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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 

Urgent: Please Oppose HB 259 on Diversion of Sales Tax Revenue from Revenue Sharing

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Legislation introduced to facilitate collecting sales tax revenue from Internet marketplace facilitators like Ebay and Fulfillment by Amazon would negatively impact cities’ future revenue sharing distributions.  We ask city officials to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 259.  You can find your legislators here

House Bill 259 fulfills the positive purpose of collecting sales and use tax revenue from Internet marketplace facilitators in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. Wayfair decision, bringing new sales and use tax revenue to Idaho. 

However, the bill would dedicate this new revenue to the state Tax Relief Fund, which would not go through revenue sharing.  The legislation provides no specificity on what this revenue—amounting to about $30 million annually—would be used for.  The bill also provides that marketplace facilitators would not be required to collect local option sales taxes.

House Bill 259 would mean that local governments would not receive $3 million annually through revenue sharing.  Local governments face real challenges keeping up with growth and costs of maintaining their infrastructure, and this revenue is much needed at the local level. 

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Please Contact House Members and Ask They Vote Against HB 127 on County Planning & Zoning

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, March 8, 2019

House Bill 127 on county planning and zoning was completely amended a second time and will be up for floor debate and vote in the House soon.  We ask city officials to contact House members and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 127a (see current, amended version HERE). 

You can find your legislators HERE.

Planning and zoning exists to prevent conflicting land uses and to protect the value and use of private property. 

House Bill 127, as amended, would lead to increased conflict between property owners, hurting property values and impeding the use and enjoyment of property.

  • Farmers and ranchers depend on county planning and zoning to protect their land from residential subdivisions that find crop spraying, dust and noise objectionable.
  • Rural homeowners depend on county planning and zoning to protect their property from a gravel pit that wants to locate next door and operate 24 hours a day.
  • Manufacturing and commercial facilities need county planning and zoning to ensure that neighboring residential development doesn’t impede their operations.

Cities also depend on county planning and zoning to ensure that areas that are annexed in the future have the required infrastructure necessary for an urban community. 

House Bill 127, as amended, would undermine decades of managed growth in Idaho, leading to increased conflict and uncertainty for property owners.

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A New Roadmap for Environmental Sustainability: how to lessen climate impacts in farming and energy production

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, March 8, 2019

POLITICO hosted a high-level conversation on March 5th to discuss the environmental policies and practices that are gaining momentum, particularly around how to lessen the climate impact in farming and energy production while keeping these sectors economically viable.

Co-Sponsored by McDonalds "Scale for Good - Climate Change," the interviews and panel discussions provides some provocative examples of how partnership programs are taking off around the US. 



11:30 AM — Doors open & refreshments served
11:45 AM — POLITICO Welcome Remarks
11:50 AM — Sponsor Welcome Remarks

  • Robert Gibbs, Chief Communications Officer and Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations, McDonald's Corporation

12:00 PM — Keynote Interview

  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ranking Member, Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
  • Liz Crampton, Agriculture Reporter, POLITICO Pro *Moderator

12:15 PM — Keynote Interview

  • Matthew Lohr, Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Liz Crampton, Agriculture Reporter, POLITICO Pro *Moderator

12:30 PM — Panel Conversation

  • Suzy Friedman, Senior Director, Agricultural Sustainability, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Sec. Ben Grumbles, Maryland Department of the Environment
  • Stewart Leeth, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Foods, Inc.
  • Matt Daily, Energy Editor, POLITICO Pro *Moderator
  • Liz Crampton, Agriculture Reporter, POLITICO Pro *Moderator

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Security & Emergency Preparedness: Opportunity to Participate in GridEx Exercise

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, March 7, 2019

Water sector utilities are invited to participate in GridEx V, an exercise to demonstrate how electric utilities would respond to cyber and physical attacks.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about how an event impacting the electric sector would affect your utility.  Here are the main points to consider, with more detailed information from WaterISAC copied below:

  • GridEx V is a distributed exercise, meaning participants will play from their normal work locations. It will be held from November 13-14, 2019.
  • The recording and presentation from a March 4 webcast WaterISAC convened about GridEx V is available on WaterISAC's portal HERE. (Note: Information about WaterISAC and how to become a member is HERE, or contact
  • You can register as your organization's lead planner by contacting (lead planner registration ends on May 30, 2019).

