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The AIC Blog connects the association staff to our membership, provides informative updates on state and federal policy issues, and spotlights upcoming AIC training, conferences and events.


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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

AIC Fall 2018 Water Academies: Gratitude and Resources

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, November 16, 2018

Representatives from over 60 AIC member cities attended five regional Water Academy training sessions over these past few weeks; learning about statewide support and services, regional and statewide challenges facing water utilities, how to evaluate the status and resilience of their drinking water and reclaimed/wastewater utilities, best practices for delivering safe, affordable drinking water, and about tools for ensuring IPDES compliance.

As promised during the training, AIC is posting supporting resources and the presentations.  

Drinking Water and Reclaimed/Wastewater Evaluations (blank form, contact Johanna for Word format)

"Resourced" Drinking Water Evaluation (web links and additional resources)

"Resourced" Reclaimed/Wastewater Evaluation (web links and additional resources)

Morning Slide Deck

Afternoon Slide Deck


Johanna wishes to thank the following individuals and organizations for their support during the Fall 2018 Water Academies:

Adrianna Hummer - Idaho Rural Water Association's "Rock Star" Source Protection Specialist and Trainer

Dave Flesher - USDA Rural Development's "Supreme" Community Program Director

Jim McNall - ICRMP's "Esteemed" Risk Management Coordinator

Platinum sponsors HDR and Stantec

Jess Harrison, AIC's "Exalted" Executive Director

Elaine Clegg, AIC's "Distinguished" President

Sheila Christensen, AIC's "Acclaimed" Events Coordinator

Dara Von Lossberg, AIC's "Distinguished" Financial Services Coordinator

GayDawn Oyler, AIC's "Renowned" Administrative Assistant


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AIC Forms a New IPDES Task Force

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, November 16, 2018

The Association of Idaho Cities (AIC) serves to advance the interests of the cities of Idaho through legislative advocacy, technical assistance, training, and research.  Idaho cities play important roles as primary implementers of the Clean Water Act, representing over 70% of all Idaho residents.  These stakeholders have a significant interest in the development of water quality standards, rules, and guidance related to the protection of human and aquatic life.  AIC is actively engaged in water quality issues through the work of our Environment Committee, chaired by Boise City Council President Pro Tem Elaine Clegg and our Municipal Water Users Group, chaired by Jerome City Council President Bob Culver.

AIC has recently formed a new IPDES Task Force to provide an opportunity to jointly review draft IPDES permits as they are publicized by the DEQ.  These meetings will be held via webinars and conference calls and scheduled as needed. 

Please contact Johanna Bell at, (208) 344-8594 if you wish to be included in this Task Force or have questions.


On November 30, 2017 the AIC Board of Directors supported SB1218 establishing the state program. AIC has long understood the advantages to member cities for delegation of the Clean Water Act discharge permit program to Idaho, including:

  • Access to regulators and technical compliance assistance: 76% of the 114 Idaho POTWs serve population less than 5,000. It is cost-prohibitive for most of Idaho's rural communities to meet with the Seattle regulators in-person.  Equally cost-prohibitive are for these cities to individually keep abreast on new regulations and evolving policies and case law that impacts the implementation of the Clean Water Act.  While AIC strives to provide as much technical and policy support as possible, all AIC members recognize the need to utilize the technical capabilities under development within Idaho's state agencies.
  • Competency of state regulators and technical compliance assistance: AIC members provide significant funding for Idaho's primacy through Idaho's assessment of permit fees.  AIC members accept these additional financial burdens in light of EPA Region 10's historic and immense NPDES permit backlog.  The protection of public health and safety is an important responsibility of AIC's members.  AIC members consistently seek to ensure compliance, and wish to preserve their ability to comply, with Clean Water Act regulations.   AIC members understand that support for the regulatory and technical capabilities under development within Idaho's state agencies will in turn provide for improved environmental outcomes and compliance, which will benefit all of Idaho's communities. 
  • Access to, and improved, coordination of state and federal financial and technical resources for facility planning and capital improvements:  The 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure needs report identified that Idaho communities will need to invest approximately $1.38 billion in wastewater infrastructure over the next 20 years.  Both financial and technical resources are required by AIC members in order to ensure these investments are made in a manner that will ensure long-term compliance under the Clean Water Act.  Idaho communities' investments must be informed through a well-supported Clean Water Act permitting program - a program founded on the delegation of permitting authority to Idaho under the Clean Water Act.

