Guardian Top Stories

ACHD To Propose Tax Hike

The IDAHO PRESS reports Ada County Highway District Commishes are planning to put a tax hike proposal on the November ballot.

Before they make the request ACHD would be well advised to work toward a fair tax that would not see us honest folks paying the bill for the commercial users and rental car companies who profit from using our streets and the well-to-do who own property in places like Valley, Blaine, and Boise Counties.

Check out any of the hundreds of local rental cars and you will see they are registered in Elmore, Bannock and Bonneville Counties. Commercial vehicles in Ada were exempted from the last bond in order to curry favor with business. The little guys make up the difference of lost fees on some sizable fleets as well.

Folks who have condos and cabins outside Ada often claim “residency” in those counties to avoid the higher fees. The GUARDIAN has been made aware of some low key research which indicates there are many tax cheats. You can register in any county, but vehicle owners are required to list their primary use address. While not real clear, the commercial and rental car registration requirements need to mirror that of personal vehicles.

They claim a “homeowners exemption” on their property tax in Ada while claiming to be residents of other counties to avoid the vehicle fees. They face the potential of losing the homeowner exemption if they get caught. We think they should also risk losing their Ada voter registration since they claim to have a residence elsewhere.

There are no official numbers yet from the tax cheat survey, but ACHD Commishes need to clean up the current law before they try to raise fees. Idaho’s DMV has little interest in conducting the research because Ada is the only county to benefit from strict enforcement. Risking their homeowner tax break for a relatively small vehicle fee break may get the attention of some of the scofflaws.

Local Media Today Is The Government


Recent conversations with friends and a GUARDIAN reader’s comment about getting nothing but press releases from the local media got us to thinking about past and present.

Nearly 50 years ago I was the police and fire reporter at the STATESMAN, covering cops, fires, and the courts. Both the Ada Sheriff and the Boise PD had a clip board set up so I could read EVERY report generated by the officers. Granted there weren’t so many reports, but the daily log was a treasure trove of news.

We published stories of most felony offenses, deaths, and all the “fun stuff” coppers encounter during a shift. As a result, when a compressor was taken from a job site in Boise it was common for a farmer in Eagle to find it in his corn field. If a prominent businessman filed a false theft report, his “girlfriend” read the report and tipped the coppers.

Not so today. Reporters find it nearly impossible to read timely incident reports. The police employ their own news staffs who decide WHAT to release and then they WRITE the stories. The GUARDIAN gets most of the releases and it astounds us when we see and hear the reports parroted by the local media.

Here is an example of a police-generated story by the State Police at Lewiston:

On May 29, 2018 at approximately 08:43 a.m. an injury crash occurred on Arrow Highline Road, just north of the SH3/US12 junction. A 2007 International truck loaded with propane driven by Shaun Barber, 35, of Genesee, was eastbound on Arrow Highline Road when the vehicle moved too far right and entered the right hand shoulder. The shoulder gave way under the weight of the truck.

The truck rolled at least once landing on the tires on the railroad tracks below. The driver was able to exit the vehicle, close the safety valve and call for help. No propane was spilled or vented. The vehicle was removed under its own power off the railroad tracks. Barber was transported to St. Josephs where he was treated and released for minor injuries. The investigation is ongoing.

Now that is a story! Talk about a lucky guy. Not even Hollywood stuntmen could manage to flip a virtual ten ton bomb, land on a railroad track and then drive away. Coppers can’t inject their commentary into stories, but a good reporter and editor team would have that incident on the front page and followed by media worldwide.

When a car was stolen recently in Boise with an infant inside, the copper-generated news simply didn’t add up. They reported the car was left running at a convenience store with the baby inside. When the thieves took off, “a parent” supposedly chased it down on foot. One of the inadvertent kidnappers handed over the baby and waited around for coppers while the driver fled and was arrested next day.

The account is simply unbelievable. No felon waits around for the cops. No questions were raised about the negligent parent leaving the car running with the kid inside. Had to be a custody squabble or something, but the police news writing was severely lacking at best.

