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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Idaho Residential Energy Efficiency - New Report Provides Important Insights

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, February 15, 2019
Updated: Sunday, March 10, 2019

Energy codes in Idaho have provided for significant energy efficiency gains within the built environment - benefiting building owners and communities across Idaho.  Energy codes for Idaho's buildings are the only codes that return money to their owners by paying dividends each month.

Benefits to homeowners in particular provide not only a more durable and resilient home, but also a cleaner, quieter, and healthier home!

As the Idaho Building Code Board looks into updating the current Idaho Residential Energy Conservation Code by adopting the 2018 codes for Idaho, we now have some additional resources to inform our discussions and training priorities.  Utilizing Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) dollars for field work, and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) dollars for analysis and reporting, an Idaho residential energy code field study was undertaken during calendar year 2018. The purpose of the study was to assess potential statewide compliance with the Idaho Energy Conservation Code (effective from January 1, 2015), so that energy code training and technical assistance can be customized to help contractors and trades construct more energy efficient and cost‐effective new homes for Idaho home buyers.

The final Idaho Residential Energy Code Field Study, and supporting Idaho Memo, outline how new homes in Idaho use less energy than would be expected relative to homes built to the minimum Idaho Energy Conservation Code requirements.

For example, the collected data indicates an average energy use intensity of 34.62 thousand Btu’s are used per square foot whereas, the code would allow 40.51 thousand Btu’s of energy per square foot. This is a whopping 15% difference! If looked at like a mpg standard for cars and the minimum standard was 20 mpg, the Idaho car would be averaging about 24 mpg. As for compliance with current codes, the study showed that new residential buildings have a 97% energy code compliance rate, up from the 90% rate documented in a 2013 study, also funded by NEEA.

All‐in‐all, Idaho residential building professionals and trades are doing great at achieving energy efficiency - including more than is required by the current Idaho Energy Conservation Code.  This suggests that Idaho homeowners can feel assured that they are receiving what they are paying for, plus some!

Looking closer at the report results, there are still some important areas where improvement is needed:

First, the work force needs education on insulation installation. The quality of wall insulation installation (including basement walls) and floor insulation, across the state were at a Grade II level in over 60% of homes. A Grade I level of installation would provide greater home owner comfort and energy savings.

Second, duct leakage in one of Idaho climate zones (i.e., climate zone 5, located in southwest and north central Idaho) is higher than allowed by the Idaho Energy Conservation Code. This makes a big difference in homeowner comfort as ducts deliver the air that heats and cools occupants. If conditioned air is leaking into building cavities like roof and floor assemblies, it’s not doing as thorough a job of making the home comfortable. And, it ends up costing the home owner more for heating and cooling.

Third, many homes did not meet the prescriptive Idaho Energy Conservation Code even as they delivered savings greater than minimum code. For example, not all insulation met 2009 levels, but overall, buildings performed better than code in the models because some code requirements such as the air tightness were surpassed. It should be noted that either a performance (energy modeling) or U‐factor (REScheck) analysis are acceptable compliance approaches and both are deemed as alternatives to the prescriptive methodology. 

Fourth, although Idaho homes are beating the current Idaho Energy Conservation Code by 15%, it is important to note that current code uses 2009 IECC values for insulation. Products, insulation standards, and codes have not remained static in the past nine years. The current 2018 IECC has cost‐effective requirements that would increase comfort and efficiency over the current Idaho code.

The full study can be found on the DOE website energycodes.gov; Look under Highlights and Energy Code Field Studies on the front page of the site.

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Flags to be at Half-Staff until Sunset, Saturday, February 9

Posted By GayDawn Oyler, Friday, February 8, 2019

Flags are to be at half-staff until sunset Saturday, February 9 to commemorate the life and public service of former Congressman John Dingell of Michigan.

 

Presidential Proclamation on the Death of John David Dingell, Jr.

Issued on: February 8, 2019

 

As a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding service of former Representative John David Dingell, Jr., of Michigan — the longest-serving Member of Congress in our Nation’s history — I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, 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, February 9, 2019.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half‑staff for the same period 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 February, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.

 

DONALD J. TRUMP

 

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-death-john-david-dingell-jr/

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Substance Abuse Prevention Funds Available

Posted By GayDawn Oyler, Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Idaho Office of Drug Policy (ODP) will begin accepting online applications on Friday, February 1, 2019, for fiscal year (FY) 2020 Substance Abuse Block Grant (SABG) Primary Prevention Programs.

