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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Important Registration Deadlines for AIC City Officials Day at the Capitol are Fast Approaching

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 19, 2016

AIC’s annual City Officials Day at the Capitol is now only three weeks away. AIC requests that those interested in attending the event register by Thursday, January 19th to assist in developing accurate meal counts. Those wishing to stay the night in Boise on the night of the 25th can make reservations for $91.00 a night at the Grove Hotel. For reservations please call (208) 489-2222 and ask for the Association of Idaho Cities room block. The deadline to make a reservation through the AIC room block is January 6, 2017.

This year AIC is restructuring its annual City Officials Day at the Capitol. The event will be held Thursday, January 26 in Boise. The big change is that AIC has arranged to bring city officials to the Capitol for much of the program. While in prior years the event has been held offsite, this year the morning sessions, including a breakfast reception, will be held at the Idaho State Capitol. This means that in place of doing a sit-down luncheon for legislators at the Boise Centre, AIC will be hosting an early morning breakfast reception for city officials and legislators at the Capitol in the beautiful 4th Floor Rotunda. This will bring city officials to the Capitol to meet with their legislators to discuss important issues over a casual breakfast in a historic setting. AIC will provide shuttle service for city officials staying at the Grove Hotel to and from the Capitol (more information below).

The reception is designed such that city officials and legislators can come and go as schedules allow during the breakfast reception period between 7:00 am and 8:30 am. City officials are encouraged to arrange a time to meet with their legislators at the capitol and escort them to the breakfast reception at a time that is convenient for your legislators. AIC staff is willing to assist you in scheduling a time to meet with your legislator during the 1.5-hour window if needed. AIC is excited to have a presence of city officials at the Capitol.

After the breakfast reception, AIC will convene city officials in the West Wing Garden Level (basement) of the Capitol in the Lincoln Auditorium to officially kick off City Officials Day at the Capitol. AIC members will be able to pick up their name badge and event agenda at the Lincoln Auditorium entrance. The Lincoln Auditorium Session will run from 8:30am to 10:00am and feature several interactive presentations and panels. Among the panel presentations will be a legislative leadership panel and a media pundits panel. The legislative leadership panel will feature representatives from House and Senate leadership and focus on what legislative leaders expect to happen during the 2017 Legislative Session. The media pundits panel will feature panelists from the press corps and provide insights into what the media sees as the driving issues of the 2017 Legislative Session.

After the Lincoln Auditorium Session, AIC will provide shuttle service from the Capitol to Boise Centre East for a legislative briefing for city officials. The legislative briefing will take place at 10:30am in room 410 in the Boise Centre East. AIC staff and other invited guests will update city officials on AIC’s legislative initiatives as well as legislative proposals from other stakeholder groups that affect cities.

A luncheon for city officials will take place at 12:00 pm in Boise Centre East Room 400. Because city officials will have had breakfast with their legislators earlier in the morning, this year’s City Officials Day Luncheon will be for city officials only. Lieutenant Governor Brad Little will be our keynote speaker..

Below you will find additional information about the event including the tentative agenda, event registration, lodging, parking, and shuttle logistics.

 

 

Event Registration: Registration for City Officials Day at the Capitol is open. AIC members can register for the event at the following website: http://idahocities.org/?page=CODC. Registration is $50 and covers the cost of breakfast, lunch and meeting materials. Please note that refunds will not be issued for registrations canceled after January 19, 2017.

Overnight Lodging: Those wishing to stay the night in Boise on the night of the 25th can make reservations for $91.00 a night at the Grove Hotel. For reservations please call (208) 489-2222 and ask for the Association of Idaho Cities room block. The deadline to make a reservation through the AIC room block is January 6, 2017.

Transportation Logistics: Parking downtown can be a challenge. AIC will arrange for a shuttle service to transport city officials staying at the Grove Hotel to and from the Idaho Capitol. A shuttle will leave the Grove Hotel to the Capitol every fifteen minutes from 7:00 am to 8:00 am. Shuttle service will return from the Capitol to the Boise Centre from 10:00 am to 10:30 am. Limited parking is also available around the Capitol including paid street parking directly adjacent to the Capitol. There is also a free parking lot with limited Capitol Mall three-hour parking spaces at the Idaho Law and  Justice Learning Center located at 514 W Jefferson (parking lot entrances are located on N. 5th St, State Street, or N. 6th Street). Plan to arrive early if you plan on utilizing one of these prized free Capitol Mall parking spots.

