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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Governor Little Conference Call for City Officials Wed., March 18 Afternoon

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Coronavirus situation continues to evolve quickly and AIC is working to provide helpful information and resources to cities on this important topic. The AIC Coronavirus Resources webpage has example mayor and city council emergency declarations and emergency procedures guidance to help explain the process of declaring a city disaster emergency and the implications of such a declaration.

Governor Brad Little will have a conference call with city officials on Wednesday, March 18 at 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time, 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time to share updated information with cities. The call-in number is 1-605-475-5619 and the passcode is 297986#

If you have questions you would like to ask Governor Little, please email them TODAY to AIC's Sheila Christensen at schristensen@idahocities.org so she can pass them along to the Governor's office as soon as possible.  

For city officials who would like to hear the daily conference call between the Idaho Office of Emergency Management and Health & Welfare to coordinate response activities, the call-in number is 1-720-279-0026 and the passcode is 237992#  This call is at Noon Mountain Time, 11:00 a.m. Pacific.

The past few days have seen an increasing number of cities and counties announce closing of public access to city halls, community centers, recreation facilities, libraries and other facilities for the next few weeks.

Recently updated guidance from the State of Idaho recommends canceling events or gatherings that would bring in people from other parts of the country or foreign countries, events with 50 or more people, or events where high-risk populations (adults over age 60, and people with chronic health conditions) will be in attendance. You can find updated information at the state Coronavirus website.

As a result of the updated guidance, AIC will be doing the Spring District Workshops by video for free in the coming weeks and our local in-person workshops will be canceled. Refunds will automatically be given for those who have already registered.

Please be patient with our website as it is receiving a heavy volume of users. If you have questions on any Coronavirus related issues, don’t hesitate to call the AIC office at 208-344-8594 or email any staff member.

 


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AIC Legislative Update: March 16, 2020

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, March 16, 2020

Things are moving very rapidly and the end of the session appears close at hand due to concerns about coronavirus transmission among the hundreds of legislators, state government staff and citizens who are in the Capitol every day.

AIC Coronavirus Information

You can find a variety of resources on coronavirus response at the AIC Coronavirus Resources website, including Governor Little’s Emergency Declaration, the State of Idaho’s official website, newly revised guidance on gatherings and public events, Idaho law on declaring local disaster emergencies, and much more. 

Property Tax Legislation

On Friday, the House amended Senate Bill 1277 to increase the cap on the homeowner’s exemption from the current $100,000 to $112,000 and to take the difference out of the new construction roll, meaning that it would force reductions in county, city and other taxing district budgets by an estimated $32 million annually. 

The House voted 49-21 in favor of the amended Senate Bill 1277, which now goes back to the Senate for concurrence on the House amendments.  We ask city officials to please contact their Senators and ask respectfully that they oppose Senate Bill 1277 as amended.

There are alternatives to help homeowners that don’t rely on forcing dramatic cuts to local government budgets at a time when police, firefighters and EMS personnel are stretched in responding to the coronavirus.    

Senate Bills 1416 and 1417 raise and index the homeowner’s exemption and significantly expand circuit breaker relief without hurting local government budgets. 

AIC-Opposed Urban Renewal Bill Up for Floor Vote in Senate

The Senate will soon be voting on an AIC-opposed bill that will restrict urban renewal agencies and limit their effectiveness in bringing economic development and jobs to Idaho communities.

We ask city officials to please contact their Senators and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 587

House Bill 587, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star and Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, would exempt highway district levies from revenue allocation areas formed or expanded to include property on or after July 1, 2020, and allow the highway district and urban renewal agency to negotiate an agreement concerning the terms of the allocation. 

The bill raises real questions about how the revenue allocation would work in cities where a highway district (aside from Ada County Highway District) overlaps a city’s boundaries and the city has a functioning street department.  It is not clear how House Bill 587 will affect those situations.

The new taxable value generated as a result of an urban renewal district benefits all the local taxing districts—cities, counties, highway districts, library districts, fire districts, etc.—and by diverting revenue that could be used to pay for projects or repay debt by the urban renewal agency, House Bill 587 will force all local governments to wait longer for this new revenue.

Urban renewal agencies already work cooperatively with highway districts and have the ability currently to identify projects that will benefit both agencies.

