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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

ITD Seeks Participation in Regional Planning Meetings

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 2, 2018

Transportation Partner,

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is updating its long-range transportation plan, IDAGO 2040. The update is part of an ongoing process that identifies transportation challenges in Idaho and best practices to overcome those challenges. The updated plan will help ITD define transportation goals and assist in developing investment and operational strategies within available funding parameters.

ITD is requesting stakeholders and partner agencies to participate in the planning process. Please join us to provide your professional insights on future planning scenarios. These scenarios will be related to safety, mobility, and economic opportunity for Idaho as they relate to transportation.

ITD District 1 Stakeholder Meeting
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM PDT
ITD District 1 Office - Emergency Operations CR
600 West Prairie Avenue
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815
RegisterHERE
Stakeholder Meeting – 3:00 PM
Public Meeting – 7:00 PM


ITD District 2 Stakeholder Meeting
Monday, March 12, 2018 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM PDT
ITD District 2 Office
2600 Frontage Rd.
Lewiston, ID 83501
RegisterHERE.

ITD District 3 Stakeholder Meeting
Monday, April 23, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM MDT
COMPASS Board Room
700 NE 2nd St
Meridian, ID 83642
RegisterHERE
Stakeholder Meeting – 1:00 PM
Public Meeting – 5:00 PM


ITD District 4 Stakeholder Meeting
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM MDT
ITD District 4 Office
216 S Date Street
Shoshone, ID 83352
RegisterHERE

ITD District 5 Stakeholder Meeting
Thursday, May 17, 2018 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM MDT
ITD District 5 Office - Main Conf. Room
5151 S. 5th Avenue
Pocatello, ID 83204
RegisterHERE

ITD District 6 Stakeholder Meeting
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM MST
Targhee Regional Public Transportation Authority
1810 W. Broadway #7
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
RegisterHERE
Stakeholder Meeting – 3:00 PM
Public Meeting – 6:00 PM



Long-Range Transportation Plan Fact Sheet(PDF)

At the meeting, we will discuss ITD's modal planning activities, transportation systems, transportation data, new/emerging technologies and how to strengthen long-term working relationships between partner agencies.

Your feedback is a valuable part of the long-range planning process.

Please respond using the link above or email Jovie Garcia atjgarcia@dowl.comby Wednesday, April 18, 2018, to confirm your participation in the meeting.

Please feel free to forward to professional stakeholders.

Visit ITD's project page:http://itd.idaho.gov/planning/
Contact Us: LRTP@itd.idaho.gov
(208)-334-8000
Schedule ITD to present to your organization!

Ken Kanownik
Senior Transportation Planner, Planning Services
Idaho Transportation Department
208-332-7823

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Half Staff Notice

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 2, 2018

United States Flags at Half-Staff

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Day of Billy Graham's Interment

 

 

 

 

Presidential Proclamation on the Death of Billy Graham

As a mark of respect for the memory of Reverend Billy Graham, Ihereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the UnitedStates of America, that on the day of his interment, the flag of the UnitedStates shall be flown at half-staff at the WhiteHouse and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on allnaval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the UnitedStates and its Territories andpossessions until sunset on such day. I also direct that theflag shall be flown athalf-staff for the same period at all UnitedStates embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels andstations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of February, in the year of our Lord twothousandeighteen, and of the Independence of the UnitedStates ofAmerica the twohundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP

 

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-death-billy-graham/

 

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Online Legal Notice Bill Dies in House State Affairs Committee

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 1, 2018

Despite strong support from local governments, a bill that would have allowed optional online publication of legal notices died in the House State Affairs Committee this morning.

House Bill 420, sponsored by Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, would have permitted online publication on local government websites in lieu of publishing legal notices in the newspaper. 

“We are living in a digital age,” Rep. Nate said in his opening remarks to the committee, “and almost everything that we used to rely on newspapers for, like tv show listings, movie times, and classified ads, now are all being accessed online.”