Side note: It appears to several media watchers that the Idaho Press Tribune (or “IDAHO PRESS”) is making a move on the Statesman. The Adams publishing family now owns Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and the Nampa-Caldwell-Meridian print media outlets. They picked up veteran political reporter Betsy Russell from the Spokane Spokesman and it would seem they are on the verge of becoming “Idaho’s Newspaper.” Let’s hope they are able to cover more than press releases.

With no printing press and a small staff, the venerable Statesman has lost much of its former clout becoming the “vulnerable” Statesman.

See IDAHO PRESS for details of the move on Boise.

Tax Hike Due This Year AND Next!

The GUARDIAN has received several inquiries regarding property taxes following the assessment notices recently sent out by county assessors.

The short version is this. YOUR TAX BILL WILL BE HIKED!

Local politicos will brag they have “lowered the levy rate,” but when the value is increased the only way to profit is to sell your property and leave town. For example if the levy is 10% and the value of the property is $100, the tax is $10. But if the value is $150 and the levy remains the same the tax is $15 which amounts to a 50% hike even though there is no rate hike.

Cities and counties love the boom times because they get rich off building permits (Boise City has an extra $1 million). Local budget increases are limited to 3%, but that includes the value of new construction and which allows for even more government spending.

Property values are assessed as of December 31. We are told there is already close to a 20% increase in the Boise area this year. That means a probable hike in the 2019 tax bill as well.

The higher values are a direct result of growth encouraged by state and local politicos. They offer tax breaks which encourage new businesses to move in with more people who drive up the price of housing.

More Growth (Cancer) Headed North

Back in the day there was a collective sigh of relief, a lowering of blood pressure and a sense of freedom when you turned off of State Street and headed north on Highway 55 at “Petticoat Junction.”

The realignment of Highway 55 along with traffic signals at Hill Road and Floating Feather intruded a bit. Now, thanks to rampant growth and increased traffic you can experience stops at Beacon Light and that massive foothills development called Avimor. Ain’t progress wonderful?

Click for the Ada County Highway District–IdahoTransportation Department press release. Continue reading here…

The GUARDIAN is Baaaack

The GUARDIAN has returned to duty and unfortunately we don’t have a lot of cheery news to report after covering 1300 miles of Idaho, Yellowstone, and vicinity.

Great time spent with 14-year-old grandson and a chance to learn the addictive qualities of those “smart” phones. Amazing how fast and readily available information can be obtained. Sad to see how much of the info is dispersed.

Grandson Bryce at Mesa Falls

With no particular judgements and full understanding of cultural differences, geographic challenges, and generational voids, I will offer the following observations for all to comment upon.

–When you have lived ONLY in metro Hillsborough County, Florida where the population is the same as the entire state of Idaho it is understandable how awkward it is to pee in the aspen grove along Highway 20.

–The significance of Arco being the first town in the world to have nuclear power is lost after 65 years.

–The gigantic trout at Big Spring near Island Park are gone! Don’t know if the nearby massive construction projects have had any impact, but the world famous fishery has attracted a lot of people and money to Fremont County.

–Yellowstone is overrun with Asian tourists. At one hotel breakfast buffet we observed a shoving match when an Asian guest hijacked an entire tray of scrambled eggs for his table. Those not in tour groups and renting autos were obvious due to their lack of driving skills.

–Questions as simple as, “what do you want to study in school,” were answered after consulting the Smart Phone for salary surveys. (neurologists earn $600,000 a year and electrical engineering profs bring in $90,000).

–Freeway drivers are totally out of control, mean, aggressive, and a danger to everyone. We were just ahead of fatality crashes on both I-15 and I-84. At the time we commented that death was inevitable with such behavior.

–Idaho is still a vast “Gem” with scenic vistas and good people. Upper Mesa Falls on Henrys Fork of the Snake is spectacular, Craters of the Moon is unique, but barren. The Swan Falls Canyon (Birds of Prey) is an under appreciated Ada County natural attraction

Bryce at Golden Spike Monument.

ATK Rockets

–Promontory Point in Utah is amazingly close to Idaho and they reenact the Golden Spike ceremony daily in the summer to commemorate the Transcontinental Railroad which opened the West to settlement. Orbital ATK rocket manufacturing (formerly Thiokol) is very near the Golden Spike site.

The Boise Guardian

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