County

Former Commish Raps Jail Finance Plan

GUEST OPINION
By former Ada County Commissioner
Rick Visser

The end run by Commissioners Lachiondo and Kenyon to fund the construction of a new jail pod is a blatant affront to Ada County property tax payers.

In the interest of transparency and accountability of a commissioner to her constituents, I ask Commissioner Lachiondo to tell us why she (and Com. Kenyon) chose to use a lease with annual certificates of participation instead of a constitutional mandated taxpayer-approved bond.

–Why do two commissioners get to indebt county taxpayers?
–What is the difference between annual lease payments and annual bond payments?

When this method was presented to the Board in 2019 I was a commissioner and I was appalled by it. It may not be called a bond, but such a maneuver is nothing more than a deceptive end run by two commissioners. Their route to more debt may be legal, but that does not make it right.

The intent of the framers of the Idaho constitution was to require voter approval for major indebtedness by a county commission. Certificates of participation did not even exist in August of 1889.

One reason that I did not in 2019 nor today support expansion of the jail is because of Sheriff Bartlett’s habit of secretive conversations with Commissioners Case and also with Commissioner Lachiondo. How can I or you trust someone who intentionally flaunts transparency? These non accountability habits have led to more spending of tax dollars.

Sheriff Bartlett has also never shown a regard for bring fiscally responsible to Ada County taxpayers. The expensive route for a jail expansion was approved. Alternative ideas at less cost or even the need for a new pod were swept aside.

This funding method is more than a lack of accountability, it is a sad display of taxation without representation.

(Bartlett has told the GUARDIAN he was not involved in the financing plan. He merely presented the need for jail space to the commishes).

Comments & Discussion

7 comments for “Former Commish Raps Jail Finance Plan”

  1. Bonnie9 Krupp
    Oct 19, 2020, 9:48 am

    So do you believe Bartlett?

    The chicanery is appalling but this can be stopped. Why wasn’t this be presented to everyone through the media before it became a “fait accompli”?

    EDITOR NOTE–Or placed on the ballot as the law says.

  2. Rick Visser
    Oct 19, 2020, 2:09 pm

    In general, based on the actions of Sheriff Bartlett with commissioners, I believe that he is not trustworthy. The sheriff was not present when a local law firm presented the non-bond financing option to the Board. Did he know about it? Probably. Did he discuss it with a commissioner? Probably.
    Sheriff Bartlett was also not present when his request for is 6% raise for himself was brought before the Board by Commissioner Lachiondo.
    “Diana Lachiondo, why do you support this funding method over a voter approved bonding process? Why did you not hold a press conference and be open with Ada County residents about this controversial funding plan before your vote?”

  3. In 2018, Visser supported a bill to end the requirement that government agencies publish legal notices, and instead allow agencies to only post legal notices on their individual websites. He said, “So far this year I have not read a newspaper once.”

    transparency? accountability?

    An oped with statements like, “it is ‘taxation without representation'” and ‘COPs’ didn’t exist in 1889–really lose credibility.
    Websites didn’t exist in 1889 either; and yet, here we are.

    Also from the person who appealed his property tax assessment to his fellow Board of Commissioners along with fighting an obvious hunting violation all the way to a jury. trust? smh

  4. If I recall correctly, the overall basic idea behind Defund the Police is to stop spending money on general law enforcement, including jails, and spend the money on services like mental health, low income housing, homelessness etc.

    Apparently, the two county commissioners seem to believe they need to by-pass the voters, who are flush with money, and fund the jail in hopes anyone who opposes the expansion of the jail tells them no.

    Canyon County I hear is considering the same program of by-passing the voters for a new jail.

  5. Thinking back
    Oct 20, 2020, 8:13 am

    Isn’t this the same thing Bieter did with a downtown CCDC building and was going to try for a 100 million library? They should watch and learn and maybe this will go the way of Bieter.

  6. Easterner,
    Based on all your posts, you sure sound like a newspaper employee or former one 🙂
    Why don’t you show some transparency and post your real name?
    Jim

  7. Kris Crookham
    Oct 27, 2020, 10:01 pm

    Mr. Rick Visser does a good job of complaining and being appalled but offers no solutions to the requests from the Ada County Sheriff in what he needs to keep citizens safe.

    Many of the problems Ada County faces today are due to Mr. Visser embracing sprawl without any plans on how to deal with the costs of growth. Development doesn’t pay for itself; it must be subsidized by the tax payers. This is the “representation” of taxpayers Mr. Visser was Okay with during his tenure. As for accountability, Mr. Visser carries years of ineffective decisions that have and will continue to affect Ada county and the Treasure Valley as a whole. The unplanned growth Mr. Visser supported has made your taxes go up, the traffic you have to deal with worse, the first responders and law enforcement you depend upon scrambling to keep up, your schools overcrowded, and your teachers exhausted. The cost of the loss of farmland and our rural character is immeasurable. Ms. Kenyon and Ms. Lachiondo are tackling these issues and bringing them before the public. If Mr. Visser is looking for accountability, he should start with his own legacy.

    Please consider voting for Diana Lachiondo and Bill Rutherford as they work for you and tackle the issues that affect your daily life and your children’s future. By planning for growth, Diana and Bill will keep a keen eye on your taxes because they keep an eye on who has to subsidize development. Through planning, they will keep our Idaho lifestyle and values in focus. They will not get bogged down by political rhetoric and will stick with the basic common-sense planning and budgeting that every household in Ada County, Treasure Valley and the State of Idaho has to do.
    Kris Crookham

    EDITOR NOTE–Since this is an obvious political endorsement, the GUARDIAN will post opposing views if offered. This applies to all candidates for all offices. Clarification: Visser is not a candidate.

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