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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Reducing Community Risk from Asbestos Exposure

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, August 9, 2018
Updated: Thursday, August 9, 2018

The use of asbestos, a mineral fiber occurring in rock and soil, in building insulation was once commonplace in countries around the world, until the health risks as one of the most dangerous carcinogens ever used by the construction industry became widely known.   Exposure to asbestos has been linked to a number of serious and fatal diseases, including mesothelioma (a cancer affecting the lining of the lungs and the lining of the lower digestive tract), asbestos-related lung cancer, and asbestosis (a condition resulting in scarring of the lungs).

The use of asbestos has been banned in most countries for the past 40 years, with the United States as one of the few developed nations in the world that has opted to put restrictions on the substance rather than ban its use entirely.  Thirty-one countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Israel and Japan, PLUS the European Union have completely banned asbestos use.

Asbestos Risks from Water and Wastewater Operations

Asbestos cement was once used to construct thousands of miles of Idaho’s water pipelines. With a recommended usable lifespan of 50-70 years, these pipes are often utilized well past their prime, which may cause them to deteriorate and release high levels of asbestos fibers.  

While the risks from asbestos are most clearly linked to airborne exposure, the use of asbestos in water and wastewater pipes makes issues of asbestos exposure of keen interest to Idaho cities and residents.  Beyond the known risks from airborne exposure, new studies also reveal risks associated with drinking water exposure.

Upgrading aging water mains that contain asbestos may cause microscopic asbestos fibers to be released into the air. Once inhaled, asbestos fibers may remain in the body for many years, prompting to irritation that may result in diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and various strains of mesothelioma cancer. While pipeline maintenance workers are primarily affected, this can also spread asbestos into the environment and surrounding communities, putting anyone at risk for exposure. It’s important that any renovation efforts be handled with care, including using particulate masks, protective outerwear, and following Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) asbestos guidelines. 

An Idaho example of these risks and liabilities of hazardous asbestos exposure can be seen in a 2013 case against Boise’s Owyhee Construction Inc. The construction company won a bid to renovate the water system in Orofino, Idaho, which included asbestos-cement or transite pipes. Upon review, Owyhee’s workers were considered ill equipped to encounter and work with asbestos, and their project was deemed an environmental health hazard.

Evolving Asbestos Use Controls and Regulations in the United States

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was first passed by Congress in 1976 to help keep dangerous chemicals off the market and avoid making people sick.  In a 2016 bipartisan compromise, Congress moved to patch up the holes in our chemical review system when it updated the Toxic Substances Control Act.  It was apparent to many members of Congress at the time that additional authorities to protect the public were needed. For example, the EPA attempted to ban the use of asbestos in 1989, but a federal court ruled that it lacked the authority to do so.   

EPA’s new significant new use rule (SNUR) proposed on June 1, 2018 broadens EPA’s restrictions on asbestos products. EPA is proposing to ensure that manufacture, import, or processing for the currently unregulated new uses identified in the SNUR are prohibited unless reviewed by EPA. EPA’s proposed new review process empowers EPA to act, including prohibiting or limiting its intended use. 

The EPA is also looking at developing alternative work practices (AWPs) that will utilize new technology for safe removal and replacement of asbestos-cement pipelines.  EPA’s proposed AWP seeks to reduce the risk of exposure and is comparable to existing techniques under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) that require no visible dust.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also has jurisdiction over exposures to asbestos in the workplace.  OSHA uses a numerical standard of 0.1 fiber/cc.  Public comments concerning pipe removal practice were sought by June 25 this year, with a final update expected sometime in the future.

Water Quality and Asbestos in Idaho

The Department of Environmental Quality is in charge of regulating water supplies on a state level. Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Act, the Idaho DEQ must manage the quality of water being sourced to prevent asbestos levels from exceeding 7 MCL. This includes the 1,960 water systems throughout the state. At a national level, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund are maintained to improve water quality and infrastructure as needed. Each level of government works in tandem to provide resources for clean water initiatives. 

