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The AIC Blog connects the association staff to our membership, provides informative updates on state and federal policy issues, and spotlights upcoming AIC training, conferences and events.

 

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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Register Now for the AIC Fourth Annual Water Summit: January 22, 2020

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, November 20, 2019

AIC is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 4th Annual Water Summit (HERE)!

This year's Summit will focus on current and emerging hot topic water policy issues affecting cities including, but not limited to: water rights, water quality, and stormwater. This meeting is being held in downtown Boise to make travel easy on all of AIC’s members, including those that plan to attend the City Officials' Day at the Capital on January 23rd. 

Important Note:

Two key components of the 2020 Summit will be (1) the selection of new regional representatives to serve on the AIC Municipal Water Users Group oversight board, and (2) the identification of key regional water issues with strategic coalition opportunities and partners.

 

NEW THIS YEAR:

To help our members identify and better understand some of the key regional water issues, AIC is hosting a series of four free 1-hour regional water webinars for our members.  Plan to attend YOUR region's webinar to hear about current and emerging water issues impacting our Idaho cities!  

 

  • AIC Districts #1 & #2: 12/6/2019 @ 9:30/10:30 AM (pac/mnt; North and North-Central Idaho)
  • AIC Districts #3 & #3a: 12/13/2019 @ 9:30/10:30 AM (pac/mnt; Southwest Idaho)
  • AIC District #4: 12/16/2019 @ 9:30/10:30 AM (pac/mnt; South-Central Idaho)
  • AIC Districts #5 & #6: 12/17/2019 @ 1:30/2:30 PM (pac/mnt; Eastern and South-Eastern Idaho)

Each of these have been scheduled to follow the regional Fall Academy in your region. Invitations will be emailed or please contact Payton Grover at pgrover@idahocities.org to make sure you are on the invitation distribution list.

 

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Property Tax Working Group Holds Second Meeting

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The legislative working group considering potential reforms to Idaho’s property tax system met this week and heard from a variety of perspectives. 

You can access the presentations for the meeting at this link by scrolling down to the November 18 meeting. 

The working group heard from Keith Bybee of the Idaho Legislative Services Office, who summarized the results of a recent survey on budgets and services of the 30 largest cities in Idaho.  We greatly appreciate the work of these cities in responding to the survey.  For these cities, property taxes made up 57% of their general fund revenues. 

In his remarks to the working group, Bybee said that at least half of the responses indicated that cities were saving for infrastructure projects like streets, new police or fire stations, etc. 

Seth Grigg, Executive Director of the Idaho Association of Counties, said that counties would like a stronger partnership with the state in helping to fund state mandates that are implemented at the county level. 

“If you take a look at some of these service areas, like public defense, is there a way to help counties so that property taxpayers don’t have to pick up the tab?”  Grigg suggested the state providing resources to help counties, similar to the dedicated revenue counties receive to pay for running local elections.

The working group also heard from Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz, Twin Falls County Commissioner Don Hall, Bingham County Commissioner Jessica Lewis, Bannock County Commissioner Terrel Tovey, and Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane. 

The county officials gave example after example of counties working hard to provide state mandated services, but struggling with the limited revenues they have to do the job. 

Sheriff Goetz reported that Clearwater County just did a major road striping project, but was only able to afford painting the fog lines.  “There are no center lines, because there was no money to do that.”

Mark Mitton, City Administrator for Burley, urged the working group to keep in mind the needs of rural communities that have real challenges providing services.  “I don’t think we can address this issue with a blanket statewide approach.  Things work differently in rural areas, they have a smaller property tax base.  Local elected officials in these communities work hard to try to keep taxes low.  I would be concerned about any legislation that would hurt rural areas.”

Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, continued to advocate for restrictions in levies for new construction, arguing that real tax relief could only be achieved with cuts to local government budgets.

Sen. Kelly Anthon, R-Burley, the Senate co-chair, said, “One of the things that has become very clear to me is the diversity of the state with regard to property taxes. … It’s going to be a real challenge to do something that will work for everybody.”

The working group will have at least one more meeting prior to the legislative session, but the meeting date has not been set.

 

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AIC Regional Academies Coming in December!

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, November 15, 2019

With the city candidate election over, it is a good time to remind folks about the upcoming AIC Regional Academies that will be held in December in six locations around the state.

You can register for the Academies via the AIC website.

