Tracking code caldwell guardian

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Citizen Letter to Comm. Pam White

The Guardian received this letter today from Guardian reader Mr. Bob Gaddis.  It was sent to Comm. Pam White on 1/10/18 as a response to the Friday, January 5th, meeting with the DLR Group in the Commissioners Meeting Room:

January 10, 2018

Good afternoon Pam,

Last Friday in the meeting on the proposed jail you felt the need to comment when I shook my head in response to your plan to add a local option sales tax.  Perhaps I can explain my position.

Whether you call it a tax, a fee or a bond all that money comes out of one pocket and that pocket is about empty. If that option tax was passed, not only would we have some of the highest property taxes in the State of Idaho, we would also have the highest sales tax in the State.  Apparently no thought was given to the long term effects of these choices.

I have lost several investors over the last few years when they realized what property taxes are in Nampa, Idaho. In the recent past, one investor who already owns 18 units in Nampa, was seriously looking at purchasing 3 and possibly 4 fourplex units that your husband Steve was developing behind Karcher Mall.  When he realized what the taxes were, he invested in Ogden, Utah.  He figured he will clear on the order of $1,500/month ($18000 a year) more in Ogden than he would in Nampa due to high property taxation. (I have lost several other investors for the same reason.)

Earlier today I was told by an employee of Cost Plus in the Nampa Marketplace, the reason they are closing is because of a large increase in their rent.  Additionally, there are 7 other Nampa Marketplace tenants who will be leaving in the next 2 years due to increased rent due to higher property taxes passed through to the renters of these businesses..

My friend Ron Harriman did a comparison on property taxes on the Kohl's store in Nampa and the one in Meridian, both stores are identical.  If I remember correctly the Meridian store was half the property taxes as the one in Nampa.  We are already buried by taxes that brought us the Idaho Center, the police station, the library and all the taxes siphoned away by Urban Renewal Districts in Nampa and Caldwell.  There are many other rat holes that we will have to continue to pay for over many years to come with property tax dollars.

While I agree there is a need for some changes in the number of jail beds and the space needed to accommodate them in our Canyon County Jail. However, the direction both you and Comm. Tom Dale are trying to take us will not be accepted by taxpayers.  If a bare-bones addition to the current jail built to meet both the current needs and possibly for the next 10 years also added on at the same time I would support it.

If you want to contact me please do so.

Regards,
Bob Gaddis


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Jail Bond Would Not Pass

The Guardian attended a meeting yesterday (Friday January 5, 2018) in the County Commissioners Meeting Room to hear a presentation from the DLR Group in support of a new $200MM jail project.  There was a good turnout of more than 30 people to hear what the good people from DLR had to say.

There is a very good article in the local paper today and here's a link:

https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/2cscoop/commissioners-looking-at-other-avenues-to-decrease-cost-of-jail/article_034071c3-6aee-5c48-8f84-3dd397da0034.html


Commissioners have come to the conclusion with the help of Concerned Citizens of Canyon County that chances of a jail bond passing are nil.  The questions that came to the surface are how do they decrease the costs of the jail and what are the defined needs for more jail beds.  Or, do commissioner go to a judge and seek a legal maneuver to get judicial confirmation to spend $200 MM on a new jail and put the cost on property tax rolls.  This has a whole host of questions and will no doubt spark a legal challenge that could hold up construction for years and years.

Our Sheriff has been reluctant to say how many actual beds are needed and what
classification of those beds (cells, dorm beds, high risk, low risk and other classification issues) other than to say he wants a new 1,000 bed jail and is unwilling to entertain any discussion about other options.

Meanwhile Comm. Rule came up with a jail addition with former Comm. Hanson that would have added more jail beds to the existing jail several years ago.  This solution did not come from thin air. Mr. Hanson was the jail commander for several years and his and Comm. Rules solution was well thought out.  They thought they could build this addition to the existing jail with with fund balances at a cost of $15MM.  This proposal would have added no additional property taxes to our tax bills. Fund balances is a polite way to say every department is over budgeted and end up returning funds to the general fund each year. 

