City Government

Local Schools, Governments Orchestrate Money Grab From Citizens

We feel like a tourist in a Paris subway full of pickpockets as we observe all the politicos in Boise after our cash.

The local “community planning association,” (COMPASS) has been running paid commercials on radio claiming there is an annual $150,000,000 shortfall in transportation funding in Southwest Idaho. Probably more than a coincidence the legislature is in session addressing transportation issues.

Boise School District is pushing a $172,000,000 bond for school facilities and claiming “through sound financial management” they can raise the money without increasing taxes. They are running a brilliant low key campaign aimed at getting “friendly voters” to the polls without fanning the flames of opposition. Absentee ballots and a brochure of FACTS are being sent to teachers, retired teachers, parents, and other folks whose addresses the District has on hand. The election is March 14.

District officials will be hard pressed to turn down any offers from conservative taxpayers who want the same FACTS and absentee ballots sent to potential opponents of the bond, especially if the conservatives will pay the expenses.

Then there is the issue of another bond for College of Western Idaho to build a Boise campus along the river along Fairview. The last attempt was dismissed by voters, but there could be another $170,000,000 or so when that comes back.

Cities are also looking for cash to fulfill the demands created by all the growth resulting from giving our tax money to attract businesses in efforts to increase population density. Their solution is a “local option sales tax,” which no doubt won’t cost anything.

EDITOR NOTE: We are taking a personal leave in an effort to improve our outlook in a warmer climate. we welcome not only comments, but any guest opinions.

Comments & Discussion

16 comments for “Local Schools, Governments Orchestrate Money Grab From Citizens”

  1. Brian Vermilion
    Feb 7, 2017, 9:46 pm

    Yes, I’m surprised that we have not yet heard from local, county and state bureaucracies claiming that they are broke due to all the costs incurred with the winter weather expenses.

  2. Concerned Neighbor
    Feb 8, 2017, 8:18 am

    My house taxes have already gone up 50% in the last 3 years while my paycheck has continued to decrease. This insanity has to stop.

    Democrats voter suppression through frequent and unadvertised money grabs generating voter fatigue also has to stop. There shouldn’t be more than 1 voting day every other year when the general electorate is out in force.

  3. Kent Goldthorpe
    Feb 8, 2017, 8:31 am

    Right on the money, Dave. Brian, that’s quite a statement. Obviously you aren’t aware of contingency plans and funds reserved by most agencies. No problem, most aren’t. At ACHD the funds for this winter’s emergency came out of such reserves.

    ACHD will begin the budget process with a public meeting, likely in March. We are hopeful that you and many others will come out with constructive opinions and suggestions for us. I would certainly enjoy a visit with you on these matters.

    Dave, you should come too.

  4. I have asked both KTVB and IdahoStatesman to cover and uncover this stealth election and the fuzzy math involved. Last I checked the Boise district was not really growing much and perhaps shrinking.

    Governor and Legislators, please do away with the stealth election dates. Like the man says, once every two years in November. If people playing with $172,000,000 can’t plan two years ahead we are so screwed.

  5. Speckled Hen
    Feb 8, 2017, 12:57 pm

    The problem with any agency stating there is a lack of funding to meet their “needs” is that agencies are not challenged to orient their needs around funding realities. Why make I-84 wider from Nampa to Caldwell if the Idaho Transportation Department can’t afford to maintain the system it already has? Nothing says that what a computer model says is needed in 20 years for road capacity is what should automatically be accommodated. There’s nothing fiscally-conservative about that approach despite us having a region and state where everyone claims to be a fiscal conservative. Unfortunately, agencies like ITD fall victim to political posturing and a lust to have major ribbon-cutting projects rather than repairing potholes.

    For schools, why should a school district continue to redesign sites to accommodate school design standards that make no account for life cycle costs when they can adjust their expectations to deal with the sites they have?

    In both cases, it’s expansion of government liabilities without understanding what the true ability is to maintain what they have.