“This bill will save local governments money, which can be redirected to important local services, like schools, roads, law enforcement, etc.,” Nate said.

The bill was fiercely opposed by the Newspaper Association of Idaho (NAI) and the Idaho Press Club, which argued that the current system provides important accountability measures in terms of third party verification that legal notices are published in a timely and accurate manner.  

Currently, each notice that is published in a newspaper gets an affidavit of publication that is a third-party silver bullet proving that the notice was published on the specific date, which is very helpful if there is a legal challenge to an ordinance, planning and zoning decision or other local government action. 

“The newspapers provide a third-party, independent verification that notice was published,” explained Jeremy Pisca, Executive Director of the Newspaper Association of Idaho.  “It can’t be manipulated.  It can’t be changed after the fact.  It can’t be hacked.”

Opponents of the bill also noted that newspapers bring together notices from all the local government entities in the area—city, county, school, highway district, etc.—and that it would be more difficult for people to look up notices on each local government website than to find them in the newspaper or on the idahopublicnotices.com website that the NAI has developed to provide a one stop shop for Idaho legal notices online.

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, said, “I think this is a great idea, it’s just that the time has not yet come.  Print media needs to regard this as an inevitability and be ready for it.  But we’re not there yet.”

AIC extends its sincere appreciation to all the city officials who weighed in to support the legislation. 

We hope discussion on this issue continues, but for it to be a truly credible effort it must be a very broad-based process involving all the state and local government entities that come together to create a third party one stop shop for online legal notices, perhaps administered by the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, that ensures credibility, transparency and accountability in publishing legal notices online. 

 

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Idaho Water Infrastructure Grants and Loans

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Water shapes economic growth, the environment, and the very social fabric of our communities. Ensuring that all people have access to safe, reliable, and affordable water and water treatment is the cornerstone of a sustainable and prosperous Idaho, and nation.

Financial assistance to Idaho communities is one important means to ensuring affordable water services. There are a number of resources available, including a new one designed to forge new  urban/agricultural partnerships!

Idaho Resources - Applications Accepted Annually October - January (link)

Drinking Water

Water System Planning Grants (link)

FY2018 (7/2017 - 6/2018): $400,000 available

DEQ's Drinking Water Planning Grant Program provides assistance to eligible public drinking water systems for facility planning projects designed to ensure safe and adequate supplies of drinking water. Grants awarded under this program are used to develop engineering reports identifying the most cost-effective, environmentally sound method of upgrading a public drinking water system to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal standards. Grants cover up to 50% of eligible planning costs, with a matching share funded by local sources.

Water System Construction Loans (link)

FY2018 (7/2018 - 6/2018): ~$36.7 million available

DEQ's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund provides below-market-rate interest loans to help repair or build new drinking water facilities. Loans of up to 100% of project costs may be awarded for project design and/or construction. Eligible participants include community water systems and nonprofit, noncommunity water systems. Disadvantaged communities may receive principal forgiveness. 

Wastewater

Wastewater System Planning Grants (link)

FY2018 (7/2017 - 6/2018): $350,000 available

DEQ's Wastewater Planning Grant Program provides financial assistance to eligible entities in Idaho planning to upgrade public wastewater facilities. Grants awarded under this program must be used entirely to prepare facility plans that identify the most cost-effective, environmentally sound methods to upgrade public wastewater systems to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal standards. Grants cover up to 50% of eligible planning costs, with the grantee providing a matching share from local sources.

Wastewater System Construction Loans (link)

FY2018 (7/2017 - 6/2018): ~$89.8 million available

The Water Pollution Control State Revolving Loan Fund provides below-market-rate interest loans to help build new or repair existing wastewater treatment facilities. Eligible wastewater facilities include treatment plants, interceptor sewers, and collector sewers. Loans of up to 100% of project costs may be awarded for facility design and/or construction projects. Loans also may be awarded to address nonpoint source pollution control activities.  Eligible nonpoint source activities include projects such as effluent trading, upgrading or replacing individual septic tanks, restoring wetlands, treating and controlling stormwater, and reducing pollutants from agricultural runoff.  Similar to the Drinking Water Construction Loan Program, disadvantaged communities may receive principal forgiveness. 