 

The grants support substance abuse prevention efforts at both state and local levels. The program empowers communities to design solutions to specific drug and alcohol problems experienced locally.

 

Public entities and non-profit organizations are eligible for funding and encouraged to apply.

 

The online application and instructions can be found at:   https://app.wizehive.com/apps/fy2020  

 

Additional information about the SABG can be found on the ODP website:  https://prevention.odp.idaho.gov/  

 

If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact Marianne King with the Idaho Office of Drug Policy at Marianne.king@odp.idaho.gov

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AIC Asks City Officials to Contact Legislators to Oppose Binding Fact-Finding Bill

Posted By GayDawn Oyler, Monday, February 4, 2019

The Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee will soon be considering a bill that would make the decision of the fact-finding committee in collective bargaining with firefighters’ unions binding upon the city or fire district.

Senate Bill 1038, sponsored by Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, would upend the collective bargaining process where cities are required to bargain in good faith over wages, working conditions, and other terms and conditions of employment. 

AIC is joining with the Idaho Fire Chiefs Association and the Idaho State Fire Commissioners Association in opposing Senate Bill 1038 because it obstructs the ability of local elected officials to make crucial decisions about budgeting and service delivery. 

These elected officials have the responsibility to weigh the competing demands and interests: fairness to firefighters and other city employees, determining the levels of service that will be provided, and how to fund these important services. 

Binding fact finding effectively puts an unelected three-member panel in the driver’s seat, which is contrary to the role of local elected officials who are elected by and accountable to their constituents. 

The question raised by Senate Bill 1038 is: what part of the current collective bargaining system that has been in place for decades is broken or needs fixed? 

We ask city officials to contact members of the Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee to respectfully ask that they oppose Senate Bill 1038.  The committee members and their emails are listed below.

Sen. Jim L. Patrick, Chair—jpatrick@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Jeff Agenbroad, Vice Chair—jagenbroad@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Fred S. Martin—fmartin@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Todd M. Lakey—tlakey@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Jim Guthrie—jguthrie@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Steven P. Thayn—sthayn@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Mary Souza—msouza@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking—jwardengelking@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Grant Burgoyne—gburgoyne@senate.idaho.gov

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City Officials Urged to Ask Legislators to Oppose Bill Banning Severance Payments

Posted By GayDawn Oyler, Monday, February 4, 2019

City Officials Urged to Ask Legislators to Oppose Bill Banning Severance Payments

Legislation that would prohibit cities and other local governments from paying severance to their employees will be up for hearing soon in the House Commerce & Human Resources Committee.

House Bill 41 is sponsored by Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, and provides: “Upon termination from service, no public employee shall be eligible for severance pay, and no public employer shall provide or pay severance pay to a public employee or former employee.”

The AIC Board of Directors is joining with the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of Counties in opposing House Bill 41.  The bill would remove a vital tool that local governments need to manage their employees. 

It is relatively common for city administrators and city managers to negotiate severance provisions in their contracts, which makes sense because there are relatively few of these jobs in Idaho and job openings in these areas occur infrequently. 

While legislators have expressed concern about the cost of severance pay, it is clear that paying severance is often less expensive than a local government going to court to defend a wrongful termination case.   Paying severance is often the least expensive way of resolving personnel disputes.

House Bill 41 would put legislators in Boise in control of one of the most fundamental and important personnel decisions that need to be made locally. 

We ask city officials to contact members of the House Commerce & Human Resources Committee and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 41.  The committee members and their emails are listed below.

Rep. James Holtzclaw, Chair—jholtzclaw@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Neil A. Anderson, Vice Chair—nanderson@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Steven Harris—sharris@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Mike Kingsley—mkingsley@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Scott A. Syme—ssyme@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Chad Christensen—cchristensen@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Priscilla Giddings—pgiddings@house.idaho.gov

Rep. John Green—jgreen@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Tony Wisniewski—twisniewski@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Sue Chew—schew@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Chris Abernathy—cabernathy@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Jake Ellis—jellis@house.idaho.gov

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Idaho Smart Growth Citizen Planning Academy Series Starts February 6

Posted By GayDawn Oyler, Thursday, January 31, 2019

Idaho Smart Growth will be presenting its Citizens Planning Academy starting February 6 at the Idaho Water Center in Boise.  The Academy is a collaboration with the University of Idaho’s College of Law in Boise and Bioregional Planning Program.  For more information, click the link to the flier at the bottom of this post.