  6. Since we have an elected politician commenting on it, the irony screams out loud.

    Your message, Commissioner, certainly doesn’t seem too welcoming to Brian’s comment. That seems about par for ACHD.
    Why in the world would anyone want to attend an ACHD meeting for you to make such condescending remarks about their opinions?

    “Obviously you are not aware…”
    That reads like a trump tweet.
    Ha!

    Brian said he is surprised agencies are not already claiming they are too broke to cover the additional expenses.
    And an elected Commissioner replies by admitting ACHD is in fact “broke” from their regular BUDGET and IN TRUTH had to resort to reserves… You are effectively agreeing with Brian at the same time you are trying to say he is not aware of what is happening.

    How will ACHD replenish those reserves, Commissioner(s)?
    “Obviously” ACHD will ask for it (demand it) in future budgets– seems like the normal course- EXACTLY what Brian is pointing out.
    ACHD will do it and so will the other local agencies from Weiser, to Elmore County, to the City of Boise and they will all use “extreme snow” as their explanation. No one will use “climate change” though!

    OR we can get the Alternative Facts from ACHD:

    “Facts and Findings:
    In response to these back to back historic storm events we need to increase the contractual amounts for
    magnesium chloride to ensure we have adequate supply.
    In accordance with Section 3, PAYMENT, of the Purchase Agreement between Ada County Highway District (ACHD) and Dustbusters Inc., this Supplemental Agreement Number One (1) doubles the original agreement amount and quantities to $1,321,200. Commission approval will also reset staff signing authority limits for this contract.
    Item Revised Estimated Quantities Unit Price Total Price
    Magnesium Chloride 1,800,000 gallons $0.734 Per Gallon $1,321,200.00

    Fical Impacts:
    Budget adjustments will be required to cover any additional purchases beyond the current budget of $450,000.

    Subject: Change Order – 2017 Sodium Chloride Road Salt MD-387
    Agenda Date: January 11, 2017
    Facts and Findings:
    In response to these back to back historic storm events we need to increase the contractual amounts for road salt to ensure we have adequate supply. In accordance with Section 3, PAYMENT, of the Purchase Agreement between Ada County Highway District (ACHD) and Dustbusters Inc., this Supplemental Agreement Number One (1) doubles the original agreement amount and quantities to $343,980.00.
    Commission approval will also reset staff signing authority limits for this contract.
    Fical Impacts:
    Budget adjustments will be required to cover any additional purchases beyond the current budget of
    $180,000.00.

    Commissioner Goldthorpe, your outfit doesn’t need to “ask taxpayers” they just do it with a budget adjustment.

    Yes, “right on the money, Dave” and ACHD has indeed already made a $630,000 “adjustment” and will grab more if they can.

    -In case you can’t figure out my “constructive opinion” for ACHD’s upcoming public meeting, it is this,
    “It’s not the money- it’s politician’s attitude that is most troubling”.

  7. Mr Goldthorpe; I appreciate that you engage citizens directly on this site, regardless of how we might feel on certain positions, the direct interaction between our elected reps and citizens is important. Too many elected officials hide behind staff, committees, and formal comment processes to avoid direct engagement with the community they serve. In our modern and very busy world, this (commenting at night on-line) is all we can sometimes do and it is nice to be heard.

  8. I thought that the tone of Kent’s comments was just fine (whether you agree or disagree is beside the point).

  9. “Money grab” seems sensationalist since we are talking about bond elections.

    CWI has put themselves in a bad position by their actions with the Boise campus. However the need to invest in our community college is real. Similarly for Boise School District. Have you seen how old, sad, and dilapidated many of the facilities in the district are?

    It is well known that the legislature will short the education system in order to fight gay marriage, fight “ag-gag” lawsuits, waste millions on voided broadband contracts, etc. Since voters from across the state continually re-elect the same legislators it’s safe to say the approach is unlikely to change.