 

 

Association of Idaho Cities

City Officials Day at the Capitol

Tentative Agenda

Session 1:       Breakfast Reception with Legislators from 7:00 am to 8:30 am at the Idaho State                               Capitol

7:00 am             Breakfast Reception with Legislators – 4th Floor Rotunda, Idaho State Capitol

Come to the Capitol and accompany your legislators to the 4th Floor Rotunda and enjoy a breakfast reception in the historic Idaho Capitol. Stop by with your legislators for a bite to eat anytime between 7:00 am and 8:30 am. AIC will provide shuttle service from the Grove Hotel to the State Capitol every 15 minutes between 7:00am and 8:00 am to make the logistics of getting to and from the Capitol easier.

Session 2:        Opening Session from 8:30 am to 10:00 am in the Lincoln Auditorium at the Idaho                            State Capitol

8:30 am              Welcome and Introductions – Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad, AIC President                      

8:45 am             Overview of Capitol Building, Legislative Process, and Staffing – TBD

9:00 am              Legislative Leadership Panel – TBD

9:30 am              Media Pundits Panel – TBD

10:00 am            Shuttle Service Back to Boise Centre

Session 3:         Legislative Briefing and Luncheon for City Officials at the Boise Centre East

10:30 am            AIC Legislative Briefing – Boise Centre East Room 410

AIC staff and invited guests from other legislative stakeholder groups will brief city officials on legislation affecting cities.

12:00 pm            Luncheon for City Officials with Lt. Gov. Brad Little – Boise Centre East Room 400

Because city officials will have had breakfast with their legislators earlier in the morning, the luncheon will be structured differently this year. A special guest speaker will be invited to speak to city officials over lunch about the 2017 Legislative Session. Governor Otter has been invited to be our featured speaker; however, given his unpredictable schedule, his office has yet to confirm his attendance.

1:15 pm              AIC Legislative Briefing – Boise Centre East Room 410

AIC staff will wrap up the legislative briefing and the membership will be invited to take positions on issues (as needed).

3:00 pm              Adjourn

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Road & Street Finance Report Deadline Approaches

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, December 29, 2016

The deadline to submit the Annual Road & Street Finance Report is fast approaching.  The Q&A below covers some basic information about the reporting requirements.

Question: Why must cities complete and submit the Annual Road & Street Finance Report to the state?

Article VII, Section 17 of the Idaho Constitution requires that the proceeds of taxes on gasoline and other motor vehicle fuels, as well as vehicle registration fees, be spent solely on “construction, repair, maintenance and traffic supervision of the public highways of this state…and no part of such revenues shall, by transfer of funds or otherwise, be diverted to any other purposes whatsoever.”

The state Highway Distribution Account allocates revenues from state fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees and other miscellaneous sources to the Idaho Transportation Department, local highway jurisdictions and the Idaho State Police. 

To ensure accountability and transparency in the spending of these dedicated revenues, Idaho Code 40-708 requires that local highway jurisdictions submit an annual report to the State Controller’s office listing revenues and expenditures for the recently completed fiscal year for construction, maintenance and administration of streets, bridges and culverts. 

It is critical that the form be completed accurately because this information is scrutinized by legislators and Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) officials.

Question: Is any training available to help city officials understand how to fill out the report?

Yes.  City officials can watch online training videos featuring Susan Lasuen of the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC).  Links to webinar video, Page 1 Instruction Video, Page 2 Instruction Video, and Page 3 Instruction Video

Question: When are the deadlines for submitting and publishing the report?

The report for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016 must be submitted to the Office of the State Controller (P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0011) by December 31, 2016.   The report must also be published once as a legal notice in the official city newspaper between January 1- 15, 2017.

Question: Where can I find the report form and other information?

There are several helpful documents on the Idaho Transportation Department website at http://itd.idaho.gov/funding/ under “Local Roads” and then “Forms for Local Government Road & Street Finance Reports.”

·         Online reporting forms for the Road & Street Finance Report, as well as HB 312 reporting.

 

·         Automated and non-automated Excel report forms.

 

·         Instructions for filling out the report.

LHTAC also has the reporting forms, instructions and links to the videos on their website.

Question: Does our city need to provide information concerning highway construction and maintenance projects and activities occurring during the fiscal year? 