The Academy will cover the following topics.

  • So, we're the fastest growing state, how does planning fit in?
  • Where do I start? Step by step guide to taking action.
  • The good, the bad and the ugly of public engagement.
  • What's law got to do with it?
  • Let's crunch the numbers. Does smart growth make economic sense?
  • Is your city covered? Comprehensive planning nightmares and heroes.
  • Idaho urban renewal - stories from communities large and small.
  • Is congestion really the problem? Talking transportation.
  • Priced out – how planning and zoning affects affordable housing.

 

 Attached Files:

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AIC Solicits Feedback on Your Priorities for Spring District Workshops Training

Posted By GayDawn Oyler, Thursday, January 31, 2019

AIC is asking for suggestions from city elected officials and staff about topics that they would like to see covered at the upcoming Spring District Workshops that will be held in six locations around the state in late April and early May.  Click this link to access and fill out the survey.

Your ideas will help us to better focus our training on the topics that are currently relevant for city officials.  Your answers are anonymous. 

Thanks for your help!

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

Posted By GayDawn Oyler, Thursday, January 31, 2019

Over 170 city officials joined nearly all 105 members of the Idaho Legislature for City Officials’ Day at the Capitol last week.

Thanks to all the city officials who were in attendance. 

The day kicked off with a Legislative Briefing in the Lincoln Auditorium at the Idaho Capitol.  City officials heard about the priorities of majority and minority leadership with a panel including Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, and House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding. 

There were also informative discussions about legislation on liquor-by-the-drink licensing, campaign finance, partisan city elections, and reauthorizing the surplus eliminator for transportation funding.

The morning session concluded with a panel of representatives of local government associations, including AIC Executive Director Jess Harrison, Idaho Association of School Boards Executive Director Karen Echeverria, and Idaho Association of Counties Executive Director Seth Grigg.

City officials then escorted their legislators to lunch at the Boise Centre East.  After lunch, the AIC Drug Task Force had a panel discussion of substance abuse issues in Idaho including Task Force Chair Mayor Tammy de Weerd of Meridian, Meridian Chief of Police Jeff Lavey, Bill Larsen of the Treasure Valley Partnership, Idaho Falls Chief of Police Bryce Johnson, and Marianne King of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy.

 Attached Thumbnails:

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Five Lessons from NLC’s First Housing Task Force Meeting

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, January 25, 2019

When NLC launched our Task Force on Housing last year, we envisioned not only addressing the national housing crisis, thereby ensuring everyone had a physical structure in which to live, but also uncovering how to make these places home for the many thousands of Americans that are without one.

This week, we had our first task force convening, and spoke with mayors, city councilmembers and experts who are on the ground, working tirelessly to address these issues. It was an eye-opening meeting, and we touched on an array of topics, challenges and possible solutions. There were several themes that were especially resonant.

Below are five of the lessons we learned from the event:

1. It’s not (just) about the money: Or, more aptly, there are many things cities can do that don’t cost money. One of the major recommendations that came up time and time again during the meeting — and that became one of the five task force priorities — was addressing policy barriers around land use. Up-zoning and reducing the number of hurdles to expanding use of community land trusts are all effective ways that cities can promote housing equity and affordability.

2. Take a holistic view of housing: One of the five chosen priorities was regional and holistic planning. Over the course of the meeting, it became clear that it would be impossible to address housing needs without thinking about tangential issues like job growth, health outcomes and mobility. It makes sense: When we choose a place to live, we aren’t just thinking about the physical structure;we’re also considering how far it is from our jobs, whether the commute to work is reasonable with the available transit options and how living there will impact our health (is it close to grocery stores? A park?). Mass transit, job availability, broadband and local amenities are all an integral part of any holistic housing policy plan.

3. Government shutdowns ravage HUD and, by extension, the people who depend on it: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and local housing agencies need funding and access to data, both of which are unavailable when the government shuts down. From December 22, when the partial federal government shutdown began,through January 21, nearly 360,000 people in 125,000 households across the country were at risk because their housing assistance had been delayed, according to an NLC analysis of U.S. HUD data. That included almost 6,000 households in participating cities. And unfortunately, even when the government does open back up, we’ll never get back those lost days.

