Boise County Debt Easily Solved

DISCLAIMER: The GUARDIAN is not an attorney, but plays one in court when necessary.

As a public service to the citizens of Boise County, we will offer some “municipal finance” advice about the ill advised actions of your Commishes with regard to bankruptcy and zoning the property for troubled teens.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered the payments — totaling $5.4 million, including about $1.4 million in attorneys’ fees — after a federal jury last year said the county violated the Fair Housing Act in its handling of an application for a proposed teen treatment center called Alamar Ranch. He did the right thing. Boise County Commishes filed for bankruptcy in response. They did the wrong thing.

Judge Winmill has ordered a payment schedule and told the county it would have to levy above the 3 percent budget cap in Idaho Law. Probably not a good order.

The least painful solution is found in the Idaho Constitution–a document that needs to be examined by lawyers, judges, commsihes and citizens. Article VIII, sec 3 says a municipality cannot go into debt–usually bonded indebtedness–without 2/3 approval of voters EXCEPT:

“Provided, that this section shall NOT be construed to apply to the ordinary and necessary expenses authorized by the general laws of the state…”

So, all Boise County needs to do is file a petition for “Judicial Confirmation” and get the 4th District judge to confirm the expense–in this case an order from the United States District Court–is ordinary and necessary. Such an expense is indeed ordinary and necessary. Then, the county sells bonds to get the cash they need. McCall obtained judicial confirmation when elected officials there got into financial trouble fighting payment of a sewer system construction which was also ordered by a Federal Court.

Bottom line, the GUARDIAN has saved hundreds of thousands in legal fees for Boise County. Taxpayers will see an increase, but only for the repayment period of the bonds (loan) the county will have to sell to finance the payments to Oaas Laney and Alamar Ranch.

There is talk of attempting a tax hike over the state 3% limit and a hearing before tax commishes, but if they do as the constitution allows, it will be almost painless–and a lesson learned.

Anyone wishing to express gratitude can punch the DONATE button on the right. 🙂

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Who would of thought BG advocating judicial review? Just kidding, it seems like a very smart and logical way of getting this debt funded.

  2. The Guardian is right.

    When all is said and done, those of us who live in or own property in Boise County will pay for the ineptness of our county commissioners (past & present) concerning this matter. Time to take the Guardians advice; get a judge to rule the Federal Court ordered judgment is “ordinary and necessary” under Idaho’s constitution. Spread the bond ($4.4 million remaining on the lawsuit) repayment out over 20 years, resulting in a few dollars annually to each tax payer. The steps currently laid out by the county commissioners to get the Idaho State tax commission involved to go above the 3% tax annual increase limit will only result in more attorney fees and wasted tax dollars.

  3. Great solution, but do you think; If Boise County pays Oaas Laney then Soutfork Landing can pay thier back taxes to Boise County and Dynamis can pay Ada County?? Funny little circle of bedpartners!

  4. I hope you’re right; it sickens me that the county is in this situation. I think Oaas-Laney is despicable for putting the taxpayers into this position, and the commissioners were trying their best to act, but with limited information.

  5. Clancy nails the irony of Guardian advocating for a judicial review solution. But hey, Nixon went to China.

    The other irony here is the Boise County Commission basically ended up listening to the growthophobes and NIMBY world view when denying the Alamar Ranch proposal. One would think such a decision would prove popular on this blog site.

    EDITOR NOTE–We have been very consistent in upholding the Idaho Constitution, despite the best efforts of Boise to get around that document. At statehood the delegates to the constitutional convention cited the ORDINARY and NECESSARY need to pay jurors and unforeseen expenses of following the law when a major trial or other legal requirement comes up that cannot be budgeted. The highest court in the land upheld my arguments regarding Article VIII, sec 3.

    Only after the city spent $60,000 of public money and the hospital association dropped nearly $.75 million with deceitful advertising were you able to pass a constitutional amendment. There is no irony, merely honesty. With regard to NIMBY, you should be critical of the poor legal advice and lack of judgement of your fellow politicos to the north. As we have mentioned previously, they should have followed the example of Boise City in allowing Dennis Mansfield to install halfway houses all over the city. No one wanted convicts in their neighborhood, but their “disabilities” came under the ADA classification and there was no legal way to prohibit them.

  6. BG since you play a lawyer online, one question. While I see this as Necessary, is it Ordinary? Do both those conditions have to be met?

    EDITOR NOTE–There is always debate on whether both conditions need to be met, whether they are “conjunctive,” etc. In this case I would argue it is NECESSARY to comply with the federal court order. Legal obligations including wages, public safety, contractual agreements, and court proceedings (trial by jury and speedy trial) are certainly ORDINARY. Generally speaking the term “unforeseen expense of an emergency nature” qualifies as ORDINARY and NECESSARY to get a judge to confirm the expense is an exception to the constitutional mandate to seek voter approval. In short, it can’t wait for voter approval.

  7. NIMBY was not the REAL issue behind the locals not wanting the Ranch. Truly it was for the safety of the children. The small communities surrounding Alimar Ranch are considered “Where the truth is more interesting than fiction”. Yes, there are squatters, homes burned, dogs shot AND unsolved murders. The ADA issue never came up until the end when conditional use permit was considered (which has a totally different set of mandates to comply with). Without very good legal advice Boise County was doomed to fail.

  8. Sue… as another resident of Boise County ( Idaho City) the real issue was NIMBY. Folks couldn’t have cared less if Alimar would have been built in Atlanta Idaho.

    The sad thing about this whole thing is with the present economy Alimar would have never been built any way.

    But what do I care… The Warm Springs swimming pool is being rebuilt and we now have a Verizon Hot spot in down town Idaho City ( Donna’s Place) where you can get your Verizon cell phone service. Only problem is it is only good for about 25 feet.

    Both of those things should be worth 5 million dollars right? Life is wonderful up in the hills of Idaho City

  9. This mess is just one more example of why a city/county manager form of government is needed. Any competent professionally trained county manager would never let this mess happen.

    It is time people figure out an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of expensive cure.

  10. “With regard to NIMBY, you should be critical of the poor legal advice and lack of judgement of your fellow politicos to the north.”

    From my readings, that is why McCall ran into trouble with construction of their sewer ponds. Now that lawyer is an elected official here in Boise.

  11. Clancy… Poor Legal advice… LOL

    With Ron Twilegar as our Prosecuting attorney what could go wrong?

  12. If you are looking for something to be worse than Twilegar being the Pa For Boise County? It could be Bieter! So thank your stars…..

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