Idaho Cities: Asset Management Programs for Municipal Utilities

Water pipe maintenance and replacement through a sustainable Asset Management Plan is of the utmost importance as we preserve our access to potable and surface water resources. This responsibility falls on many shoulders, including all levels of government, distributors, and our fellow community members that pay for, and benefit from, Idaho’s clean water supplies. Through careful renovation and a move toward sustainable infrastructure, municipal governments can contribute to cleaner water and a healthier environment.

There are many helpful benefits from an effective asset management system to local governments:

  • Provide local residents with improved services based on municipal asset use (such as infrastructure, water systems, parking, etc.)
  • Increase revenues
  • Improve the overall credit rating for the Municipal Government
  • Attract more domestic and foreign investors
  • Improve land valuation (for example, through relocation of public properties, sale and leases, and improvements in infrastructure such as better roads) that make land assets attractive for productive and real estate purposes.
  • Enhance the environment and improve quality of life (for example through public parks and greenways)

An effective asset management system can provide useful information to managers of the
city government as well as other stakeholders, about the actual and potential net worth
and asset base of a city. Additional resources can be found HERE. 

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Keeping Idaho Cities Safe During a Prolonged Fire Season

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, August 9, 2018
Updated: Thursday, August 9, 2018

Extreme heat bakes out the moisture absorbed by forests and sagelands during the winter and spring months.  The heat we experience in Idaho leads to drier fuels, which explains why the likelihood and severity of fire increase exponentially for every additional degree of temperature. Today, western fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s. 

Keeping Idaho cities safe during our summer and fall fire seasons takes planning - and action - to assemble resources and implement the best practices available.

This important public health and safety topic was the focus of the June 2018 AIC Environment Committee meeting, co-scheduled with the AIC Annual Conference.

Presentations by Boise City Fire Department's Wildland Mitigation Specialist Jerry McAdams and Brett Van Paepeghem with Firewise provided important resources as our Idaho cities look into making our communities "fire adapted."

Fire is a natural part of our environment.  As we choose to live in areas where wildfires occur, we must adapt the way we design, build, and live within these areas, and to prepare our communities for wildfire.  A "fire adapted community" is one that understands its risks and takes actions that minimize harm to residents, homes, businesses, parks, and other community assets.

Actions Idaho cities can take to create "fire adapted" communities include:

  • Identify the "Wildland/Urban Interface" within your community;
  • Adopt new construction ordinances that address issues such as "home hardening," "defensible space," and "fire-resistant landscaping;"
  • Work with your Idaho County partners to develop "Wildfire Safety Plans"
  • Adopt "Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R) Maintenance Requirements" to maintain vegetative clearances; and,
  • Establish a "Municipal Wildfire Mitigation Team" with Fire, Parks, Planning, and Public Works staff that can develop and implement the Plan (i.e., inventory existing conditions, seek out funding sources, build external collaborative partnerships, etc.).




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Idaho Water Use by Source and Category - USGS 2015 Report Now Available

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, August 9, 2018
Updated: Thursday, August 9, 2018

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) compiles water-use data for the United States every five years.

An important caveat to these data and this report are that they reflect water withdrawals - and do not address water consumption.

This data set describes water use estimates for 2015 that are aggregated to the county level in Idaho. Water use estimates are reported as groundwater and surface water withdrawals in the following categories of use: Public Supply, Domestic, Irrigation, Industrial, Mining, Livestock, Aquaculture, and Thermoelectric.

Links to the Fact Sheet and the Idaho data are available HERE.


