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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

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:
Rep. Kathleen Sims, Coeur d’Alene, Vice Chair:
Rep. Vito Barbieri, Dalton Gardens:
Rep. Christy Perry, Nampa:
Rep. Lance Clow, Twin Falls:
Rep. Wendy Horman, Idaho Falls:
Rep. Luke Malek, Coeur d’Alene:
Rep. Gary Collins, Nampa:
Rep. Don Cheatham, Post Falls:
Rep. Thomas Loertscher, Iona:
Rep. Eric Redman, Athol:
Rep. Hy Kloc, Boise:
Rep. John McCrostie, Garden City:
Rep. Mark Nye, Pocatello:


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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 ( 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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2015 Post-Election Wrap-Up

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, November 5, 2015

Several cities had bond, levy and other questions on the ballot for the November 3, 2015 election.  We will briefly cover the results of these ballot measures.

·         Voters in McCall approved local option taxes to fund maintenance of city streets and sidewalks.  The proposal includes a 1 percent local option sales tax (which excludes groceries and car sales) and a 3 percent local option lodging tax.  The annual revenue expected to be generated from the taxes is $800,000, and the taxes will be in effect for 10 years. 


·         McCall voters narrowly defeated a citizen initiative seeking to phase in increases in the minimum wage.  The proposal would have increased the minimum wage to $8.75 per hour effective January 1, 2016 and to $10.25 per hour effective January 1, 2017.  This was one of the most closely watched ballot measures in the state. 


·         Sandpoint voters approved a 1 percent local option sales tax for five years to fund a $2.7 million project to construct new grandstands at Barlow Stadium at War Memorial Field, home of The Festival at Sandpoint. 


·         Stanley voters reauthorized the city’s local option sales tax at 2.5 percent.  The tax generates approximately $200,000 a year and is dedicated for city facilities and streets, public safety services, capital improvements, and matching funds for grants.


·         Voters in Melba approved allowing sale of liquor by the drink in the city.  Currently, bars are only able to sell beer and wine.  The measure only needed a simple majority to pass and received 56 percent of the vote.


·         A $2.2 million sewer bond passed in Notus with 73 percent support.  The project will replace portions of the city’s collection system and complete lagoon improvements, preparing the city to meet future discharge permit requirements.


·         A citizen initiative in Salmon seeking to ban the use of city property for a whitewater park was soundly defeated.  A group of residents has proposed such a park for kayakers and river surfers on the Salmon River west of downtown.  Proponents say the whitewater park will attract tourists and strengthen the local economy, as well as provide enhanced recreational opportunities for residents.   


·         A proposal to increase the City of Blackfoot’s electrical franchise fee from 1 to 3 percent was defeated.  The revenue would have been dedicated to needed street maintenance in the city.


·         Voters in Lava Hot Springs overwhelmingly reauthorized the city’s local option taxes.  The city levies a 3 percent tax on lodging, a 2 percent tax on alcohol by the drink, and a 2 percent tax on retail sales (excluding groceries, building materials and motor vehicles).  A separate proposal to dedicate some of the revenue for a new city hall narrowly failed to get the required 60 percent approval.  The city receives approximately $225,000 in local option tax revenue annually.


·         A proposed $23 million bond to fund construction of a wastewater treatment plant was defeated in Kimberly.  Currently, Kimberly relies on Twin Falls to treat its wastewater and it was hoped that constructing the city’s own facility would help in attracting new businesses and growth. 


·         City of Boise voters overwhelmingly passed a two-year override levy to provide $10 million for protection and preservation of open space, recreational access and habitat protection in the Foothills and the Boise River.


·         Voters in the City of Pierce approved a proposed $2.1 million revenue bond for wastewater treatment facilities.


·         Voters in the City of Weippe approved issuing $1.6 million in revenue bonds for improvements to the city’s sewer system and treatment facility. 


·         The City of Priest River passed a sewer revenue bond for $3.3 million of improvements to the city’s collection system and treatment facilities. 


·         Citizens in Rigby voted to keep in place a city ordinance banning Sunday sales of liquor by the drink. 


·         Voters in the city of Hazelton narrowly rejected a proposed ordinance allowing residents to own up to six chickens.  


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AIC Policy Process for Member Initiated Legislative Proposals

Posted By Seth Grigg, Thursday, September 10, 2015

Recent amendments to the AIC Bylaws establish a clear process for members to submit legislative proposals and for the Board of Directors to review and adopt member submitted policy proposals. The changes are intended to allow for a more inclusive and transparent policy development process. The process is as follows:

Who can propose AIC sponsored priority legislation?

Proposals for AIC sponsored priority legislation may be brought forward by any of the following association members of groups:

·       AIC Board of Directors,

·       AIC Legislative Committee.

·       AIC Committees, or

·       Elected Officials from One or More Member City.

The Bylaws also allow AIC staff to bring legislative proposals to the Board of Directors at any time. 

When is the deadline to submit a proposal for AIC sponsored priority legislation for consideration?

All policy proposals must be submitted to AIC staff by the close of business on October 15th in order to be consider as part of the AIC Priority Legislative Package. Please submit all legislative proposals via email to Seth Grigg ( You can also contact Seth via phone at (208) 344-8594 questions.


What information must be included with member submitted proposals for AIC sponsored priority legislation?

Legislative proposals submitted to AIC for consideration by an approved sponsor must include the following information:

·       The sponsor (either the name, title, and city of the sponsor or the name of the AIC committee)

·       A brief summary of the proposed legislation in sufficient detail to evaluate the proposal

·       A simple statement of the fiscal impact of the proposed legislation on the state and local governments

·       Draft legislative language

Will AIC staff review membership submitted proposals for AIC sponsored priority legislation?

