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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

AIC Records Retention Bill Passes Senate

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 17, 2016

AIC's records retention bill passed the Senate by a vote of 34-0-1 yesterday and now awaits signature by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter.  

We greatly appreciate the help of the bill's sponsors: Rep. John McCrostie of Garden City and Sen. Michelle Stennett of Ketchum.

Also thanks to the city officials who contacted legislators in support of House Bill 443

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AIC-Sponsored Bill on Unused Cemetery Lots Passes Legislature

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 17, 2016

An AIC-sponsored bill that will help cities deal with unused cemetery lots has passed the House and Senate and now awaits signature by Governor. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

House Bill 496 provides a process for cities and cemetery districts to follow to deal with cemetery lots that were sold decades ago where there is uncertainty about whether the owner or their family intend to use the lot.

Since the 1960s, most cemetery deeds have included reversionary clauses that provide that if the lot is not used within a specified period of time—generally 30 to 50 years—then the lot reverts to the cemetery owner.  A number of Idaho cities—including Boise, Nampa, Caldwell and Lewiston—face the challenge of dealing with cemetery lots sold decades ago before reversionary clauses became standard practice.  For example, the City of Caldwell has more than 100 cemetery lots purchased between 50 and 100 years ago that have not been used for burial where it is not clear whether the owner or their heirs have any interest in using the lot.

Under HB 496, in the event that a cemetery lot has not been used for burial for at least 50 years after purchase, the city or cemetery district notifies the owner or the owner’s heirs of the existence of the lot and gives them 60 days to respond in writing to express an interest in using the lot for burial.  If the owner cannot be located, then legal notice is published for three weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county and the notice is mailed to the owner’s last known address, if available.

If the owner or their heirs fail to notify the city or district within 60 days after notice is provided that they intend to use the lot, then it reverts to the city or district and may be sold for burial purposes.

In the event that the owner or their heir shows up at some point down the line after the lot reverted to the city or district and wants to use it for burial, they are entitled to use it if the lot has not been sold to someone else.  If the lot has been sold, the city or district must either provide another lot in the cemetery or compensate the person for the fair value of the lot at the present time.

This legislation will help public cemeteries to deal with this issue in a responsible way that respects the rights of the purchaser and their heirs.  

 

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Senate Committee Approves AIC-Sponsored Records Retention Bill

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, March 14, 2016

Last week the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee approved AIC-sponsored legislation on city records retention.  House Bill 443 will likely be up for floor debate and vote in the Senate toward the middle of this week and will be carried on the floor by Sen. Michelle Stennett of Ketchum.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 66-1-3.

House Bill 443 would extend to cities the authority that the Legislature has already granted to counties and highway districts to retain permanent records using digital media.  House Bill 443 is supported by the Idaho State Historical Society and their suggestions were incorporated into the legislation.  

Currently, Idaho law requires cities to retain permanent records in paper form, which can prove to be a challenge with records like commercial building plans that take up considerable space.  Retaining these records electronically will be much more user friendly and efficient than keeping them in paper form.  For permanent records that are not of historical significance, House Bill 443 would allow these records to be retained using digital media and then the paper original of the record could be destroyed after notice to the Idaho State Historical Society.

House Bill 443 also provides a definition of historical records and requires these records to be retained in paper form in perpetuity, either by the city or the State Archives.

City officials are encouraged to contact members of the Senate to respectfully ask for their support of House Bill 443.  

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Campaign Finance Bill Defeated in Senate State Affairs Committee

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, February 22, 2016

Today the Senate State Affairs Committee defeated legislation that would have required campaign finance reporting in all city elections. 

Senate Bill 1299, sponsored by Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene and Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa, was opposed by local government associations including AIC, the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Association of Highway Districts and the Idaho Library Association.  A motion to send the bill to the amending order for changes failed on a 2-6 vote.

“I am here this morning to offer you a bit of sunshine, and I think we need it,” Souza said in her remarks to the committee.  “And by sunshine I mean reporting of campaign expenditures and donations equally on all sides of elections at both our state and local levels.”