NEW! Agriculture BMP Program Grants - applications accepted March 2018 (link)

In the 2017 session, the Idaho Legislature appropriated an ongoing $500,000 from the general fund to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to implement agricultural best management practices (BMPs) in high-priority watersheds throughout Idaho. Projects must be located in a high-priority watershed and implement agricultural or ranching BMPs. Projects that are “shovel-ready” will receive higher priority.  Other information:

• The earliest date a project funded in SFY19 can break ground and begin is July 1, 2018.
• Funded projects must show some level of progress in calendar year 2018.
• Project must be completed by June 30, 2020.
• Projects will be expected to meet a 60:40 grant-to-match requirement.
• Grant amounts cannot exceed $250,000, of which no more than 10% can be used for administrative purposes.

Look for a list of approved grants and loans for FY2018, plus the projected funding available for FY2019 later this spring!

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Online Legal Notice Bill to be Heard by House State Affairs Committee

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, February 27, 2018

On Thursday, March 1 at 8:00 a.m., the House State Affairs Committee will consider legislation to allow local governments to publish legal notices on their websites instead of in newspapers.  We strongly encourage city officials to call or email the members of the House State Affairs Committee (listed below) and respectfully ask for their support of House Bill 420.

House Bill 420 is sponsored by Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg.  The bill would permit local governments to publish legal notices online, as an alternative to publishing in a newspaper.  The local government website must have a tab on the homepage clearly marked "Public Notices" where the notices may be accessed.  The local government must keep a record of the date and time that the notice was posted.  Deadlines for posting notices online would be the same as current state law deadlines for publishing in a newspaper.

Cities support HB 420 for the following reasons.

Many newspapers nationally and in Idaho are losing subscribers, which means that legal notices are being seen by fewer and fewer people in the community.     

The purpose of public notices is to inform the community about important hearings and policy decisions being made by local governments.  Having notices accessible online allows them to be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the most user-friendly way.

HB 420 permits, but does not require, local governments to publish legal notices on their websites.  Small cities that don’t have websites can continue to publish notices in the newspaper. 

Even newspapers understand the value of online notice publication because the Newspaper Association of Idaho has a website that does just that: idahopublicnotices.com   Why should city property taxpayers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for a service that cities could provide themselves at a much lower cost? 

We ask city officials to contact members of the House State Affairs Committee and respectfully ask that they support House Bill 420.  The committee members and their contact information are listed below.

Rep. Thomas F. Loertscher, Bone, Chair  Ph:  (208) 332-1183   Email:  tloertscher@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Jason A. Monks, Nampa, Vice Chair   Ph:  (208) 332-1036   Email:  jmonks@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Lynn M. Luker, Boise   Ph:   (208) 332-1039    Email:  lluker@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Brent J. Crane, Nampa    Ph:  (208) 332-1058    Email:  bcrane@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Joe Palmer, Meridian    Ph:   (208) 332-1062    Email:  jpalmer@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Vito Barbieri, Dalton Gardens   Ph:   (208) 332-1177    Email:   vbar@house.idaho.gov

Rep. James Holtzclaw, Meridian    Ph:   (208) 332-1041     Email:   jholtzclaw@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Steven Harris, Meridian    Ph:    (208) 332-1043    Email:   sharris@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Randy Armstrong, Inkom    Ph:    (208) 332-1046   Email:   armstrong@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, White Bird    Ph:   (208) 332-1033     Email:  pgiddings@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Dustin Manwaring, Pocatello    Ph:   (208) 332-1079    Email:   dmanwaring@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Christy Zito, Hammett    Ph:   (208) 332-1181    Email:   czito@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Heather Scott, Blanchard    Ph:   (208) 332-1190    Email:   hscott@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Elaine Smith, Pocatello    Ph:   (208) 332-1031    Email:   esmith@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Hy Kloc, Boise    Ph:   (208) 332-1075    Email:   hkloc@house.idaho.gov

 

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Overview of Magistrate Court Funding Legislation

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, February 27, 2018

AIC would like to provide some context and background for legislation currently being proposed to address the issue of magistrate court funding. The courts are currently facing a funding crisis as fine revenue from misdemeanor and infraction citations has declined substantially in recent years.  Additionally, many counties are at the statutory property tax levy caps for their Justice Funds and District Court Funds at the same time that the state is implementing very costly public defense standards. 

