N. Idaho Court Upholds Constitution

SANDPOINT–First District Judge Charles W. Hosack ruled Friday that a planned lease-purchase scheme to build a jail and detention facility violates the Idaho Constitution, specifically a provision that requires a public vote on debts and liabilities that extend beyond one fiscal year.

Under the plan, property at the sheriff’s office complex in Sandpoint would have been leased to Rocky Mountain Corrections. The private company would then finance construction of a 34-bed juvenile lockup and 60-bed work release center. The county would pay more than $782,000 a year and would own the buildings after 30 years, financing the plan through inmate fees and payments for inmates from other jurisdictions.

A similar lease-purchase plan is afoot in Caldwell for a new Urban Renewal Agency funded building to house the Oregon based Treasure Valley Community College. That plan is clearly in conflict with the constitution as well, but Caldwell officials are forging ahead with the project which the GUARDIAN suspects is illegal.

Also in Caldwell is yet another plan for a jail expansion–also long term debt that is being attempted contrary to the Idaho Constitution. There is a lawsuit pending over that one.

After the GUARDIAN editor won cases against Boise City over a proposed police building and an airport parking garage, cities have been scrambling to slip various schemes around the voters, including a proposed constitutional amendment to deny citizens the rights they currently hold.

The one thing all these schemes have in common is the local officials are adamantly against allowing the citizens their constitutional voter rights to approve debt in excess of a single year’s revenues.

As citizens have become empowered, the courts are increasingly looking favorably toward enforcing the constitutional mandate to allow the citizens the power they already hold over the pursestrings.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. citizen cane
    Sep 8, 2008, 3:46 pm

    since the caldwell tvcc contract is being drafted and carved out behind closed doors at this time-
    what legislative board will give the final o.k. for this doc. to stand – would it be the city council or county commission? and since past precedent has been set with othe similar cases denying them- why doesn’t the governer or atty general step in if there is a clear violation of constitutional rights here? is nancholas a demo. or republ ? and since gound has broken for apparent construction, does this mean that no one can stop or delay further waste of tax dollars ?

    EDITOR NOTE–Last we heard there was NO AGREEMENT signed. We can’t imagine how the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency is not only breaking ground, but they haven’t asked for EITHER Judicial Confirmation or a vote of the people to approve this scheme which is a purchase beyond a single year’s revenues. The project is certainly questionable and we thing it would not stand up to legal scrutiny.

  2. You wonder why they try anymore. With the Guardian’s help, there has been plenty of precedence set. Makes me think these politicians should be voted out of office for stupidity.

  3. Here! Here! Clancy! I am, however, concerned that the feeling among elected officials is, ” But, they couldn’t be talking about me!!”

  4. Mr.Cane,
    FYI, most if not all politicians in Canyon County are Repubs. They are just as fiscally criminal as all the politicos in D.C. Do you think the economic mess and staggering national debt our country is in can be blamed on one party? Blame shifters might be part of the problem.

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