Souza argued that local governments have significant spending authority and power to decide public policy, and that demands transparency in terms of how campaign money is being raised and spent.

Representatives of the local government associations noted that it is already difficult to find people to serve in local elected office and piling more requirements on candidates will make that task even harder. 

“The elected officials who serve in our small cities already balance the demands of working one or two jobs, having a family, and their role as a volunteer public servant,” said Justin Ruen, Policy Analyst for AIC.  “We greatly appreciate the sacrifices that our local public servants make to serve their communities.”

“The burdens of Senate Bill 1299 will fall squarely on the shoulders of the smallest cities with the smallest budgets, many of which have part-time city clerks who will have to learn and administer a very complicated campaign finance law,” Ruen said. 

We greatly appreciate the many calls and emails that city officials made to legislators in opposition to the bill. 

We ask city officials to call or email the following legislators to thank them personally for their vote to defeat SB 1299. 

Sen. Curt McKenzie, Chair: cmckenzie@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, Vice Chair: palodge@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Bart Davis: bmdavis@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Brent Hill: bhill@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Michelle Stennett: mstennett@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb: cbucknerwebb@senate.idaho.gov

 

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House Committee will Hear Telecom Facility Relocation Bill on Tuesday, Feb. 16

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, February 15, 2016

The House Local Government Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, February 16 on House Bill 404, which would require urban renewal agencies to pay the full cost of relocating telecommunication facilities resulting from an urban renewal project.  We ask city officials to contact members of the committee to respectfully ask legislators to oppose the bill.

House Bill 404 is sponsored by Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star on behalf of Frontier Communications.  The bill provides: “In the event that a telecommunications service provider is required to relocate its facilities to accommodate an Idaho urban renewal agency project within its area of operation… an urban renewal agency shall directly reimburse the telecommunications service provider one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of relocation of its facilities.” 

The bill also provides that the full costs of any facility relocation in process on July 1, 2016 must be paid by the urban renewal agency if there is no written agreement between the agency and the service provider concerning relocation costs. 

The bill defines “cost of relocation” as “the entire cost incurred by the telecommunications service provider attributable to the relocation of the utility facility after deducting any salvage value derived from the old utility facility.”

Why Should House Bill 404 be Defeated?

Cities work closely with utilities during the design stage of projects to ensure that their needs are taken into account and that the project will happen in such a way as to minimize costs to the utility and limit disruption of utility service.  These principles are codified in Idaho Code 40-210, which requires local governments to consult and coordinate with utilities on projects within public highways and the associated rights-of-way.

Idaho court rulings have held that utility providers are “permissive users” of rights-of-way and do not have any property interest in rights-of-way.  Currently urban renewal agencies are able to negotiate with service providers for voluntary payment of relocation costs, which allows agencies to participate to the extent that funding and other circumstances allow. 

The issue of utility relocation in urban renewal projects has been known and discussed for some time, but neither the issue nor the proposed legislation were presented to the Urban Renewal Interim Committee.

Telecommunication companies operate under a special franchise granted in Article XI, Section 13 of the Idaho Constitution and do not pay the franchise fees that power, cable television, and natural gas service providers pay for use of public rights-of-way.  Telecommunications providers are already in a privileged position. 

House Bill 404 would single out urban renewal agencies and require them to pay for utility relocation using public funds when no other public agency is required to do so.  This is bad public policy. 

Relocation of utility facilities represents an opportunity for telecommunications service providers to upgrade their equipment.  Many urban renewal projects attract new businesses to communities, helping to increase the customer base for these utilities.  While there are costs associated with these projects, there are also benefits from the service provider’s perspective.

Contact Members of the Committee

We ask city officials to contact members of the committee to respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 404.  The committee members and their email addresses are listed below.  