These daylong workshops will provide excellent training for new and veteran city elected officials and staff on:

  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Basics of Open Meetings
  • Personnel Management Fundamentals
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Liability Protection
  • Legislative Hot Topics, and much more!

The Academies are a great way for newly elected mayors and councilors to get up to speed on the most important issues that city officials face, helping them to understand where they fit in the puzzle of city government, and how to avoid potentially serious pitfalls.

AIC will not be having a standalone Fall/Winter Legislative Committee meeting this year (as we normally have in Boise), so the legislative issues discussion will be incorporated as part of the Academies agenda. 

The Academies will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and will be held at the following locations.  We hope you can join us!

 

 

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Free Webinar: Firefighting Foams - Practical Considerations to Going Flourine-free

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, November 12, 2019

PLEASE SHARE WIDELY - THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POLLUTION PREVENTION EFFORT FOR AIC MEMBERS AND OUR OTHER FIRE FIGHTING COALITION PARTNERS

 

Join the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) for a *FREE* webinar on transitioning away from firefighting foams that contain fluorinated chemicals.


Tuesday, November 19, 12:00 - 1:30pm Pacific / 3:00 - 4:30pm Eastern / 8:00 - 9:30pm UTC

 

Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5173109152592025101

 

Please feel free to share this with your networks!

 

Learn about:

• Why fluorine-based firefighting foams are a concern

• Regulatory scan – global, US

• Alternatives – performance and their environmental profiles

• Practical considerations - training, equipment, and costs

• Cleanout and disposal methods for fluorinated foams

 

Speakers:

• Ian Ross, Arcadis (UK)

• Nigel Holmes, Queensland (Australia) Department of Environment & Science

• Captain Kurt Plunkett, Seattle Fire Department

• Niall Ramsden, LASTFIRE (UK)

• Peter Storch, Arcadis (Australia)

• Jen Jackson, San Francisco Department of the Environment (Moderator)

 

Webinar hosted by the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2).

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AIC Publishes IPDES Monte Carlo Guidance

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Association of Idaho Cities (AIC) is providing a guidance on the application of Monte Carlo to develop water quality-based effluent limits (WQBELs) for the benefit of our members with publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). An analysis of potential WQBELs may include Monte Carlo when data are available and when limits needing to reflect the receiving water’s load carrying capacity are preferred. 

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) lists the use of Monte Carlo as an example of a probabilistic approach in the development of a Reasonable Potential Analysis (RPA, DEQ 2017). AIC encourages those wishing to apply Monte Carlo work closely with their DEQ permit writer for a common understanding and to ensure the regulatory support necessary for a successful outcome.

Implementing the Monte Carlo method to develop receiving water appropriate limits should only occur after other methods have indicated that site conditions warrant this detailed analysis. The historical use of Monte Carlo for assessing effluent limits (i.e., permissible discharges) is not well documented. The use may only be documented in individual permit fact sheets. Not only are these information sources difficult to locate, but they are also not permanent and may be lost during the renewal of the permit.  

It is highly recommended to discuss a possible Monte Carlo analysis with DEQ prior to initiating this analysis.  There are data quality objectives, quality assurance and control concerns, and general “appropriateness” issues to discuss and agree upon prior to a POTW expending their limited resources on an effort the DEQ cannot support.  For example, many receiving water bodies in Idaho have established TMDLs with waste load allocations for POTWs.  In these cases, and for these parameters, there is no assimilative capacity to allow adjustments to the WQBELs.

The Association of Idaho Cities would like to thank HDR staff Michael Kasch, Allison Tyner Hornak, Tom Dupuis, and Dave Clark; Boise City staff Kate Harris; Idaho Department of Environmental Quality staff Mary Anne Nelson, Troy Smith, A.J. Maupin, and Matt Stutzman.

An overview presentation on the AIC "Data Analysis for Effluent Limitations using Monte Carlo" is available HERE.

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2020 Census Update

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, November 8, 2019

The 2020 Census is right around the corner and by April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.

The 2020 Census is the first time you can respond online, however you have three other options for responding in person, by phone, and by mail. If responding online you can do that from your home computer, laptop, or even respond on your mobile device. We are partnering with Idaho’s Libraries to help provide wi-fi access to rural locations throughout the state to accommodate folks who don’t have wi-fi access at home.

The Census Bureau will be providing 2020 Census Questionnaire Assistance in 12 non-English languages; enumerator instrument, bilingual paper questionnaire, bilingual mailing, and field enumeration materials in Spanish; and language guides, language glossaries, and language identification card in 59 non-English languages.

