Tracking code caldwell guardian

Thursday, November 23, 2023

 Tax bills this time around are dramatically lower.

I got my property tax bills this year and was expecting another increase.  That just didn't happen this year.  I have heard from others that their bills have gone down by as much as 20-30%.  I am not sure how this happened but I do appreciate how it happened.  More on this as we learn what was the catalyst for this to happen.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Concerned Citizens Ask for Budget Restraint Due to Covid Impacts

The Following is a letter sent to our Canyon County Commissioners today by the Concerned Citizens of Canyon County Committee:

"As the budget year begins for 2021, we would like to suggest that due to the Covid 19 pandemic and records unemployment, that the County take a major step in reducing budgets and showing responsible considerations for the citizens of our County.

We acknowledge the wise use of taking the new construction property tax, since that only pays a small portion of the costs of having more homes and more demands on the County resources.

During the recession of 2008 and 2009, the Commissioners took responsible cuts to alleviate the need for more taxes.  It was a time when budgets and taxes were cut.  Holding the line at last year's budget levels may not be enough to alleviate the tax burden on the citizens of Canyon County.  Unemployment is much higher now than it was during the recession.  Taking a 10 percent reduction would save over 10 million dollars, and may not be enough but it's doable.  Giving salary increases during a pandemic is not a good use of taxpayer moneys.

Holding the line on salaries and freeze on any new employees would be a good start.  Perhaps retiring some early would be a possibility.  This is a time to think outside the box and limit spending.

We encourage you to be responsible and wise with the limited resources of the property owner.  We realize that sales taxes will be much lower as well.  It's time to quit spending and start reductions in the budget.

Thank you for your time.

CCCC Committee"

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Destination Caldwell Running on Financial Fumes

It has been reported to the Guardian the financial resources of Destination Caldwell are nearly depleted.  In short, they are operating on financial fumes.  Time will tell if they are really short on cash or not.  CEO Keri Smith-Sigman has stated that all is well with their financial situation and they expect grants and other cash infusions in the near term.

It is worth noting CEO of Destination Caldwell, Smith-Sigman is running for Canyon County Commissioner.

Destination Caldwell runs the Caldwell Plaza and is a 501 C-3 nonprofit organization.  They do not share their financial statements with the public nor do they share them with the very people who are members of the BID (Business Improvement District) who fund the organization based on a percentage of their property tax assessed values up to a maximum of $5,000.00.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

EPA and IDEQ Mandates

I received the following letter from Nampa resident Hubert Osborne regarding $165 MM bond election to upgrade Nampa wastewater:

Just as Congress is facing trillion $$$ deficits for the foreseeable future we find that the city of Nampa, Idaho is facing the same problem with a $165 million bond issue plus interest which is estimated at over $94 million for a total debt increase of nearly $270 million. unprecedented for a city of our size.

The reason is none other than strict interpretation of the clean water act and aggressive action by the EPA and IDEQ to enforce Phosphorous standards.

In a document entitled Lower Boise River Total Maximum Daily Load: 2015 Total Phosphorous Addendum (IDEQ, August 2015) it concludes water quality goals cannot be met without significant reductions from non-point sources. In addition IDEQ concludes that municipal sources who contribute minimal degradation in water quality thru discharges from effluent into, in Nampa's case Indian Creek which is a tributary of the Boise River, even if they fully are able to comply with the mandates it will make little difference. It is documented in the study non-point sources provide over 80% of the constituent load.

Because of the mandates as interpreted in the Clean Water Act, IDEQ has decided to put enforcement and the resulting huge cost burden  on municipalities while depending on voluntary compliance from non-point sources.

Preliminary estimates put the monthly increase to the average resident of as much as $111 per month. Clearly this is a huge burden on a community where the poverty rate exceeds 22 percent.

Proposals have been made to recycle the water onto farmland which in this area needs more phosphorous for crop production but permission to even do this has not been granted.

The City of Nampa has already spent $38 million which has achieved a 90% reduction in Phosphorous.

We implore you for regulatory relief.

Respectfully requested,
Canyon County Concerned Citizens (26 names on file)
by Hubert Osborne

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sheriff and Jail Capt. Refuse to Give Citizen a Jail Tour

Despite the fact there is an open invitation for anyone interested in getting a tour of our jail we now find the open invite does not apply to everyone.  Below is the response given to a member of Concerned Citizens of Canyon County and a former Nampa Police Officer as well as a sitting Nampa City Councilor.