Rep. Lynn Luker, Boise, Chair: lluker@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Kathleen Sims, Coeur d’Alene, Vice Chair: ksims@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Vito Barbieri, Dalton Gardens: vbar@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Christy Perry, Nampa: cperry@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Lance Clow, Twin Falls: lclow@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Wendy Horman, Idaho Falls: wendyhorman@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Luke Malek, Coeur d’Alene: lmalek@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Gary Collins, Nampa: gcollins@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Don Cheatham, Post Falls: dcheatham@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Thomas Loertscher, Iona: tloertscher@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Eric Redman, Athol: eredman@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Hy Kloc, Boise: hkloc@house.idaho.gov
Rep. John McCrostie, Garden City: jmccrostie@house.idaho.gov
Rep. Mark Nye, Pocatello: mnye@house.idaho.gov

 

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AIC Sponsored City Records Retention Legislation Introduced

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, February 10, 2016

AIC sponsored legislation that would allow cities to retain permanent records digitally has been introduced and will be up for hearing soon in the House Local Government Committee.

House Bill 443 would make several changes to the city records retention law. 

(1) Provides a definition for "historical records" and requires such records to be retained in
perpetuity by the city or transferred to the State Archives.

(2) Repeals Idaho Code 50-909 and incorporates the provisions of that section concerning retention of records using photographic or digital media into Idaho Code 50-907.

(3) Cities are authorized to retain permanent records using photographic or digital media, and to
destroy paper originals of non-historical records preserved on photographic or digital media.

(4) Provisions concerning destruction of records that have met their required retention period match the current law, except for language clarifying that historical records cannot be destroyed.

The primary impetus behind the legislation is allowing the larger cities to deal more efficiently and effectively with records like commercial building plans, which are classified as permanent records and are currently required to be kept in paper form forever.  Although the Building Code requires these plans to be kept for the life of the building, they can be retained digitally and free up considerable storage space for other records.  Legislation has already been passed allowing counties and highway districts to retain permanent records digitally.  

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

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, February 1, 2016

Thanks to the nearly 220 city officials who were in attendance at last week's City Officials' Day at the Capitol.  

The day kicked off with a legislative briefing featuring remarks from Lieutenant Governor Brad Little on the most significant issues facing cities and the State of Idaho.  

Dr. Jim Weatherby moderated a legislative panel including Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Brent Hill of Rexburg, House Local Government Committee Chair Rep. Lynn Luker of Boise, and Co-Chair of the Urban Renewal Interim Committee Rep. Rick Youngblood of Nampa.  

City officials enjoyed a great lunch with nearly all of the 105 members of the Idaho Legislature in attendance, as well as several state executive branch officials and state agency heads.  

AIC presented the legislators with the much loved Idaho ties and scarves that are seen so frequently in the capitol.  

In the afternoon, city officials had the opportunity to tour the capitol, check out committee hearings, or schedule meetings with legislators and state agency staff.

Thanks again for making the 2016 City Officials' Day at the Capitol a success! 

Tags:  City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

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See You at City Officials' Day at the Capitol

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, January 25, 2016

We look forward to seeing many city officials in Boise on Thursday, January 28 at the annual City Officials' Day at the Capitol.  There is still time to register online.  

The event will kick off with a Legislative Briefing at 9:00 a.m. in the Summit Room of the Boise Centre.  The morning session will feature remarks from Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little.  We will also have a legislative panel moderated by Dr. Jim Weatherby, including Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill of Rexburg, House Local Government Committee Chair Rep. Lynn Luker of Boise and Rep. Rick Youngblood of Nampa.  The morning session will also feature discussion concerning several legislative hot topics.

The meeting will break shortly before Noon to allow city officials to walk or take the AIC shuttles to the capitol to meet their legislators outside the House and Senate chambers on the third floor of the capitol building.  City officials then escort the legislators to the luncheon at the Boise Centre, which will be in the Eagle Room.

In the afternoon, city officials can take a tour of the capitol, attend legislative committee hearings, or schedule private meetings with legislators or state agency staff.

