Bonner County Violates Law In Effort To Skirt Voters

In the latest example of local officials skirting voter approval for debt in excess of a single year’s revenues, Bonner County finds itself crosswise of the Idaho Constitution.

Instead of asking permission of citizens as prescribed in Article VIII, sec. 3 of the Idaho Constitution, Bonner Commishes simply took a lesson from their Federal counterparts and raided a dedicated fund. They tapped solid waste fund to finance a $3.1 million juvenile facility. It doesn’t matter who you borrow from, it is illegal for cities and counties to borrow without permission of citizens.

A recent legal opinion from the Idaho Attorney General says the move is illegal. Sadly, the pattern of local officials acting on the bad advice of lawyers has become a pattern of local Idaho government. Until there are penalties for violation of the constitution these officials have sworn to uphold, there is no accountability.

The main reason is to prevent an elected body from obligating a future elected body to make payments. Only the citizens have the right to make that decision–“full faith and credit” of the voters. Sorta like your mother-in-law buying you a new car and putting the loan in your name to repay. Well intentioned perhaps, but not a proper transaction.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I couldn’t agree more with your view on this matter. The primary reason why this is happening so often is that there is no accountability. No punishment. Nothing to fear. This attitude is common in many areas of government operation, including open records and meetings. Elected and appointed officials know it, and they know that they can get away with it without any real repercussions.

  2. So beings that they broke the law, are any of them going to jail?

    After all if used for a juvenile facility, they are willing to lock up your kids.

  3. Same thing happened here in Caldwell only in reverse… The Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency borrowed $6 MM to pay for the out of state TVCC building from the City of Caldwell’s Local Government Investment Pool of money. The “Loan” to the URA was approved by the City Council.

  4. Makes me wonder what they teach at the law school at UofI these days.

    It must consist of Cheating, Liars, Spins, Distortions, Bad Management, Gross Interpretation of the Law and how to use the Constitution (US and Idaho’s) for toilet paper. Then you graduate.

    Being ethical with a sense of decency is definitely out of the question.

  5. Brian Vermillion
    Mar 26, 2013, 8:50 am

    Since this is simply yet another example of what happens often here in the treasure valley, why aren’t charges being filed?

  6. Charges are not filed for one simple reason . It costs a lot of money. Most attorneys who are in buisness to make a living cannot afford to take on a case pro bono which if it is serious enough will be appealead to the Idaho Supreme Court with taxpayers money fighting you in a process that can take as long as 3 years.
    If you should lose sometimes you will pay their attorney fees also. Very few people have the motivation and more importantly the deep pockets for these kinds of fights.

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