The decennial census was first taken in 1790, as mandated by the Constitution, and counts our population and households. In turn it provides the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ like yours. These funds provide support to vital programs impacting services like highways and roads, housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.

Pop quiz: Did you know that in 2017 Idaho was the nation's fastest-growing state? Idaho's population grew by 2.2 percent from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017.  To help us reach our communities the Census Bureau is currently hiring for temporary, part-time positions. Check out www.2020census.gov/jobs to apply. Shape your future. Start here.

Carolina Valderrama-Echavarria M.A

Partnership Specialist (Idaho)

carolina.valderrama.echava@2020census.gov 

 

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November 2019 Post-Election Wrap-Up

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, November 7, 2019

In addition to city candidate elections, there were quite a few bonds, levies and other ballot issues decided at the November 5, 2019 election.  We will quickly cover those results.

·         Voters in Ponderay passed a five-year 1% local option sales tax that excludes lodging and sales of $1,000 or more.  The revenue will be used to fund safe public access to Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail with a railroad underpass, and development of the local “Field of Dreams” recreation facility.  

·         Genesee voters overwhelmingly approved a $7 million revenue bond for improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment and collection system. 

·         The City of Fruitland’s proposed $2.6 million general obligation bond for a new police station and renovations to city hall narrowly failed to pass. 

·         Voters in the City of Cascade did not pass a proposed two-year local option tax of 1% on all purchases of $1,000 and less, which would have been used to fund street and sidewalk improvements, and parks maintenance.

·         The City of Lava Hot Springs approved a ballot measure allowing the city to use local option tax revenue for acquiring land and constructing municipal buildings with 74% of the vote.

·         Voters in the City of Ketchum approved a $11.5 million general obligation bond for a new fire station with at least four drive-through bays and an adjoining firehouse with sleeping quarters.

·         City of Boise voters approved two ballot initiatives that require library projects of $25 million or more and stadium projects of $5 million or more to be approved by voters prior to the city appropriating or spending money or incurring debt on such projects.

·         The Cities of Kooskia and Stites both passed sewer revenue bonds with strong support that will fund improvements to the collection and treatment system that serves both cities.

·         Voters in Menan approved a two-year override levy to raise $40,000 annually to fund street construction and maintenance.

·         A proposed permanent property tax levy override in Hayden to provide an additional $400,000 annually for law enforcement fell short of the required 60% approval threshold.

·         Voters in Salmon reauthorized a 10-year local option tax that will fund recreational facilities and opportunities, as well as special events and economic development projects.   

There were also a few major ballot measures proposed by counties on the ballot.

·         A proposal by Valley County for a permanent property tax levy override to fund maintenance and construction of local roads and bridges fell short of the required two-thirds supermajority for passage.  The levy was an attempt to replace upwards of $3 million of federal funding that used to be received for road maintenance.  County officials have indicated that they will be forced to cut their road budget significantly“Our hands are tied,” said Valley County Commissioner Sherry Maupin. “We have no other funding source in order to do this.”

·         A general obligation bond to finance a new jail in Twin Falls County had strong support, but failed to hit the required two thirds supermajority for approval. 

·         Voters in Gooding County rejected a proposed $16 million general obligation bond to build a new jail and renovate the county courthouse.  

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Congratulations to the 2019 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards Winners & Nominees!

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, October 31, 2019
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2019

 

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance judges have selected winners for the 2019 Leadership in Energy Efficiency awards.

Congratulations to those representing Idaho's efforts!  It is an honor to be chosen by your colleagues for this recognition. 

On behalf of AIC, NEEA, and the region, we thank you for your leadership in energy efficiency!

 Todd Greenwell, Idaho Power for the AWARD in  "Leadership in Energy Efficiency for Collaboration" through his contributions to the Consumer Products Regional Steering Committee;

and,

Ken Baker, K Energy, a for his nomination in "Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for Collaboration."