Also, please let Johanna Bell with AIC know if your utility or city decides to participate.


Background Information from the The WaterISAC Team:

GridEx V: Opportunity for Water Utilities to Participate in Electric Grid Security Exercise

Is your utility interested in participating in an exercise involving physical and cyber threats and incidents to electric utilities, with cascading impacts to the water sector and other critical infrastructure sectors?

If so, consider registering for GridEx V, an exercise planned and conducted by the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) and designed to provide electric utilities an opportunity to demonstrate how they would respond to and recover from cyber and physical attacks. Given the interdependencies between the electric and water sectors, incidents at electric utilities could also impact water utilities. Water utilities will have an opportunity to work with electric utilities to understand these impacts and coordinate their responses.

GridEx V is a distributed exercise, meaning participants will play from their normal work locations. It will be held from November 13-14, 2019. Participation in the exercise is open to all water and wastewater utilities; you do not need to be a member of either WaterISAC or E-ISAC to participate. However, water and wastewater utilities that wish to participate will have to be matched with an electric utility that is playing in the exercise. WaterISAC and E-ISAC can assist with facilitating these connections.

How do organizations register for GridEx V? Each organization that intends to participate in the exercise needs to designate one lead planner who would be responsible for liasing with GridEx staff and managing play at their organization during execution. You can register as your organization's lead planner by contacting (lead planner registration ends on May 30, 2019).

Additionally, WaterISAC encourages any member of the water and wastewater sector playing in GridEx V to email This is not required, but doing so will allow WaterISAC to coordinate with your organization prior to and during the exericse.

Want to know more about GridEx V? The recording and presentation from a webcast WaterISAC convened about GridEx V on March 4 is available on WaterISAC's portal here (accessible to WaterISAC members only - the presentation can be emailed to non-members upon request). Jake Schmitter, E-ISAC's lead planner for GridEx, provided an overview of the exercise and answered questions from the audience.

Questions? Please contact us at or 866-H2O-ISAC.

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Water Reuse Action Plan Announced

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2019

EPA is facilitating development of a Water Reuse Action Plan in collaboration with other federal agencies, states, tribes, and water sector stakeholders to enhance the availability and effective use of our Nation’s water resources.

The Water Reuse Action Plan will seek to foster water reuse as an important component of integrated water resource management. EPA will facilitate discussions among federal, state, and water sector stakeholders and form new partnerships to develop and deploy the plan. A draft of the plan is scheduled for release and public review this September at the Annual WateReuse Symposium in San Diego.

EPA’s actions are part of a larger effort by the Administration to better coordinate and focus taxpayer resources on some of the Nation’s most challenging water resource concerns, including ensuring water availability and mitigating the risks posed by droughts. This includes working closely with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal partners to collaboratively address western water supply, resiliency, and other resource management challenges.

More Water Reuse Resources and Updates:

SAVE THE DATE: 2019 Idaho Reuse & Operators Conference (IROC)

Federal News and Goods:

US House of Representatives Convene Hearings on Key Drivers for Water Reuse

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife heard from witnesses on the State of Water Supply Reliability in the 21st Century, while the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing Examining How Federal Infrastructure Policy Could Help Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change. The Water Supply Reliability hearing included significant discussion of water recycling and the Climate Change hearing included testimony on the importance of investment in modern water reuse infrastructure and the need to encourage water use efficiency.