To address this issue, a workgroup of Idaho’s counties and cities met with one another in cooperation with the administrative arm of the state court system for over six months last year to seek stakeholder driven solutions for local court funding.  Represented by county commissioners and mayors from diverse parts of the state all who participated fully examined the challenges faced in both urban centers and rural locations respectively.

At the heart of the issue for cities participating in the workgroup was finding a way to address Idaho Code section 1-2218 which is provided in full below.

1-2218.  FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT PROVIDED BY CITY. Any city in the state shall, upon order of a majority of the district judges in the judicial district, provide suitable and adequate quarters for a magistrate’s division of the district court, including the facilities and equipment necessary to make the space provided functional for its intended use, and shall provide for the staff personnel, supplies, and other expenses of the magistrate’s division.

The above statute creates a potential liability for cities by allowing judges to determine what court support will be provided by cities with no sideboards or parameters. AIC believes there are significant problems with one interested branch of government being able to order another branch to fund its operations. Currently, several cities voluntarily agree to provide financial support for magistrate courts in lieu of providing facilities, equipment and staffing as required by Idaho Code 1-2218.  There is also pending litigation between the City of Meridian and Ada County with other cities also potentially facing litigation if they cannot agree on the amount of court funding.

After considering a wide range of options, the work group decided to support a proposal dedicating a portion of future revenue growth from the State Liquor Fund to provide additional court funding.  That would satisfy the need for court funding and allow for the repeal of Idaho Code 1-2218.  The work group also supported lifting the levy caps on the Justice and/or District Court Funds to allow counties to spread the costs of court funding among all their taxpayers.

The workgroup proposal was then brought to key members of the Legislature for consideration. After another two months of negotiations between AIC, IAC, and the Chair of the House Judiciary and Rules Committee, the AIC Board of Directors strongly supported moving legislation forward on this issue. The AIC Board agreed that the inherent conflict in 1-2218 of judges determining funding from cities for court operations in conjunction with the court funding shortfalls faced by counties of all sizes warranted foregoing some growth in liquor funds.

 

The legislation contains the following provisions:

 

  1. Each city would forego 3.66% increments of growth in State Liquor Fund revenues for the five years of implementation.  Each county would forego 2% increments of growth in the State Liquor Fund.  The State of Idaho would divert $6 of court fees from the state general fund to magistrate courts.  There is an additional $1 fee diversion to the Peace Officers Standards & Training (POST) to hold them harmless.  State Liquor Fund revenues typically grow between 5-6% a year. 
  2. Prevents any new cities from being ordered to provide magistrate court facilities or funding upon enactment.
  3. Phases out current city magistrate court funding obligations over a five-year period beginning in fiscal year 2019 and ending in fiscal year 2023.
  4. Funds will be distributed to counties through a formula with a base amount for every county and the remainder distributed by a combination of population and caseloads of municipal misdemeanor and infraction charges.
  5. Funds will be deposited into a newly created county magistrate court fund to ensure funds are dedicated to magistrate court operations.
  6. Fully repeals Section 1-2218, Idaho Code on July 1, 2023.

Idaho’s counties would benefit by receiving needed revenues to provide support for the state’s unified judiciary.

Idaho’s cities would benefit by the removal of Idaho Code 1-2218.

Limited property tax dollars would remain available to counties and cities for enforcement of criminal statutes enacted by the Idaho Legislature.

