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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Senate Moves Forward with Grocery Tax Repeal without Protecting Revenue Sharing

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 17, 2017

In a dramatic turn of events Thursday afternoon, the Senate amended an income tax relief bill to strip out the income tax provisions and replace those provisions with repealing the sales tax on food. 

The amendment provides no replacement revenue for local governments’ sales tax revenue sharing and would result in a major financial hit to cities, counties and non-school special districts of about $27.5 million annually when fully implemented.  AIC is currently working on estimates to show the potential impact to each city and will share that information as soon as it is available.

House Bill 67 as amended will be debated and voted soon on the Senate floor. 

We ask city officials to contact members of the Senate and respectfully ask that revenue sharing be protected, either in the form of replacement revenue or a hold harmless provision that would establish a floor for distributions.

Some of the bill’s proponents argue that growth in sales tax revenue will be sufficient to protect local governments.  But growth in sales tax revenue isn’t guaranteed: in 2009 and 2010, revenue sharing funds to cities declined 17%. 

There is also valid concern about stability of sales tax revenue.  The revenue from the sales tax on food is the most stable part of the state's sales tax revenue.  If legislators approve repealing the sales tax on groceries and the economy then goes into a downturn, the negative impact to sales tax revenue and revenue sharing will be magnified.  

We respect legislators’ desire to provide tax relief in a way that looks out for the most vulnerable members of our society, but it is important that this tax relief be done in such a way that cities are not forced to cut police or fire protection, or raise property taxes.

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City Officials Asked to Contact Legislators to Oppose HB 283

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 16, 2017

This morning the House Revenue & Taxation Committee voted to approve a bill that would have very negative impacts on cities’ budget authority.  House Bill 283 will be considered on the House floor very soon and we ask city officials to contact their local legislators to respectfully ask them to oppose this bill.

House Bill 283 is sponsored by Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls.  The bill would provide that anytime property becomes exempt from property taxation after being purchased by the State of Idaho, local government tax levying authority would be reduced by an amount equal to the levy rate of the previous year multiplied by the value of the exempt property.  The bill also provides that property that becomes exempt within two years may be removed from the new construction roll.

At the hearing, Rep. Trujillo dropped the bombshell that the State of Idaho is looking to purchase the Hewlett-Packard campus in Boise for the State Tax Commission, which is losing its current office space.  If HB 283 passes, the fiscal impact to the City of Boise of the property being sold to the State would be a loss of over $600,000 in budget authority.

House Bill 283 will wreak havoc on local government budgets and AIC strongly opposes the legislation. 

When property goes off the tax rolls after being purchased by a government entity, local governments still must provide police and fire protection, street maintenance and other vital local services. 

The costs of providing these vital local government services don’t go down because property becomes exempt from taxation.

House Bill 283 will force local governments to cut other tax-supported services, or raise property taxes, to provide the services that are required for these exempt properties.

Idaho law currently does not reduce a local government’s budget capacity when properties become exempt from taxation and this is the best policy to ensure that vital services can continue to be provided without forcing cuts to services or tax increases.

We ask that city officials contact their local legislators and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 283.  

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Senate Transportation Funding Bill Up for Hearing Thurs., March 16 & Available to Review

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The much anticipated Senate omnibus transportation funding bill--Senate Bill 1184--is now available to review online.  The bill will be up for hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday, March 16 at 1 p.m.

Major provisions of the bill include:

  • Authorizing up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for road and bridge construction projects on state highways and freeways.  
  • Authorizing up to $200 million in bonding authority for road and bridge construction projects that improve safety, enhance economic development and reduce congestion, with 60% for projects on the state system and 40% for projects by cities, counties and highway districts.
  • Reauthorizing the state surplus eliminator for five years, and providing that revenues will be split 60% to the state and 40% to local highway jurisdictions (cities, counties and highway districts).  This revenue will fund road and bridge construction projects.
  • Exempting from sales tax materials used for road construction projects.
  • Eliminates the current 5% share of Highway Distribution Account revenues for the Idaho State Police (ISP), and gives ISP dedicated state sales tax revenue.  Highway Distribution Account revenues will be split 60% to the Idaho Transportation Department and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.
  • A 1% local option sales tax for counties to levy for specific transportation projects.
  • The Office of Performance Evaluation will conduct an independent evaluation of the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council.

