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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

New Laws to Take Effect on Open Meetings & Public Records

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, April 6, 2018

Two important bills on open meetings and public records passed the Legislature this session and will take effect July 1 of this year.

House Bill 611 was sponsored by Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle and makes changes to the Idaho Open Meetings Law.  The bill requires:

·         Meeting notices and agendas must be posted online if the state agency or local government has a website or social media account, in addition to physical posting at the office of the government entity;

·         Action items must be identified as such on the meeting agenda, but identifying an action item does not require a vote to be taken at that meeting; and

·         Final action cannot be taken on an item added to the agenda after the start of the meeting unless an emergency is declared that requires action at that meeting.  The declaration and justification must be approved by motion of the council and recorded in the minutes.

We recommend that the action item designation be as clear as possible and actually use the words “action item,” which are specified in the law.  The following mock agenda item is a good example:

Resolution 2018-36: A Resolution Supporting Enhanced State Transportation Funding for Local Highway Jurisdictions.  ACTION ITEM.

Senate Bill 1274 was sponsored by Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d'Alene and deals with the Idaho Public Records Law.  The bill requires state and local governments to:

·         Designate a records custodian for each city department and an alternate that will respond to public records requests, which should be done by council resolution;

·         Provide that bonuses, severance packages, other compensation, and vouchered and unvouchered expenses for reimbursement of current or former public officials are public record; and

·         Provide that social security numbers and driver's license numbers of public employees or applicants are exempt from public disclosure.

If you have questions about this new legislation, please contact the AIC office at (208) 344-8594 or email me at jruen@idahocities.org

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Learn More about AARP Community Challenge Grants

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 29, 2018

AARP will be accepting applications for Community Challenge grants up until the deadline of May 16, 2018.  The AARP Community Challenge website has all the necessary information, including application forms and deadlines.   

The grants can be used to fund projects that:

  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability and/or and access to public and private transit.
  • Create vibrant public places in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Support the availability of a range of housing in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options.
  • Other community improvements. We want to know the most important needs in your community and the best quick-action ideas you have to address them.

 

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AIC Executive Director Jess Harrison Reviews Productive 2018 Legislative Session

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 29, 2018

The 2018 legislative session was a busy one for local governments. AIC was actively involved in supporting cities and stopping harmful preemption on a variety of issues. Overall, it was a successful session.   

First, I would like to thank all of you for your strong support of AIC’s legislative agenda this session. The grassroots involvement of city officials throughout the state is critical to our legislative advocacy efforts and your help is greatly appreciated. 

The biggest issue for AIC this session was magistrate court funding legislation that concluded decades long controversies between cities and counties. A workgroup of Idaho’s counties and cities met with the administrative arm of the state court system throughout 2017 to seek a stakeholder driven solution for local court funding.  At the heart of the issue for cities was finding a way to address Idaho Code Section 1-2218 which allows judges to determine that cities will be responsible for building, staffing and equipping magistrate court facilities with no sideboards or parameters. AIC strongly asserted throughout the workgroup meetings and the legislative session that there is a significant problem with one interested branch of government being able to order another branch to fund its operations.

After considering a wide range of options, the workgroup decided to support a proposal dedicating a portion of future revenue growth from the State Liquor Fund to provide additional court funding. AIC and the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) then engaged in months long negotiations with leadership in the House to come up with a final proposal that could get through both bodies and gain the Governor’s approval. The legislation, House Bill 643, involves both cities and counties foregoing a portion of liquor revenue and the State diverting court fees from the state general fund to magistrate courts. This consensus legislation satisfies the need for court funding as well as preventing future litigation between cities and counties. Idaho’s counties will benefit by receiving needed revenues to provide support for the state’s unified judiciary. Idaho’s cities will benefit by the removal of Idaho Code 1-2218. Limited property tax dollars will remain available to cities and counties and the State will provide support for magistrate courts through fee diversions.

AIC believes that this legislation is a model for local government cooperation and problem solving. Rather than fighting battles in the legislative arena and having a solution imposed upon us, we brought stakeholders to the table and came up with a proposal we could all live with that solved a critical court funding problem. AIC is committed to continuing this model on other issues and to staying engaged with our local government and other partners.

AIC also worked with other local government stakeholders to support legislation that prevents the use of the initiative and referendum process to overturn land use decisions as well as ensuring that legislation regarding notice to water delivery entities in the planning process was not burdensome to city staff.  