Yes.  The report includes a section on construction, reconstruction and maintenance activities performed throughout the year.  The purpose of these questions is to give state policymakers information on what local highway jurisdictions are able to accomplish with their limited resources.  The information which must be provided is outlined below.

New Construction

Total lane miles constructed.

Total square feet of bridge deck constructed.

Reconstruction / Replacement / Rehabilitation

Total lane miles rebuilt, realigned, or overlay.

Total square feet of bridge deck reconstructed or rehabilitated.

Routine Maintenance

Total lane miles chip sealed or seal coated.

Total lane miles graded or bladed.

You will likely need to get this information from your City Engineer, Public Works Director or Maintenance Supervisor.

Question: What are the consequences of failing to submit the report?

Idaho Code 40-708 empowers the State Controller to withhold Highway Distribution Account revenue from any local highway jurisdiction that has failed to submit the report. 

The law also provides that failure to submit or publish the report, or making false statements in the report is grounds for removal from office, as well as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment for up to 90 days.  

Question: Who can I call for help on completing the report?

Susan Lasuen at the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (at (208) 344-0565 or slasuen@lhtac.org) has great expertise in this area.  Justin Ruen at AIC ((208) 344-8594 or jruen@idahocities.org) is also a helpful resource.

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Toxics Criteria for Human Health and Aquatic Life

Posted By Johanna Bell, Thursday, December 15, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Clean Water Act requires that States update their toxic criteria every three years – a change made in the Clean Water Act in 1987 to reflect Congressional concern about the slow pace of improving toxics controls.  This applies to the human health criteria that are based on assumptions of fish consumption.  It also applies to criteria that are intended to protect aquatic life, such as threatened and endangered species.  


Criteria become the water quality goals for waters of the state, target for TMDLs, and may be used to establish limitations and other required actions such as Pollutant Minimization Plans and monitoring requirements for regulated point sources (i.e., stormwater, wastewater, potable water treatment facility permits, etc.).  Most of Idaho's human health standards for toxics in surface water have not been updated since 1992.


Since 1992, EPA has updated its guidance for deriving human health toxic water quality criteria in its Methodology for Deriving Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health (2000).  The 2000 Methodology increased the national default average fish consumption rate from 6.5 grams/day to 17.5 grams/day (the equivalent of 18.5 ounces of fish per month or 6.2 three ounce-servings each month).  EPA has also updated the CWA Section 304(a) recommended criteria to reflect this change in the national default fish consumption assumption.  For subsistence fishers, EPA recommended a national default consumption rate of 142.4 grams/day (the equivalent of 150 ounces per month or 50 three ounce-servings each month). In the 2000 Methodology, EPA also adopted guidance directing states to use local data on fish consumption when it was available.


EPA recently reviewed Washington State’s proposed toxics criteria and implementation guidance according to a court ordered date to approve or disapprove the criteria no later than November 15, 2016.  Most of Washington's human health standards for toxics in surface water also have not been updated since 1992. The new set of standards adopted by EPA is based on more recent science about health protection and fish consumption rates.  Specifically, the water quality standards now in place for Washington are based on the most sensitive population, typically tribes with treaty-protected rights, with a daily fish consumption rate of 175 grams/day (the equivalent of 185 ounces per month or 62 three ounce-servings each month) and a one-in-one million cancer risk level.


In the review, EPA also approved Washington’s revisions to its variance and compliance schedule provisions, which give the State and affected industries and municipalities some additional flexibility and time to implement the new standards while making reasonable progress in improving water quality.


Toxics rulemaking for Idaho was initiated in October 2012 in response to EPA’s disapproval of Idaho’s proposed criteria earlier that year.  Idaho concluded water quality toxics criteria rulemaking in May 2016 and submitted the toxics rulemaking package to EPA for review, approval, or disapproval on December 13, 2016.  

 

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New Bacteria Criteria

Posted By Johanna Bell, Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2016

EPA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH) are jointly updating the 100+ year old bacteria approach for protection of human health.  The agencies anticipate use of a new science based coliphage approach for bacteria and viruses for enhanced protection of food, beaches, and surface waters under the Clean Water Act.  


The joint effort will likely result in new beach closure thresholds and testing methods, and new recreational water quality criteria and testing methods for bacteria and viruses in State Water Quality Standards.  These changes may require new disinfection practices for municipal waste water treatment facilities (e.g. advanced oxidation and UV) so are a particularly important consideration for facilities undergoing or about to embark on facilities’ planning efforts.  