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Funding for Renewable Energy Projects Available from Rocky Mountain Power

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) is offering up to 100% funding for renewable energy projects to current RMP customers in its Eastern Idaho service territory through the Blue Sky program. These funds can apply to new or additions to existing wind, solar, geothermal, or low impact hydro projects. They are specifically looking for community-serving organizations.

The Rocky Mountain Blue Sky Community Project Funding page has more details, but the main requirements for project funding are:

* Ownership of the land/building
* Participation in the Blue Sky program ($15/month is sufficient)
* Be a community-serving organization (schools, churches, homeless shelters, fire stations, city/state/county agencies, non-profit medical clinics, etc.)

The Blue Sky program buys renewable energy certifications and retires them on behalf of participating customers. Any excess program funds are used to fund renewable energy projects in the service territory. Marketing for this program has been very limited in Eastern Idaho, so there have been no projects (or even project applications) for about five years. To increase project applications, Rocky Mountain has recently removed all matching requirements for project funding.

There may also be an opportunity for profit-seeking organizations to participate in “Blue Sky Builds.” There have been three in Utah, but none in Idaho yet. Please reach out to Keven Hoopiiaina (contact listed below) for additional information.

Check the website to see the types of successful projects that have been completed in the past to get a better idea of what might be a worthwhile project.

If you have any questions, please contact the Blue Sky project manager, Keven Hoopiiaina. He is based in Salt Lake City and can also be reached by email at or by phone at 801-220-2047. 

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Harris CPAs in Boise to Host Free Government Accounting Training

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Two upcoming free training opportunities on governmental accounting will be hosted by Harris CPAs in Boise.  The workshops will feature webinars by the Association of Government Accountants on grants management and an update on recent standards of the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB).  Lunch at each workshop will be provided.  To register, click the link under the workshop(s) that you wish to attend.  For more information or if you have questions, please contact Tara Davis at Harris CPAs at: or (208) 333-8965.


Grants Management

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

11:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Harris CPAs 805 W. Idaho St, Boise, ID  83702, Suite 400

2 credits of CPE in Management

Link to register


Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Update

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

11:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Harris CPAs 805 W. Idaho St, Boise, ID  83702, Suite 400

2 credits of CPE in Governmental Accounting

Link to register

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Preparing for the 2020 Census

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The National League of Cities (NLC) released a new city action guide--Preparing for the 2020 Census--to help cities better understand and navigate this important process.

Even before the U.S. Constitution outlines the powers of the three branches of the government, it mandates a decennial count of all persons in the country. In 1790, census takers counted fewer than 4 million people through simple paper tallies and door-to-door operations. Today, a diversifying culture, new technologies and demand for greater efficiencies have pushed the U.S. Census Bureau to innovate and adapt as it prepares to count more than 330 million people in 2020. As a local leader, understanding how your city, town or village will be counted and what you can do now to improve results in 2020 is paramount to the completion of a successful census in your community.

Municipal governments have an important relationship with the census — both as consumers of the invaluable data it gathers and as partners in ensuring the complete and accurate count of our cities. Data produced by the census not only remain foundational to our democratic system, but also improve our ability to understand who we are and to function as one of the world’s largest countries and economies.

Census figures are the basis for defining our federal, state and local political districts. Census figures also fuel medical, economic and social research on communities, and inform much of our local infrastructure planning and decision-making processes. Perhaps most importantly, the data play a crucial role in determining how more than $800 billion of federal funding is distributed and allocated annually across state and local governments.

The National League of Cities (NLC) supports the Census Bureau’s mission to “serve as the nation’s leading provider of quality data about its people and economy.” We also understand the many ways in which Census Bureau data impact a city. This guide has been carefully created to provide local leaders with objective information about and resources for the upcoming census. We hope the contents of this guide inspire and empower you to take an active role in preparing your city for 2020.

Finally, we would like to thank the numerous city and municipal officials, partner organizations and census advocates who helped inform, shape and produce content for this useful and shareable document.

Read NLC’s newest municipal action guide "Preparing for the 2020 Census" here at

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November 6, 2018 Post-Election Wrap Up

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, November 9, 2018

This blog post will cover the outcomes for the ballot measures at the November 6, 2018 general election. 