The ability to quantify water resources hinges on the understanding of water use by the population. The demand humans place on the water cycle varies across the United States, driven by both need and availability. The U.S. Geological Survey quantifies water use nationally, at the county scale, with estimates of water withdrawals and deliveries, by category of use (for example, irrigation, thermoelectric power, industrial, public supply, including domestic deliveries and self-supply domestic, livestock, mining, and aquaculture) and source (fresh and saline groundwater or surface water) every 5 years. Estimates of water use are an important component of the water budget to help manage water supplies and plan for the future. Understanding water use in Idaho is important not only at the local (county) and State scales, but also at the National level because Idaho ranked third in the Nation for total water use in 2015.

This fact sheet describes calendar year 2015 freshwater withdrawals by source and by each Idaho county. An associated data release provides the data discussed herein. Freshwater withdrawals totaled 17,737 million gallons per day during 2015. Surface water accounted for 70 percent of total withdrawals for all categories of use, mostly for irrigation of crops and aquaculture production. Withdrawals for mining activities were mostly from surface water, whereas the remaining categories of use—public supply, domestic, industrial, livestock, irrigation of golf courses, and thermoelectric power—relied largely on groundwater withdrawals. Most withdrawals occurred in southern Idaho counties to support irrigated agriculture.  


Top Three Water Uses: Irrigation, aquaculture, and public supply/domestic water withdrawals totaled 17,534 Mgal/d in 2015, accounting for more than 99 percent of total withdrawals for all categories. Other categories of use—industrial, livestock, mining, irrigation of golf courses, and thermoelectric power—accounted for less than 1 percent of Idaho’s total withdrawals in 2015.

Future Needs

A better understanding and quantification of the top three water uses—irrigation of crops, aquaculture, and public and (or) domestic supply—would provide improved estimates of water use at the State level. Because most withdrawals in Idaho are used to irrigate crops, it is especially crucial to understand  water use in agricultural counties. Local climate conditions affect water demand during the growing season, and more research is needed to quantify these seasonal variations in water use for irrigation. Aquaculture accounts for the second largest amount of water withdrawals in Idaho. However, much of the water withdrawn for aquaculture is returned to the local source (river or stream). Quantifying the consumptive use of water withdrawn for aquaculture would help to understand its importance relative to the water that returns to the water cycle. As the population of Idaho continues to grow, water managers would benefit from more detailed water use information in rapidly growing urban centers. It may be important to understand why Idaho has the highest rate of domestic per capita use in the Nation and it may be of particular importance to investigate what amount of domestic withdrawals are being used to irrigate lawns and gardens. In Ada and Canyon Counties, which include a population center with high irrigation  withdrawals, increased urban development may dramatically increase or decrease water use over time as land use changes. Estimating water use more often than every 5 years, and at sub-county levels would provide a better spatial and temporal resolution of the human demand on water resources in Idaho. The diversity across the State in climate, population, and land use contributes to the varied water use by category in Idaho counties. Continued monitoring of the human effects on the hydrologic cycle will help ensure that demands can be balanced with water availability from a local to global scale.


Water Use by Source and Category in Idaho Counties are compiled as part of the "Estimated Use of Water in the United States" series of U.S. Geological Survey Circular reports that have been published every 5 years since 1950 (Maupin and others, 2014).

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Clean Water Act in Idaho - Emerging Opportunities Amid the Compliance Crisis

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, August 9, 2018
Updated: Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Association of Idaho Cities works hard to provide our members with the resources they need to protect public health and safety. 

Ensuring Idaho waters are protected for fisheries, recreation and clean drinking water is critical for communities’ wellbeing and economic development. As Idaho takes over Clean Water Act responsibilities in writing municipal water treatment discharge permits, attendees at the June 2018 AIC Annual Conference heard about important issues from around the state, and how AIC is assembling additional resources to help member cities grapple with the current opportunities and heightened scrutiny over compliance and funding.