Comm. Pam White came up with a proposal to fund a jail project via local option sales tax increase of 1/2 to 1 cent added onto our current sales tax to use for a new jail.  Problem with this is there is no current way to do this under current Idaho legislative guidance.  Only cities with less than 10,000 residents can use this option and are usually "resort towns" that have an influx of people who put a strain on small city resources and services.  Local option taxes in these resort cities go to pay for police, fire and other city services needed when these cities experience seasonal influxes of people.  More on this, when more becomes known on how it could be used to fund a new jail.

The best option we have heard is the Hanson/Rule option that could add an additional 280 beds onto the existing jail facility.  This same option could be used at the Vanburen school site.  The county has all but taken possession of Vanburen school property.  A single pod of new jail beds could be built on this property, the school building could be converted to courtrooms along with a host of options as the county grows and needs of county offices grows.  The one thing holding all this back is our Sheriff.  He will not discuss any options for more jail space short of a new jail at a huge cost to taxpayers.



Monday, January 1, 2018

Concerned Citizens of Canyon County Send Letter to Commissioners Regarding Jail Proposal

Concerned Citizens of Canyon County have form a group of people very concerned about the latest jail proposal for 1,055 bed new jail on the Notus Hwy. property owned by the county.  Also, there will be a meeting in the Commissioners Meeting Room this Friday at 1:30PM to discuss with the DLR Group about spending another $58,000 for a survey of taxpayer support for a $198 million dollar bond to build a new jail.

Here's the letter sent to the Canyon County Commissioners:

Concerned Citizens of Canyon County
Committee
Formed December 7th, 2017

Canyon County Commissioners
Dale, White, Rule:

It is our understanding you have scheduled a meeting with the DLR Group on January 5th, 2018 to continue the employment of this company for the purpose of determining taxpayer support of yet another Jail Bond.  We have learned this will cost taxpayers another $58,000 for this survey.

We recognize the need for more jail beds in Canyon County. However, in the interest of good government and consideration of the onerous tax increase of the DLR proposal of $198 MM to build a new jail based on erroneous assumptions we are requesting you cease your efforts with the DLR Group for the following reasons:

1.  The proposal prepared by the DLR Group when compared with national and local costs for jail construction costs is excessive in design and cost to taxpayers.

2.  DLR Group's proposal states the need for 1,055 jail beds at a cost of $187,677.00 per bed and a total cost for the project of $198,000,000.

3.  DLR Group's calculations are based on the premise of 3.35 beds per 1,000 population which exceeds the national average by 41%. The national average is 2.34 beds per 1,000 people.  Historically, the local averages for jail beds is 2.25 beds per 1,000 residents.

4.  We did a search and found a recently completed jail in Idaho was opened in July 2016 with 135 beds and constructed for $11.2 MM or an average bed cost of $84,848.00.  Clearly, this brings into question costs generated by DLR.

According to census data, Canyon County's population as of December 31st 2016 was 211,698.  This is an increase of 12% since January 1st 2011.  Based on the national statistics of 2.34 beds per 1,000 people we should have a jail bed total of 538 single occupancy cells or 269 double occupancy jail cells.  Or, a mix of jail cells and dormitory beds of no more than 538 total beds based on our current population data.


Our Sheriff, an elected official, says we have a need of 1055 beds to satisfy jail bed needs for the next 20 years.  However, with historical population increases of 2% per year, in 2037, Canyon County population would be 314,572 and that would dictate a need of only 736 total jail beds.

The DLR Group analysis is calling for a bloated 41% increase over projected needs for jail beds based upon 2.34 beds/1,000 people.  If construction is staged over the next 10 years we should only need 604 jail beds.

