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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Thanks for Making City Officials' Day at the Capitol a Success!

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, January 25, 2018

We extend our appreciation to the over 170 city elected officials and staff who participated in the 2018 City Officials' Day at the Capitol on Tuesday. 

The event kicked off in the morning with remarks from Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives Scott Bedke of Oakley and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Winder of Boise.  Speaker Bedke confirmed that the Legislature is working hard to fix the error in last session's transportation funding bill for the Strategic Initiatives Program and get that money to local governments as soon as possible.

We also heard from a panel of legislators including Sen. Maryanne Jordan of Boise, Sen. Kelly Anthon of Burley, Rep. Tom Loertscher of Bone, and Rep. Christy Perry of Nampa.  

There were in-depth discussions on important policy areas that the Legislature is expected to address this year, including magistrate court funding and campaign finance.  

We were fortunate to have nearly all of the 105 members of the Legislature in attendance for lunch, where legislators were presented with a copy of the newly released Idaho's 200 Cities books, available now from Ridenbaugh Press.

Thanks again for your help in making City Officials' Day a success!

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House State Affairs Committee Kills Financial Disclosure Bill

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, January 18, 2018

One of the most significant bills of the session was defeated yesterday morning as the House State Affairs Committee voted overwhelmingly to kill a bill sponsored by the committee’s chair—Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona—to require state and local elected officials and candidates to disclose personal financial information.

The legislation would have required candidates for state, legislative, county and city office to file annual reports identifying their primary employer and occupation or job title; all entities they own or for which they are an officer; every entity that has paid them $5,000 or more in income in the past year; each entity in which they own stocks or bonds (not mutual funds) valued at more than $5,000; any boards on which they serve; and their spouse’s name, occupation and employer.  A legislative work group looking at reforms to Idaho’s Sunshine Law unanimously supported the financial disclosure bill.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Loertscher, told the committee, “Financial disclosure of elected officials is in your future, because this will happen at some point,” possibly through the citizen initiative process if the Legislature fails to act on the issue.  “The point of this legislation and the way this is written is to make this the least intrusive way I can think of for us to accomplish that.”

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, argued that the legislation could allow public officials and their family members to be targeted because of the official’s beliefs.  “To focus on legislator sources of income, spousal sources of income, is to put a target on our back to many groups and individuals nationwide that would work to silence various ideologies, various voices, by attacking the economics.”

It is not clear whether the sponsor will bring back the legislation in a different form, but AIC is monitoring this issue. 

AIC’s perspective is that the current process where elected officials declare their conflicts of interest on the record at a public meeting works well, it does not require a bunch of paperwork, and it is done in a public forum so that members of the governing board and the public are on notice as to the existence and extent of the conflict.  AIC is dedicated to helping local officials understand Idaho’s ethics and conflict of interest laws and provides extensive training covering those areas.


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Register Now for the AIC Water Summit (January 22nd)

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Monday, January 15, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Water shapes economic growth, the environment, and the very social fabric of our communities. Ensuring that all people have access to safe, reliable, and affordable water and wastewater systems is the cornerstone of a sustainable and prosperous Idaho, and nation.

Idaho’s population growth now outpaces Nevada and Utah at 2.2%.  However, while not all regions within Idaho may be experiencing this growth, all regions are grappling with changing weather patterns, new energy supply/efficiency options, growing income inequality, and water quality and quantity pressures that impact Idaho communities. 

Bottom line - each day more and more cities within Idaho are confronting an unsettling fact of life—our supplies of clean, dependable, economical water are more fragile than at any time in our recent history.  

AIC invites you to participate, listen, converse, and weigh in on our current water supply and quality issues. The 2018 Water Summit will focus on current and emerging water policy issues affecting cities including, but not limited to: water rights, water quality, and stormwater.  A key component of the 2018 Summit will be the selection of new regional representatives to serve on the AIC Municipal Water Users Group oversight board.

Register for the 2018 AIC Water Summit by January 17th HERE.


