Show All Answers
Idaho law provides that each city must prepare an annual budget which includes the following elements:
After the budget is drafted and reviewed, the council gives its tentative approval and the full budget is spread across the council meeting minutes.
The city then publishes legal notice of the budget and notice of budget hearing twice at least seven days apart in the official city newspaper. The notice includes all the information specified in the bullets above as well as the total amount of property tax revenue and nonproperty tax revenue for the upcoming fiscal year (Idaho Code 50-1002.) Sample budget hearing notices are provided in Appendix D of your City Budgeting Manual.
After the public hearing the council may proceed to adopt the appropriations ordinance, which must be passed by the council and subsequently published once as a legal notice before the new fiscal year on October 1. The appropriations ordinance must be mailed to the Idaho Secretary of State's office (P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0080) (Idaho Code 50-1003). Sample appropriation ordinances are provided in Appendix E of your City Budgeting Manual.
Article VII, Section 17 of the Idaho Constitution requires that revenues from state taxes on motor fuels and vehicle registration fees must 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.”
To ensure accountability and transparency in the spending of these dedicated revenues, Idaho law requires that local highway jurisdictions submit an annual report to the State Controller listing revenues and expenses for construction, maintenance and administration of streets, bridges and culverts. The report for the fiscal year ending September 30 must be submitted to the Idaho Controller’s Office (P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0011) by December 31. The report must also be published once as a legal notice in the official city newspaper between January 1 and 15. It is important to note that the state Controller's Office will withhold state Highway Distribution Account revenue from any city that fails to submit the report. For more information see the AIC online training video on completing the Annual Road & Street Finance Report.
Idaho Code 50-1010 clearly fixes responsibility on the city council for meeting the audit requirements prescribed by law and funding the audit process. The minimum audit requirements are set forth in Idaho Code 67-450B, which include the following.
The city treasurer is required to publish a quarterly financial statement as a legal notice in the official city newspaper. The notice must specifically include the following information.
The statement must be published once as a legal notice within 30 days of the end of the quarter, except for the final quarter of the fiscal year, which may be published no later than 30 days from the date of completion of the annual audit. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section is a misdemeanor (Idaho Code 50-1011).
Bars can sell liquor by the drink during city elections unless the city has an ordinance prohibiting the sale of liquor by the drink during city elections (Idaho Code 23-927).
State liquor stores and contract liquor stores are allowed to be open and sell package liquor on Election Day (Idaho Code 23-307).
Nominated candidates (those listed on the ballot) have up to 45 days before Election Day to withdraw their candidacy by filing a notarized statement of withdrawal with the city clerk (Idaho Code 34-1405A).
Declared write-in candidates may withdraw at any time up to the election by filing a notarized statement of withdrawal with the city clerk.
Idaho law prohibits public officials (elected, appointed and staff) from soliciting, accepting or agreeing to accept any compensation or gift from any person subject to city regulation, inspection or investigation; from any person known to be interested in or likely to be interested in any contract or purchase; or from any person known to be interested in any administrative matter (Idaho Code 18-1356).
The law provides an exception for trivial gifts and benefits which do not exceed $50 in value, which are incidental to personal, professional or business contacts (Idaho Code 18-1359(1)(b)).
The law prohibits city officials—elected, appointed, and staff—from taking any official action or making a formal decision or recommendation on any matter where the official has a conflict of interest and has failed to disclose the conflict of interest (Idaho Code 59-704).
Conflict of interest is defined as an action, decision or recommendation by a city official which would financially benefit the city official, a member of their household, or a business with which the city official or a member of their household is associated (Idaho Code 59-703(4)).
The law provides that no conflict of interest occurs when the benefit arises from an action that affects the city official in the same way as others engaged in a particular industry or occupation. There is also no conflict of interest on revenue or tax measures when the city official is affected similarly to members of the general public.
The city official should seek advice from the city attorney to determine if a conflict of interest exists. If the city attorney advises that no real or potential conflict of interest exists, the public official may proceed to act and is not subject to the provisions of the Ethics in Government Act. If the city attorney advises that a real or potential conflict of interest exists, then the official must disclose the conflict as follows.
An elected city official must disclose the nature of the conflict on the record at a councilmeeting prior to acting on the matter and is subject to any city rules governing conflicts of interest. The councilmember then must take all action required by the council, which may include recusing him/herself from participating and voting on the matter. If a councilmember asks to be excused from voting on an issue that involves a conflict of interest and the council does not excuse the individual from participating, the councilmember is exempt from civil or criminal liability (Idaho Code 59-704(4)).
An appointed or employed city official must prepare a written statement to the mayor and council describing the matter and the nature of the conflict. The official is entitled to act on the legal advice of the city attorney (Idaho Code 59-704(5)).
The Local Land Use Planning Act prohibits a member of the city council, a planning and zoning commissioner or a city employee from participating in any proceeding or action if the person, their business partner or any person related by blood or marriage within the second degree has an economic interest in the proceeding or action. Any actual or potential conflict must be disclosed at or before the meeting at which the action is to be heard. Knowing violation is a misdemeanor (Idaho Code 67-6506).