Certainly, the most significant ballot measures were the statewide measures, Proposition 1 on historical horse racing and Proposition 2 on Medicaid expansion.  Prop 1 was defeated after a spirited and well-funded campaign.  Prop 2 passed with 60% of the vote, and while many state officials and legislators have said they will respect the will of the voters, the proposal will have to be funded by the Legislature and faces an imminent legal challenge by the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

The City of Mullan successfully passed a $3.5 million revenue bond for fixing their sewer system with 62% of the vote.  The current system is over 100 years old and is breaking apart, resulting in large amounts of ground water infiltrating into the system.  This groundwater carries soil contaminated with toxic heavy metals that cannot be fully removed during the treatment process and end up flowing into the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.  The city hopes to get grants to cover some of the cost of the project.

The City of Athol passed a $3.99 million revenue bond to fund upgrades to its water system with 64% of the vote.  The City has applied for a USDA Rural Development grant and is also in the process of applying for a Community Development Block Grant, to hopefully help reduce the impact on city ratepayers.  Two of the city’s three water storage tanks are old, undersized and need to be replaced along with two well pumps that are past their useful life.  Some water transmission lines are too small to provide needed water for fire flow, while others have bottlenecks that cause low pressure. 

Voters in the City of Blackfoot narrowly rejected a $3.9 million general obligation bond for repairing its pool, the third failed attempt.  “I view the pool as a valuable asset to the community, but in my job as Mayor I have a fiduciary responsibility to see we’re spending money appropriately,” said Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll.   The bond would have funded replacing pumps, filters, and dome insulation and fixing the dome structure and electrical problems.

The City of Hayden’s proposed permanent levy override failed to get the required 60% voter approval.  The levy would have increased the city’s revenue by $1.6 million annually, which would have been earmarked for increasing law enforcement patrols and fixing roads.

Voters in the City of Albion recalled Mayor Sharon Hardy-Mills.

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AIC Legislative Summit on Friday, Nov. 30 in Boise—RSVP Today!

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, November 9, 2018

Learn about the most important topics facing the Idaho Legislature in the 2019 session by joining us for the AIC Legislative Summit on Friday, November 30 in Boise at the Boise Center East Building Room 420.  The meeting will last from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  All city elected officials and staff are encouraged to attend.  If you plan on attending, please RSVP on the AIC website.

Mayor Hyrum Johnson of Driggs is coordinating a luncheon with city officials representing resort cities in conjunction with the AIC Legislative Summit.  If you are interested in participating in this meeting, please confirm your attendance as soon as possible with Mayor Johnson by email at:

The meeting will feature updates on a variety of legislative hot topics, including:


  • Possible approaches to local option tax legislation for cities and counties;
  • A report about the deliberations of the AIC Revenue Sharing Task Force and possible legislation to change the revenue sharing formula;
  • The importance of reauthorizing the surplus eliminator to fund shovel-ready transportation projects;
  • Draft legislation sponsored by Amalgamated Sugar Company concerning truck permitting;
  • A report on possible legislation to repeal the sales tax on groceries and impacts to revenue sharing;
  • Legislation to provide workers compensation coverage for first responders suffering from job-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder;
  • Cooperative purchasing amendments to the Local Government Purchasing Law;
  • Fireworks wholesaler loophole;
  • Legislation on Medicaid Reimbursement for Ground Emergency Medical Transport; and
  • A panel representing the AIC Drug Task Force will discuss hot topics related to substance abuse prevention and treatment.


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


We hope you can join us!


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Flags to be at Half-Staff Until Sunset on Saturday, Nov. 10

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, November 8, 2018


Flags are to be at half-staff until sunset on Saturday, November 10.

Presidential Proclamation Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Thousand Oaks, California

As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated in Thousand Oaks, California, on November 7, 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, November 10, 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 eighth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.