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Governor signs proactive emergency declaration to further prevent coronavirus spread in Idaho

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 13, 2020

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little issued a proactive emergency declaration today to aid in the coronavirus response effort in Idaho. With coronavirus spread occurring in neighboring states, confirmed cases are expected in Idaho at some point.

“With no confirmed cases in Idaho at this time, we are in the best position to be proactive and get ahead of the impact coronavirus could have here,” Governor Little said. “The concern, of course, is the wellbeing of our vulnerable population – the elderly with chronic underlying health conditions and others with compromised immune systems. But another big reason we are getting in front of it is to minimize the impact on our healthcare system. We need to slow down the spread of coronavirus so healthcare facilities are not overwhelmed with too many patients at once.”

The declaration activates the use of the Idaho Emergency Operations Plan and makes funds available for use in the Emergency Disaster Fund. It allows the Governor more flexibility to expedite contracts and purchasing of supplies, and it aids in the state’s ability to access critical supplies such as respirators from the national stockpile. In addition, the declaration includes provisions that allow the expedited renewal of licenses for nurses who have retired or left the profession.

There have been many questions around coronavirus testing. Key facts about coronavirus testing at this time include:

  • If someone has a fever or cough, they should contact their medical provider to find out if they should be tested for coronavirus.
  • People without symptoms will not be tested at this time.
  • After ruling out the flu through a rapid flu test, a provider may take a sample from a patient and send it to a lab where the actual coronavirus testing occurs. Most providers can use a simple swab to collect a sample.
  • Idaho is fortunate to have a state-run lab that can process coronavirus tests, and the lab is keeping up on testing needs at this time. Privately-run labs also have begun testing for coronavirus.
  • Idaho is actively working to expand access to testing across the state.

Updates and information are available at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.

The emergency declaration document is available here.

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Governor Little to host press conference on Coronavirus

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 12, 2020

Governor Brad Little will host a press conference Friday, March 13, 2020, at 10 a.m. (Mountain Time) in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office to update Idahoans on the proactive measures being taken to protect our citizens during the novel coronavirus outbreak. There are currently no confirmed cases in Idaho.

The press conference will be streamed on the Governor’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/governorbradlittle/

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Amended Property Tax Freeze Bill Killed by Senate

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Senate voted to kill House Bill 409 as amended by a vote of 11-24 after lengthy debate. 

We ask that city officials reach out to the Senators who voted no to thank them for their vote in support of local governments.   

We are very grateful for the efforts of city officials around the state who reached out to their legislators on this bill.   

Senators Voting Yes on HB 409 as Amended: Sens. Agenbroad, Bayer, Cheatham, Crabtree, Den Hartog, Grow, Lakey, Lodge, Martin, Rice, and Souza.

Senators Voting No on HB 409 as Amended: Sens. Anthon, Bair, Brackett, Buckner-Webb, Burgoyne (Shank), Burtenshaw, Guthrie, Harris, Heider, Hill, Johnson, Jordan, Lee, Lent, Mortimer, Nelson, Nye, Patrick, Stennett, Thayn, Vick, Ward-Engelking, Winder and Woodward.

The amended bill would have imposed a 4% cap in place for three years, with provisions to facilitate sunsetting urban renewal districts and tax credits for capital investment reaching the end of their lifespan. 

The bill was carried on the floor by Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, who characterized it as, “in the nature of a time-out. It is so that we can do an in-depth look, do some real work, on the causes and nature of what’s driving people’s property tax up at rates that they cannot afford. … So that instead of being reactive we can actually be evaluative and do something that can benefit our citizens not just in the short term, but on an ongoing basis.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Winder, R-Boise said, “The three years, that becomes very punitive I think to areas like the Treasure Valley that are growing. … This really doesn’t grant property tax relief, it just limits the amount of spending. No one’s going to get a tax reduction by this occurring.”

Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-Inkom, said, “Does this really provide the avenue to get to our objective, which is to provide meaningful tax relief particularly for homeowners? I don’t think it does.”

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, explained his "no" vote. "We are elected by the same people who elect city councils and county commissioners," he said. "Most of them ... are trying just as hard as we are."

It is not clear if legislation will advance this session on increasing and/or indexing the homeowner’s exemption and providing additional relief through the circuit breaker, but there will be an interim committee that will look at property taxes in great depth.

