Constitution

Former Treasurer On Ada Financing

Vicky McIntyre is no longer the Ada County Treasurer, but she has strong views regarding the financing strategy of the County Commishes. She offers them in this guest opinion.

By VICKY McINTYRE
Guest Opinion


Did I Miss the Vote?
Article 8, Section 3, of Idaho’s Constitution requires two-thirds (2/3) of voters to approve any government indebtedness that will last more than a year. Despite this clear provision, local leaders continue to defy both the letter and intent of Idaho’s Constitution, causing our property taxes to rise without appropriate voter input.

On October 1, 2020 (the first day of Ada County’s new 2021 budget year) the Idaho Health Facilities Authority and the Ada County Commission entered into Primary Lease Contract #14096 instructing the Health Authority to issue “Lease Revenue Bonds” for the county to finance the “$46.4M Ada County Coroner Project”.

The primary lease document references Idaho Statute 39-1441 that allows a County to contract with other entities “to acquire, construct, reconstruct, renovate, improve, replace, maintain, repair, operate, lease as lessee or lessor and regulate one or more health facilities.…” The lease also refers to Idaho Statute 31-836 “to enter into any lease, either as a lessor or a lessee, or other transaction with Authority concerning any County property for a term not to exceed NINETY-NINE (99) YEARS” (emphasis added)

Also on October 1, 2020, the Idaho Health Facilities Authority and Ada County entered into Agreement 14098 for the “Annual Appropriation Lease Agreement”. This is where the aforementioned agreement gets paid for, using our taxpayer dollars!
According to their website, the Idaho Health Facilities Authority “was established by the Idaho Legislature in 1972 to issue bonds and notes for the purpose of improving health care for residents of this state by providing less expensive financing for health care facilities. “ (https://idhfa.org/)

Does a Coroner’s suite really constitute health care facilities? By the time someone needs the coroner, it’s too late for better health care! Taxpayers should have been consulted before the county incurred this long-term indebtedness. Calling this financial configuration a lease agreement is “FUZZY FINANCING”. (Fuzzy Financing is how the Ada County Courthouse and the Boise Centre on the Grove were built.)

Why are Ada County Commissioners voting on long-term (lease) debt instead of Ada County’s taxpayers? What is the difference between a long-term lease payment and a taxpayer-approved bond payment? The difference is the voice of the taxpayer in the decision process. Long-term leases, at their core, violate both the letter and the intent of the Idaho Constitution, which is designed to protect us from government overreach and unreasonable taxation. This fuzzy financing increases your property taxes!

How can citizens control government spending? The Idaho Legislature convenes on January 11, 2021.

–Contact your legislators to make sure they review how governmental entities use long-term leases to circumvent the Idaho Constitution and ask them to provide property tax relief for homeowners.

–Contact Commissioner Kendra Kenyon to voice your disapproval of this type of funding. She is the one remaining Commissioner who voted for this contract.

–Review proposed county budgets, coming out in the next several months and attend your County budget presentation this summer. Show up and be vocal!

EDITOR NOTE–As always the GUARDIAN will offer space to opposing views. Please remember to keep comments within the realm of civil discourse.

Comments & Discussion

14 comments for “Former Treasurer On Ada Financing”

  1. Boise Lawyer
    Jan 6, 2021, 12:14 am

    That’s rich.

    Dave is accepting opposing views, so I will offer my opposing disclaimer to Ms. McIntyre’s bullet list:

    – Don’t take moralizing advice on public finances from a person who pleaded guilty to stealing taxpayer money and putting it her pocket:

    https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/crime/former-ada-county-treasurer-pleads-guilty-to-misusing-public-money/277-62b6d8a1-9e19-4ae1-ab6f-84ff8215ad98

  2. The convention center?
    Jan 6, 2021, 8:36 am

    I thought the Boise Center on the Grove was paid for with room taxes. Please elaborate if you can, anyone.

    EDITOR NOTE–You are correct on room tax, but debt still needs voter approval. Center on Grove is OWNED by CCDC and they rent it to Auditorium District to get around voter requirement.

  3. What next? A lecture from Brent Coles on following proper sexual harassment policies in government offices? Or, how to win friends and influence people by Lisa Sanchez?

  4. Steve Berch
    Jan 6, 2021, 9:32 pm

    To “The Convention Center?”: To clarify the Editor’s Note, only the building housing the new Boise Center East expansion is leased by the Convention Center (which is part of GBAD – the Greater Boise Auditorium District). GBAD receives the room tax revenue, which is then used to pay the lease (and other expenses, of course).

    It is also relevant to note that The Editor sued GBAD, claiming the lease arrangement was unconstitutional. The Idaho State Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY decided that this type of lease arrangement was legal and constitutional.

    It is also worth noting that the people who insist that large projects be approved by voters via a bond do so knowing that every “no” vote counts twice (where a two-thirds majority is required to pass).

    I welcome that those who advocate putting large project up to a vote also advocate having the outcome of the vote be decided by a simple majority.

    EDITOR NOTE–Steve, you lost the simple majority vote, illegally used public money to advertise in favor of an expansion, then turned around and mounted another effort to pass a bond which also failed. I can go for a simple majority if you will let the voters have the ability to come back for a second shot like you did. Don’t forget to tell folks your board spent $750,000 in attorney fees to deny the citizen’s a vote.

