treasurer's Responsibilities

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, is sponsoring AIC-supported legislation to modernize provisions of state law concerning the responsibilities of the city treasurer.  We ask city officials to contact their local legislators to respectfully ask for their support of House Bill 130.  The bill will be up for hearing Wednesday in the House Local Government Committee.

Idaho Code 50-208 currently requires the city treasurer to make a monthly report to the city council, under oath, showing the state of the treasury, as well as a statement of all receipts and disbursements, and all warrants redeemed and paid.  If the treasurer fails to make this report within 10 days of the end of the month, then the city treasurer position is vacated.  This code section was originally adopted in the 1920s and has not been updated in a meaningful way since that time.

House Bill 130 will give the treasurer 60 days after the end of the month to make the report, and it will no longer be required to be a sworn statement.  The bill clarifies that there is a more detailed quarterly treasurer’s report delivered at a city council meeting that must happen not more than 30 days after the end of each quarter. 

The bill also provides that provisions of the Public Depository Law requiring a Treasurer’s Monthly Report only apply if there is not another code section that requires a treasurer’s report for the political subdivision (cities already have such a requirement, so it would not apply to cities). 

House Bill 130 will modernize archaic provisions of law relating to the responsibilities of the city treasurer and we are pleased to work with Rep. Malek on this important bill.  We ask city officials to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask for their support of House Bill 130.

 

 

 

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City Officials Urged to Contact Senate Commerce Committee to Support Procurement Bill

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, February 15, 2017

On Thursday, February 16 at 1:30 p.m., the Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee will consider AIC-supported legislation to strengthen local government procurement laws.

Senate Bill 1074, sponsored by Sen. Lori Den Hartog of Meridian, would make several important updates to local government procurement laws, including:

·         Clarifying that payment and performance bonds are required for public works construction contracts equal to or greater than $50,000;

·         Clarifying exemptions from competitive purchasing for public utilities, purchasing used equipment at auction, repair of heavy equipment, and procurement of software maintenance and support for an existing system or platform;

·         Updating procurement thresholds; and

·         Providing a Request for Proposals process for situations where a problem can be fixed by several potential approaches or to encourage innovative approaches to solving problems. 

Senate Bill 1074 was developed based on input from several stakeholder groups, including the Idaho Public Purchasing Association, Association of Idaho Cities, Idaho Association of Counties, Idaho Association of Highway Districts, Idaho Associated General Contractors, and American Council of Engineering Companies of Idaho.

We strongly urge city officials to contact members of the Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee as soon as possible and respectfully ask for their support of Senate Bill 1074.  The committee members are listed below.

Sen. Jim L. Patrick, Twin Falls, Chair:   jpatrick@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Jim Guthrie, Inkom, Vice Chair:   jguthrie@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Fred S. Martin, Boise:  fmartin@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Todd M. Lakey, Nampa:   tlakey@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Steven P. Thayn, Emmett:   sthayn@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Mary Souza, Coeur d’Alene:   msouza@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Kelly Arthur Anthon, Burley:  kanthon@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, Boise:   jwardengelking@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Grant Burgoyne, Boise:  gburgoyne@senate.idaho.gov

 

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Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee to Consider New Construction Roll Bill

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On Wednesday, February 15 at 3:00 p.m. the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee will consider legislation that would impact the new construction roll for property tax levying purposes.  Cities that want to weigh in with comments or feedback should contact the committee members as soon as possible (see committee list below).

House Bill 83 is sponsored by Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls.  The bill would provide that any reduction in taxable market value resulting from property that becomes exempt pursuant to chapters 6 and 45 of title 63, Idaho Code, in the five years immediately preceding the current tax year will be deducted from the new construction roll.  Properties that become exempt under the following Idaho Code sections would not be required to be deducted from the new construction roll: 63-602G (Homeowner’s Exemption), 63-602L (intangible personal property), 63-602W(2)(certain business inventory), 63-602X (Casualty Loss), 63-602AA (exceptional situations) and 63-602KK (business personal property).  The bill would also require local governments to deduct from their property tax budget an amount equal to the levy of the previous year multiplied by the value deducted from the new construction roll for each of the three tax years preceding the current tax year.

Any cities that believe House Bill 83 would have a meaningful impact on their budget should communicate their thoughts or concerns to the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee.  The committee members are listed below.

Sen. Dan G. Johnson, Lewiston, Chair:   djohnson@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Clifford R. Bayer, Meridian, Vice Chair:   cbayer@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Brent Hill, Rexburg:   bhill@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Jeff C. Siddoway, Terreton:  jsiddoway@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Jim Rice, Caldwell:  jrice@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Steve Vick, Dalton Gardens:  sjvick@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Jim L. Patrick, Twin Falls:  jpatrick@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Grant Burgoyne, Boise:   gburgoyne@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Mark Nye, Pocatello:  mnye@senate.idaho.gov

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Contact House Transportation Committee to Support House Bill 158 on Surplus Eliminator Reauthorization

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, February 14, 2017

One of the most important bills of the session came last week from the House Transportation & Defense Committee, which voted to introduce House Bill 158 on reauthorizing the state surplus eliminator.