This year AIC will be printing customized certificates of election for every newly elected mayor and councilmember, but to do this we need your completed directory update information submitted by the end of November.
The incumbent mayor and councilmembers convene the meeting, approve the minutes of any prior meetings, and approve payment of the bills.
2. Officials Subscribe to the Oath of Office.
Normally, the city clerk administers the oath of office to those elected (and re-elected) at the November city election. Each official stands, raises their right hand, listens as the oath of office is read by the city clerk, and at the end of the oath responds “I do” or “I will.” The elected official may choose to recite the oath as it is read.
Each elected official must sign the oath of office, which is also signed by the city clerk and kept by the city as an official record. The mayor may also administer the oath of office to councilmembers; however, a newly elected mayor does not have authority to administer oaths until after he/she has taken the oath.
3. Presentation of Certificates of Election.
The sworn-in officials each receive a Certificate of Election signed by the mayor and the city clerk. The mayor—even if newly elected and installed—signs the certificates, including their own.
4. Elect President of the Council.
The sworn-in officials take their seats and the council proceeds to elect one of its members to serve as council president. The council may then proceed with other necessary business.
Individuals appointed to fill vacancies are sworn in by the city clerk, sign the oath of office and each receive a Certificate of Appointment (available upon request from AIC).
Idaho Code 60-107 defines “daily newspaper” for the purposes of Idaho Code 60-106 as a newspaper published “for five (5) consecutive days a week, excepting legal holidays…”
Because the provisions of Idaho Code 60-106 are so complicated, city officials are strongly urged to get advice and counsel from their city attorney prior to designating or changing the designation of the official city newspaper.
Rates for publication of legal notices are set by Idaho Code 60-105.
Text: Rate for first publication is 8 cents per pica; the rate for each subsequent publication is 7 cents per pica.
Table & Figure Matter: Rate for first publication is 9 cents per pica; the rate for each subsequent publication is 7 cents per pica.
District boundaries are redrawn after every decennial census to account for changes in population, a process known as “reapportionment.” As a result of a 1994 constitutional amendment, an independent bipartisan commission is responsible for carrying out the reapportionment process. The commission is charged with drawing districts with nearly equal population; districts created during the 2011 reapportionment each include approximately 44,800 people.
The Senate also elects a President Pro Tempore (referred to as the “Pro Tem”) who presides over the Senate in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor and oversees much of the day-to-day business of the Senate, including controlling the chamber, rooms, passages and corridors of the Senate when in session; supervising Senate employees; approving purchases; and appointing members of committees and committee chairs.
The Speaker of the House serves as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives. Unlike the President of the Senate, the Speaker is a member of the House: the Speaker is elected by the House membership and is entitled to vote on all bills and resolutions. The Speaker is also responsible for overseeing floor sessions, ruling on parliamentary questions, referring bills to committee, appointing members of committees and committee chairs, and supervising House employees.
In addition to the presiding officer, the majority and minority party in each house select a Majority/Minority Leader (“floor leader”), an Assistant Majority/Minority Leader (“assistant floor leader”) and Majority/Minority Caucus Chair. These officials are responsible for determining party strategy, disseminating information to party members, and lining up party members for key votes. The caucus chair presides over party caucuses, or closed meetings for party members to discuss strategy and share information.
Committee assignments are made by the Speaker of the House or Senate Pro Tem generally according to seniority and the preferences of the individual members. Committee meeting schedules are updated daily on the Idaho Legislature’s website at http://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/agenda.htm
Commerce & Human Resources
Health & Welfare
Judiciary & Rules
Local Government & Taxation
Resources & Environment
House of Representatives Committees:
Environment, Energy & Technology
Judiciary, Rules & Administration
Resources & Conservation
Revenue & Taxation
Transportation & Defense
Ways & Means
Each bill is assigned to a committee and the committee chair has basically absolute discretion to determine when, or if, the bill will be scheduled for a hearing. Bills that die without a hearing are said to have been “put in the drawer” by the committee chair.
Committees are responsible for conducting in-depth hearings on each bill. The hearing begins with a summary of the bill by the legislative sponsor, which is followed by testimony from members of the public and lobbyists concerning the proposed legislation.
Following the hearing, the committee must decide whether to hold the bill in committee (kill the bill), recommend that the bill be referred to another standing committee or be withdrawn with the privilege of introducing another bill, or be sent to the floor with one of the following recommendations:
* Before the Committee Hearing: To find out when your bill will be up for hearing, you can monitor committee agendas, but these do not generally provide much advance notice. Typically agendas are posted online in the afternoon for committee meetings the following day. You can check out committee agendas online at http://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/agenda.htm
You can also check the AIC Bill Tracker to see if the bill has been scheduled for a hearing. The most effective way to determine when a particular bill is up for hearing is to check with the committee secretary.
Read the bill and carefully plan your testimony. You can find the bills online, arranged numerically and by topic, at http://legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2011/legIndex.htm
You will be more effective getting your message across if you have prepared your testimony in writing for distribution to committee members. You can then orally summarize your points to conserve time.