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Clean Diesel Grants: 2018 School Bus Rebates

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Join Idaho's Murtaugh Joint School District #418 and apply for a SCHOOL BUS rebate today! 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has over $9 million available nationwide in rebates to replace older diesel school buses through EPA's Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new and retrofitted buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage.
School buses travel over 4 billion miles each year, providing the safest transportation to and from school for more than 25 million American children every day. However, diesel exhaust from these buses has a negative impact on human health, especially for children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.
The 2018 School Bus Rebate Program will offer over $9 million to public and private fleet owners for the replacement of old diesel school buses with new buses certified to EPA’s cleanest emission standards. EPA will award selected applicants up to $20,000 per bus for scrapping and replacing old buses.
Applicants can apply for rebates between $15,000 and $20,000 per bus to replace buses with engine model years of 2006 and older with new buses powered by 2017 or newer model year engines. Eligible replacement school buses may operate on diesel, gasoline, battery, or alternative fuels such as natural gas or propane.
Eligible entities include:
  • Regional, state, or tribal agencies that have jurisdiction over transportation and air quality, including school districts and municipalities
  • Private entities that operate school buses under a contract with an entity listed above
  • Fleets with up to 100 school buses may submit one rebate application listing up to 10 buses for scrappage and replacement
  • Fleets with more than 100 school buses may submit up to two rebate applications, each listing up to 10 different buses for scrappage and replacement
Selections are made through a lottery process, with at least one selectee from each state/territory represented in the applicant pool. The deadline to apply is Nov. 6, 2018. For more information, visit:
This is the sixth rebate program to fund cleaner school buses offered under DERA appropriations, which has supported nearly 25,000 cleaner buses across the country for America’s schoolchildren. For more information about the DERA program, visit:

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New Webinar Series on Creative Placemaking

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is pleased to announce the webinar series: How to Do Creative Placemaking! Offering practical and tactical advice for local leaders, artists, and community development practitioners.

Creative placemaking—the practice of integrating arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities—has become a widespread practice in communities of all shapes and sizes to advance local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. In 2016, the National Endowment for the Arts and The Kresge Foundation partnered to launch a pilot technical assistance program in collaboration with LISC and PolicyLink which served 16 communities across the country. This pilot program resulted in robust resources to help local practitioners meet the challenges of collaborative, and sustained creative placemaking; informing the topic areas of this webinar series. 

Join us, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kresge Foundation for this six part webinar series by registering for each event as they become available.  You can register here for the webinars.

Setting the Table: Developing Partnerships & Shared Values

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | 2:00 PM ET
How do you set common goals and create a shared vision for your project early on with local partners? Webinar attendees will learn how to define relationships, roles and responsibilities when embarking on a creative placemaking project.  Julie Garreau, Executive Director, of Cheyenne River Youth Project and NEA Our Town Recipient will share the process she utilizes in preparation for the Red Can Jam on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. 


Digging Deep: Community Engagement Methods & Techniques

Wednesday, December 12 | 2:00 PM ET
What methods and techniques can be utilized to engage multiple and varied community voices? How can project leaders create the conditions necessary to inspire participation and a sense of agency amongst residents and community stakeholders? Webinar participants will learn how to recognize existing assets their community and incorporate community voices into their process as part of an equitable, asset based approach to their creative placemaking projects.

Crafting an Evaluation Plan & Measuring Impact

Wednesday, January 9 | 2:00 PM ET
How does a creative placemaking evaluation plan work and what does it measure? This webinar will explore best practices in creative placemaking evaluation techniques and help participants create or refine their own evaluation strategies for their projects.

Documenting the Process & Communicating Success

Wednesday, February 13 | 2:00 PM ET
Why is project documentation important and what are good ways of talking about and communicating the value of the work? A solid documentation and communication strategy help community members stay up to date on a project, inform potential constituents,and provide a record of the project for the future. This webinar will cover the basics of documenting and communicating the value of a creative placemaking project.

Hiring and Contracting Artists: RPFs, Calls for Entry & Commissions

Wednesday, March 13 | 2:00 PM ET
What are different ways to structure opportunities for artists? How might one structure resources, and what scale of resources are appropriate for a creative placemaking program? Where and how can opportunities be shared in order to connect with the appropriate artist for a project? This webinar will discuss how to structure a call, grant, or commission in a way that will yield the kinds of relationships and projects that will help achieve the goals set for a project.

Formalizing Partnership: Contracts, MOUs & Agreements

Wednesday, April 10 | 2:00 PM ET
What does a contract for a performance or public art installation look like? When and how should a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) be used?  This webinar will offer complementary perspectives on how to structure contracts and MOUs that will set expectations and accountability for all parties involved while also allowing room for creativity and flexibility in the process and end product.

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