Local Government Committee Report
Local Government Committee (LGC) Report Report DATE: 4-26-2023
LGC Reports are a compilation of notes taken at LG meetings, and information shared with the committee from organizations and community members.
Reports do not reflect the official positions of the Bonneville County Republican Party. We encourage the reader to research information and consider all sides of any issue. The intent of the LGC is to inform citizens of Bonneville County and encourage them to become involved in all levels of their community and local government.
Bonneville’s Best is a chance to recognize the good things happening in our community. Do you know a person or business that is making a positive difference? Please send your short story (one or two small paragraphs) to BonnevilleGOP.firstname.lastname@example.org.
A huge thank you goes out to Lisa Keller for volunteering to chair our annual Lincoln Day Gala. We would also like to recognize, and thank, the many volunteers who spent many hours making the event possible, and the many businesses that donated items and sponsored tables. We couldn’t do it without you!
UPCOMING DATES AND MEETINGS
Water facility Plan..Public Meeting... April 26... 5:30 PM... 680 Park Ave
· City Council Thursday, April 27..... 7:30 PM..... 680 Park Avenue
· Agenda 82 pages long....public hearing for Pioneer Road Annexation and Rezone
· Agenda can be found at City of Idaho Falls Agenda Center
· Board of Adjustment Meeting...April 27...12:15 Pm..... 680 Park Avenue
· Planning Commission May 2.. 7 PM .... 680 Park Avenue
· City wide clean up begins May 4
· During the Clean and Green event, unwanted items, will be collected between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the following locations:
o May 4-6, Parks and Recreation maintenance building on Old Butte Road near Clarence Drive
o May 11-13, Russ Freeman Park at the recycling bins near Fremont Avenue and Micro Street
o May 18-20, Mel Erickson Sunnyside Park
o May 25-27, intersection of Bennett Avenue and Waid Street
· Parks and Rec Meeting May 1.... 12:00 PM...Maeck Education Center @ the Zoo
· Work Session... May 8... 3 PM.... 680 Park Avenue
· Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney (Randy Neal) together with local law enforcement and The US Federal Prosecuting Attorney for Idaho , Josh Hurwit May 9...6:30 PM... Thunder Ridge.
· Library Board May 17...4 Pm
Dawna Howard, contributor
City Council Notes April, 13,2023
(In order on agenda)
1. Police Department creating an ordinance for unregulated commercial sales of dogs and cats.
2. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) issued by HUD. There are several agencies within the area that benefit from these grants. Some were present during the public hearing to appeal to the council for their needs and purposes for the grants, which will be decided and granted on May 25, 2023. The federal grant runs in 5 yr cycles, this is year three of the current 5 yr cycle. Monetary amount of the grant $433,830, Grandparents raising grandkids, ID Legal Aid
BHC of EI, Club, INC, Promise Ridge
Domestic Violence Shelter, Public Works (for curb, gutter and park enhancements), YMCA
Sr. Center, Development Workshop-IF Downtown Development
3. Lengthy discussion regarding Impact Fees. Title 1 Chapter3 and Title 10 Chapter 8 (appx 8:20
a. Brandt Monette of EIHBA spoke on behalf of several builders who are appealing for the
removal of impact fees based on the following:
i. Drive growth out of Idaho Falls
ii. Damage public relationships with builders (illegal tax)
iii. Class action lawsuit filed by the organization if not repealed.
4. Randy Fife, City Attorney conducted the public hearing for the raising of fees and services
provided from the City of Idaho Falls. Parks and Rec, sanitation and GIFT.
They claim the increase is due from the rising cost from the County.
GIFT wants to authorize after hours charges and fees for accommodating large crowds
who wish to travel together (within the city limits of IF only)!
5. Ryan Tew, HR resource discussed the pay raises of the Mayor and the City Council to $100,000 yr and $15,000 yr with 2.2% raises for the next 6 years.
a. To commence in January 2024 after the elections.
b. There will be 3 seats up for reelection in November 2023.
c. Title 1 Chapter 5 and 6
Dawna’s personal assessment
1. When Impact Fees were first discussed in 2022 the same objections were made by MANY
contractors and the public; that were brought up at this meeting by Mr. Monette. I also
presented the same arguments in my 3 minute open meeting in June 2022. Doing research it
was shown that cities that implemented impact fees were eventually sued over them and lost. It
hampers growth, ruins public relationships and runs all new construction outside of city limits.
There is growth in Bonneville County. People moving here DO NOT want to live in apartments or town homes they want custom homes built. That growth is occurring in Osgood, Ammon and Jefferson County.
2. The council and the mayor did respond to the comments made by Mr. Monette with statements that this was not a public hearing to eliminate fees it is strictly for making the ordinance more user friendly, clarity issues, it is not outside the statutes of original ordinance, it helps stabilize budget for growth, spread the cost of growth to new move in’s, there was NOT enough yet to make a difference. Is that because no one is building in the City of Idaho Falls due to cost? Are impact fees really necessary? My boss is a contractor and has stopped working with the City of Idaho Falls due to cost of licensing, permits, impact fees and 150% bond. He builds mostly in Osgood, a few in Ammon and quite a few in Bingham County. I do not believe that impact fees are hampering the contractors in making money they are just making their money outside of the City of Idaho Falls limits. IN MY OPNION (after much study and research) impact fees are hampering the growth for the City of Idaho Falls and all the high density housing is not necessary as most new move in’s are moving outside of the city limits.