* At the Committee Hearing: Be early and be prepared to wait. Many committees meet upon adjournment of the House or Senate, which means that you may have to wait for legislators to finish their business on the floor.
Sign-up sheets are available at all committee hearings. Be sure to sign your name when you arrive, indicate your position on the legislation and whether you intend to testify.
The chair will announce when a particular bill is coming before the committee for discussion, and the bill’s sponsor is the first to speak. After testimony from the sponsor, the chair will ask to hear from those who have indicated on the sign-up sheet that they wish to testify about the particular bill.
Begin your testimony by addressing the chair and committee members. State your name, address, and why you are there. For example: “Mr. (or Madam) Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Pat Q. Public and I’m from Emmett. I am in favor of this bill because...”
Be prepared to answer questions from legislators. Respond to questions as best you can and don’t be embarrassed if you do not have a specific answer. When answering a question, always address your answer through the chair: “Mr. (or Madam) Chairman, and Representative Smith, I appreciate your question...”
Be courteous and brief, and try not to repeat testimony offered by previous speakers. Don’t be offended if legislators come and go during a meeting. They have other commitments including the need, at times, to present bills in other committee hearings occurring simultaneously.
* After You Testify: Do not expect immediate committee action. The bill may be held until another day. If the vote on your bill is postponed and the chair does not announce a date for further consideration, check back with the committee secretary about future scheduling. You are welcome to stay after the discussion on your bill and listen until the end of the committee meeting.
AIC Legislative Blog: AIC has a blog that provides updates on legislation of interest to city officials and other important legislative issues. You can check it out at our website www.idahocities.org under the "Legislative" header by clicking "2012 AIC Legislative Blog."
AIC Bill Tracker: The Bill Tracker on the AIC website (listed under the "Legislative" header) provides a list of bills by topic, with AIC's position and the up-to-date status of the bill.
House & Senate Third Reading Claendars: To catch floor debate and vote on a particular bill, you can monitor the bill's progress on the Third Reading Calendar, updated daily at: www.legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/agenda.htm
Generally, the closer a bill is to the top of the Third Reading Calendar, the sooner it will be up for floor consideration. It is difficult to predict when a bill will come up for debate and vote because the Third Reading Calendar is often shifted and bills are considered out of order--this happens more frequently later in the session. Furthermore, debate on bills can range from a couple minutes to hours in length, depending on the nature of the particular bill.
Internet Streaming Video & Audio: Live streaming video of the House and Senate floor action and JFAC committee meetings, as well as live audio of House and Senate Committee meetings, is available through the Idaho Public Television website at www.idahoptv.org/leglive
Legislature's Website: The Idaho Legislature's website is a tremendous resource for information, including lists of House and Senate leadership, members and committee assignments; House and Senate rules; contact information; legislation from the current session and going back to 1998 listed numerically and by subject; links to the Idaho Constitution, statutes and administrative rules; publications (including the Legislative Directory and the Statement of Purpose/Fiscal Note Drafting Guide); and information on the Legislative Services Office and Legislative Information Center. You can check out the Legislature's website at www.legislature.idaho.gov
House & Senate Third Reading Calendars: To catch floor debate and vote on a particular bill, you can monitor the bill’s progress on the Third Reading Calendar, updated daily at http://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/agenda.htm Generally, the closer a bill is to the top of the Third Reading Calendar, the sooner it will be up for floor consideration. It can be difficult to predict when a bill will come up for debate and vote because the Third Reading Calendar is often shifted. Furthermore, debate on bills can range from a few minutes to hours in length, depending on the nature of the particular bill. Finally, the Legislature can immediately proceed to consider any bill through a unanimous consent request (this happens more frequently later in the session).
After the 36th Legislative Day, only “privileged” committees may introduce legislation. In the House, privileged committees include: State Affairs, Appropriations, Education, Revenue and Taxation, and Ways and Means. Privileged committees in the Senate include: State Affairs, Finance, and Judiciary and Rules.
Committee introduction of legislation occurs at “print hearings,” where the legislative sponsor provides a brief summary of the legislation and answers questions from members of the committee. Typically print hearings are brief affairs with the committee making a very cursory examination and voting to “print” the legislation. However, if the committee uncovers glaring problems with the legislation, it may vote to “hold” or kill the RS. Following committee approval, the legislation is presented to the Chief Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate, assigned a bill number, and placed on first reading.
First Reading, Printing and Assignment to Committee: At first reading, the title of the bill is “read across the desk” by the Chief Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate on the floor during the appropriate order of business—the 8th Order in the House or 11th Order in the Senate.
After the title is read across the desk, the presiding officer announces the referral of the bill to the Judiciary & Rules Committee for printing. The committee also ensures that the bill does not duplicate any other bills that have already been introduced.
After the bill is printed—usually overnight—it is reported printed by the Judiciary & Rules Committee and assigned to the appropriate standing committee by the presiding officer. Committee Consideration: Once a bill is assigned to committee, the committee chair has basically absolute discretion to determine when the bill will be scheduled for a committee hearing. Bills that die this way are said to have been “put in the drawer” by the chair.