Bill Proposed to Increase Funding for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI Water Recycling Competitive Grant Program

Rep. Grace Napolitano, concerned that water-recycling infrastructure is underfunded, has introduced HR 1162 to increase funding authorization for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI water recycling competitive grant program to $500 million from $50 million. Witness Tony Willardson, Executive Director of the Western States Water Council, said that his organization supports Rep. Napolitano’s approach to diversifying water resources and supplies.

State Updates:

Legislation Introduced to Change Terminology for Recycled Water in California

California Assembly member Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) introduced a WateReuse California sponsored bill (AB 292) on January 28 that would remove the terms “indirect” and “direct” from sections of the California code that discuss potable reuse. AB 292 builds on previous legislation and recent work by the State Water Resources Control Board and WateReuse California to align the terms with how California water agencies are using recycled water. In 2017, Assembly member Quirk introduced AB 574, which was signed by the Governor, and requires the state water board to develop regulations for the safe use of recycled water through raw water augmentation. The legislation introduced last week is intended to ensure clarity in the uses of recycled water. In 2016, in a report to the Legislature the water board concluded it is feasible to develop and adopt regulations for using recycled water as drinking water, provided that certain research and key knowledge gaps are addressed.

Washington State - One Year Into Reclaimed Water Rule Adoption

On January 23, 2018 the Department of Ecology adopted a new rule, Chapter 173-219 WAC, Reclaimed Water. This rule addresses all aspects of reclaimed water; including permitting for the generation, distribution, and use of reclaimed water across Washington state. It applies to all existing and proposed facilities that are — or will be — designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in the state of Washington to generate, distribute, and/or use reclaimed water.


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FY 2020 City Budget Calendar Completed

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Monday, March 4, 2019

The FY 2020 City Budget Calendar has been completed and may be downloaded in PDF or Word versions by clicking the links at the bottom of this post. 

The first deadline is Tuesday, April 30, which is the deadline to provide written notice to the county clerk of the date, time and location of the city's budget hearing for the upcoming fiscal year. 

AIC is working hard to get the FY 2020 City Budget Manual completed and we hope that it will be ready next month.  We appreciate your patience!

Click HERE for a PDF version of the FY 2020 City Budget Calendar

Click HERE for a Word version of the FY 2020 City Budget Calendar

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Please Contact Members of the House to OPPOSE House Bill 127 That Would Make County Planning Optional

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, March 1, 2019

Since 1975 The Local Land-Use Planning Act has required Idaho's counties and cities to develop a comprehensive plan, plan for capital improvements and establish zoning and subdivision requirements. House Bill 127 proposes to make that responsibility optional for Idaho’s counties. HB 127 is opposed by AIC, the Idaho Chapter of the American Planning Association, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry and the Idaho Association of Realtors.

Among the results these organizations wish to avoid are the following:

  • Radical Inconsistency:  Ada County (population 421,000) and Canyon County (population 196,000) would have no planning responsibilities while Murtaugh (population 117) and Midvale (population 165) (just to name a couple) would be responsible to carry out the requirements of this long-standing statute.
  • Exact Opposite of Conservative Policy: Planning should precede expenditures of public funds. Claims that unplanned public facilities and public spending will save money are inaccurate.
  • Citizen Participation Would Not Be Assured:  The Local Land Use Planning Act assures residents an opportunity to be heard regarding the surroundings of their homes and businesses.  Current requirements have been the law for nearly one half of a century.
  • Inconsistent Standards and Weakened Communication Between Counties and Cities:  Required cooperation assures communication between counties and cities. Standards are regularly coordinated in order to avoid future public expenditures to remedy substandard wastewater services, fire protection, and water systems that are essential in a thriving modern economy. Cooperation fosters economic activity and government efficiency.
  • A Complex World Without Planning:  What is it about the complex issues that local governments must face that would recommend that planning be abandoned?

We urge city officials to contact members of the House and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 127.  You can find a list of House members here.  You can find out who is your legislative representative is here.