The Bylaws require association staff to prepare a staff report to assist the Board of Directors and in reviewing priority legislation. The staff report will include the following items:

·       A list of Idaho statutes affected by the proposed legislation,

·       A list of city departments and city officials affected by the proposed legislation,

·       A list of legislative stakeholders both likely to support and likely to oppose the proposed legislation,

·       A statement of the reasons to support the proposed legislation,

·       A statement of the reasons not to support the legislation, including unintended consequences,

·       A brief fiscal analysis of the proposed legislation, and

·       An analysis of the political feasibility of the proposed legislation (likelihood of passage).

Who will review membership submitted proposals for AIC sponsored priority legislation?

The Board of Directors is authorized by the Bylaws to review and evaluate all legislative proposals submitted by the membership for consideration.

When Will the Board of Directors meet to review membership submitted proposals for AIC sponsored priority legislation?

The Board of Directors must meet by the second Friday in November to consider member submitted legislative proposals.

How will the Board of Directors review membership submitted proposals for AIC sponsored priority legislation?

The Bylaws require the Board of Directors to take the following information into consideration when reviewing legislative proposals:

·       The proposed legislation should affect more than one member city,

·       The proposed legislation should benefit more than one member city,

·       The proposed legislation should be within the general realm and scope of city government, and

·       The proposed legislation should be politically feasible.

What is the voting threshold for the Board of Directors to adopt membership submitted proposals for AIC sponsored priority legislation?

The Bylaws require an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Board of Directors in order to support member initiated legislative proposals.

Why is the voter threshold so high?

Having a two-thirds voter threshold will ensure that only near consensus legislation is advanced, thus preventing major divisions within the membership.

For how long is legislation adopted by the Board of Directors the policy position of the association?

Member initiated priority legislation adopted by the Board of Directors will remain the policy position of the association for one year; however, nothing will preclude unsuccessful legislation from being reconsidered in subsequent years.

When will the membership have the opportunity to review AIC sponsored priority legislation adopted by the Board of Directors?

Association membership will have an opportunity to review and comment on AIC sponsored priority legislation at the fall Legislative Committee meeting, generally held the first week in December. Members will also have the opportunity to review AIC sponsored priority legislation during the AIC Legislative Committee meeting held in conjunction with the AIC City Officials Day at the Capitol in late January.

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August State General Fund Revenue Collections Outpace Projections

Posted By Seth Grigg, Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Idaho Division of Financial Management recently released its August State General Fund Report highlighting that state general fund revenues continue to outpace projections. Through August, state revenues came in 1.4% above projections and 6.3% above FY2015 levels for the same period. These strong numbers indicate growth in economic activity for the state. Most importantly for cities, strong sales tax revenue growth is driving the overall growth in Idaho’s tax revenues. To date, FY2016 state sales tax revenues have outpaced projections by 3.9% and are up 9.1% when compared to FY2015. Continued strong sales tax collections should result in higher than projected state sales tax revenue sharing distributions to cities. More importantly, strong state sales tax collections show steady improvement in Idaho’s economy. The full report can be viewed here.

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Urban Renewal Interim Committee Holds Inaugural Meeting

Posted By Seth Grigg, Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Urban Renewal Interim Committee held its inaugural meeting on Monday, August 10th in Boise. The committee was established by the Legislature to undertake a complete study of urban renewal and economic development statutes and make recommendations to the Legislature for potential amendments to state law and the constitution. The committee is co-chaired by Senator Dan Johnson (Lewiston) and Representative Rick Youngblood (Nampa). Senate members include Mary Souza (Coeur d’Alene), Chuck Winder (Boise), Maryanne Jordan (Boise), and Jeff Siddoway (Terreton). House members include Kathy Sims (Coeur d’Alene), Robert Anderst (Nampa), Hy Kloc (Boise) and Lance Clow (Twin Falls).

As the committee listened to presentations from urban renewal experts, proponents, and opponents, it became clear that the committee has two camps: one interested in improving urban renewal to make it a more economic development friendly tool (including adding measures for greater transparency and accountability) and one interested in limiting, and even repealing, urban renewal as an economic development tool.

Brief committee discussion was dominated by three themes: agency accountability/transparency, composition of agency board members, and whether or not public buildings should be built with urban renewal funds. In spite of strong presentations highlighting the lack of economic development tools at the local level, in particular when compared to neighboring states like Utah, there was little constructive committee discussion about how to make urban renewal a more economic development friendly tool. That being said, a number of legislators, including Senator Winder and Senator Jordan expressed a desire to discuss enacting a local option tax in addition to urban renewal reforms.

At the end of the day, AIC anticipates that the interim committee will make modest recommendations including establishing an online portal and requiring urban renewal agencies to upload certain plan, project, and budget documents; imposing a penalty for failure to comply with reporting requirements; clarifying board eligibility (elected vs. nonelected, district residency requirements, etc.); and clarifying what public buildings, if any, can be built with urban renewal funds and whether or not a public vote is needed.

The interim committee has scheduled future meetings for September 21st, October 19th, and November 16th. All interim committee meetings will be held at the Capitol building in Boise. The interim committee does plan on utilizing technology, including video conferencing, to take public testimony from throughout the state. AIC will keep city officials up to date about future meeting agendas and opportunities to provide testimony.

Committee materials, including PowerPoint presentations, are available on the interim committee’s website. Please click here to access committee materials.

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