Most of the other work this session was to prevent legislation that was detrimental to cities. AIC stopped proposals to limit annexation authority, reject rules regarding important backflow device testing, disclaim forgone revenue outside of the budget cycle, preempt cities’ regulation of e-bikes, and a last-minute amendment that would have prevented the use of revenue sharing dollars for cooperative agreements between public entities. Additionally, AIC opposed legislation to allow county commissioners to exempt business personal property tax for all taxing districts and to prevent local governments from rerunning bond and levy elections in the same year. With the support of our members and other stakeholders we were successful in stopping all of these proposals from becoming law.

AIC also actively opposed legislation to restrict cities and counties from amending building codes. Because of our combined efforts, House Bill 547 was amended in the Senate to maintain much needed local flexibility in key areas of the residential building codes.

As with most legislative sessions, there are several items that were introduced that we believe will be brought back next session. One that would likely be welcomed by cities is alcohol license reform and one that is likely to be opposed vigorously again is the perpetual battle over business personal property tax exemption.

Two issues we know for certain will come up next year are campaign finance reform and changes to the local revenue sharing distribution. There were several campaign finance related bills proposed this session resulting from a legislative interim committee that studied the issue over the summer. None of the legislation was enacted, but the interim committee was re-authorized and the Secretary of State’s office received an appropriation to upgrade technology that would support consolidation of all reporting online.

AIC was key in preventing changes to the revenue sharing formula this year. However, that was based upon an agreement by the Association and the legislative sponsor that AIC would form a workgroup to study the issue in the interim.  AIC committed to form a workgroup to study the issue and determine if changes should be made to the revenue sharing formula.  We welcome any feedback you have on the current distribution formula and proposed alternatives.

Thanks again for your support this legislative session!

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National Emergency Management Basic Academy to be Held in Boise in May

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 23, 2018

Idaho Office of Emergency Management (OEM), in coordination with the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and FEMA Region X, will be hosting the L0110 National Emergency Management Basic Academy course in Boise, ID on May 7-11, 2018 For additional details, click the link for the flier at the bottom of this post.

Course Description: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the need to tie training programs to an established set of emergency management competencies and to a career development program through a progressive training and education system that includes the Basic Academy. EMI is offering the opportunity to students who are experienced in emergency management and adult training to take a step toward becoming qualified as an instructor for the Basic Academy courses.

All topics covered in the course are covered from an instructor’s perspective in the Train-the-Trainer including at a minimum: history, legal issues, intergovernmental and interagency context, influencing, organizing, social vulnerability issues, managing stress, collaboration, planning, exercises, public information and warning, preparedness, team building, protection and prevention, mitigation, response, ethical decision-making, recovery, technology, administration, and the future of emergency management.

Target Audience: This course is intended for those emergency managers and trainers from Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency management agencies who have extensive background in emergency management and experience in training adults.

Funding: Tuition is free for those accepted; there are no salary stipends available for this offering. FEMA will provide stipend reimbursement for this off-campus course delivery which includes travel and lodging only.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, please contact Natalie Lahti at nlahti@imd.idaho.gov or at (208) 422-3417.

 

 Attached Files:

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SB 1220 Killed as Senate Refuses to Concur with House Amendment

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, March 21, 2018

This morning the Idaho Senate overwhelmingly voted to kill Senate Bill 1220 by refusing to concur with the amendment to the bill made by the House.  

Senate Bill 1220 was originally an uncontroversial housekeeping bill brought by the Idaho Tax Commission to clarify the law on distribution of revenue sharing funds to local governments.  The bill was amended by the House to include a provision banning special purpose districts, like fire districts, highway districts, cemetery districts, etc., from spending their revenue sharing money on cooperative agreements with other governmental entities.

The amended bill was strongly opposed by local government officials, who argued that it would prohibit sharing of facilities and equipment that is a daily fact of life for local government officials throughout Idaho working to provide the best services for the lowest cost to the taxpayers.

We greatly appreciate all the city officials who weighed in against SB 1220 as amended.  

 

 

 

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Scam Alert: Association of Idaho Cities

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Monday, March 19, 2018

Please be suspicious of scam artists who may target members and partners of the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC).

Scam artists have started to use AIC staff's email addresses to ask the recipients to click on a link for invoice payment purposes.

If you get a call, e-mail, text or other communication from an individual claiming to represent AIC, here is some information to help you identify whether it is a scam:

AIC WILL NOT:

  • Use a third party to accept credit card payments; always make sure payments are submitted through the www.idahocities.org web site.
  • Demand immediate payment on dues or fees that are not yet due.
  • Ask to take payments over the phone.

AIC WILL:

  • Send city membership renewal notices in the mail.
  • Take payments through the official, secured website at www.idahocities.org. 

If you ever question whether a communication you received is from AIC, do not provide personal information or payment.  Instead, call AIC (208) 344-8594 for assistance.