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Senate Transportation Bill Likely up for Hearing Thursday, March 16

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

An omnibus transportation funding bill was on the agenda of the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee to be introduced this afternoon, but the bill's sponsor Sen. Bert Brackett was reportedly unable to make it to the meeting in time to have the bill introduced.

Committee Chair Sen. Patti Anne Lodge indicated the bill will be introduced by a buck slip, which is a very infrequently used procedure that requires every committee member's signature to introduce a bill without the customary print hearing.

Betsy Russell's Eye on Boise Blog is reporting that the bill will likely be up for a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday, March 16.  

This is one of the most important bills of the session from the perspective of Idaho cities.  The bill reportedly includes authorization for up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for state transportation projects, a five-year extension of the state surplus eliminator, shifting the Idaho State Police (ISP) out of the Highway Distribution Account and providing ISP with dedicated sales tax revenue, and reportedly authorization for a 1% local option sales tax for transportation projects.

We will be posting updates on the status of the bill as we get additional information.  The bill is not currently available to review on the Legislature's website.



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Register Today for AIC Spring Regional Academies

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Registration is now open for AIC's Spring Academy for City Officials. Information concerning the upcoming Academy, including how to register and a detailed program agenda can be found at the following website: 

Spring Academies will be held around the state at the following locations:

  • Monday, April 24th: Nampa Civic Center
  • Tuesday, April 25th: Best Western Plus Burley Inn
  • Wednesday, April 26th: Idaho Falls Hilton Garden Inn
  • Thursday, April 27th: Chubbuck Idaho Central Credit Union corporate headquarters
  • Monday, May 1st: Best Western Coeur d'Alene Inn
  • Tuesday, May 2nd: Moscow Best Western University Inn

AIC's Spring Academy for City Officials is held each April/May to provide city officials with timely training on the municipal budget process, recently enacted legislation, and other important topics. This year the program will include training on the following:

  • 2017 Legislative Review: A review of legislative action affecting cities including HB130 (city treasurer responsibilities), HB207 (foregone property taxes), HB216 (regulation of short term vacation rentals), HB235 (property tax exemption for capital investments), SB1074 (local government purchasing), SB1113 (changes to the Justice Reinvestment Act), and SB1141 (emergency transportation funding).
  • Municipal Budgeting: A detailed training of the ins and outs of developing, adopting, and implementing your municipal budget including training on property tax budgeting, budgeting non-property tax revenues, utility rate setting, and financial reporting and oversight.
  • Municipal Bidding and Procurement: An overview of Idaho’s local government bidding and procurement laws, including purchasing that is exempt from competitive bidding, purchasing professional services and personal property, purchasing public works construction, and joint purchasing agreements. 

Following the training, each AIC District will be given time to caucus to nominate and select AIC Board representatives for the upcoming year.

All city officials are encouraged to attend.

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Senate Introduces Major Transportation Funding Bills

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 10, 2017
Today the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee voted to introduce two major transportation funding bills sponsored by Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Three Creek, the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.  Betsy Russell's Eye on Boise blog has a helpful report summarizing the bills, which will be up for hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee next week.   

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City Officials Asked to Contact Senate Committee to Support Bill Updating City Treasurer Laws

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 7, 2017

On Wednesday, March 8 the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee will consider AIC-supported legislation that modernizes provisions of state law concerning the responsibilities of the city treasurer. 

We ask city officials to contact members of the committee (listed below) to respectfully ask for their support of House Bill 130.

Idaho Code 50-208 currently requires the city treasurer to make a monthly report to the city council, under oath, showing the state of the treasury, as well as a statement of all receipts and disbursements, and all warrants redeemed and paid.  If the treasurer fails to make this report within 10 days of the end of the month, then the city treasurer position is vacated.  This code section was originally adopted in the 1920s and has not been updated in a meaningful way since that time.