The committee is responsible for conducting an in-depth hearing on the bill. The hearing begins with a summary of the bill by the legislative sponsor, which is followed by testimony from members of the public and lobbyists concerning the proposed legislation.
Following the hearing, the committee must decide whether to:
If the committee votes to send the bill to the floor and it is not sent to General Orders for amendment, then the bill moves to second reading.
Amendment of Bills: Occasionally, a bill requires changes and is sent to the amending order by committee or at the request of the bill’s sponsor or another legislator. The amending order is a unique parliamentary mechanism with its own jargon and rules. Bill sponsors often prefer having bills reprinted rather than going through the amending order because the latter means that the entire bill will be opened up to amendments from other legislators. The House or Senate will occasionally go into the amending order (at the 12th Order in the House or 14th Order in the Senate), and the body becomes a “Committee of the Whole” to consider amendments. The Committee of the Whole is comprised of the entire House or Senate typically with the assistant majority leader presiding. Amendments are submitted in writing and include a brief statement of purpose. The Committee of the Whole considers the bill section by section until all proposed amendments have been offered, debated, and either accepted or rejected.
Voting on amendments is by voice vote, but a member may request division, at which point the chair asks members to stand to vote in favor of or against the amendment. Votes of individual legislators are not recorded in the amending order.
There are also strict limits on debate in the amending order. The presiding officer frequently has to remind members to confine their remarks to the particular amendment under consideration and not debate the bill. There are also time limits on debate—proponents and opponents are given a few minutes to outline their positions on the proposed amendment.
Amendments adopted by the Committee of the Whole are inserted into the bill by the staff of the Legislative Services Office in a process referred to as “engrossing.” The engrossed bill must go through three readings before coming up for a floor vote.
If the House amends a Senate bill, the amended bill must be sent back to the Senate for concurrence on the amendments (and vice versa). Rarely, conference committees composed of members of the House and Senate appointed by the Speaker and Pro Tem will be used to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of the same bill. Second Reading: When a bill is reported out of committee, it is placed on the Second Reading Calendar and the title is read across the desk at the 10th Order of business in the House or the 12th Order of business in the Senate. The following legislative day, the bill is automatically placed on the Third Reading Calendar unless other action has been taken.
Third Reading, Debate and Voting: Third reading is the point at which the bill comes up for debate and vote on the House or Senate floor. Once the House or Senate reaches the appropriate order of business—the 11th Order in the House or the 13th Order in the Senate—then bills are considered in their order on the Third Reading Calendar (unless unanimous consent is granted to reorder the calendar or consider another bill out of order, which happens more frequently later in the session). The House and Senate Third Reading Calendars are updated daily and are available on the Legislature’s website at www.legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/agenda.htm
The presiding officer announces that the bill is up for consideration. At this point House and Senate rules require that the entire bill be read across the desk by the Chief Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate. However, the bill’s sponsor will typically rise and request unanimous consent to dispense with further reading of the bill. If any legislator objects to this request, the bill must be read in its entirety. Floor consideration begins with an introduction and summary by the bill’s sponsor(s). Members are allowed to ask questions of the sponsor(s) and debate for or against the bill. After debate is finished, the sponsor(s) make concluding remarks and announce that debate is closed. At this point, the presiding officer announces the question: “The question is: shall House/Senate Bill [number] pass?”
Members of the House of Representatives vote electronically and their votes are instantaneously tallied and displayed on large screens on each side of the chamber. In the Senate voting typically occurs by roll call—the Secretary calls each Senator’s name in alphabetical order and records their vote on a tally sheet. Senators are allowed one minute to explain their vote if they have not participated in debate. Near the end of the session when the number of bills is at its peak, it is common for a Senator to request unanimous consent to apply a vote from a previously considered unanimously passed bill to an uncontroversial bill that is currently being considered, as a way to speed up the process. If any Senator objects, then a recorded roll call vote must occur. Most issues require passage by a simple majority: 50 percent plus one vote of the members present and voting. There are certain exceptions: votes to override the Governor’s veto require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting in both houses, and constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority of the full House and Senate. If the bill passes, the presiding officer asks if there are any corrections to the title of the bill. After any corrections are made, the presiding officer announces that the title is approved and the bill proceeds as follows:
Governor’s Action: After receiving a bill passed by both the House and Senate, the Governor may:
For regular council meetings, notice must be posted at least five calendar days before the meeting and the agenda must be posted at least 48 hours prior to the meeting (Idaho Code 67-2343).
For special council meetings, notice and agenda must be posted at least 24 hours prior to the meeting, except in the case of emergencies (Idaho Code 67-2343).
Meeting notices and agendas must be posted in a prominent place at city hall, but if no principal office exists, posting occurs at the building where the meeting is to be held (Idaho Code 67-2343).
The following subsections of Idaho Code 67-2345 outline the issues that may be discussed in executive session.
(1)(a) To consider hiring a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent (DOES NOT apply to filling a vacancy in an elective office or deliberations about staffing needs in general).