4. Local demographic profiles will shift over the next 30-50 years: These shifts matter because they’ll affect demand. For instance, a younger population typically translates into a decreased a desire for home ownership, and the need for more multi-family buildings. Meanwhile, seniors will typically gravitate towards smaller dwellings with more aging-friendly amenities. Cities that don’t take this forward-thinking approach risk a future of unsold homes or not having an insufficient housing supply.

5. No “solution” will be one-size-fits-all: We heard from local leaders across the country, from cities big and small, and it became clear that yes, the housing crisis is national in scale, but it’s very localized. For some cities, strategies like up-zoning will make the biggest difference. For others, the greatest hurdle is infrastructure, and ensuring that housing serves the needs of residents. Still other cities would benefit tremendously from more federal aid. Ultimately, with strong local leaders at the helm, we will solve this problem someday — and each of these leaders will play different roles, choosing the priorities that’ll best serve their individual communities.

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NLC: It’s Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day! Are Your Eligible Residents Claiming the EITC?

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, January 25, 2019

It’s EITC  (Earned Income Tax Credit) Awareness Day, giving city officials the chance to help their residents get the tax refund   they deserve.

Families across the country are working hard all year to pay their rent, keep the heat on and put food on the table. One of the best tools helping working families keep their household budgets on track is the EITC.

But, roughly 20 percent of eligible taxpayers don’t claim the EITC when they file their taxes.

This means they are leaving hard-earned money on the table and out of the local economy.

That’s a shame, because each year, the EITC provides a much-needed income boost to millions of low- and moderate-income families.

Last year, the EITC provided roughly $63 billion to 25 million eligible workers and families with an average payment of $2,488.

This tax season, families with two children who earned less than $45,802 (or less than $51,492 for married workers) are eligible for a credit of up to $5,716.

That is a significant amount for low-wage workers who are struggling to pay bills or provide for their families. It also injects federal dollars into neighborhoods and local economies.

Today offers an opportunity for elected officials, local governments, community organizations, schools, employers and other partners to come together to increase awareness of the EITC and other refundable tax credits that are available for eligible low- and moderate-income families.

It also offers city leaders the opportunity to connect with, celebrate and encourage residents to access the EITC through free tax filing services via the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Altoona, Pennsylvania Mayor Matthew Pacifico see this as important effort on behalf of his constituents.

“We have to make sure every Altoona resident has the tools needed to move out of poverty and increase financial stability,” Mayor Pacifico said. “The EITC is a proven way to get money into the pockets of families. I am proud to help our residents learn about the EITC and connect them with VITA partners who will help them claim the tax credits.”

For more than 18 years, the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) has helped cities in implement EITC outreach campaigns.

These campaigns have raised the visibility of refundable tax credits like the EITC, and increased the participation of low- and moderate-income residents in free tax preparation through the VITA program.

As noted above, many families do not realize they are eligible to receive this refund. This potentially leaves hundreds or thousands of dollars on the table, which, if claimed by families could inject millions of dollars into local economies.

The combination of the EITC and savings generated by utilizing the VITA program’s free tax preparation services offer residents the best opportunity for financial success.

On average, families can save more than $200 dollars by having their taxes completed at a VITA site. These are real savings that will help increase the financial stability of families.

How Cities Can Help

The City of Dayton, Ohio, has a devoted staff person, as well as resource web pages to educate residents about the EITC.

The resource pages include income limits and credit amounts, tax filing information, and opportunities for residents to volunteer. The city highlights community events and lists VITA sites where residents can receive free tax preparation services, and which documents and materials they need to utilize the free tax services through VITA.

Dayton also created a form that residents can complete to become a VITA volunteer. After receiving the form, the city provides the required IRS training to volunteers and places the volunteers in local VITA sites.

In Altoona, Mayor Pacifico shares information about the EITC with residents through his monthly update newsletter. The update has included information on what the EITC is, how much the credit is worth to working families and the best way to find a VITA site within the city.

The Cities of Dayton and Altoona are both working to make sure that their residents know about and access the EITC. Both examples offer practical steps that other city leaders could take to help their residents and communities capture these resources.

To access the YEF Institute’s EITC Awareness Day toolkit, please click here.

To download NLC’s extensive Toolkit on Maximizing the Earned Income Tax Credit, click here.

For more information about EITC Awareness Day and EITC outreach campaigns, contact Patrick Hain at (202) 626-3099 or hain@nlc.org.

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