More Background & Resources

All people need access to the basics—water, food, shelter—in order to participate fully in society. When these basic conditions are met, our communities and our economy thrive. Water systems that do not deliver clean, affordable water to all people can exacerbate inequality and undermine our State's future prosperity. Communities that face various forms of water stress are vulnerable and frequently held back from full participation in the economy, lowered productivity and competitiveness.  Moreover, as water utilities work to fund the maintenance and operations of their systems, they need financially stable ratepayers.

In the face of these issues, how do we create a new era of water management in Idaho—one that secures economic, environmental, and community well-being?

The 2017 Association of Idaho Cities Municipal Utility Survey identified a number of key challenges with respect to equitable water availability and affordability.  These challenges include:

  • Aging, Inadequate, or Lack of Infrastructure 
  • Affordability
  • Small Ratepayer Base (Fragmentation)
  • Water Quality
  • Trained or Certified Operators

The 2017 Survey demonstrated that water supply and quality challenges vary from place to place.  Additionally, our legal frameworks for water predate modern challenges like bio-accumulative toxins or growing income disparity. 

In light of an increased understanding of the challenges facing Idaho, it is equally important to recognize the cumulative, reinforcing, positive impacts of equitable water management.  A recent report by the US Water Alliance sets forth a framework to advance water equity in America, organized around three pillars where progress is being forged:

  • Ensure all people have access to clean, safe, affordable water service,
  • Maximize the community and economic benefits of water infrastructure investment; and,
  • Foster community resilience in the face of a changing climate.

So, how do we create a new era of water management in Idaho—one that secures economic, environmental, and community well-being?  A series of "listening sessions" held in 2017 with water and wastewater utilities, private companies and environmental groups from across the country resulted in a report titled: "Seven Big Ideas."  These ideas seek to provide practical solutions, focused on policy and decision-making, to positively change how we manage our water resources and infrastructure," the group says.  The seven ideas are:

  1. Advance regional collaboration on water management.
  2. Accelerate agriculture-utility partnerships to improve water quality.
  3. Sustain adequate funding for responsible water infrastructure management.
  4. Blend public and private expertise and investment to address water infrastructure needs.
  5. Redefine affordability for the 21st century.
  6. Reduce lead risks, and embrace the mission of protecting public health.
  7. Accelerate technology adoption to build efficiency and improve water service.

Current AIC efforts include assessing whether Idaho laws and regulations constrain innovative approaches to integrating water policy either horizontally (i.e., across water sectors) or vertically (i.e., alignment with other investments in infrastructure, agriculture, environmental protection, and social equity). 

Keep up on these and other efforts by serving on the Municipal Water Users Group and the Water Re-Use Task Force.

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Register Today for AIC City Officials’ Day at the Capitol!

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, January 4, 2018

The most valuable opportunity for city officials to discuss issues with members of the Idaho Legislature is coming up in a few weeks at the AIC City Officials’ Day at the Capitol in Boise on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.  There is still time to register via the AIC website:

We urge city officials to contact their legislators and ask that they join you for the Legislative Luncheon at Noon at the Boise Centre East Building Room 400A-B.  That provides an opportunity to discuss whether you will meet them at the Capitol or at the luncheon and other logistical matters, helping to ensure a successful lunch.

The day will start promptly at 9:00 a.m. in the Lincoln Auditorium in the Garden Level West Wing of the Idaho Capitol building.  City officials will hear from President Pro Tem of the Idaho Senate Brent Hill of Rexburg and Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives Scott Bedke of Oakley.  Then, a panel of legislators will share their perspectives on the session, and you will also hear updates on magistrate court funding, reforms to Idaho’s Sunshine Law, and other issues.

At 11:30 a.m., the meeting will break to allow city officials to meet their legislators at the entrance to the House and Senate on the third floor of the Capitol.  City officials will then escort their legislators to lunch at the Boise Centre East Building Room 400 A-B (shuttle buses will be running from the capitol to the Boise Centre).

Lunch will be largely unprogrammed with the goal of ensuring city officials and legislators have time for conversation.   

During the afternoon city officials can watch legislative committee meetings in the Garden Level of the Capitol, check out the Capitol and its many informative historical exhibits, or schedule meetings with legislators or state agency staff.

We look forward to seeing you on January 23 at City Officials’ Day at the Capitol!