Liquor consumption and magistrate court functions are related to one another in many ways and both counties and cities would forego a small portion of growth in the fund to support courts with the state providing support through court fee diversions.

The Board did not make the decision to forego a portion of growth in liquor revenue lightly. Ultimately, they felt that getting cities completely out of the court funding business at this critical time will prevent further court battles over funding and other more harmful proposals from moving forward. We hope you will join in supporting this legislation.  The bill--House Bill 643--has now been printed and is available to review online.  

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Protect Our Drinking Water & Oppose HCR035 and HCR037

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, February 23, 2018
Rep. Clow (Twin Falls) is proposing to reject Idaho drinking water rules (HCR035) and Plumbing Code sections (HCR037) in order to suspend backflow prevention assembly inspection and annual testing requirements. 
Backflow prevention assemblies are designed to protect drinking water from contamination.  These assemblies are installed in many different types of facilities including:
  • chemical plants using equipment connected to the public water supply
  • hospitals
  • mortuaries
  • medical, dental, and veterinary clinics
  • laboratories
  • irrigation and lawn-sprinkler systems
  • marinas
  • connections with an auxiliary water supply, which could be polluted
The suspension of inspection and annual testing requirements for these devices creates unacceptable risks to public health and welfare.  Manufactures of these devices only guarantee them for one year due to high failure rates.  
Annual testing of backflow prevention devices is necessary to protect the health of entire communities.  Illnesses from failed cross connection control devices have led to hospitalization, and sometimes death.  Examples of device failures, and the associated risks to public health, are readily available from within Idaho and beyond.  One tragic example of a failed backflow device was in 2012 at Hobble Creek, Ada County, Idaho.  Over 70 neighbors were severely sickened and many were hospitalized. Luckily, none of them died.
Contact your Idaho Representatives to let them know that you oppose these rule rejections:
HCR035 - House Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee contact information HERE (click the link for Members) .
HCR037 - House Business Committee contact information HERE (click the link for Members).
 

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City Officials Urged to Contact House Business Committee to Oppose House Bill 547 on Building Codes

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, February 23, 2018

On Tuesday, February 27 the House Business Committee will consider legislation that would curtail authority for cities and counties to amend residential building codes.  AIC asks city officials to contact members of the House Business Committee (names and contact information below) and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 547.

House Bill 547 is sponsored by Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian.  The bill would require cities and counties choosing to adopt and enforce building codes to adopt the International Residential Code or International Energy Conservation Code as adopted by the Idaho Building Code Board.  Adopting more recent versions of the code than that adopted by the Idaho Building Code Board would be prohibited.  Local amendments to the code could only be adopted in the case that an immediate threat to life or safety makes such an amendment reasonably necessary and that such amendment provides at least an equivalent level of protection to that of the adopted code.

Why should legislators oppose House Bill 547?

Idaho’s current law on building codes has served to ensure that there is basic uniformity in codes, while allowing cities and counties to adopt local amendments that are in the best interest of their community (including builders) that establish at least an equivalent level of protection to the adopted code.  Local amendments to the building codes require the city or county to provide advance notice to stakeholders and hold a public hearing to take input on the proposal prior to adoption. 

The proposed legislation contradicts the Idaho Building Code Act (Idaho Code Title 39, Chapter 41), that establishes:

·         minimum performance standards and requirements for construction and construction materials;

·         minimum standards and requirements in term of performance, energy efficiency, effect upon construction costs and consistency with nationally accepted standards; and

·         permission to use modern technical methods, devices, and improvements.

The current law on building codes adopted by local government—Idaho Code 39-4116—is clear and straightforward.  HB 547 would add considerable uncertainty by requiring cities and counties to determine that “an immediate threat to human life or safety exists” that necessitates a building code amendment.  What is an immediate threat in the context of building codes that are designed to protect a building and its occupants over decades?  This uncertainty will almost certainly result in costly and unnecessary litigation. 

Curtailing local governments’ authority to amend codes will restrict their ability to make improvements to the codes to provide additional flexibility that will benefit builders.