Current capacity of our jail is 477 beds.  A jail addition was proposed by former Comm. Hanson and Current Comm. Rule and would have added a net increase of 140 new jail beds.  (50 beds of the current jail would be lost to construction demolition.  The actual number of new beds would be 190 minus those lost to demolition.) This addition would have given a total bed count of 612 total beds in the Canyon County Jail.  Additionally, there is room for another 190 beds of the same podular design next to the Dale Haile Detention Center.

 Cost for the 190 bed addition was set at $15 MM by Lombard Conrad Construction Company for the Hanson-Rule addition.  This was a turnkey cost of construction.  The cost per bed for this project would have been $79,000/bed.  This is a substantial difference in cost when compared to the DLR Group proposal.  It was shared with us this jail addition could have been built out of County reserve funds at no additional increase to Canyon County taxpayers.  (this effort was impeded by the statement from Comm. Dale that he would issue a stop work order when he got elected. His statement effectively killed the project.)

It is our understanding you have spent $245,020.00 with the DLR Group for their efforts to date.  And now you want to spend another $58,000 on a survey effort of Canyon County taxpayers to discern their willingness to support another jail bond.  We have these results in a resounding NO from three previous jail bond elections. We think spending another $58,000 on this survey is not the best use of taxpayer dollars.

DLR Group has not given Canyon County taxpayers a fiscally responsible nor reasonable cost for a new jail with their cost of $198,000,000 for their jail proposal.

As a group, Concerned Citizens of Canyon County, we strongly request that you develop a fiscally responsible plan for more jail beds within the defined boundaries of the Canyon County Courthouse Campus and secure at least three (3) competitive proposals which reflect the actual basic requirements for a functional facility.

Regards,


** Ron Harriman, Kathy Alder, Victor Rodriguez, Paul Alldredge, Chuck Stadick, Dale Pearce, Darl Brunner, Bob Gaddis, Daryl Ford, Don Brandt, Ed Parnell, Hubert Osborne, Larry Olmsted,Mila Wood, Ronalee Linsenmann, Sid Freeman, Tara Alexandra, Richard Hanneman

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bought a Snowblower This Year!

We put up with snow of all kinds and depths for 40 years.  We have a triple wide driveway and a corner lot and after last year we decided it was finally time to get a snowblower.  I got it on deal at Sears.com model 88640 with a 24" wide capability and electric start.  (I also saw a Honda with tank type treads on it but the price was over $3K and not necessary unless you have hills to clear.)

We got up this morning and even though the snow was minimal, I was determined to give the new snowblower a go.  I gassed it up and put a 110v power cord to the starter and it took right off.  I have to admit I was a bit clumsy with it for the first few minutes but the learning curve was very short.  What used to take a considerable amount of time to do our driveway and nearly 400 ft. of sidewalk was done in about 7 minutes.  I think I could do it in much less time the next time around.  I was amazed at how powerful the 208cc engine worked.  Granted this snow was not much of a test but nonetheless it gave me a sense of power behind this engine.

Using 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had bought one of these wonderful machines years ago.  They come in all shapes and sizes and after more than a lot of research I bought the Sears Craftsman model 88640.  It was on deal back in early November and they would deliver it free of charge to my local Hometown Sears Store on the Caldwell Nampa Blvd. 

My wife and I are now in our 70's and no longer need the exercise shoveling snow once provided. There are some wonderful things out there for homeowners like line trimmers, leaf blowers, zero turn mowers.  I have now added my new snowblower to the must have list of items every Idaho homeowner should have.