Presentations provided include:

Treasure Valley & IPDES Effluent Limit Development Guidance Supplement - Tom Dupuis, HDR

Permit Renewal in Light of Total Maximum Daily Loads & Temperature - Kate Harris, City of Boise

North Idaho Issues in Light of Spokane River Total Maximum Daily Loads and Arsenic - Stephen James, J-U-B Engineers

Permit Violations in Light of Total Maximum Daily Loads & Water Quality Based Effluent Limits (a.k.a., Everything You Wanted to Know About Citizen Suits...) - Fred Andes, Barnes & Thornburg, and the Federal Water Quality Coalition (FWQC)

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Idaho City Management Association Senior Adviser Program: What You Need to Know

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Idaho City Management Association (IdCMA) has adopted the Senior Adviser Program in partnership with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).  

The ICMA Senior Adviser program (formerly Range Rider Program) is a joint activity of ICMA and IdCMA established by the ICMA Executive Board in 1974 to make the counsel, experience, and support of respected, retired managers of the profession available to members.  Senior Advisers are unpaid volunteers who pursue other activities while in retirement and thus are not "full time."  Expenses are shared by ICMA and IdCMA.

The Idaho Senior Advisers are:

David Childs - Districts 1 and 2

Phil Kushlan - Districts 3, 3a and 4

Dave O'Leary - Districts 5 and 6

What is the Senior Adviser  Program?  The ICMA Senior Adviser program (formerly Range Rider Program) is a joint activity of ICMA and state sponsors established by the ICMA Executive Board in 1974 to make the counsel, experience, and support of respected, retired managers of the profession available to members.  Currently almost 90 Senior Advisers in 22 states provide a highly valued service by volunteering their time to offer confidential professional and personal support and advice.  

Senior Advisers are selected jointly by the state sponsor and the ICMA Executive Director.  Although they are expected to be visible, accessible and responsive to members and association needs, Senior Advisers are unpaid volunteers who pursue other activities while in retirement and thus are not “full time.” Expenses are shared by ICMA and the sponsoring state organization.  The expenses allocated depend on the size of the state, the number of Senior Advisers and funds available from the sponsors. 

Senior Advisers are available to meet periodically with members in their states or areas to discuss the profession and their concerns as members. Discussion topics range from relations with elected officials, overall management questions, relations with ICMA, responses to local controversies such as referenda on the council-manager plan, to career development. 

Senior Advisers are friends, colleagues, and advisers to the profession—not consultants. The Senior Adviser program is designed to help with personal and professional issues, not to provide technical assistance or solve substantive problems in a local government.  However, Senior Advisers may consult with local governments as individuals, on a part-time basis, as long as the consulting does not impair the effectiveness of the Senior Advisers. Senior Adviser guidelines contain advice for those who do part-time consulting.


Senior Advisers may also help communities interested in creating a professional local government management position, including adoption of council-manager government. 

Link to the Senior Adviser information on the ICMA website.


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Register Today for ICCTFOA Institute in Coeur d’Alene

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The 2018 Idaho City Clerks, Treasurers and Finance Officers Association Institute will be held in Coeur d’Alene at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn on September 19 – 21.  A draft agenda will be available soon on the 2018 Institute webpage

When making a room reservation be sure to ask for the Association of Idaho Cities group room block for the rate of $129 per night. 

The Institute provides valuable training for city clerks, treasurers and finance officers on accounting and financial reporting, budgeting, open meetings, public records, investing, utility rates, and many other critical topics.  Sending city staff to the Institute is an important investment in providing the training needed to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. 

Scholarships are available to cover up to $500 of travel, lodging and other expenses for attending the Institute.  Scholarship applications are due to Renata McLeod, City Clerk of Coeur d’Alene ( by August 10.  The scholarship application and other information can be found at the Institute website

See you at the 2018 ICCTFOA Institute!


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Idaho 2018 Revised Withholding Tax Tables are Effective Immediately, Special Requirements apply to Form W-4

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, July 26, 2018

From AIC Financial Coordinator Dara Von Lossberg:

The Idaho State Tax Commission has revised A Guide to Idaho Income Tax Withholding (rev. 6-20-2018), containing updated 2018 state income tax withholding tables adjusted for inflation and reflecting a reduction in the income tax rates.