House Bill 130 will give the treasurer 60 days after the end of the month to make the report, and it will no longer be required to be a sworn statement.  The bill clarifies that the quarterly treasurer’s report must be delivered at a city council meeting not more than 30 days after the end of each quarter. 

The bill also provides that provisions of the Public Depository Law requiring a Treasurer’s Monthly Report only apply if there is not another code section that requires a treasurer’s report for the political subdivision (cities already have such a requirement, so it would not apply to cities). 

House Bill 130 will modernize archaic provisions of law relating to the responsibilities of the city treasurer and we are pleased to work with Rep. Luke Malek and Rep. Paul Amador of Coeur d’Alene on this important bill. 

We ask city officials to contact members of the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee and respectfully ask for their support of House Bill 130.  The committee members and their emails are listed below.

Sen. Dan G. Johnson, Lewiston, Chair:

Sen. Clifford R. Bayer, Meridian, Vice Chair:

Sen. Brent Hill, Rexburg:

Sen. Jeff C. Siddoway, Terreton:

Sen. Jim Rice, Caldwell:

Sen. Steve Vick, Dalton Gardens:

Sen. Jim L. Patrick, Twin Falls:

Sen. Grant Burgoyne, Boise:

Sen. Mark Nye, Pocatello:



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City Officials Asked to Contact Legislators to Support Emergency Transportation Funding Bill

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Last Wednesday, the legislative budget committee unanimously approved a proposal for the state to provide $52 million in emergency funding for road and bridge projects to help state and local governments impacted by severe winter weather and flooding.

We ask city officials to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask for their support of Senate Bill 1141.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee held a special hearing where Brigadier Gen. Brad Richy, Director of the state Office of Emergency Management, described the damage and showed the committee pictures to confirm the damage assessment to roads and bridges in the Magic Valley.

“The amazing devastation that’s happening in this area is just incredible,” Richy said.  “It’s hard to imagine until you actually have the opportunity to see it from the air, to look down at some of these roads and the damage that’s happened to the infrastructure.”

Richy estimated the cost of flooding damage in the Magic Valley alone was at $17 million.

“There is no way of knowing what the actual cost will be until this whole thing is over with.  We anticipate that we’ll request another presidential declaration for this winter flood.” 

“We are far in excess of normal snowpack in Southern Idaho.  As temperatures begin to rise over the next 10 days, I would anticipate the snow line will continue to rise.  And some areas that haven’t experienced flooding will experience flooding.” 

Richy noted that 250 buildings have collapsed in southern Idaho and $100 million in damage was suffered by onion farmers due to storage sheds and other buildings collapsing under heavy snow load.  The city of Weiser lost a fire station and a grocery store.

Senate Bill 1141 would provide $52 million in grant funding for state and local road and bridge projects in counties that are under a Governor’s disaster declaration.  To date the Governor has declared a state disaster covering Cassia, Franklin, Gooding, Jefferson, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Washington Counties for flooding. 

Federal disaster declarations have been requested.  Repair projects that qualify for funding by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would be covered 75% by federal funding, 15% will be covered by the state’s appropriated emergency funds, and there would be a 10% local match.  Volunteer hours and other in-kind contributions can count toward the local match.  For projects that don’t qualify for FEMA aid, the state would use the appropriated emergency funds to cover 90% of the costs, with a 10% local match. 

The projects will be selected by a Recovery Review Panel comprised of a representative each from the Idaho Transportation Department, Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, Idaho Association of Counties, Association of Idaho Cities, Idaho Association of Highway Districts, and the Governor’s office.  The Deputy Chief of the Idaho Office of Emergency Management in the Military Division will be a member and chair the panel. 

Senate Bill 1141 is the most important bill of the legislative session from the perspective of local governments and we ask city officials to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask for their support of this important bill.   

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New Budget & Election Calendars Available

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, March 6, 2017

The newly updated calendars for this year's city elections and the FY 2018 budget process are now available.  The links to PDF and Word versions are at the very bottom of this blog post.

We appreciate everyone's interest in getting the budget and election manuals as quickly as possible, but we have to wait until the legislative session is completed to get these manuals finalized.  

We hope to have the budget manual available in April and the election and campaign finance manuals a couple weeks after that.  