(1)(b) To consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent.
(1)(c) To conduct deliberations concerning labor negotiations or to acquire an interest in real property which is not owned by a public agency.
(1)(d) To consider records that are exempt from public disclosure.
(1)(e) To consider preliminary negotiations involving matters of trade or commerce in which the governing body is in competition with governing bodies in other states or nations.
(1)(f) To communicate with legal counsel to discuss pending litigation or controversies imminently likely to be litigated.
(1)(i) To communicate with the city's risk manager or insurance provider to discuss the adjustment of a pending claim or prevention of a claim imminently likely to be filed.
(2) Labor negotiations may be conducted in executive session if either side requests closed meetings.
Ordinances are formal legislative acts of the council and should be used whenever the council intends to pass a regulatory measure, especially when it provides a penalty for violation. The procedures for adopting ordinances are prescribed by Idaho Code 50-901 through 50-906 and must be strictly followed.
It is very important to comply with the provisions of Idaho Code Title 50, Chapter 9 when adopting ordinances because failure to follow the legal requirements may result in an ordinance being struck down by a court.
Idaho Code 50-902 provides that ordinances must be read on three different days—the complete ordinance must be read once and two readings may be by title only.
However, the council may dispense with the reading rule by majority vote of the full council. So a four-member council must have a minimum of three votes and a six-member council a minimum of four votes in order to dispense with the reading rule. The motion is as follows: I move to dispense with the rule requiring ordinances to be read on three separate days and once in full, and that the ordinance be read once (either by title or in full).
Adoption of ordinances must be by roll call vote of the council with each councilmember’s vote recorded individually in the council minutes.
An ordinance must be published in full or by summary in the official city newspaper within 30 days following council adoption (see Idaho Code 50-329 for special requirements for publishing franchise ordinances).
Idaho Code 50-901A provides that ordinances may be published by summary, but the full text of any ordinance must be promptly provided to any citizen upon request. The summary must include:
Idaho Code 59-514 defines personal services as “performance for remuneration (i.e. compensation) by an individual on a specified contractual basis of specialized professional or consultive expertise germane to administration, maintenance or conduct of governmental activities which require intellectual or sophisticated and varied services, dependent upon facilities, invention, imagination or a specific talent which the state or the taxing entity itself cannot provide or accomplish.”
Common examples of personal services include planning consultants, digital mapping services, software maintenance, etc. These services are exempt from competitive bidding requirements (Idaho Code 67-2803(4)).
Idaho Code 59-514 requires cities to publish legal notice in the official city newspaper within 15 days of entering into a personal service contract in excess of $10,000 per year. The notice must include: the parties, the amount of compensation and a brief description of the work to be performed.
Purchases under $25,000: The city may purchase from any vendor selected by the city council, as the council determines to be in the best interests of the city (Idaho Code 67-2803(2)). The city may prescribe additional procedures in a procurement policy.
Purchases between $25,000 and $50,000: The city must make a written solicitation for bids (by fax, email, mail or hand delivery) to at least three vendors selected by the city, describing the goods or services to be purchased. The request must describe the method for vendors to submit their written bids (electronically or by physical delivery) and the date and time by which bids must be received by the clerk or other authorized official. The request must provide the vendors at least three business days to respond, except in an emergency (Idaho Code 67-2806).
When the bids are received, they are compiled and submitted to the city council (or an official authorized by the council) for approval of the lowest responsive bid or all bids are rejected and the process starts over again. If two or more vendors tie for the lowest bid, the council or its authorized official may select either vendor at its discretion.
Purchases in Excess of $50,000: The purchase must be made following a competitive sealed bid process from the qualified vendor submitting the lowest bid in compliance with bidding procedures and meeting the city’s specifications (Idaho Code 67-2806). The city council may also preauthorize the purchase of equipment at public auction.
The process to obtain bids begins when the city publishes two legal notices soliciting bids in the official city newspaper. The first notice must be published at least two weeks before bid opening; the second notice must be published at least a week prior to bid opening. The notice must succinctly describe the goods or services to be procured and must state that specifications, bid forms, instructions, contract documents and other information are available upon request to any interested bidder.
The city may require bid security of up to 5 percent of the amount of the bid. If security is required, a bid may not be considered unless security is provided in the form required by the city, including:
Any bid received by the city may not be withdrawn after the time set for opening of bids. Sealed bids must be opened in public at the date, time and place specified in the published notices and thereafter be compiled and submitted to the city council. The city council may award the contract to the vendor submitting the lowest responsive bid or the council may reject all bids and go through the process again. If two or more bids are the same and are the low bids, the city council may accept either in its discretion.
Construction Projects under $25,000: The city can select any licensed public works contractor believed to provide the best value. For public works construction valued at less than $10,000, contractors without a public works construction license may be used (Idaho Code 67-2803(2)).
Construction Projects from $25,000 to $100,000: The city must make a written solicitation for bids (by fax, email, mail or hand delivery) to at least three licensed public works contractors selected by the city (Idaho Code 67-2805).