Under recent legislation, personal and dependent exemptions have been eliminated and most itemized deductions have been eliminated or capped. The Commission recommends that all employees update their federal Forms W-4 for state withholding purposes. Idaho now uses an Idaho allowance count on the federal W-4, line 5 (see the 2018 W-4 Worksheet for Idaho in the appendix of the revised withholding tax guide) to calculate withholding. The Idaho withholding allowances are based on the number of children who qualify for the Idaho Child Tax Credit.

Although the revised 2018 withholding tables reflect significant retroactive changes due to new federal and state tax laws, employers are instructed to not adjust the withholding for the months prior to receiving the revised tables, but instead to begin withholding under the new tables now. (Notice, Idaho State Tax Commission, May 1, 2018.)

Supplemental wages

The supplemental withholding rate is reduced to 6.925% (down from 7.4%). Supplemental wages are those wages paid to an employee in addition to the employee's regular wages, such as bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, payments for accumulated sick leave, severance pay, awards, prizes, back pay, retroactive pay, expense allowances paid under a nonaccountable plan, payments for nondeductible moving expenses and other similar payments. Employers may choose to compute withholding on supplemental wages by combining the supplemental payment with regular wages and treating them as a single payment or by multiplying the supplemental payment by the supplemental withholding rate.


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Water Quality: Idaho's 2016 Integrated Report Out for Public Comment

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking public comment on its draft 2016 status report on water quality in Idaho’s rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs.  Currently, the comment period is scheduled to close at 5:00 p.m. MDT, Monday, August 6, 2018.

The draft biennial 2016 Integrated Report includes information on policies affecting water quality assessment and reporting in the state, water bodies proposed for delisting from the state’s lists of impaired waters, current assessment efforts, and monitoring results. It also includes the categorized lists showing the current status of all state waters.

The draft report serves as a guide for DEQ to manage water quality in the state and prioritize its development of water quality improvement plans known as total maximum daily loads, or TMDLs, which are designed to restore beneficial uses and ensure compliance with water quality standards.

DEQ developed the report using data and information DEQ had collected as well as information from other agencies, organizations, and individuals, including data and comments submitted by the public during the past five years (2012–2016).

The draft 2016 Integrated Report, the draft overall map, the draft interactive map, and the public comment form to submit comments can be accessed HERE

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your DEQ regional or State office staff:


Amy Steimke, Federal Reporting Coordinator

DEQ State Office, Water Quality Division (208) 373-0153


Lance Holloway, Regional Water Quality Manager

Boise Regional Office

(208) 373-0550


Thomas Herron, Regional Water Quality Manager

Coeur d'Alene Regional Office

(208) 666-4631

Troy Saffle, Regional Water Quality Manager

Idaho Falls Regional Office

(208) 528-2650


Lynn Van EveryRegional Water Quality Manager

Pocatello Regional Office

(208) 236-6160


Kiley MulhollandRegional Water Quality Manager

Twin Falls Regional Office

Phone: (208) 736-2190


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Understanding Revenue Sharing Presentation Available on AIC Website

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, July 9, 2018

There has been considerable interest among city officials about the topic of revenue sharing and the AIC Task Force that is currently looking at the revenue sharing distribution.  You can check out the Understanding Revenue Sharing presentation from the task force's first meeting on the AIC website.  It provides a history of the revenue sharing formulas, revenue history and projections, as well as a summary of the legislation proposed by Rep. Monks that would change the formula.  

If you have thoughts on revenue sharing, please email Justin Ruen at


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Flags to Be at Half-Staff until Sunset July 3, 2018

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Presidential Proclamation Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Annapolis, Maryland
Issued on: July 3, 2018
Our Nation shares the sorrow of those affected by the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.  Americans across the country are united in calling upon God to be with the victims and to bring aid and comfort to their families and friends.  As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on June 28, 2018, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 3, 2018.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.


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