Information on EPA’s coliphage effort can be found HERE

 

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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Internet Sales Tax Case

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The following update on the legal saga surrounding Internet sales tax is from Lisa Soronen of the State & Local Legal Center.

The Quill saga continues…
 
The Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving the question of whether a Colorado law requiring remote sellers to inform Colorado purchasers annually of their purchases and send the same information to the Colorado Department of Revenue is unconstitutional. As is always the case, the Supreme Court gave no reason for denying the petition.   

In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, decided in 1992, the Supreme Court held that states cannot require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax. In 2010 the Colorado legislature passed the law described above to improve sales tax collection. The Direct Marketing Association sued Colorado claiming the law unconstitutionally discriminates against interstate commerce and is unconstitutional under Quill.   

In February 2016 in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, the Tenth Circuit concluded the Colorado law doesn’t discriminate against interstate commerce. DMA was unable to point to any evidence that the notice and reporting requirements imposed on out-of-state retailers are more burdensome than the sales tax collection and administration requirements imposed on in-state retailers. Quill does not apply to the law, the Tenth Circuit reasoned, because it “applies narrowly to sales and use tax collection.”

DMA filed a petition for certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review the Tenth Circuit’s ruling that Colorado’s law discriminates against interstate commerce.

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief encouraging the Court not to decide this case. The brief argued that the Tenth Circuit ruled correctly on the interstate commerce question and that the only “interesting and important” question lurking in this case is whether the Supreme Court should overrule Quill.
 
In March 2015 the Supreme Court held unanimously that the Tax Injunction Act did not bar the Tenth Circuit (instead of a state court) from deciding whether Colorado’s law was unconstitutional. Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion, which appeared to rely on the SLLC’s amicus brief, stating that the “legal system should find an appropriate case for this Court to reexamine Quill.”
 
DMA’s cert petition didn’t raise the question of whether Quill should be overturned. However, the SLLC amicus brief pointed out that if the Court is interesting in taking on this question it will be before the Court in no time. “Three States have already taken affirmative steps to challenge Quill head on, passing carefully tailored legislation or administrative rules that precisely frame the question whether [Quill’s] ‘physical presence’ standard should be replaced with an ‘economic nexus’ rule under which sellers can be required to collect state sales tax if they transact a large amount of business in a given state.”

The SLLC urged the Supreme Court to wait and accept one of these cases when they are ready for Supreme Court review and overrule Quill. 

Eric Citron, Goldstein & Russell and Ron Parsons, Johnson Janklow Abdallah Zeiter & Parsons wrote the SLLC brief which the following organizations joined: the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, and the Government Finance Officers Association.  

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AIC Legislative Committee Meeting Summary: Dec. 1, 2016

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, December 12, 2016

Welcome & Introductions: The meeting was called to order by AIC Legislative Chair John Evans, Mayor of Garden City, who led self-introductions.

Stormwater Phase II MS4 Permits:  AIC Policy Analyst Johanna Bell reported that a public review draft of a new Phase II municipal stormwater general permit will be released soon by the Region 10 office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The federal Clean Water Act established the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, which requires municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) that discharge into waterways to implement stormwater management programs to protect water quality.  

The Minimum Control Measures required under these permits impact facility planning, operation and maintenance, as well as regulation of development, and include:

·         Construction Site Runoff Control,

·         Storm Water Management for Areas of New Development and Redevelopment,

·         Storm Water Infrastructure and Street Management,

·         Illicit Discharge Management, and

·         Education, Outreach and Public Involvement.

MS4 permits impact city operations and best management practices, and put cities in the position of adopting regulations that impact numerous commercial activities such as construction, new development, and industrial operations.

The first NPDES stormwater permits in Idaho were issued to the Boise urban area in 2000 under Phase I, which included the cities of Boise and Garden City, Ada County Highway District, Ada County Drainage District #3, Boise State University and Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) District 3.  One thing to notice is that these permits are issued to a variety of entities including cities, highway districts, counties, universities, and urban drainage districts.

Since 2006, EPA has issued 16 individual NPDES permits to Phase II urban areas (UAs) including Coeur d’Alene, Nampa/Caldwell, Pocatello, and Idaho Falls.  The next permit will include eight additional entities, including those located in Lewiston and Moscow. 