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Join Us for AIC Water Summit & City Officials' Day at the Capitol in January

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Association of Idaho Cities is pleased to invite you to attend two events critical to the interests of Idaho Cities: the 2018 AIC Water Summit and AIC City Officials' Day at the Capitol on January 22nd and 23rd!  These meetings are being held on consecutive dates in Boise to make travel easier for city officials.    

Each year, the Idaho Legislature makes critical policy decisions that impact cities—decisions affecting property taxes, state shared revenues, annexation authority, city water rights and many other areas.  It is essential that all city officials are engaged with legislators and informed of these critical issues.

During this AIC City Officials’ Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, you will gain insight into the legislative process, have opportunities to communicate with your legislators and become informed about important legislative issues facing Idaho’s cities. 

Please call your local legislators and extend to them a personal invitation to attend the Legislative Luncheon!  A personal invitation from you is essential to ensuring a successful luncheon, and your effort is appreciated! Register for the City Official’s Day at the Capitol now at

New this year, the 2018 AIC Water Summit on January 22nd will be co-located at the Riverside Hotel with the Idaho Water Users Winter Convention.  The 2018 AIC Water Summit will focus on current and emerging water policy issues affecting cities including water rights, water quality, and stormwater.  An important component of the 2018 Water Summit will be regional break-out sessions to develop uniform priorities for AIC members; and the selection of new regional representatives to serve on the AIC Municipal Water Users Group oversight board.

Discount Available: For those interested in attending both the 2018 AIC Water Summit and the Idaho Water Users Convention, the Idaho Water Users are graciously offering AIC Water Summit attendees a "member rate" discount. 

Register for the 2018 AIC Water Summit now at and the Idaho Water Users Association Convention at  



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AIC Academy Presentations Now Available for Review

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, November 21, 2017

We look forward to seeing you at the regional AIC Academies in the coming weeks.  These events provide new and veteran city officials with vital information on roles and responsibilities, basics of city government, open meetings, public records, ethics, and much more.  There is still time to register via the AIC webpage.  

The PowerPoint presentation for the Academies has been finalized and can be accessed online on the 2017 AIC Fall Academies webpage under Presentation Links.  There are four versions, depending on how many slides you want on the page: 1 slide per page, 2 slides per page, 3 slides per page, or 1 slide per page with notes.  Please note that opening these files takes a couple minutes because they are very large.

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Great Gift Idea: Idaho’s 200 Cities Books Now Available for Purchase at Ridenbaugh Press

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, November 17, 2017

Did you know that the City of Council was named for the historic location where Native American tribes camped in the Weiser River valley to catch and dry salmon?

Would it surprise you to learn that St. Charles, Idaho is the birthplace of Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who memorialized Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Lincoln in Mount Rushmore?

Isn’t it interesting to learn that citizens in the City of Dover successfully sought to be incorporated in 1988 out of fear of being annexed by nearby Sandpoint?

These are the kind of fascinating facts about Idaho communities that you can find in the Idaho’s 200 Cities books, which are now available for purchase via the Ridenbaugh Press website

There’s an upcoming event at Rediscovered Books in Boise on Monday, November 20 where you can meet the Editor of the books, former Idaho State Senator Hal Bunderson, as well as other prominent Idaho authors. 

Idaho’s 200 Cities tells the story of Idaho through the history and development of its communities.  It’s a great gift idea for city or county officials, legislators, educators, history buffs, or anyone who loves our great state.

Three regional profile volumes are dedicated to North, Southwest and East Idaho, with a chapter profiling each city in the region.  The profile volumes feature historical photos that greatly enrich the reading experience.  There are also three regional trivia books with thousands of trivia questions.

The regional profile volumes are available in hardbound or softbound editions.  The regional trivia volumes are only available in softbound. 

This project has been a labor of love for Senator Bunderson, who was one greatest champions that cities have had in the Idaho Legislature.  Bunderson worked in partnership with AIC and community volunteers over more than a decade to produce the six-volume set.  We greatly appreciate the work of hundreds of community volunteers who made this project possible.


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Mayor Norm Steadman of Weippe Celebrates 50 Years of Public Service

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, November 16, 2017

Idaho’s longest serving Mayor, Norm Steadman of Weippe, is reaching a milestone of 50 years of continuous service to his community.  A celebration is planned for Saturday, November 25 at the Weippe Community Hall at 1 p.m. to commemorate Mayor Steadman’s outstanding legacy of public service (see link to flyer below).