3. I have requested the ordinances for the new pay schedules as it has been brought to my
attention that they CAN NOT enact future pay raises. I also have requested SEVERAL times the monthly line item expense reports by department. I am focusing on the police department
because according to them they are underfunded and I would like to see if it is from
unnecessary spending or lower budgeting.
4. I encourage any patriot who is concerned about the future of Idaho Falls to run for council
office. We need to make a difference for our city with our dedication and passion for expense
control, accountability, transparency, public relations with the community, ease of
communication with the citizens, and getting out from under Federal Grants and become self
sustaining with our own revenues and resources.
5. REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE: If any of you are interested in looking at the budgets and comparing them year to year so we can locate discrepancies, find where spending habits have changed, it will enable me to focus on the correct areas and request the correct documents so I don’t have to be generic in my requests to the city.
IDAHO FALLS DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT
1. Non-profit 501C6 so is eligible for grants. The downtown historic foundation is under this
department. The area is Broadway to C street.
2. Business improvement district- separate taxing district owned by Idaho Falls. The businesses
must petition the city to stay in the district. The businesses are taxed $150-850/ year depending
on assessment. Total of $90K total tax per year collected.
3. Board of directors has 14 seats which consists of property owners, merchants, business owners
and a staff of 4 employees one of which is designated for parking monitoring.
4. Currently there are 2300 residents living in this designated area. More housing is wanted, but
parking is an issue.
5. Secure funds from HUD
6. Weekly and monthly newsletter available.
7. Businesses can apply for a sign, facade or awning grant.
8. For projects, also able to get funds from the Redevelopment Agency.
9. $342K was used for the Corner project which put in new planter boxes and curbing. Used
recyclable materials and made the planter better for water conservation. Beautification with
hanging baskets is done yearly. These may be sponsored for $85 and will have a sign saying who
donated the basket. These are up June 1 st to October. 95 are available. New street lights were
put up. Went from cobra to candlestick design which was better for the residents.
10. Safety lights are planned for the more dangerous and darkened areas of downtown due to there being some issues.
11. There is also public art which are murals on the side of buildings. There is currently one with
pets that is available for $250 each. Can have your pet painted on the building. $25 will go to the animal shelter, $25 to IFDC and the rest to the artist.
12. Also art benches to sit on. Funding came from local businesses and individuals.
13. Traffic cabinets are also decorated with artwork to make them more attractive.
14. Many activities year-round in the downtown area. Go to the website for up-to-date listings.
15. At Christmas there are complimentary trolley rides.
16. Parking is an issue in this area. They are looking into story parking. There is a map on the
website of parking areas. From free, 2 hours, pay parking and one parking garage on Broadway.
17. Hoping to incorporate GIFT as a shuttle
18. Hoping to expand the area to Pancheri.
19. 50% +1 needed of the area merchants, etc., to start a district.
AREAS TO PAY ATTENTION TO - Dawna Howard, contributor
· 13.4% of Idaho Falls residents live in poverty (2020 Census Bureau)
· Growth of the CITY of Idaho Falls (not the county) 8.7% in 10 years (Census Bureau)
· City of Idaho Falls has the 2nd highest tax levy in Idaho (Pocatello passed us in 2022) (state tax
commission public record request)
· Idaho Falls has the most city employees (excluding the departments that make them unique) and the highest paid employees
· Approved raises for Mayor and Council for the next 6 years
Mayor income will be over $100,000 beginning in January 2024. Considering switching to City
administrator instead of Mayor. (Printed ordinance and council attendance)
· City Administrator is appointed through city council WITHOUT citizen input and gets paid twice the amount of the mayor.
· Overtaxed infrastructure; paying an outside vendor $500,000/year to clear out the sewer sludge that the city cannot maintain, broken water lines and low water pressure
· Class Action Suit announced by East Idaho Home Builders Ass (EIHBA) over impact fees.
· Prices of building permits, impact fees and 150% bond make it impossible for local builders to build in the City of Idaho Falls, impeding growth and keeping current businesses struggling OR moving to another city to do business (Ammon).
· Much single home growth in Bonneville County, Osgood area, but not in Idaho Falls Proper
· Upzoning- happening in Boise. All mayors attend the same “training” every year.
· Smart cities, smart meters, everything MUST be walkable.
· High density housing & population growth. All new building must include walking paths and biking paths.
· COP instead of Bonds because they do NOT have to be voted on and MANY departments in Idaho Falls are not bondable (transportation for one…GIFT is being ran on a Federal Grant) so it is temporary and not sustainable by the city AFTER the grant is over.
· Yearly Membership to ICLEI- Local Governments for sustainability (low-emission, nature based, equitable, resilient and circular development)