AIC Executive Director Seth Grigg said that cities face real challenges with these unfunded federal mandates and AIC wants to help identify a sustainable source of program funding.  There are two options: a utility-style fee, or an assessment that would be paid by property owners like assessments levied by drainage districts.  There are strengths and weaknesses to both approaches and it’s not clear at this point which alternative is better.  Either of these options would be better than levying property taxes, where high end residential, commercial and industrial properties end up paying more than their fair share.

Grigg said this is going to be a long-term effort to educate legislators about the issue and work toward an equitable funding solution.   

Use of City Rights-of-Way for 5G Wireless: AIC Counsel Jerry Mason said that the technology for 5th generation wireless (5G) is different than earlier generations and that some of the sites must be closer together because of the spectrum used.  Mobilitie and Crown Castle are seeking to take advantage of the Idaho Constitution’s franchise grant for telephone companies and have sought to obtain service provider certificates from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, but they are not phone companies. 

Their goal is to locate poles up to 130 feet tall in city rights-of-way for new 5G technology.  Mason said this could result in obstructions to travel and cities should very seriously consider whether these massive poles belong in city rights-of-way.  The first four generations of wireless technology relied on locations on private property and 5G should follow the same path. 

Municipal Water Update: Chris Bromley of McHugh Bromley said that the North Idaho water rights adjudication is proceeding, but there have been delays in Basin 95, which will be divided into two phases.  Phase 1 will include the cities of Athol, Coeur d’Alene, Fernan Lake, Hayden, Post Falls, Rathdrum, and Spirit Lake and will likely be completed in Fall 2017.  Phase 2 will include the city of Plummer and will likely be completed in 2018.    

Bromley reported that there is now greater clarity on the issue of interconnected well transfers, which is a condition reflected in water rights for the City of Pocatello during Snake River Basin Adjudication.   In the case of a basin wide curtailment, this condition allows the city to designate the wells that will pump senior water rights and even use relatively junior wells for that purpose.  This will allow cities the flexibility to best meet their needs.    

Bromley reported that the Director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources has designated a ground water management area (GWMA) for the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, which is aimed at developing a plan for the sustainable management of the aquifer.  The GWMA covers a vastly larger area than other existing GWMAs.  Petitions for reconsideration have been filed by cities and the Director must consider those petitions and may have a hearing. 

Twenty-four cities are participating in a mitigation plan under the Surface Water Coalition (SWC) delivery call that expires December 31, 2016.  The participating cities include: Aberdeen, Ammon, Blackfoot, Bliss, Carey, Chubbuck, Declo, Dietrich, Gooding, Hazelton, Heyburn, Idaho Falls, Iona, Jerome, Paul, Richfield, Rupert, Shoshone, Pocatello, Rigby, Ririe, Roberts, Sugar City and Wendell.  Cities have been trying to negotiate a new mitigation agreement with the SWC for over a year, but the coalition has little need to negotiate when they are getting everything they want from the GWMA.

Local Government Purchasing Law Updates: Keith Watts of the City of Meridian and Bob Perkins of Ada County discussed their concepts for possible improvements to the local government purchasing law (Idaho Code Title 67, Chapter 28).  In addition to looking at the procurement thresholds, Watts and Perkins said that they are also interested in raising the threshold for use of a licensed public works contractor from $10,000 to $50,000.  They expressed their desire to get feedback from city officials about what works in the current law and areas that could be improved. 

Idaho School Boards Association Legislative Priorities: Jess Harrison of the Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA) gave an update on the association’s legislative priorities for the upcoming session.  She noted that ISBA will continue working with the Newspaper Association of Idaho on legislation proposed last session to permit local governing boards to discuss acquisition of real property in executive session.  

Harrison noted that the executive session statute is currently being interpreted to require four of the five members of the school board to vote in favor of a motion to go into executive session, which poses real challenges given the large number of school board vacancies.  The association would like to have a school board specific provision requiring only a simple majority of the board to vote in favor of an executive session. 

ISBA is also interested in looking at alternatives to general obligation bonds for school construction funding, and is considering development impact fees.  While impact fees would benefit districts that are growing, they would not be any help in districts where population is steady or declining.

Online Sales Tax: Pam Eaton of the Idaho Retailers Association said that the future of online sales and use tax legislation is likely expanding the definition of “nexus” to include not just brick and mortar stores, but office or administrative buildings, paid employees, shipping or storage facilities, etc.  Eaton said a conservative estimate of additional sales and use tax revenue that would result from nexus legislation would be $30-40 million annually.  