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Bill to Preempt Local Ordinances Banning Use of Handheld Electronic Devices while Driving Dies in House Transportation Committee

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, March 1, 2019

In one of the most dramatic committee hearings this session, the House Transportation and Defense Committee refused to advance an AIC-opposed bill that would preempt city ordinances banning drivers from using handheld electronic devices.

Please thank the following committee members who voted against the motion to send the bill to the floor: Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian (Committee Chair); Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer; Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa; Rep. Scott Syme, R-Caldwell; Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise; Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise; Rep. Muffy Davis, D-Ketchum; and Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise.

We extend our appreciation to all the city officials who responded to the legislative alert by contacting legislators and writing letters to the committee.  Your help really does make a difference!

House Bill 77 was sponsored by Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon.  The bill’s sponsor argued that the ordinances adopted by cities resulted in a patchwork of different laws that is confusing for drivers. 

AIC Executive Director Jess Harrison testified that AIC opposed the legislation for two reasons: (1) protection of public safety and (2) preemption of local control.   

“The cities that undertook these ordinances did not do so lightly. They did so based on research, data, and information gathered from their local law enforcement.  They held hearings on the ordinances and put together comprehensive communication and education plans.”

“The concept of local control is grounded in a philosophy of government premised on the belief that the individuals and institutions closest to the people are the most knowledgeable about their communities and therefore best suited to making important decisions impacting their communities.  AIC strongly supports this philosophy and believes that House Bill 77 is in direct conflict with these principles.”

At the conclusion of the hearing, three motions were made: (1) to send to the floor with a do pass recommendation, (2) to hold for two weeks to give the sponsor time to make changes, and (3) to hold in committee.  In a dramatic series of very close votes, all three motions failed, leaving the bill dead in committee. 

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Bureau of Reclamation makes funding available for projects that build long-term resilience to drought

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Bureau of Reclamation has made a funding opportunity available as part of its WaterSMART Drought Response Program for projects that build long-term resilience to drought and reduce the need for emergency response actions. Reclamation anticipates awarding between 10 and 15 drought resiliency projects this year.

Drought resiliency projects increase the reliability of water supplies, improve water management or provide benefits for fish, wildlife and the environment. Proposed projects that are supported by an existing drought plan are prioritized. 

The funding opportunity is available at by searching for opportunity number BOR-DO-19-F003. Applications are due by March 27, 2019, at 4 p.m. MDT.

Federal funding is available in two funding groups:

Funding Group I: Up to $300,000 per agreement for a project that can be completed within two years.

Funding Group II: Up to $750,000 per agreement for a project that can be completed within three years.

Those eligible to apply for funding include states, Indian Tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, or other organizations with water or power delivery authority located in the western United States or United States Territories as identified in the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, as amended. Applicants must also provide a 50 percent non-Federal cost-share. 

For more than 100 years, Reclamation and its partners have worked to develop a sustainable water and power future for the West. This program is part of the Department of the Interior's WaterSMART Program, which focuses on improving water conservation and reliability, while helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. 

To find out more information about Reclamation's WaterSMART program, visit, or visit the Drought Response Program at

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AIC-Opposed Annexation Bill Moves to House Amending Order

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The House Local Government Committee voted to send House Bill 130, sponsored by Rep. Jarom Wagoner, R-Caldwell, to the amending order for changes to clarify provisions concerning shoestring annexations and possibly other matters. 

The AIC Board of Directors voted to oppose House Bill 130, and the American Planning Association Idaho Chapter also opposed the bill.   We appreciate the efforts by city officials around the state who sent in letters or contacted legislators in opposition to House Bill 130. 

“I work as a city planner,” said Wagoner, “and I’ve been in the planning field for 15 years.  My motivation with this bill was to make the annexation law more concise and more easily understood.” 

Outstanding testimony was provided by AIC Legislative Chair Mayor John Evans of Garden City.  Mayor Evans testified that “annexation is foundational to healthy, growing cities and we are concerned that we haven’t had enough time to determine the impacts on cities, large and small.”  

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