We strongly recommend calling your legislators to let them know you will be in town and would like to sit with them at lunch.  You can contact your legislator through the Legislative Information Center at (208) 332-1000.  Generally, it is easiest to meet up with legislators outside of the House and Senate chambers at the capitol.

See you on Thursday!

Tags:  City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

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Urban Renewal Interim Committee Meets to Discuss Draft Legislation

Posted By Seth Grigg, Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Urban Renewal Interim Committee met on December 14th in Boise to discuss draft legislation intended to reform Idaho’s urban renewal laws. The draft legislation can be viewed by clicking here. The Legislation contains the following key changes:

  • Consolidate Chapter 20 and Chapter 29 of Title 50 into a single chapter.
  • Authorizes a city council to enact by ordinance how an urban renewal commission is appointed and terms of service, including imposing term limits and allowing commissioners to be elected in a general election.
  • Establish a central repository for urban renewal plans, maps, and budget documents and imposing penalties for noncompliance, which penalties may include a loss of tax increment revenues.
  • Restrict the use of urban renewal funds for public buildings including city halls, administrative buildings, and libraries. As currently drafted, the proposal would allow up to $1,000,000 of urban renewal funds or up to 49% of project costs for public buildings to be covered by an urban renewal agency without a public vote. If urban renewal contributions exceed 49% then a public vote would be required to use urban renewal funds.
  • Require the base assessment roll to be reset each time an urban renewal plan is amended.
  • Allow aggrieved parties to bring about a class action lawsuit against the urban renewal agency or individual urban renewal commissioners.

The interim committee spent over three hours reviewing the draft legislation and debating among themselves the merits of the concept. After considerable discussion, the interim committee elected to strike Sections 18 and 19 from the draft, removing proposed language allowing class action lawsuits to be brought against an agency or agency commissioners. Committee members also acknowledged that other changes to the draft would be made; however, the committee members did not elaborate on what those changes will be. The interim committee will meet again in early January to finalize their recommendations to the full Legislature. It is important to note that regardless of what the interim committee recommends, the legislation will be required to go through the same public hearing process as other legislation, including consideration by germane house and senate committees, a vote by the full house and senate, and consideration by the governor.

The most concerning element of what is being proposed is language that clarifies the any urban renewal plan amendment requires a resetting of the base assessment roll, thereby eliminating any tax increment that has been realized to that point in time and jeopardizing any outstanding bonds. Requiring the base assessment roll to reset each time a plan is amended will have the effect of preventing plan amendments and eliminate an agency’s ability to respond to unforeseen economic and infrastructure development needs and potentially result in cities turning away new development.

AIC staff and as well as legal counsel for Redevelopment Association of Idaho are currently reviewing the proposed legislation and formulating an appropriate response to the interim committee. We will soon be providing city and urban renewal officials with talking points to be used when engaging legislators. If you have any questions or comments about urban renewal legislation, please reach out to AIC Executive Director Seth Grigg via email (sgrigg@idahocities.org) or by phone (208-344-8594). 

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AIC Board of Directors Begins Setting AIC Legislative Priorities

Posted By Seth Grigg, Monday, December 7, 2015

The AIC Board of Directors met on Thursday, December 3rd to review legislative proposals submitted by AIC member cities for Board consideration. At the meeting, the Board voted to support the following three proposals:

 

  • From the City of Boise, an amendment to Section 50-909, Idaho Code, to allow a city to retain permanent records in a nonpaper medium.
  • From the City of Boise, amendments to Sections 23-902, 23-934A, and 23-934B, Idaho Code, to define a festival and allow alcohol beverage catering permits for festivals for a period of at least three days and not more than nine days.
  • From the City of Idaho Falls, an amendment to Section 74-105, Idaho Code, to exempt from disclosure any public record that contains sensitive information regarding critical infrastructure.

 

In addition, the Board directed staff to continue working with the City of Caldwell on proposed legislation to establish a process through which cities and cemetery districts can reclaim unused cemetery plots. AIC staff will work with the City of Caldwell to improve the proposal prior to the start of the 2016 Legislative Session.

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