Regulation of Home Rentals: John Eaton of the Idaho Association of Realtors said that his association wants to engage with AIC to develop state legislation protecting homeowners’ rights to rent their homes, while at the same time ensuring local flexibility to regulate in the community’s best interests. 

Safe Routes to School: Erin Bennett of the American Heart Association and Cynthia Gibson of the Idaho Walk Bike Alliance said these groups are working to secure a dedicated state funding source for safe routes to school.  The limited federal funds available are not able to meet the very real needs in Idaho communities for biking and pedestrian routes.   

Medicaid Gap: Liz Woodruff of the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy said that legislation to help the 78,000 Idahoans in the Medicaid gap appears unlikely at this point.  These people earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid and don’t earn enough to qualify for subsidized health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. 

Woodruff said that we face the very real possibility of congressional repeal of the Affordable Care Act and potentially turning Medicaid into a block grant program.  Closing the Medicaid gap is important for Idaho cities because these people have no access to mental health or substance abuse treatment, which results in challenges for local law enforcement.

There are some legislators who have endorsed the Primary Care Access Program, which would provide up to $30 million in state funding for primary care for those in the gap population.  Woodruff said that primary care is a great starting point, but it is not a complete answer.

North Idaho Building Contractors Association v. Hayden: Brett Boyer, City Administrator for Hayden, said that the city was sued by the North Idaho Building Contractors Association over its sewer capitalization fees.  The Idaho Supreme Court held that the city’s approach to calculating capitalization fees using future build out was unreasonable and sent the case back down to the district court for further proceedings. 

Boyer said it is imperative for cities to use the equity buy-in approach for calculating fees, which divides the present system replacement value by the number of present system users.  The city’s consultant calculated the fee according to the equity buy-in approach and determined that the city’s fee was reasonable.  The case will likely be appealed again to the Idaho Supreme Court.

Transportation Revenue: Seth Grigg reported that the new transportation revenue amounting to $95 million annually is a help, but it is only a down payment on the $250 million annual state and local transportation funding shortfall.  AIC is hoping that the need to reauthorize the state surplus eliminator—which dedicates half of the state general fund surplus to transportation projects—will provide an opportunity for local highway jurisdictions to get a share of the revenue.  An idea with considerable merit is to use these funds for project grants to help local highway jurisdictions pay for highway and bridge projects.

Liquor by the Drink Licensing in Resort Communities: Seth Grigg reported that the City of Driggs will be sponsoring legislation again in the upcoming session to provide nontransferable liquor by the drink licenses for bona fide restaurants in resort communities.  These communities face real challenges because their resident population, which serves as the basis for determining the number of liquor by the drink licenses, is very small relative to their seasonal tourist population. 

Idaho Association of Counties Legislative Priorities: Teresa Baker of the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) said that a legislative proposal sponsored by Ada County that would have relieved cities of the obligation of providing magistrate court facilities, while taking cities’ fine revenue to provide additional court funding, was tabled by the IAC board. 

Baker noted that IAC will be sponsoring legislation on the following issues of relevance for cities:  defining retention periods for body camera and other types of public safety video recordings; changing emergency dispatchers from the rule of 90 to the rule of 80 for PERSI purposes, which matches police and fire; and changes to clarify the whistleblower statute.

PERSI Hot Topics and Legislation: Don Drum of the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI) said that the PERSI board approved a 1% contribution rate increase at its October meeting.  This increase would take effect July 1, 2018 at the earliest.  Drum said that the increase would be paid 60% by employers and 40% by employees.  The board will look at the fund’s recent investment performance to determine if this increase is really necessary. 

Drum reported that the Professional Fire Fighters of Idaho are sponsoring legislation to provide an unreduced spousal contingent annuitant benefit for public safety (Class 2) members only.  This will not increase contribution rates for employers; the full cost will be paid through a 1.54% rate increase for public safety employees.  This will be mandatory for all public safety employees. 

Jeff Souza, Councilmember for Garden City, reported on a legislative proposal that would ban public sector employers from paying an employee’s PERSI contribution.  He argues that this practice is inequitable because very few employees benefit from it and it serves to mask the true amount an employee is being paid. 