Cathy Anderson (Snohomish PUD), Dave Murphy (Bonneville Power Administration) Hillary Olson (Snohomish PUD), Jeff Mitchell (NEEA staff), Jeff Tripp (Puget Sound Energy), Josh Mitchell (Chelan PUD), Lis Saunders (Tacoma Power), Matt Babbitts (Clark PUD), Patrick Weaver (Puget Sound Energy), Thad Roth (Energy Trust of Oregon), Tina Jayaweera (Northwest Power and Conservation Council), Todd Greenwell (Idaho Power), Victor Couto (Seattle City Light)

"The Consumer Products Steering Committee (CPSC) is a coordinated effort among Northwest utilities, NEEA and other regional energy efficiency organizations to establish shared regional strategies in selected strategic markets. With a shared vision and strategy, the CPSC strives to maximize cost-effective, long-term energy efficiency opportunities, prevent conflicting overlap of roles, and improve coordination in the region.

A recent area of focus for the CPSC has been Smart Thermostats. Smart Thermostats have been an important measure for the region, however the RTF Smart Thermostat measure is set to sun-set in November 2019. Members of the CPSC wanted to keep the measure alive so they worked directly with the RTF to see what could be done. The proposed solution was to create a research plan based on an existing RTF outline and implement the research. This plan was developed and approved by the RTF. Implementing this research would keep the Smart Thermostat measure alive. Given budget constraints no individual organization or utility had the ability to field the research plan. Given this reality, the CPSC undertook an innovative solution and proposed a ‘co-sponsorship’ approach to funding. The CPSC developed funding guidelines based on an organization’s size and ability to pay. The result of this effort produced over $400K in funding commitments for the research.”

 

 

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Plan to Attend: Free Regional Idaho Building Code Luncheons

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Association of Idaho Cities Legislative Committee is pleased to alert you to a great opportunity to reach out to your State District Representatives and invite them to join you for a free lunch in your AIC District to discuss the adoption of the 2018 Idaho Building Codes, and the value of energy conservation in Idaho.

The over-arching goal for these luncheons are to provide forums for our members and Legislators to better understand Idaho’s local building code resources.  During lunch, there will be a short, informative presentation on the 2018 update to the Idaho Building Codes including the 2018 Energy Conservation Code. Additionally, the role that building codes play in protecting consumers will be discussed, as well as how the suggested changes to the energy codes might positively impact both contractors and consumers. 

We believe this event provides a great opportunity for you to get to know your local State Representatives, while gaining a greater understanding your local building code resources.  Please reach out to your local State Representatives, RSVP to IDABO, and plan to attend! 

RSVPs can be made by either calling the IDABO office at 208-321-9182 or by email at tottens@amsidaho.com.

Sincerely yours,

 
John Evans
Mayor of Garden City, Idaho 
AIC Legislative Committee Chair


Suzanne Hawkins
City Councilwoman. Twin Falls, Idaho
AIC President
 

Building Code Legislative Luncheons

Dates and Locations – Fall, 2019

 

Coeur d’Alene: Wednesday, November 6, at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’ Alene Inn from noon to 1:00 PM.  The Coeur d’Alene Inn is located at 506 W Appleway Ave, in Coeur d'Alene. 

 

Lewiston: Thursday, November 7, at the Red Lion Hotel from noon to 1:00 PM. The Red Lion Hotel is located at 621 21st Street, Lewiston.

 

Boise: Friday, November 15 in Boise at the Crystal Ballroom from noon to 1:00 PM.  The Crystal Ballroom is located in the Hoff Building at 802 W Bannock St, Boise. 

 

Twin Falls: Tuesday, November 12 in Twin Falls at Milner’s Gate from noon to 1:00 PM.  Milner’s Gate is located at 205 Shoshone Street North, Twin Falls.

 

Idaho Falls: Wednesday, November 13, in Idaho Falls at the Hilton Garden Inn from noon to 1:00.  The hotel is located at 700 Lindsay Blvd, Idaho Falls.

 




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Register Today for AIC Regional Academies in December!

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, October 28, 2019

The 2019 AIC Academies will be held in December at six locations throughout the state.  You can register for the Academies on the AIC website.

These daylong workshops will provide excellent training for new and veteran city elected officials and staff on:

  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Basics of Open Meetings
  • Personnel Management Fundamentals
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Liability Protection
  • Legislative Hot Topics, and much more!

The Academies are a great way for newly elected mayors and councilors to get up to speed on the most important issues that city officials face, helping them to understand where they fit in the puzzle of city government, and how to avoid potentially serious pitfalls.

AIC will not be having a stand alone Fall/Winter Legislative Committee meeting this year (as we normally have in Boise), so the legislative issues discussion will be incorporated as part of the Academies agenda.  

The Academies will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and will be held at the following locations.  We hope you can join us! 

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