    Ultimately the bonds are a local voter-driven decision to invest in our community when our elected state legislators choose not to do so in favor of neglect or frivolity. The results of ignoring the education system are well known and I disagree that running bond elections is a money grab. It is an opportunity to clearly communicate to our politicians what we value as a community, recognizing we do all have skin in the game.

    Low tax bills do not create a great community; examples abound in the USA and beyond.

    EDITOR NOTE–Zed we don’t disagree about the “need” for education. In the
    case of Boise Schools, they are stacking the deck, much as campaigns in the East are alleged to keep minority voters from access to the polls. Boise Schools sent absentee ballots to their “friend list,” but not to folks who are likely to vote against the bond–perhaps any bond. CSI is simply clumsy in its politics. They spent big bucks on “consultants” and ran thinly disguised ads for their failed bond issue.

    With regard to the legislature, approval of local bonds to “bail out” schools M & O (maintenance and operation) does nothing but give the legislature permission to ignore needy school districts. We have not seen good money saving plans like a set of one or two STANDARD blue prints for schools. They always claim the facilities have to be “site specific.”

    Claims of “no tax hike” are simply false. If the bond fails, taxes will decrease. The TRUTH is, if the bond passes, every parcel of real estate in the District will have at least a 20 year debt load placed on it, regardless of who owns it in the future. That is the cost of education and to say there will be no tax hike (rate, levy, cost, etc.) is deceptive and would never pass muster under the “Truth in lending” act.

    The GUARDIAN has no position on a YES or NO vote on the bond issue, but our position on informing ALL voters equally with unvarnished facts is nothing short of adamant.

  10. School Bonds are not a “money grab” but they certainly are in effect letting the legislature off the hook for failing to provide adequate funding for education.

    I have mixed emotions regarding support for these bond issues since they perpetuate the shift in support to property tax payers.

  11. Observation:
    If as a result of fast growth (or more subdivisions), taxpayers have to pay more in taxes and/or bonds, to any agency, be it ACHD or school district, or name it, it means the taxpayers are subsidizing the profits that the developers reap while irresponsibly building too many dwellings where there are no roads and schools.
    Ada County and Cities of Boise and Meridian are too blame for approving any development application they see (besides very little guys who I have seen being denied rezoning of a small commercial space).
    County and City do not consider if the schools can deal with the influx of students, Boise School District, after all, is Independent.

  12. Chickenhawk
    Feb 10, 2017, 7:08 pm

    Let’s also not forget about the new Hawks Stadium which has once again reared its ugly head in the Daily Paper. It was reported today that one of the Hawks’ managing partners wants to buy 11 acres of the property where St. Luke’s Business complex is located, on the corner of Americana and Shoreline, and “donate” part of it to the city for a new stadium.

    The paper also reported that CCDC would have to borrow money for the stadium’s construction cost, and GBAD as well as the city would contribute cash as well. Where will all of this money come from??? Trees???

    A friend of mine who used to work in the Hawks offices told me that last year’s “record attendance” was nowhere near what they had in the 1990s, when they averaged about 4,500 per game. There better not be any new taxes if this stadium deal goes through, as former president George Bush famously quipped.

  13. chicago sam
    Feb 11, 2017, 1:28 pm

    There is no impact fee for dwellings which will raise the school population. The schools have to deal with it themselves when they get more enrollment. The legislature needs to fix this to allow a portion of impact fees going to school districts.

  14. And let us not forgot about the $ 10 million Valley Regional Transit is planning on asking for sometime in the future. Probably the near future. They’re already war gaming scenarios on how to spend it.

  15. atish@Travel Tourism Institute
    Feb 13, 2017, 12:22 am

    I have asked both KTVB and IdahoStatesman to cover and uncover this stealth election and the fuzzy math involved. Last I checked the Boise district was not really growing much and perhaps shrinking.

    Governor and Legislators, please do away with the stealth election dates. Like the man says, once every two years in November. If people playing with $172,000,000 can’t plan two years ahead we are so screwed.

  16. If you live in Boise, don’t forget the new composting program.

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