  5. From BoiseDev.com [ https://boisedev.com/news/2020/06/30/idaho-tore-down-its-boise-fish-game-hq-new-building-on-the-way/%5D we can add the new Idaho Fish and Game headquarters on Walnut to the list of structures built without going to a vote. I guess there wasn’t room for F&G in the new state digs on Chinden (HP site).

    EDITOR NOTE–The STATE plays under different rules and is not funded by local property taxes. F&G doesn’t count in this case.

  6. Concerned Neighbor
    Jan 7, 2021, 9:39 am

    Leave it to a lawyer to dispute reality. Expenses on trips are standard. I regularly spend 10x more than Vicky on similar conferences and expense every penny.

    The main article stands – funding law has been twisted 180 degrees from the Idaho constitution. But that seems par for the course these days… everything has been twisted into the reverse, and those that stand up for the truth are torn down.

    “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength” – 1984

  7. Convention Center – for further insight on how CCDC gets its’ funding you may want to review this [ https://ccdcboise.com/the-agency/faq/ ].

  8. Steve Berch
    Jan 7, 2021, 11:13 am

    In response to The Editor’s comments to my post:

    I do not take responsibility for the actions of GBAD before I was elected to the Board in 2013. I believe most or all of the ones cited took place prior to 2013.

    In regard to the $750,000 in attorney fees, I actually voted against appealing to the Supreme Court because I felt other entities should share in the legal fees since the outcome would impact other entities in addition to GBAD. However, it should also be noted that those attorney fees were incurred ONLY because The Editor sued GBAD in the first place. Everyone, including GBAD, has the right to defend itself – and the Supreme Court confirmed that GBAD was right and The Editor was wrong. While it’s a shame that legal fees are so expensive, it was ultimately the actions of The Editor that created that expense.

    EDITOR NOTE–For the record, Frazier prevailed twice in 4th District Court where judges affirmed GBAD violated the Idaho Constitution. Each time GBAD refiled, changing the finance plan, and eventually appealed to the Supreme Court.

    Under the final scheme CCDC replaced the bank as a funding source and included a “walk away” clause. The plan was approved because the funding was shifted to the CCDC which has authority to sell bonds. Mr. Berch, defending the constitution is hardly worthy of your accusation that I created the expense. Had your board followed the constitution and allowed citizens to vote, you would have saved three quarters of a million dollars for the District and plenty of angst for me.

  9. Round two of circumventing the voters. Round one was approving the $44.5 million funding of the jail pod through annual payments via certificates of participation – a clever Wall Street tool often referred to in the literature as a quiet revolution in municipal finance used to finance facilities for which obtaining voter approval is extremely difficult or even impossible.

    Both of these projects raise concerns as to the role of the public in deciding questions of infrastructure spending and public borrowing, especially because these methods result in higher overall cost to taxpayers due to the high transaction costs and higher interest rates when compared with a general obligation bond.

    It appears that both of these funding mechanisms are leveraging general fund revenues, which makes me wonder what the ratio of lease payments to general fund revenues will be? How do they plan to afford these dedicated payments if they also continue to raise employee wages each year through a cost of living adjustment funded by taking the annual 3% budget increase?

    EDITOR NOTE–We have been told the jail funding deal is off the table and the new commishes will supposedly make the funding decision.

  10. How can citizens control government spending? Here are a few suggestions:

    1) Change your party affiliation to ‘unaffiliated.’ Both main parties have utterly failed the common man and need to be deleted. Refuse to vote for any candidate belonging to either party, don’t contribute to their campaigns or vote in their primaries. A mass exodus from the party apparatus sends a message of no confidence.

    2) Vote with your wallet. Shop outside of Ada County, live frugally, shop online at retailers that don’t collect sales tax and starve the beast of revenue. Consider leaving the county to an area with lower property taxes.

    3) Know who in your community supports the corrupt politicians and refuse to do business with them.

    4) Peacefully protest at official government meetings and outside the homes of government officials. This is your 1st amendment right and sends a very strong message.

  11. I can’t understand why WE aren’t smart enough to replace our elected public servants every chance WE get!
    Sorta like the air filters in our furnaces.

  12. western guy
    Jan 7, 2021, 9:10 pm

    Certificates of partiipation: a local two-year college issued them a few years ago. Because they coiuldn’t pass a bond two or 3 times, so they went through the back door.

    What was that money used for?

  13. “Fuzzy financing”?

    Down at the Courthouse, and at City Hall – and at the Statehouse – they call it “WARM AND FUZZY financing.”

    Regarding Ms. McIntyre’s alleged improprieties with taxpayer money… HEY! It happened in Las Vegas and was spoze to STAY in Las Vegas.

  14. Vicky McIntyre
    Jan 18, 2021, 4:09 pm

    To Boise Lawyer, perhaps you should dig deeper than KTVB fake news. In nothing did the lawsuit claim I took money. When the disagreement occurred, me and the Chief Deputy gave a check to the County Clerk for every penny that was disputed. The Commissioners filed charges anyway. A single penny was ever missing by Ada County. Get your facts straight before writing FALSE INFORMATION.

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