Aerial Fireworks: Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan said that setting off aerial fireworks is illegal in Idaho, but these fireworks can be easily purchased by certifying that the purchaser is a wholesaler who is taking them out of state.  The wholesaler loophole is getting considerable public and political scrutiny after a 19-year-old set off a 2,600 acre fire in the Table Rock area north of Boise last July that destroyed a home and an outbuilding.   Chief Doan said that the Idaho Fire Chiefs Association will be sponsoring legislation to close the wholesaler loophole.    

Electric Bikes: Seth Grigg reported that legislation has been drafted by Rep. Phylis King of Boise to include electric bikes in state code definitions of bicycles and allow electric bikes anywhere conventional bicycles are allowed.   

Local Option Building Code Exemptions for Owner-Builders: Jerry Mason reported that a Kootenai County Commissioner has proposed legislation creating a local option exemption for an owner-builder of a single-family residence to be exempt from building codes.  The owner-builder would still be required to comply with plumbing and electrical codes.  Mason said it makes no sense to provide an exemption for people with no demonstrated competence. 

Magistrate Court Funding: Mayor John Evans of Garden City said that the cities of Meridian and Garden City are awaiting a ruling from a panel of Ada County district judges who will decide whether one or both cities must construct magistrate court facilities pursuant to a 1994 order that predates the construction of the Ada County Courthouse. 

Evans said this issue has real significance for all cities and suggested that it’s time for representatives of cities, counties and the courts to sit down and find a sustainable funding source for magistrate courts that does not take cities’ fine revenue that helps pay the costs of law enforcement.

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House & Senate Local Government Committees have Major Changes for Upcoming Session

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The House and Senate local government committees will see important changes, including new committee chairs, for the upcoming legislative session beginning in January. 

These committees are two of the most important from the perspective of Idaho cities and consider legislation on land use and annexation, among other topics.  You can check out the House and Senate committee rosters on the Idaho Legislature's website.

The Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee will now be chaired by Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, who takes the reins from longtime Chairman Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton.  Siddoway will remain as a member of the committee.

Siddoway moves to chair the Senate State Affairs Committee, which tackles some of the more controversial policy areas including abortion, gun rights, alcohol, gambling and elections.  The State Affairs chair position was vacated due to Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, leaving the Legislature to campaign for a position on the Idaho Supreme Court, which he lost to Robyn Brody. 

Johnson is in his fourth term in the Idaho Senate and serves as the Solid Waste Manager for the City of Lewiston.

The Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee will also see the return of Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg.  Hill is a veteran of the committee and served as its Chairman prior to his election as Pro Tem, but has been off the committee for the past two years.  The committee will see two new members: Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, replaces Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-Inkom; and Sen. Mark Nye, D-Pocatello, replaces Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum.

The House Local Government Committee will also see a new chair as Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, takes the helm at the House Judiciary, Rules & Administration Committee, which was open due to the primary election defeat of veteran legislator and chairman Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry. 

The House Local Government Committee will now be chaired by Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, who previously chaired the House Ways & Means Committee. 

The Ways & Means Committee, which serves the Speaker of the House and is used to quickly introduce or stop legislation, will now be chaired by Rep. Robert Anderst, R-Nampa.

Six new members will be on the House Local Government Committee, including Rep. Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett; Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird; Rep. Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston; Rep. Dustin Manwaring, R-Pocatello; Rep. Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls; and Rep. Sue Chew, D-Boise. 

 

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FDA Ban: Triclosan and 18 Other Anti-Microbial Disinfectants

Posted By Johanna Bell, Thursday, November 3, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2016

On September 2, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of 19 anti-microbial disinfectants, including Triclosan, in consumer products.  The FDA ban applies to products that are intended to be washed off with water and reflects an important first step for wastewater treatment plants owners and operators that have long sought the ban of these materials. Unfortunately, the recent ban does not apply to consumer hand sanitizers or wipes, or to products intended for use in health care settings. 

Soap manufacturers will have one year to remove these compounds from consumer products, and it is expected that similar product bans will be considered by the FDA in the future. 

The proliferation of consumer antiseptic washes and the corresponding increase in the concentrations of triclosan and other chemicals in wastewater influent have raised many potential issues with wastewater treatment utilities.