The solicitation must describe the project in sufficient detail to allow an experienced contractor to understand what the city seeks to build; specify the method for contractors to submit their bids (electronically or by physical delivery); and provide the date, time and place by which bids must be received by the clerk or other authorized official of the city. The city must allow at least three business days for prospective bidders to respond (except in an emergency).
The written bids are compiled and submitted to the city council or an official authorized by the council. The city must accept the low bid from a qualified, licensed public works contractor or reject all bids and go through the process again. If two or more contractors submit the same low bid, the city council or its authorized official may select whichever contractor it desires.
Construction Projects over $100,000: There are two options: Category A and Category B.
The city must publish two legal notices soliciting bids in the official newspaper: the first at least two weeks before bid opening and the second at least a week before bid opening. The notice must succinctly describe the project to be constructed and inform prospective bidders that specifications, bid forms, instructions, contract documents and other materials are available upon request for a reasonable copying fee. The notice must also state the date, time and place by which sealed bids must be received by the city clerk or other authorized official.
The city may require bid security of up to 5 percent of the amount of the bid. If security is required, a bid may not be considered unless security is provided in the form required by the city. The city may require security to be provided by one of the following methods:
All submitted bids must be sealed and the project name must be identified on the outside of the envelope. Any bid received by the city may not be withdrawn after the date and time of bid opening. The sealed bids must be opened in public at the date, time and place specified in the published notices and thereafter be compiled and submitted to the council. The council must award the contract to the qualified low bidder or reject all bids and re-bid the project. If two bids are the same and the low bid, the council may choose the bidder it prefers. If no bids are received, the council may procure without further competitive bidding procedures.
Category B: The process under Category B consists of two stages: developing a list of prequalified contractors and the submission of sealed bids from prequalified contractors.
The prequalification stage begins with publication of legal notice soliciting Statements of Qualifications from contractors. The first publication must be at least two weeks before the deadline and the second publication must be at least one week before the deadline. The city's prequalification standards may include:
The notice must include the standards for evaluating the qualifications of contractors and the deadline for contractors to submit Statements of Qualifications.
After reviewing the Statements of Qualifications, the city may select the licensed contractors meeting its criteria. The city must provide written explanation to any licensed contractor that fails to meet the prequalification standards.
The bidding stage commences with notice soliciting bids and indicating the date, time and place set for public opening of bids. If the selection process involves prime contractors, the notice must be provided to all prequalified prime contractors at least 14 days before bid opening. If the selection process involves specialty or subordinate contractors, the notice must be published twice as a legal notice in the official city newspaper, with the first publication at least two weeks before bid opening and the second publication at least one week before bid opening. The notice must succinctly describe the project to be constructed and indicate that copies of specifications, bid forms, instructions, contract documents and general and special instructions are available upon request and payment of a reasonable plan copy fee.
Sealed bids must be presented to the clerk or other authorized official with a concise statement on the outside indicating the particular project.
The city may require bid security of up to 5 percent of the amount of the bid (see Category A above).
Any bid received by the city may not be withdrawn after the date and time of bid opening. The sealed bids are opened in public at the date, time and place specified in the notice and are then compiled and submitted to the council for award. The council awards to the lowest qualified bidder or may reject all bids and re-bid the project. If identical low bids are received, the city council may choose the bidder it prefers. If no bids are received, the council may move forward with the project without further competitive bidding.
For contracts in which the fee is anticipated to be greater than $25,000, the city must establish selection criteria (not based on price) and solicit statements of qualifications from interested professional engineers or professional land surveyors through published legal notice (Idaho Code 67-2320). The notice must be published in the official city newspaper twice, the first time at least two weeks before the deadline for submitting statements of qualifications and the second time at least one week before the deadline.
The city then reviews the proposals and ranks them in order of qualifications. The city and the highest-ranked firm then finalize the scope of services and negotiate a suitable fee. If they cannot agree, the city can terminate negotiations and begin discussions with the next highest ranked firm.
For contracts with an anticipated fee less than $25,000 the city does not have to advertise the solicitation, but must still select based on demonstrated competence and qualifications.
A payment bond protects the suppliers and subcontractors, as well as the city, in the event that the general contractor fails to pay those who provide labor, materials or equipment for the project. Payment bonds exist because suppliers and subcontractors can’t place a lien on the city’s property if they aren’t paid by the contractor. If the city does not obtain a payment bond, then the city is on the hook to pay those expenses. The contractor is required to obtain a payment bond payable to the city for at least 85 percent of the contract amount (Idaho Code 54-1926).
A performance bond protects the city in the event the contractor fails to faithfully perform the contract in accordance with the plans and specifications. The contractor is required to obtain a performance bond payable to the city for at least 85 percent of the contract amount (Idaho Code 54-1926).
Cities are prohibited from charging for public records requests involving up to 100 pages of copies or less than 2 hours of labor (Idaho Code 9-338(10)).
Cities may establish fee schedules to recover actual costs associated with records requests involving over 100 pages, more than two hours of labor, or where nonpublic information must be redacted (Idaho Code 9-338(10)).