Just make sure you buy ethanol free gas and treat it with fuel stabilizer. I spoke with David Woods at Woody's Outdoor Power and he related to me that 90% of his shop work is related to bad gas and gas with ethanol allowed to sit for extended periods of time.  Ethanol is hygroscopic and will absorb water over time rendering the fuel not usable for these engines after prolonged storage.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Commishes Wisely Reconsider $198MM Jail Project

Today's local paper above the fold has a very good article on the fact our County Commissioners have come to the conclusion $198 million for jail bond would not likely pass muster with voters.  Voters have already shot down three previous attempts to pass a jail bond to build a new jail. Here's a link:  https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/2cscoop/county-commissioners-discuss-ways-to-lower-cost-of-a-new/article_73e21125-505d-52d5-aecc-d66cc44893a8.html

Another issue is how Sheriff Donahue states we are in "crisis mode"with our jail as he can find no other places to board inmates outside of Canyon County.  On page A4 of the Idaho Press Tribune there is a article about Jerome County trying to find an entity to rent 50 jail beds.  Jerome County is 126 miles from Caldwell. Here's a link to this story  posted on KTVB News:  http://www.ktvb.com/news/local/jerome-county-explores-new-options-to-fill-jail/501522089

 Sheriff Donahue and County Commissioners can't seem to agree on the best way forward.  I was invited to the DLR Group meeting at the Commissioner's meeting room several weeks back when the price tag of $198 million was presented to those in attendance. You could almost hear the oxygen leave the room when this price for a new jail was presented.

Additionally, before Comm. Dale was elected, there was a proposal by Commissioners Rule and Hanson to add onto the existing jail for something less than $20 Million with most of it paid for with existing fund balances.  Candidate Dale said he would issue a stop work order if this project was started.  That proclamation was all that was needed for the Caldwell City Council to refuse a special use permit for the proposed jail addition.  So, the addition died on the vine.  Commissioner Hanson was replaced and now we have Commissioners Dale and White in lock-step with one another on how to proceed with the need for more jail space.  Meanwhile Commissioner Rule is a voice in the wilderness on jail matters.

It will be interesting to see what the Commissioners come up with next.  It has been reported to The Guardian the Vanburen School property is in the final stages of purchase by the County Commissioners.  I am part of a fact finding group and saw a very good presentation of how the Vanburen property along with other property adjacent to the school would amount to 23 acres that could be used to build a jail.  This could be done in piecemeal steps or all at once.  It would remove the need for transporting inmates from the Notus Hwy. site into town for court appearances for in custody inmates.

Lastly, the issue of the commissioners seeking judicial confirmation to bypass voters was mentioned by Mr. Dale.  It is very unlikely this could happen given this same request was denied in Sandpoint, Idaho several years ago.  Also, in summary it would appear the words "crisis mode" often used by our sheriff just is not the case when there are jail beds for rent in Jerome County.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Canyon County Concerned Citizens Meet on Jail


This past week a group of Concerned Citizens of Canyon County met at the Nampa Public Library to discuss the cost and necessity of a $198MM jail project.  The meeting was held on the 7th of December at the Nampa Public Library and had an excellent turnout.

It was generally agreed more jail beds are needed but not at a cost of $198MM.  The group consisted of citizens along with current and former elected officials of Canyon County, Caldwell and Nampa.

It was brought out previous polling at our County Fair disclosed citizens did not want to see a jail built out on the Notus Hwy. 20/26 property, their overwhelming choice of a jail site is at the Courthouse Campus.  Also, there was some concern why the addition to the current jail proposed by Comm. Steve Rule was not pursued after the no vote on a special use permit by the Caldwell CIty Council.  The costs to taxpayers along with the eventual absorption of property around the current Courthouse Campus would be negatively impacted if the County would not be allowed to grow in place without Caldwell issuing special use permits for future expansion efforts.

Debt service would mean $132/$100k of net taxable value for 20 years.  The expansion proposal made by Comm. Rule would have cost $13MM and would have come from existing fund balances.  (There is some disagreement on how much is there for this purpose.)  At any rate $13MM is a lot less than $198MM. The impact of $198MM on taxpayers along with other pressing needs for schools, water and sewage treatment (Nampa is looking at $200MM to comply with the Clean Water Act) and other cash intensive projects makes the $198MM jail project unworkable for most taxpayers.

Also discussed was the lack of multiple RFP's for a jail project. Why $250K was spent on this study when there are already studies on jail needs in the County files left a lot of unanswered questions on the table.

