City Government

Ada Commishes Send Boise “Past Due” Message

Looks like the GUARDIAN isn’t the only one with whom Boise officials can’t get along.

The STATESMAN ran an enlightening piece Saturday by reporter Cynthia Sewell about the ongoing rift between Boise City and Ada County over the issue of who pays to provide magistrate court facilities. Ada Commishes are backing out of various financial deals with the city unless the city pays up.

We are totally out of control when it comes to governments billing each other–let alone departments within government. They all talk of “running government like a business.” Names like GM, Qwest, Enron, WorldCom, Bernie Madoff, and Chrysler come to mind immediately…at least some of those leaders went to jail.

Boise SELLS police service to BSU, legal advice to Meridian, and perhaps other deals, but they don’t want to PAY for court space.

Prior to the creation of the Magistrate system cities had “MUNICIPAL COURTS” and rural areas had “JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.” When court reform passed, the system was streamlined creating Magistrate and District Courts only–a good move. Most of the magistrates are now lawyers…many of the JPs were not.

Boise City was the 900 pound gorilla in Ada County and agreed in writing to provide traffic/misdemeanor court as part of the city-county cop shop. Meridian had only two or three coppers at the time and Garden City had six. Eagle and Star weren’t even incorporated.

When the new courthouse was built–without voter approval for the funding–the city was ordered to pay for the magistrate court and has fought the order over since. They have violated court orders and continue to feud with the county.

Folks, its all about money period! Boise gets the bulk of the “penal fines” from city tickets and misdemeanor convictions and the county wants them to pay for the space and staff. Crime DOES pay. There is an argument to be made by the city about “double taxation,” but the city agreed to provide court space. One option is to move out of the courthouse and return to their own version of “Municipal Court” and we won’t be surprised if Boise tries to sell Meridian, Garden City, Star and Eagle on joining them–as long as they pay rent! But even the cities can’t agree with each other.

Local governments at all levels continue to squander our tax money with regional planning, cooperative agreements, visions for the future, blue prints for growth, private/public partnerships, Valley Transit, COMPASS, and they are all EXPENSIVE miserable failures. Only when the citizens have direct influence over local issues (and the purse strings) will we see responsive local government.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Devil's Advocate
    Aug 15, 2010, 7:30 am

    To play devil’s advocate, though, remember that people who reside within city limits in Ada County pay property taxes on their homes. Those taxes go into Ada County coffers. So when Ada County then bills those citizens for services (law enforcement, courts), the argument can be made that it is double taxation. Those in unincorporated Ada County only pay one time; why should those in cities pay twice? What do city citizens get for their property taxes if they have to pay for services on top of it?

  2. And thus, the group that has been coined “Team dave” shall watch the house of “double standard” cards begin to tumble! Too bad they are not smart enough to find a solution other than to raise taxes and lower services. In the early part of the decade, times were so good that ANYONE could have(and did) run local government. Now that the economy is at a virtual standstill, true management abilities are forced into the sunlight! We can see clearly, there are no such skills at city hall.

  3. In the statesman article they mention how Meridian and Garden City each share 10% of the court fee. I don’t know if this is a figure they reached by dividing up the actual case load, but it seems a little unfair to Garden City who only has about 25 police officers. Meridian has somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 police officers…

  4. Hey BG…I read the article in the paper as well. I agree with much of what you wrote. I do have a question though. Please correct me if I am wrong, but didnt the county decide not to increase property taxes and the city recently vote to increase taxes? It seems the county is at least trying to do something about a short fall without raising taxes…what do you think?

  5. Dave in Emmett
    Aug 15, 2010, 9:04 pm

    You have GOT to be kidding me! I wonder which Commish is sniveling the loudest. My money is on Ullman. She really knows how to spend other people’s money! What a crock of drama!

  6. Is Emmett in Ada County?

  7. Hey Dave in Emmett, why not stick to sniveling about your own County. It’s always easy to pick on someone who’s actually trying to make a difference isn’t it? And BTW, Ada County IS trying to cut costs whereas Boise city has every excuse in the book to raise our taxes for all sorts of unneeded and unwanted frills. But then neither one is in Emmett so what should you care.

  8. The expense of running a police state is enormous. Been traveling around the country this summer and I have got to say, Boise is the most paranoid city in my summer travels. Seems like a cop is busting someone for any infraction and the cops are everywhere. I got pulled over Saturday because the cop didn’t like how I turned the corner. I was using my turn signal but he said it was irregular? He did let me go after a lengthy conversation, (at tax payer expense). Guess I answered all his questions correctly. Personally I think I was pulled over because I look Mexican.
    I hope Boise citizens like The police state they live in.
    The revenue from fleecing citizens and visitors must help defray the cost of paying for that rediculous courthouse complex.
    Wonder how many cops per capita Boise has compared to other cities this size?

  9. Actually Guardian I think this is more about politics than money. Did you mean to write that the “CITY agreed to provide court space”? Cynthia’s article mixes apples and oranges on the money generated by fines etc, since I’ll wager the Cities have the lion’s share of law enforcement costs. Moreover the County reneging on an agreement to humanely deal with our mentally ill is a most odious resolution. What it comes down to is that city residents are gonna have to pay twice which is wrong wrong wrong.

    Basically what the County is doing here is trying to deliver a rent bill for rent we’ve already paid. And when we point that out and refuse to pay again, the county argues that, as a result, they don’t have to pay their doctor, utilities or the kid that mows the lawn. They have no legal basis for doing so and it seems like some petty BS to me. Greed isn’t the motivation here. Its politics. And I gotta agree with Dave from Emmett as a result.

  10. Rod in SE Boise
    Aug 16, 2010, 10:25 pm

    I live in the city limits and my property tax bill says I pay property taxes for Boise City, School #1 M&O, School #1 Bond, School #1 Supplemental, School #1 Other, Ada County, Ada County Highway, College of Western Idaho, Emergency Medical, and Mosquito Abatement. Nothing about courts.

    Dog is right, it is a police state, but only because City Hall cannot or will not control and civilize the BPD. Both the city and the BPD have way too much “authority”.

  11. Dog’s comment is interesting. My perception (old white guy) is that unless you run into one of the traffic cops (step team)or some kind of DUI task force crap, your chances of getting pulled over are almost nil.

  12. Here ya go Dog. Ask and ye shall receive.

    Full-time Law Enforcement Employees in 2008, including police officers: 375 (302 officers).

    Officers per 1,000 residents BOISE: 1.48
    Idaho average: 1.77
    U.S. Average: 3.0

    Read more:

  13. Rod in SE Boise
    Aug 17, 2010, 7:51 pm

    Dog, here’s my theory. The cop wanted to see if you had been drinking, so he decided that your turn was “irregular”. That’s what passes for probable cause in this city.

  14. :>0 better try a new source for your data. the link below says 1.5-3.0 depending on a whole host of vairables..

    The crime rate as well as the numbers of crimes committed say we have plenty of cops.

  15. Did I say we didn’t? He asked, there are the numbers, nothing else was meant by it or implied.

  16. Rod is probably right. The cop might have thought I was drunk. I must be paranoid because I’ve been pulled over three times this year for very sketchy reasons. Only one ticket so far for going over the 50mph posted speed limit while passing a truck going 40mph on Hwy.12. The 50mph section is a massive ISPD speed trap known very well by locals. It is against Idaho law to exceed the posted speed for any reason. My first ticket in 20 years.

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