Steadman was appointed Mayor in 1968 when his brother Mayor Walter Steadman moved to the nearby community of Headquarters.  “I didn’t think it was going to be a lifetime appointment,” Steadman said in a recent article in the Lewiston Tribune

Norm worked as an engineer for the U.S. Forest Service and is one of the foremost experts on the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s journey through Idaho.

Weippe is in Clearwater County and had a population of approximately 800 in 1980, with sawmills providing a strong base for the local economy.  In recent decades, timber production has declined and mills have become more efficient, leading to fewer timber industry jobs.  No other industry has moved in to replace these jobs and Weippe’s population is now around 400.

Congratulations to Mayor Steadman on achieving this great milestone of service to the citizens of Weippe!


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AIC Legislative Summit to be held Friday, December 1 in Boise

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The AIC Legislative Summit will be held Friday, December 1 in Boise at the Boise Centre East Room 420.  The daylong summit will start at 9:00 a.m. and adjourn mid-afternoon.  Please note that lunch will be on your own.  You can register for the summit via the AIC website.  All city elected officials and staff are encouraged to attend this meeting.  The tentative agenda is available to review on the AIC website.

You will hear about important legislative and policy issues, including:

·         An update on the Administrative Hearing Officer Legislative Interim Committtee that is considering changes to the state Administrative Procedures Act;

·         An update on the Magistrate Court funding issue;

·         You will learn about proposed legislation to clarify laws prohibiting use of city initiative/referendum for land use policies and decisions;

·         Representatives of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality will provide a summary of the department’s legislative package and update on the status of state primacy over pollutant discharge permitting;

·         A representative of the Idaho Secretary of State’s office will provide an update on the Campaign Finance Legislative Interim Committee and possible changes to Idaho’s Sunshine Laws;

·         You will hear an update on the effort to repeal the sales tax on groceries;

·         Learn about proposed legislation to revise the revenue sharing county distribution formula; and

·         Hear about legislation to allow cities to adopt recently issued building codes.

For more information, contact AIC Policy Analyst Justin Ruen by phone at (208) 344-8594 or email at

We hope you can join us!

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November 7, 2017 Post Election Wrap-Up

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, November 9, 2017

There were several bonds, levies and other questions on the November 7, 2017 election ballot and we will quickly recap the results of those elections.

·    Voters in Sun Valley approved a $17.5 million general obligation bond for improvements to roads, paths and bridges with 67% of the vote.

·    A two-year override levy for preserving open space and enhancing the Boise River passed overwhelmingly with 83% of the vote in Boise.

·    Two citizen initiatives in Hailey on repealing and refunding development impact fees and eliminating annual business licensing both failed by wide margins.

·    A proposed $5 million general obligation bond for rebuilding Blackfoot’s city swimming pool failed narrowly to reach the required two-thirds threshold for approval.

·    A $3.2 million bond for a joint fire station serving the City of Genesee and Genesee Rural Fire Department passed with over 70% of the vote in both the city and the district.

·    A $2.8 million revenue bond for improving and updating Deary’s aging water infrastructure passed with 79% of the vote.

·    A proposed 2% increase in the power and natural gas franchise fee to fund street and sidewalk improvements in Lewiston failed to reach the required simple majority threshold. 

·    A $3.9 million revenue bond to fund a new water tank, well and other water system improvements in Iona for future growth passed with 56% of the vote.

·    Voters in New Meadows narrowly approved a $3.4 million revenue bond for a new well, booster station, reservoir, and other water system improvements.

·    An override levy in Mountain Home to pay for a new roof and remodeling of the city library passed with 57% of the vote.  

·    Voters in Culdesac approved issuing $1.5 million in revenue bonds to finance wastewater collection and treatment facility improvements with over 90% of the vote.

·    Voters in the City of Lava Hot Springs approved extending the city’s local option taxes (LOT), but did not approve using LOT revenue to finance construction of city buildings. 

·    A proposed $3.7 million revenue bond to finance improvements to the water system in Sugar City passed narrowly.

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