Labor costs for locating and/or copying records are calculated based on the hourly rate of the lowest paid employee or official who is necessary and qualified to process the request.
If redactions must be made by legal counsel, the maximum hourly rate that may be charged differs depending on whether the city relies on contract legal counsel or has one or more attorney(s) on staff.
Itemized fee statements must show the per page cost for copies, the hourly rate of employees and attorneys involved in responding to the request, and the actual time spent on the request.
A civil penalty of up to $1,000 may be assessed against a public official who deliberately and in bad faith refuses a legitimate request for inspection or copying of a public record (Idaho Code 9-345).
The law provides immunity from liability for public officials who act in good faith in attempting to comply with the law, which means following the advice of the city attorney (Idaho Code 9-346).
54-1218. Public Work. It shall be unlawful for this state, or for any county, city, school district, irrigation district, drainage district, highway district, or other subdivision of the state, having power to levy taxes or assessments against property situated therein, to engage in the construction of any public work when the public health or safety is involved unless the plans and specifications and estimates have been prepared by, and the construction reviewed by a professional engineer.
54-1229. Legal Survey of Land. No survey of land, or plat or subdivision shall be legal unless made by or under the responsible charge of a professional land surveyor. All land surveys made under the authority of the state, or of any political subdivision of the state, must be performed by a professional land surveyor.
54-1202(11). Professional land surveying…mean(s) responsible charge of land surveying to determine the correct boundary description, to establish or reestablish land boundaries, or to plat lands and subdivisions thereof…
67-2320. Professional Service Contracts with Design Professionals, Construction Managers and Professional Land Surveyors. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, it shall be the policy of this state that all public agencies and political subdivisions of the state of Idaho and their agents shall make selections for professional engineering, architectural, landscape architecture, construction management and professional land surveying services, including services by persons licensed pursuant to chapters 3, 12, 30 and 45, title 54, Idaho Code, on the basis of qualifications and demonstrated competence and shall negotiate contracts or agreements for such services on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualifications for the type of services required at fair and reasonable prices.
Idaho Code 67-2320 sets forth the requirements for the QBS process. In summary, for contracts in which the fee is anticipated to be greater than $25,000, the city must establish selection criteria (not based on price) and solicit statements of qualifications from interested professional engineers or professional land surveyors through a published legal notice. The notice must be published in the official city newspaper twice, the first time at least two weeks before the deadline for submitting statements of qualifications and the second time at least one week before the deadline.
The city then reviews the proposals and ranks them in order of qualifications. The city and the highest-ranked firm then finalize the scope of services and negotiate a suitable fee. If they cannot agree, the city can terminate negotiations and undertake discussions with the next highest ranked firm.
For contracts with an anticipated fee less than $25,000 the city does not have to advertise the solicitation, but must still select based on demonstrated competence and qualifications.
Secondly, often a city knows it needs to undertake a project, but does not know all the steps that might be involved in order to successfully accomplish that project. Selecting the most qualified firm and then negotiating a detailed scope of services gives both sides an opportunity to understand in detail what will be expected of the professional engineer and of the city.
Lastly, the qualifications of the professional engineer can greatly impact the overall project price. The design fee for a project is typically only 5 to 15 percent of the construction budget, and much less than that based on the project’s life cycle cost (including operation and maintenance). The big dollars for the city are in construction and operation. A design by the most qualified professional engineering firm, relying on their experience and innovation, has a high probability of lowering construction bid prices versus the low-price engineering alternative.
Moreover, the experience of the professional engineer as it relates to the construction process is also very valuable in mitigating claims, change orders, and delays. Finally, the more qualified professional engineer will find ways to make the project more effective to operate and maintain, lowering the overall life cycle cost. These probable savings through the use of QBS will far outweigh the relatively minor savings in engineering fees if selection were based on lowest price.
A recent study proved that QBS selection of professional engineers is more cost and time-effective than a “low bid” approach. Commissioned by the American Public Works Association (APWA) and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and performed by independent researchers from Georgia Tech and the University of Colorado, the 2009 study reached the following conclusions.
QBS is so vital to the protection of the public life, safety, and welfare that it is mandated for all federally funded projects through the Brooks Act of 1972 (Public Law 92-582). APWA likewise encourages the use of QBS for selection of design professionals.
When a project comes up in a particular category, the city assigns that project to the firm on the approved list that the city believes will best execute the project. Then a scope of work and fee are negotiated. If negotiations fail, the city may negotiate with another firm from the approved list. Another option would be to negotiate the first project with the highest ranked firm on the approved list and the second project with the second firm, and so on.
Often on larger projects, the city may request a “mini proposal” from several of the firms on the approved list to gather additional QBS information related to that project, and then award the project based on the results of the mini proposal.
Also, the QBS Facilitators Council is available to assist you in the QBS process and answer questions that you may have.
The state Highway Distribution Account allocates revenues from fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees and other miscellaneous sources to the Idaho Transportation Department (57 percent), local highway jurisdictions (38 percent) and the Idaho State Police (5 percent). The share going to local highway jurisdictions is allocated 30 percent to cities and 70 percent to counties and highway districts. The cities’ share is apportioned on the basis of population.