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Idaho Water Quality Criteria: 2020 Triennial Review Public Workshops

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Plan to listen in, or to attend the spring 2020 Idaho Triennial Review Public meetings!

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality will be hosting three (3) public workshops to introduce the 2020 Triennial Review and to seek comments and ideas. The dates are scheduled as follows: 

  • May 13, 2020: A public meeting will be held from 6p.m. to 9p.m. at the Pocatello DEQ Office.
  • May 15, 2020: A public meeting will be held from 6p.m. to 9p.m. at the State DEQ Office in Boise (Conference Rooms A/B).
  • May 19, 2020: A public meeting will be held from 6p.m. to 9p.m. at the Coeur d’Alene DEQ Office.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states to modify and improve their water quality standards (WQS) at least once every three years. Under this triennial review process, states are to review, and modify and adopt as appropriate, applicable water quality standards, taking into consideration public concerns, state and federal guidance, and new scientific and technical information.

For the results of the 2017, along with AIC's input into this important process, please click HERE.

 

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BSU Hazard & Climate Resilience Institute: Introduction and Roundtable Series

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, March 10, 2020

HAZARD AND CLIMATE RESILIENCE INSTITUTE

Mission: To foster whole community collaboration to proactively build resilience to hazards and the impacts of a changing climate.

Resilience refers to a community’s ability to prepare for, respond to, & recover from events such as natural (& man-made) hazards. Promoting community resilience requires collaboration across many levels of society and professional disciplines - this is what motivates the BSU Hazard and Climate Resilience Institute.

For more information, contact Brittany Brand at hcri@boisestate.edu.

Upcoming Events:

The Resilience Roundtable Discussion Series - Developing Collaborations With Cities in Ada County

Date & Time: Thursday, March 19th, 2020 from 12 to 1:30 PM

Location: Farnsworth Room, BSU Student Union Building

 

First Annual Resilience Conference

Date & Time: May 1, 2020 from 8 am to 5 pm (reception to follow)

Location: Double R Ranch Room, Stueckle Sky Center (in the Boise State University Football Stadium Complex)

Register HERE

 

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Elected Officials' Flood Guide: Please Share

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Please share this with your City Council or Board of Commissioners.

 

Understanding and Managing Flood Risk: A Guide for Elected Officials

 

Flood management protects people and property. ASFPM’s three-part guide breaks down the key information you need to fulfill your responsibility as an elected official.

 

Wise flood management provides the means to address your flood problems before, during, and after an event, as well as create sustainable development for future generations.

 

Staff Contact:

Maureen O'Shea, Idaho State National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator

Idaho Dept. of Water Resources

322 E. Front Street, PO Box 83720,

Boise, ID  83720-0098

Office # 208-287-4928

Cell # 208-830-4174

Maureen.OShea@idwr.idaho.gov

https://www.idwr.idaho.gov/floods/

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Nurturing Water Utility Leadership: Six Essential Capacities

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The US Water Alliance is continuing to actively contribute to a growing body of analysis and documentation of the One Water approach being implemented by local governments.  

A newly published report, One Water Change Leadership for Utilities: Six Essential Capacities focuses on an often overlooked dimension: the essential leadership capacities that individuals at water utilities need to guide change toward One Water.  

The report explores questions such as: what are the capacities—the knowledge, skills, and attitudes—we need to cultivate in order to drive One Water change? How do utility managers successfully navigate through the cultural, political, economic, and human dimensions of One Water management, in addition to the technical components?

The US Water Alliance conducted in-depth interviews with 10 utility executives who are well-known in the water industry as transformative leaders—also called "changemakers." Their experiences and insights are synthesized into six leadership capacities that can inform existing water utility staff as well as future professional development efforts throughout all levels of the water sector.

Join the US Water Alliance for a free webinar on March 23rd, 2020 from 10 to 11 Mountain Time to hear about the key findings in the report. 

This webinar will highlight the six leadership capacities synthesized from these interviews and talk to two of the changemakers interviewed in the report to get their perspective on One Water change leadership for utilities. While these leadership capacities are drawn from and aimed at utilities, anybody looking to advance change in their work can learn from this!