We strongly encourage city officials to contact members of the House Transportation & Defense Committee (see list below) to respectfully ask for their support of this critical piece of legislation.  Any specific examples you can share of damage your city suffered from this year’s severe winter weather will make your case even more compelling.

House Bill 158 is sponsored by Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer and Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa.  The bill would extend the state surplus eliminator for two additional years, and provide that the revenue be split 60% to the Idaho Transportation Department and 40% to local highway jurisdictions. 

The state surplus eliminator is set to sunset this year and allocates half of state general fund surplus revenue to transportation projects for the Idaho Transportation Department.  None of the revenue from the surplus eliminator is currently shared with local highway jurisdictions. 

Under House Bill 158, the local highway jurisdictions’ share will be allocated in grants administered by the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council awarded based on return on investment in the following categories:

  • Safety, including reduction of crashes, injuries, and fatalities;
  • Mobility, including traffic-flow improvements for freight and passenger cars;
  • Economic opportunity, including projected cost-benefit ratio for users and businesses;
  • Repair and maintenance of bridges; and
  • Purchase of public rights of way.

House Bill 158 will allow cities, counties and highway districts to have an equitable share of surplus eliminator revenues at a time when local roads and bridges need considerable work because of severe winter storms and flooding. 

The grants awarded under House Bill 158 will fund projects that will save lives, help Idaho businesses, and repair critical bridges in our local highway system.

House Bill 158 addresses state and local transportation funding needs without increasing gas taxes or vehicle registration fees.

The transportation funding bill passed two years ago, added about $100 million of new revenue for state and local highway systems, which is considerably less than the $260 million annual transportation funding deficit for the state and local highway systems. 

Idaho cities have 2,600 centerline miles of city streets and 267 bridges to maintain. 

More investment in Idaho’s roads and bridges will create jobs and preserve our vital infrastructure.

You can contact members of the House Transportation & Defense Committee at the emails listed below.

Rep. Joe Palmer, Meridian, Chair:  jpalmer@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Paul E. Shepherd, Riggins, Vice Chair:  pshepherd@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Terry Gestrin, Donnelly:  tgestrin@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Brandon A. Hixon, Caldwell:  bhixon@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Clark Kauffman, Filer:  ckauffman@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Kelley Packer, McCammon:  kpacker@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Rick D. Youngblood, Nampa:  ryoungblood@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Patrick McDonald, Boise:  pmcdonald@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Sage G. Dixon, Ponderay:  sdixon@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Steven Harris, Meridian:  sharris@house.idaho.gov

Rep. James Holtzclaw, Meridian:  jholtzclaw@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Jason A. Monks, Nampa:  jmonks@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, Eagle:  gdemordaunt@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Scott Syme, Caldwell:  ssyme@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Phylis K. King, Boise:  pking@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Melissa Wintrow, Boise:  mwintrow@house.idaho.gov

Rep. John Gannon, Boise:  jgannon@house.idaho.gov

 

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House Rev & Tax Committee Passes AIC-Opposed Foregone Bill

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

This morning the House Revenue & Taxation Committee approved AIC-opposed legislation that would restrict foregone levies for cities, counties and non-school taxing districts.  House Bill 103 will likely be up for floor debate and vote in the House later this week.

Since the mid-1990s, Idaho has had a 3% Cap on annual property tax increases that limits a local government’s property tax budget increases to 3% over the highest levy of the past three years, plus growth factors for new construction and annexation. 

If a local government chooses to levy less than the maximum amount permitted by law, then the foregone amounts accumulate and the local government can include these in their levy in subsequent years.

House Bill 103, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, would allow a local governing board to adopt a resolution to disclaim all or a portion of their foregone revenue. 

“This bill gives local governments the ability to control their own destiny,” said Moyle.  “If we truly believe in local control, we shouldn’t be afraid of this bill.”

The bill is drafted such that it’s not clear as to whether the resolution only applies to a single year’s foregone revenue or the local government’s accumulated foregone over decades.  Rep. Moyle indicated in his testimony that it is his intent that the resolution would only permit the governing board to forego their foregone revenue from a single year. 

Excellent testimony was provided by AIC President Brian Blad, Mayor of Pocatello and AIC Second Vice President Elaine Clegg, Council President of Boise.    

“Last year the Legislature made some significant changes to foregone levies that improved the process,” said Blad.  “Local governments were required to hold a public hearing and explain what the foregone levy would be used to fund.”  That law improved the transparency and accountability of foregone levies, “and it should be given the opportunity to work.” 

Elaine Clegg noted the fact that accumulated foregone levies total over $100 million is “real proof that the system is working.  Local elected officials are choosing to tax at a low rate and are proving they are fiscally responsible.”

Clegg explained that local elected officials often don’t know what the future holds and may not understand the implications of how their decision to reject foregone revenue might impact a community decades into the future. 