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Building Code Bill Returns from Senate Amending Order with Changes

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 16, 2018

The Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee voted this week to send House Bill 547, the AIC-opposed bill on building codes, to the Senate amending order for changes. 

You can read AIC’s letter to the Senate committee outlining our objections to the bill by clicking the link at the bottom of this post. 

AIC has reviewed the proposed amendments and is satisfied that they are a significant improvement to the legislation.  The amended bill will come up for a floor vote in the Senate likely Monday, March 19. 

One of the most important changes is a grandfather clause that protects cities that have adopted 2015 codes. 

The legislation prohibits cities and counties from adopting provisions, chapters, sections or parts of subsequent versions of the International Residential Code or residential provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code, or subsequent versions in their entirety, that have not been adopted by the Idaho Building Code Board.

Cities and counties do have the authority to amend codes in the following situations:

·         Amendments to parts I, II, III, and IX of the Idaho Residential Code to reflect local concerns.

·         Amendments to Chapters 1 and 2 of the Idaho Energy Conservation Code to reflect local concerns.

·         The remainder of Part III of the Idaho Residential Code may be amended by cities or counties after a finding by the local governing board that good cause for building or life safety exists for such an amendment and that the amendment is reasonably necessary.

We appreciate all the city officials who contacted legislators and expressed their concerns about HB 547. 

 

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Bill Providing for Notice of Proposed Development to Irrigation Entities Passes House & Senate

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 16, 2018

Legislation that would require cities and counties to provide notice of development applications to irrigation entities upon request has passed the House and Senate and now goes to the Governor’s office for signature.

Senate Bill 1306 would require cities and counties considering a subdivision or other site-specific development application to provide written notice by mail (or e-mail by mutual agreement) to all irrigation districts, ground water districts, Carey Act Operating Companies, nonprofit irrigation entities, lateral ditch associations and drainage districts that have requested, in writing, to receive notice.  The notice must be provided at least 15 days before the public hearing. 

The bill was the result of a cooperative effort between AIC, the Idaho Farm Bureau and the Idaho Water Users Association.  Agricultural and water interests have expressed concerns that development along ditches and canals can impact these facilities and desired to have notice that would allow them to ensure that their facilities would not be negatively affected by proposed development.

If SB 1306 is signed by the Governor, it will take effect July 1, 2018.

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Magistrate Court Funding Bill Goes to the Governor for Signature

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 16, 2018

This morning the Idaho Senate unanimously passed the landmark magistrate court funding bill, House Bill 643.  The bill now heads to Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's desk for his signature.

The bill was carried on the Senate floor by Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, who expressed his appreciation for the excellent work of the working group including city and county officials, as well as representatives from the courts.  The cities were represented on the working group by Mayor Shawn Barigar of Twin Falls, Mayor Diana Thomas of Weiser and former Mayor Paul Loomis of Blackfoot.

We extend our appreciation to the many city officials who called and emailed their legislators in support of House Bill 643.  Your grassroots involvement is essential in AIC's legislative advocacy efforts.

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Legislative Alert: Contact Legislators to Oppose SB 1220 as Amended

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 16, 2018

AIC urges city officials to contact their legislators and respectfully ask that they oppose Senate Bill 1220 as amended. 

Senate Bill 1220 started off as a purely technical bill brought forward by the Idaho Tax Commission to clarify the text of the revenue sharing law to more clearly articulate how the funds were distributed.  The bill passed the Senate unanimously a few weeks ago and waited for a hearing before the House Revenue & Taxation Committee. 

The House Revenue & Taxation Committee voted this week to send the bill to the amending order for changes.  The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star, reads as follows:

“No special purpose taxing district may use funds received under the provisions of this subsection (revenue sharing) for voluntary contributions to, or to further cooperative agreements with, other districts or public entities.”

Senate Bill 1220 will be up for a vote on the House floor likely on Monday.  The bill will also have to go back to the Senate for concurrence on the amendments.

Senate Bill 1220 as amended is of great concern because it would prohibit many activities that local governments undertake daily to deliver services in the most cost-efficient and effective ways.

  • A fire district may pay a neighboring city or fire district to provide fire protection and/or emergency medical services under a contract.
  • A fire district may have an agreement with a city to lease a building for a fire station or to lease space for the district’s administrative offices at city hall.
  • Highway districts will often have agreements for sharing equipment with cities or other highway districts and may reimburse the entity that owns the equipment for the costs of using it.

These activities happen every day for local governments in Idaho that are acting as responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ money and using intergovernmental cooperation to deliver vital services to their communities. 

We ask city officials to contact their legislators and respectfully ask that they oppose Senate Bill 1220 as amended.   Please provide examples of how the bill would impact your community.  You can find your legislators using the Idaho Legislature’s website.

 

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