Moderator:  Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance


Speakers:
Katy Lackey, Senior Program Manager, US Water Alliance
Jim Lochhead, CEO/Manager, Denver Water
Kishia Powell, Commissioner, City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management
 
REGISTER HERE

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AIC Legislative Update: March 6, 2020

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 6, 2020

AIC-Opposed Property Tax Freeze Bill Goes to Senate Amending Order for Changes

The Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee voted to send the AIC-opposed property tax freeze bill—House Bill 409—to the Senate amending order for changes.  Although the bill would be open to any amendments proposed by Senators, the bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, indicated that he will sponsor amendments that would make the following changes:

1. The time period covered by the bill would be three years.

2. Property taxes would be allowed to increase up to 4% annually.

3. Sunsetting urban renewal agencies and property tax exemptions for capital investment would go on the tax rolls according to the normal process.

“This is intended to be a timeout for citizens while the state does a deeper dive into property tax policy through an interim committee,” Sen. Rice said in his testimony to the committee. 

AIC Legislative Chair Mayor John Evans of Garden City said in his remarks to the committee that, “Our fastest growing cities face a housing shortage.  House Bill 409 will force cities to curtail new residential development, which will exascerbate the housing shortage and further increase residential home values while doing nothing to address the ongoing shift of tax burden from commercial to residential.  We have thousands of folks who rely on the development and construction industries in these growing communities to make a living.  Their livelihoods will be threatened as cities will have no choice but to stop growth if House Bill 409 became law.”

City officials can continue to reach out to members of the Senate to weigh in with their thoughts on potential amendments to House Bill 409.

Revenue Sharing Bill Up for Floor Consideration in Senate Next Week

The Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee approved the revenue sharing bill, which will be up for floor consideration very soon in the Senate.  House Bill 408, sponsored by Rep. Jason Monks, R-Meridian, will likely be up for floor vote in the Senate on Monday, March 9.  AIC is neutral on the legislation and cities are free to contact members of the Senate to represent their city’s position for or against the bill. 

AIC-Supported Whistleblower Bill Clears House Judiciary Committee—Please Contact Legislators to Ask for their Support

The House Judiciary, Rules & Administration Committee voted to send to the floor an AIC-supported bill to make needed reforms to the state whistleblower law.  AIC asks city officials to contact their legislators and respectfully ask that they support House Bill 583.

House Bill 583 is sponsored by Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell.  The bill would make the following changes to the whistleblower law.

1. Clarify that employers may not take adverse action against an employee because the employee in good faith participates or communicates information in an investigation, hearing, court proceeding, legislative or other inquiry, or other form of administrative review concerning waste of public funds, property or manpower, or a violation or suspected violation of a state or local law, rule or regulation. 

2. The bill limits noneconomic damages to the amount set in Idaho Code 6-1603(1). 

3. The bill exempts government entities from punitive damages.  

House Bill 583 is an attempt to address the need for reasonable sideboards for the whistleblower law in the wake of the Idaho Supreme Court decision in Eller v. Idaho State Police that held that damage limits in the Idaho Tort Claims Act did not apply in whistleblower cases.  The result of the Eller decision is that whistleblower claims have exploded in a very short period of time.

As described by the bill’s sponsor, House Judiciary, Rules & Administration Committee Chair Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, the bill is an attempt to strike a balance between protecting the rights of whistleblowers to report legitimate claims of waste, fraud and abuse, and protecting Idaho taxpayers.

AIC-Opposed Bill on Urban Renewal Heads to Senate Local Government & Tax Committee—Please Contact Committee Members to Ask for their Opposition to House Bill 587

An AIC-opposed bill exempting highway districts from revenue allocation in urban renewal districts passed the House and was sent to the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee.  We ask city officials to contact committee members to respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 587.  You can find the committee members at this link by clicking the link to “MEMBERS” toward the top of the page.

House Bill 587, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star and Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, would exempt highway district levies from revenue allocation areas formed or expanded to include property on or after July 1, 2020, and allow the highway district and urban renewal agency to negotiate an agreement concerning the terms of the allocation.  

The growth in tax base that happens within an urban renewal district ultimately benefits all the local governments in that area (cities, counties, highway districts, fire districts, library districts, etc.).  House Bill 587 will force urban renewal districts to have a longer lifespan to bring projects to fruition and pay off bonds, which has the perverse impact of forcing local governments to wait longer for new taxable value to hit the tax rolls.  Urban renewal agencies work in close consultation with highway districts now to take their needs into account.  House Bill 587 would hamper a vital tool for economic development and job creation in cities.

 

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