We try to get these manuals out as soon as possible and appreciate your patience!


 Attached Files:

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City Officials Urged to Contact Legislators to Support Justice Reinvestment Reform Bill

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, March 1, 2017

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee voted to approve AIC-supported legislation aimed at strengthening Idaho’s Justice Reinvestment laws. 

City officials are urged to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask for their support of Senate Bill 1113, which will be up for floor debate and vote in the Senate later this week. 

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) was a data-driven approach aimed at addressing Idaho’s relatively high rates of incarceration for nonviolent crimes and rapidly burgeoning prison population. 

The reforms, which were passed by the Legislature in 2014, included moving nonviolent offenders out of prison and into community-based supervision programs that incorporated better substance abuse and mental health assessments and treatment. 

By reducing the number of nonviolent offenders in prison, Idaho would have a more sustainable corrections system without building new prisons.  Investments in strengthening probation and parole would help ensure that the program was effective in reducing recidivism.

While Justice Reinvestment has successfully reduced prison costs, there have been unintended consequences including a very concerning increase in violent crimes committed by parolees who remain on parole despite drug or other violations. 

A tragic example involves Marco Romero who was on parole after serving time for two charges of possession of a controlled substance and one charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death.  He had several prior convictions for drug charges. 

Last November, Romero opened fire inside a Meridian apartment filled with his family and friends, shooting a man and a woman.  He carjacked an 89-year old woman two days later, and police tracked him to the Central Rim neighborhood, where he was killed in a gun battle after tragically shooting two police officers and a K-9.  The officers survived, but the K-9 died.

Romero remained on parole after testing positive for methamphetamine, which is considered a technical parole violation. 

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, Chair of the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee and Rep. Lynn Luker, Chair of the House Judiciary, Rules & Administration Committee worked together over the interim on legislation to strengthen the Justice Reinvestment laws.

The hearing before the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee was packed with law enforcement officers in uniform and the bill was strongly supported by the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association, Idaho Sheriffs Association and Fraternal Order of Police. 

Sen. Lodge said in her opening statement that the bill was dedicated to Cpl. Chris Davis and Cpl. Kevin Holtry of the Boise Police Department, the officers who were shot by Marco Romero.

“I want to dedicate this legislation to these heroes who have suffered injuries to protect the citizens of Idaho.  Thank you so much for the outstanding work you do,” Lodge said.

Lodge noted that the changes proposed by Senate Bill 1113 will “increase public safety and strengthen accountability for offenders.” 

The bill would add two commissioners to the Idaho Commission of Pardons & Parole and allow two commissioners to meet and decide parole violations; these changes should help expedite decisions on parole violations. 

The bill also provides that the swift, certain and graduated sanctions for parole violators may be used by parole officers without having a hearing.  Such sanctions could include: community service, increased reporting, curfews, substance use assessments, monitoring or treatment, cognitive behavioral treatment, and educational or vocational skills education, among others. 

The state’s policy “to focus prison space on those who commit the most serious offenses or who have the highest likelihood of offending in the future” is clearly articulated in the legislation. 

The bill also provides the parole commission with complete discretion to decide individual cases, considering the current risk assessment, criminal history, program participation, compliance and completion, institutional misconduct and other individual characteristics related to the likelihood of the person to reoffend in the future when making parole decisions. 

The bill eliminates the current 90 and 180-day incarceration framework for first and second parole violations and allows the commission to impose sanctions at any time up to and including revocation of parole and returning the offender to state custody.

AIC Legislative Chair Mayor John Evans of Garden City provided outstanding testimony in support of the bill. 

“We had five officer involved shootings involving parolees in Ada County in one year.  We had a gun fight at our police station and I had Garden City, Boise City and Ada County law enforcement officers defending themselves against a person who shouldn’t have been let out of jail.  That kind of thing hits very close to home.”   

“We are very concerned about the safety of our law enforcement officers and our community,” Evans said.

The committee members voted to send Senate Bill 1113 to the floor with a do-pass recommendation.  The bill will likely come up for floor debate and vote later this week.

We ask city officials to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask that they support Senate Bill 1113. 


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