I was asked by the group to be Co-Chairman along with former Canyon County Comm. Kathy Alder.  We have taken on the task of delving into a series of questions raised at the jail meeting. A board of directors of this group is also in the formation stages.

More on this as information becomes available.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Latest Jail Bond Costs

The Guardian attended a meeting at the Commissioner's Meeting Room today from 1-3:30PM this afternoon.  Comm. Pam White called me yesterday to invite me to hear what the good people from DLR, the consultant on yet another jail plan presentation.

Here's the short version of the meeting.  The latest jail plan calls for a 1,044 bed jail at the hwy 20/26 jail site.  The cost will be a whopping $198,600,000.00 if a bond is issued at 5% interest. Or in simple terms about $200,000 for each jail bed.

 This translates to a bond repayment cost of $132/$100k of net taxable value to every property owner in Canyon County.

Also presented was a proposal for new digs for the Sheriff and his staff.  The costs for this were $27,000,000 give or take depending on which option of the two presented gets  selected.  Using the ground floor of the Dale Haile Detention facility was what this money would be used to remodel into a new HQ for the Sheriff.

Beware of Coppers Issuing Parking Tickets

It is dismaying to have to report. you could find a parking ticket on your windshield.  A person well know to The Guardian got a $10 parking ticket for having his rear tire on the rolled gutter part of the curb on Hazel St. near the new hospital building.  He was cited for "parking on the sidewalk".  Add to this the envelope to pay the fine wanted hand delivery to the Caldwell Police Department v. mailing it in.

The Guardian has lived here for nearly 40 years and this is the first actual parking citation I have seen or heard about.  My barber who was formerly located on Arthur Street and 7th Avenue bitterly complained about people parking in front of his shop all day long.  This made it impossible for his elderly customers to get to his shop due to parking hogs.  The city police did nothing about the parking abuses. Downtown is a 2 hr. parking zone also routinely abused by business owners who park directly in front of their storefronts.

This begs the question why my friend got a parking ticket for having his tires on the rolled curb part of the sidewalk. It is also against city code to be facing the wrong direction when parked.  Could this be the next effort in crime fighting here in Caldwell?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Terry Reilly on Pennywise Site in Caldwell

It has been reported to The Guardian a brand new three story Terry Reilly Health Services Clinic will be built on the old Pennywise Drug Store property.  The property is located on the corner of Kimball and Cleveland Blvd. 

If you are wondering what it will look like there is a new Terry Reilly Clinic in Nampa on 1st South near the Nampa Burger King.  This is probably a good example of what will be built in Caldwell.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ada Jail Costs Taxpayers $97/day

The Guardian has long maintained it costs property taxpayers about $100/day to keep someone in jail or prison when all the costs are added into running a jail or prison.  Ada County was recently awarded $1 million to figure out better ways to manage their jail costs.  Again, The Guardian has been a supporter of all alternatives to incarceration due to the costs to taxpayers.  Here's a link to the KTVB video on the money awarded to research better methods of running their jail.

http://www.ktvb.com/news/local/ada-county-receives-1-million-to-reduce-jail-population/480888426

The actual cost of incarceration in the Ada County Jail are mentioned about 2:58 into the video.  That cost is $97/day to Ada County property taxpayers. You will have to suffer through an advertisement on the front end of the video.  It is worth a look and listen listen to what is said. 

Jails and prisons are big ugly facilities taxpayers get to pay for with some of our citizens need to be locked up while others may only need some other method of social retribution for their crimes.  $100/day per inmate seems like a lot of money to keep someone in jail for minor offenses. There are other options and they need to be researched and used.

A new $250K jail study will soon  be out for general review by the public.  The Sheriff is pushing for a new 1,000 bed jail.  Canyon County owns a jail site out on the Notus Hwy.  The last time around a special use permit was denied to the county so they could add onto the existing jail.