“The City of Meridian had a population of 3,000 in 1970.  Its population is over 90,000 today.  Growth of that magnitude requires a vastly different level of services.  Would the elected officials of Meridian in 1970 have foreseen this extremely high level of future growth?  Probably not.”  

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Urgent Action Request on HB 103

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, February 6, 2017

Tomorrow the House Revenue & Taxation Committee will consider a bill that would curtail local governments’ ability to use foregone property tax levies.  We urge city officials to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask for their opposition to House Bill 103.

House Bill 103 is sponsored by Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, and would allow the governing board of a taxing district to disclaim any or all of the entity’s accumulated foregone levies. 

When a city, county, or other taxing district levies less than the maximum amount permitted by law under the 3% Cap, the foregone amounts accumulate and the taxing district can include these foregone levies in their tax levy in any subsequent year. 

The concept of foregone levies has been around for decades, because it makes so much sense.  Idaho taxing districts have accumulated $108 million in foregone levies (2016), which represents substantial, ongoing property tax relief for Idaho taxpayers.  If the law restricts local governments’ ability to recover foregone levies, then it incentivizes levying the maximum allowed by law.

AIC opposes House Bill 103 because it puts at risk the prudent budgeting and taxing decisions that city officials have made over decades.  We should be rewarding local governments that budget conservatively, not looking to tie their hands with a short-sighted policy that increases the burdens on Idaho property taxpayers.

Last session, AIC supported legislation that improved the transparency of foregone levies for local governments.  House Bill 474 required that local governments provide notice before levying for foregone, including passing a resolution that identifies the amount of the foregone levy and the purpose for which the revenue will be used.  This legislation provides additional transparency for local governments levying for foregone.   

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House Local Government Committee Hears City Perspective

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This afternoon the House Local Government Committee heard about the important roles that cities play in protecting public safety, building infrastructure necessary for economic development, and providing the cultural and recreational amenities that improve quality of life. 

AIC Executive Director Seth Grigg gave a presentation on the basics of city government, which discussed the unique role that cities play in Idaho’s system of local government.   Following this presentation, two Treasure Valley mayors—John Evans of Garden City and Joe Stear of Kuna—spoke about the issues facing their communities and their policy recommendations for the Legislature.

“Cities are created by their inhabitants to provide services necessary for an urban community,” Grigg said, “like law enforcement, fire protection, domestic water, sewage collection and treatment, streets, parks and libraries.”

“Idaho law encourages urban development to occur within cities, which ensures cost efficient delivery of urban services and protects agricultural and timber land from development,” Grigg noted. 

A recent survey of city officials found that the most important issue facing cities is infrastructure, which includes the challenge of replacing outdated infrastructure and escalating costs of compliance with the Clean Water Act and other federal environmental regulations.

“Cities greatly appreciate the Idaho Legislature’s decision to increase transportation funding and this revenue is definitely needed,” Grigg said.  If state surplus eliminator funding for transportation projects is reauthorized, Grigg suggested that it be shared with local highway jurisdictions, creating a fund for road and bridge projects that would allow smaller cities, counties and highway districts to pay for needed capital projects.

Mayor Joe Stear of Kuna said “local governments are working hard to cooperate and find collaborative solutions to local challenges.”  He cited the example of the Treasure Valley Partnership, which brings together mayors and county commissioners in a forum to encourage regional coordination, cooperation and collaboration. 

Stear also expressed support for state and local economic development incentives, like the Tax Reimbursement Incentive that provides a tax credit of up to 30 percent on income, payroll and sales taxes for up to 15 years for new or expanding companies.    

AIC Past President and Legislative Chair John Evans, Mayor of Garden City said, “Our goal in Garden City is to foster an environment where the private sector can come in and succeed.  Development doesn’t start above the ground, it starts below the ground with the essential water and sewer infrastructure that allows development to occur.” 

Evans said that the state Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which aimed to reduce corrections costs by reducing incarceration of nonviolent offenders and more efficiently getting offenders into parole, is putting police at risk as recently released offenders are committing violent crimes.  He suggested that policymakers look carefully at dedicating resources to more effectively monitoring and integrating recently released offenders. 

 

 

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City Officials Will Present to House Local Government Committee

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Today at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time the House Local Government Committee will hear a presentation on city government in Idaho featuring AIC Past President and Legislative Chair John Evans, Mayor of Garden City; Mayor Joe Stear of Kuna; and AIC Executive Director Seth Grigg.

You can listen to the committee meeting by clicking this link to the Idaho in Session website, scrolling down to "Committees/Locations" and selecting "Committees."  

Under "Choose a committee type" select "House."  

Under "Choose a committee" select "Local Government EW05."  

Finally click "Launch a media player."  

The media player works in Internet Explorer, so if you use Google Chrome for your web browser you will need to click "Try the Chrome/IOS device stream" on the media player.

The House Local Government Committee also has on its agenda for today the introduction of a housekeeping bill that will make corrections to last session's urban renewal reform bill.  

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