City Government

Boise, Ada Agree On Court Deal, Ullman Opposes Terms

Here is some real news. Boise City and Ada County officials appear to have come to an agreement on something!

After repeatedly losing their legal fight with Ada County, Boise will begin paying the county $750,000 to $830,000 a year for magistrate court facilities and services. The commishes and councilors are set to ratify the agreement at their respective Tuesday meetings.

However, Commish Sharon Ullman is opposed to the agreement and has told the GUARDIAN she will vote NO, claiming Boise will pay only about 40% of the cost of operating its share (not covered by fees).

“As currently proposed, the settlement agreement between the City of Boise and Ada County is seriously flawed and I intend to vote against it,” said Ullman.

Boise had agreed to a deal years ago when traffic court was moved out of the Barrister law enforcement facility to the court house on Front Street, but for several years they have refused to honor the agreement. Boise claimed the other cities were not paying, so they shouldn’t.

We are told the proposed agreement will probably serve as the basis for future agreements with Garden City, Meridian, Kuna, Star, and Eagle. Previous data used in the legal battle included civil magistrate court expenses, courthouse lease, and other expenses that properly should not be considered. All in all it probably is a pretty fair settlement with both sides making concessions.

The text of the joint press release follows.
Ada County Commissioners and the Boise City Council are scheduled to vote tomorrow on a negotiated agreement that would allow the County to continue to provide magistrate court services for the City of Boise.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, the County would provide magistrate court services required for the City’s magistrate caseload in exchange for an annual payment from the City of $1 million. This payment would be offset by an estimated $250,000, which the City receives from fines and fees collected by the County for the City’s magistrate cases. If approved by both Ada County and Boise City officials, the new agreement will begin Oct. 1, 2011, the start of Fiscal Year 2012 for both organizations.

“I am happy that continued negotiations have resulted in a proposed agreement on the table for our consideration tomorrow morning,” said Ada County Commission Chairman Rick Yzaguirre. “If approved, Ada County would continue to provide magistrate services to Boise at a discounted rate while Ada County, at the same time, would benefit from cost efficiencies associated with a consolidated court system housed within the courthouse. While I cannot speak on behalf of my colleagues, I believe moving forward with this agreement would be in everyone’s best interest.”

“This is a good deal for Boise taxpayers because it allows these services to continue at roughly the same cost as they have for many years,” Mayor David Bieter said. “This proves that government agencies can work together to find solutions in the best interest of all our residents. I thank the County Commissioners for their hard work.”

Ada County Commissioner Vern Bisterfeldt said, “I’ve seen this issue from both sides of the table now and they say true compromise means everyone, in the end, must give a little. I believe the proposal we will consider tomorrow captures that sentiment – and I am encouraged by the progress that has been made.”

The $1 million cost outlined in the proposed agreement will be offset by the existing $5 per case magistrate court facility fee, which is collected by the County and paid to the City for all City cases. Under the terms of the new agreement, the City also will receive the $2.50 capital facilities fee for each City case. The two fees are estimated to total $250,000 for Fiscal Year 2012.

If approved, the proposed agreement will run through September 30, 2016, with a 2.75% annual increase to accommodate for increased staffing costs incurred by the County.

Ada County is scheduled to vote on the agreement at its Open Business Meeting Tuesday, August 30. The Boise City Council will consider the agreement at its 6:00 p.m. meeting that same day.


Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Is the City going to give the county the costs of the past few years they’ve refused to pay?

  2. Eye on Numbers
    Aug 29, 2011, 9:16 pm

    I don’t get all this charging for this and that between cities and counties. Where does all this goofy stuff stop?

    My solution is to go to a METRO format for all services like police, fire, paramedic, courts, jails, dispatch, animal control, highway districts and anything else I forgot to mention.

    Money is tight, then combine and consolidate to the least costly format for taxpayers to fund. All this local control noise is nothing but euphemisms for costing taxpayers more and more without any tangible benefit.

  3. EON, that will just raise everyones taxes to whatever is the highest in the area now.

  4. So Sharon opposed the racetrack lease; Sharon opposed this settlement with Boise City. I’m sure this is political maneuvering on her part that has nothing to do with the best interests of the citizens. And I would ask Ms. Ullman, where is the $2 million from the Dynamis contract? Any update on that, Dave? Remember, Ada County gave $2 million to Mahaffey for Landfill project, then Sharon said it was just a loan and it would be repaid in six months. Where is that money?

  5. Eye on Numbers
    Aug 30, 2011, 9:40 am

    One clear benefit of this terrible recession is government officials are having to take a long hard look at things and what they cost. However, the solution to all this scrutiny is not sending out bills for various services paid for by local taxpayers.

    For years we have heard “taxes are budget driven.” If a county entity is providing the service they should budget and collect tax dollars to pay for the services they provide. All this business of sending billing letters to cities when city residents already pay county taxes makes no sense. Why should city residents have to pay more county taxes. Next, we will see cities charging county taxpayers a surcharge for using city streets.

    EDITOR NOTE–PArt of the deal is who gets the fine money. If the city gets the fines, should the county provide the space and staff? It is apparently worked out, but it isn’t a simple answer. The issue is MONEY, not law and order or justice.

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