Approximately 2 or 3 percent of triclosan and triclocarban from wastewater passes through the treatment process and is discharged with the effluent into receiving waters.  In the aquatic environments that receive wastewater effluent, triclosan attaches to the surface of suspended solids and sediments, and can be released into the water again when the sediments are disturbed. Triclosan and triclocarban have been shown to bioaccumulate and to have detrimental and estrogenic effects on aquatic life, including algae, crustaceans, and fish.  

The presence of triclosan may contribute to failure of whole effluent toxicity (WET) tests, which utilities must conduct on their effluent as part of their Clean Water Act permit requirements. WET tests measure the combined effects on aquatic organisms of all pollutants contained in a wastewater utility’s effluent. Failure of a WET test may result in substantial costs for utilities due to requirements for additional testing and evaluation of the causes of toxicity.

Most of the triclosan and triclocarban contained in wastewater partitions to solids and is therefore present in the biosolids produced by the wastewater treatment process.  Many wastewater utilities use their biosolids as fertilizers or soil amendments, and the presence of triclosan has been detected in crops grown in biosolids-amended soils. Furthermore, for utilities that incinerate their biosolids, carcinogenic dioxins may be released due to the burning of triclosan, making it more difficult for utilities to meet their Clean Air Act requirements.

 

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EPA Nutrient Control Technologies and Performance Data: Study/Questionnaire

Posted By Johanna Bell, Thursday, November 3, 2016
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2016

Nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, are one of the nations’ most difficult and costly water quality challenges.  Excess nutrients can result in eutrophication and harmful nutrient related toxic algae blooms have shut down recreation, irrigation, livestock watering, and potable water treatment facilities in at least 20 states in 2016.  At least 11 "Harmful Algal Bloom Health Advisories" were issued across the state in 2016 for Idaho waters.

EPA recently published a Federal Register notice for a Proposed National Collection Request for Nutrient Removal for Secondary Municipal Wastewater Treatment Technologies with a comment period that ends November 18, 2016.  

EPA is proposing to use Section 308 of the Clean Water Act, usually used for data collection in enforcement cases, to collect two rounds of data from at least 2,500 municipal wastewater facilities nationwide.  Under Section 308, response to the data collection request is mandatory, has a 30 day required response, has similar signatory requirements of Discharge Monitoring Reports and NPDES permit Applications, and will address nitrogen and phosphorus influent and effluent data, removal efficiency, and treatment technology.  

AIC staff coordinated and submitted comments with interested member Cities.  Specifically, it appears as though EPA is seeking to establish a duplicate data collection program.

An alternative approach to the one currently proposed by the EPA is to “mine” the data that already exist in NPDES permits, factsheets, Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs), and other sources.  AIC staff and some member Cities note that these data are contained in NPDES permits and Fact Sheets, Discharge Monitoring Reports, Nutrient TMDLs, or Nutrient Treatment Technology and Discharge databases or performance data collected by States or regional water quality agencies.  

Data sources that could meet these needs include Chesapeake Bay nitrogen and performance data, Wisconsin statewide data for implementation of the 1992 Technology based Phosphorus standard, Montana treatment technology and performance data associated numeric nutrient nitrogen and phosphorus criteria, Long Island Sound technology and nitrogen performance data, Neuse River TMDL treatment technology and performance data, Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL treatment technology and performance data, and possibly others.  

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Associated Taxpayers Conference Will Cover Local Government Funding & Economic Development

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

City officials are strongly encouraged to register for the 70th Annual Associated Taxpayers of Idaho (ATI) Conference, which will be held Wednesday, November 30 at the Boise Centre in Boise.  

This year’s conference will focus on economic development, tax policy, and local government funding issues.

The one-day conference will kick off at 8:30 a.m. with opening remarks by Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little.  At lunch, Idaho Governor Butch Otter will address the attendees.  

The presentations and panels include:

  • Jared Walczak of the Tax Foundation will cover “How Idaho Compares and Competes.”
  • Cortney Liddiard of Ball Ventures will discuss “Taking the Temperature of Idaho Economic Development.”
  • A panel will discuss local government funding issues, including panelists April Renfro of the Idaho Legislative Audits Division, Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade, Idaho State Tax Commissioner Ken Roberts, and Ashley Goul of Verandah Sportswear.
  • Bob Miller of Albertsons will discuss “Why Idaho? A CEO Perspective”
  • Gregory Casey of Veritas Advisors will present “In Transition or In Trouble: Our Great Republic Post 2016.”

The ATI conference is always very informative and provides a great opportunity to network with the many legislators and other state and local officials in attendance.

 

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