In order to ensure accountability and transparency in the spending of these 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 ITD officials.
AIC has also prepared city-specific instructions to assist city officials in completing 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.
In 2000 the Idaho Legislature combined the county and state distributions into a single revenue sharing program. The use of these funds is unrestricted unless a city chooses to dedicate them for a specific purpose.
Today, 11.5% of sales tax revenue is distributed through the revenue sharing program to cities, counties and non-school special districts (Idaho Code 63-3638).
Just over half (56.4%) is allocated through the State Distribution formula, divided equally among cities and counties. The cities’ portion is distributed according to city population (50%) and assessed market value (50%). About $40 million is allocated to cities annually through the State Distribution formula.
The remaining portion (43.6%) is allocated through the County Distribution formula. Because of a "hold harmless" provision in the County Distribution, cities receive a base, which is the amount received in the fourth quarter of calendar year 1999. The base can increase up to an additional 5%. Any excess in sales tax receipts over 105% of the base level is distributed half to cities and half to counties and the cities' portion is allocated according to population. About $20 million is allocated to cities annually through the County Distribution formula.
The Highway Distribution Account provides over $125 million to local highway jurisdictions annually. Cities receive approximately $35 million annually, which is allocated on the basis of population (Idaho Code 40-709).
Idaho is one of 18 states where the sale of liquor is controlled by the state. All liquor sold in Idaho comes through the state Liquor Division’s warehouse in Boise and is then shipped to 165 retail outlets throughout the state. There are 66 state-owned and operated liquor stores and 99 private "contract" stores which sell liquor to individuals as well as bars and restaurants licensed to sell liquor by the drink.
The proceeds of the Liquor Division are distributed through the State Liquor Account to the state, cities and counties. These are general fund revenues unless the city chooses to dedicate the revenue to a particular use.
Revenues in excess of the operating expenses of the Liquor Division are split between the state (48%) and cities and counties (52%).
Cities receive 60% of the local government share, with 40% going to counties. Of the cities' portion, 90% is allocated to cities with liquor stores on the basis of the city’s share of statewide liquor sales. The remaining 10% is distributed to cities without liquor stores in proportion to the city’s share of the population of all cities throughout the state without a liquor store within their limits. There is a hold harmless provision that guarantees cities will receive their “base,” established in the 1981 fiscal year.
Idaho law does not mandate a specific process for disposing of surplus city-owned personal property (e.g. police cars, trucks, computers, desks, etc.). The personal property does need to be declared surplus by motion of the city council and the motion should direct the method of disposition: sale for a set minimum price, sale by sealed bid or online auction, sale or donation to another unit of government, donation to a charitable organization, disposal in the landfill, etc.
Property that is usable and has some residual value should be offered for sale or donated to another local government or charitable organization. If the property is sold by sealed bid, the clerk should provide public notice by publishing a legal notice or posting a brief description of the item(s), noting that sealed bids will be accepted until the specified deadline.
Surplus property should not be purchased by city elected officials, appointed officials or staff. Idaho Code 59-202 provides that “…city officers must not be purchasers at any sale nor vendors at any purchase made by them in their official capacity.” City policies may also prohibit purchase of surplus property by city elected officials, appointed officials or staff.
Idaho Code 67-2322 through 67-2325 provides a specific process for sale or transfer of real or personal property from one unit of government to another. “Such conveyance or transfer may be made without consideration or payment when it is in the best interest of the public in the judgment of the governing body of the granting unit.”
Prior to conveying the property, the local governments must make a written agreement outlining the terms of the transaction. Legal notice must be published by both units of government, summarizing the agreement and providing the date, time and location of the meeting at which the governing body will take public comment and consider the agreement. The notice must be published twice, at least twelve and five days prior to each meeting. Although Idaho Code does not specifically require the local governments to hold public hearings on the proposed transaction, hearings are strongly encouraged. After the public hearing, the written agreement must be approved by two-thirds vote of the governing boards of both the donor and recipient local governments (no such approval is required from the federal or state government).
The process for conveying city-owned real property is set forth in Idaho Code Title 50, Chapter 14, which provides “The city council shall have the power to sell, exchange or convey, by good and sufficient deed or other appropriate instrument in writing, any real property owned by the city which is underutilized or which is not used for public purposes.”
The city council initiates the process by approving a declaration of intent by resolution or motion at a public council meeting, stating the minimum dollar value sought for the property or explaining the intended exchange or conveyance. The council may also declare that the property will be offered for sale without establishing a minimum price. Following approval of the declaration of intent, notice of a public hearing and a summary of the proposal must be published once as a legal notice in the official city newspaper, at least 14 days prior to the hearing.
After the hearing, the council may proceed to dispose of the property as outlined in the declaration of intent, whether by sale, exchange for other real property, or transfer to another public entity.
The council has authority to cancel any contract of sale pursuant to law and retain all payments if the purchaser fails to comply with any of the contract terms.
The council may, by agreement with the purchaser, modify or extend the terms of any contract of sale, but the total period must not exceed 10 years.