The members of the House Business Committee and their contact information are provided below.

Rep. Vito Barbieri, Dalton Gardens, Chair  Ph:  (208) 332-1177   Email:  vbar@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Lance W. Clow, Twin Falls, Vice Chair  Ph:  (208) 332-1188   Email:  lclow@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Gary E. Collins, Nampa  Ph:  (208) 332-1063  Email:  gcollins@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Brent J. Crane, Nampa  Ph:  (208) 332-1058  Email:  bcrane@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Joe Palmer, Meridian  Ph:  (208) 332-1062  Email:  jpalmer@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Jeff Thompson, Idaho Falls   Ph:  (208) 332-1081  Email:  jthompson@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Jason A. Monks, Nampa  Ph:  (208) 332-1036  Email:  jmonks@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Sage G. Dixon, Ponderay  Ph:  (208) 332-1185  Email:  sdixon@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, Genesee  Ph:  (208) 332-1035  Email:  cntroy@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Thyra Stevenson, Nezperce  Ph:  (208) 332-1184  Email:  tstevenson@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Randy Armstrong, Inkom  Ph:  (208) 332-1046  Email:  armstrong@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, Eagle  Ph:  (208) 332-1057  Email:  gdemordaunt@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Dustin Manwaring, Pocatello  Ph:  (208) 332-1079  Email:  dmanwaring@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Jarom Wagoner, Caldwell  Ph:  (208) 332-1052  Email:  jwagoner@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Elaine Smith, Pocatello  Ph:  (208) 332-1031  Email:  esmith@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Hy Kloc, Boise  Ph:  (208) 332-1075  Email:  hkloc@house.idaho.gov

Rep. Sally Toone, Gooding  Ph:  (208) 332-1032  Email:  stoone@house.idaho.gov

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President Issues Half-Staff Notice

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, February 15, 2018
Presidential Proclamation Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Parkland, Florida

Our Nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones in the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on February 14, 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, February 19, 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 fifteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP

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Legislative Alert: Contact Legislators to Oppose IACI-Sponsored Personal Property Tax Bill—HB 556

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, February 14, 2018

On Thursday, February 15 at 9 a.m., the House Revenue & Taxation Committee will consider an AIC-opposed bill that would establish a county option personal property tax exemption.  AIC strongly encourages city officials to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 556.

House Bill 556 is sponsored by the Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry (IACI) and would allow county commissioners to exempt all or part of business owned personal property from property taxation within the county.  Prior to granting such an exemption, the county commissioners would be required to hold a public meeting to discuss the proposal and must provide notice to affected taxing districts and urban renewal agencies.

The primary concern about this legislation is it would grant county commissioners unilateral authority to exempt business-owned equipment, machinery, furniture and other personal property from paying property taxes.  For most cities, this would mean a dramatic shift in property tax burden from big business to homeowners and small businesses. 

The impact would be even more severe for local governments that are at their property tax levy caps: the county commissioners’ decision would force those taxing districts to cut their property tax budgets to offset the loss in taxable value from the exemption.  Giving county commissioners this kind of authority over other local government budgets is bad public policy.    

Passing bonds and levies will become much more difficult in counties that exempt personal property from taxation, because of the major shift in tax burden from big business to homeowners and other classes of property.  Exempting personal property would also reduce the bonding capacity for schools. 

Urban renewal agencies (URAs), including Chobani and Clif Bar in Twin Falls, rely heavily on business personal property taxes to repay outstanding bonds.  The loss of personal property tax revenue could potentially jeopardize certain URAs’ ability to repay their bonds.

AIC, the Idaho Association of Counties, and the Idaho School Boards Association supported the personal property tax relief legislation that passed in 2008 that protected local governments budgets by providing replacement revenue to offset the loss in personal property tax revenue.  A statewide policy that provides replacement revenues continues to be the appropriate way to provide additional personal property tax relief.

We urge city officials to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 556.  You can find your legislators using this online tool on the Idaho Legislature’s website. 

 

 

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