Concerned Citizens of Canyon County want to share this with you:

New Badge Logo
Captain Daren Ward
Security Services
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 10:06 AM
To: Office of the Canyon County Sheriff
Subject: Touring the Jail

Hello Sheriff Donahue, several of Nampa’s Citizens would like to tour the current jail. Please advise if you will allow us to.

Thanks Kieran

Victor Rodriguez

From: Daren Ward
Sent: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 3:40 PM
Cc: Kieran DonahueDaren Ward
Subject: RE: Touring the jail

Victor, when I first read your email and responded I thought you were inquiring on behalf of the Citizens Academy with whom we have always had a positive and collaborative relationship with. I realize now that I misread what your email was requesting and what or whom your email was representing. 

The simple answer is no, we have no intention of allowing you and your group to tour the jail facility as it is our belief your intentions for doing so are suspect at best. 

Canyon County has been dealing with a jail crisis for well over a decade and yet only now do people like your group and their alleged expertise want to tour the jail and give their “expert” evaluations and opinions. Canyon County has gone through intensive and detailed lawful steps to hire real experts in these matters and the Sheriff’s Office stands behind the legitimacy of this professional, expert and scientific methodology that was provided whether people who have never been involved in addressing this crisis agree with it or not. 

Further, it is distasteful and less than professional for members of your group to continue to go around the Sheriff’s Office to other elected officials in an attempt to garner an invitation to tour the jail after they have been told no by the Sheriff or his designee.

Captain Daren Ward

New Badge Logo
Captain Daren Ward
Security Services

From: ron harriman
Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:05 PM
To: 'VICTOR RODRIGUEZ' ; 'Daren Ward' <>
Subject: RE: Touring the jail

RE: your communication with Victor Rodriguez concerning the jail walk through is now public.

First Daren, I would remind you that you are a public servant and are subject to perform in a manner befitting a public servant and not an antagonist to those who provide your livelihood. From your response it is obvious you don’t understand we are actually trying to resolve the jail problem in a way that will be affordable for the citizens of Canyon County.  This committee would not have become involved if the BOCC and Sheriff had come to logical and affordable solution to the jail problem.   
The Sheriff on the other hand is an elected official and subject to stand for election every 4 years which is a little over 2 years at this point.  Your repugnant response belies your position and is not one befitting a public employee.However, we do understand the difficulty and frustration of your present position in trying to perform your public assignment with inadequate facilities.  We have come forward to assist in resolving this issue and we will guide the public opinion in that solution.  When you question our expertise in a degrading manner you should realize that this committee is composed of attorney’s, businessmen, city councilpersons and experts on construction.  I myself have extensive experience in construction and am not only a professional construction estimator, but also a structural expert in buildings.  The reason I wanted to visit the jail is that I am concerned that the “Old” jail is nonfunctional and remodeling due to the described Flat Plate concrete design more costly than demolition. 
I personally will not tolerate the employment of a public official with the attitude you appear to have. As such I would suggest that you consider serving the public you are supposed to serve or begin looking for another job.

Ronald M. Harriman

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Jail Letter Sent to BOCC


Darl Bruner
Chuck Stadick
Ronald Harriman
Hubert Osborne
Dale Pearce
Larry Olmsted
Ed Parnell
Paul Alldredge
Kathy Alder


As concerned citizen taxpayers and voters in Canyon County we are reaching out to you, our elected County Commissioners, as the issue of a County Jail project looms in our future. This ad-hoc Committee was formed to provide grass roots input for your consideration and review during this process.
After due diligence concerning the inadequacy and need of expansion of the County Jail Facilities the Board of Directors of this committee recommend the actions listed below. After our fact-based research it is our opinion these recommendations will provide the best solution, with the least increased tax burden on Canyon County Citizens.

Our first recommendation:
The location of any new jail, holding, or correctional facility required, should be adjacent to or within a distance not to exceed one quarter mile from the existing Canyon County Court Building.  We recommend the vacated and available Vanburen School property, two blocks North of the Canyon County Court Campus, as the most probable and affordable site.   With this recommendation we also recommend the Notus site be sold, and the funds be applied to the cost of the future jail expansion. The cost of infrastructure at the Notus site and the transportation of prisoners to the Canyon County Courts would add unnecessary and continuing expense, which would be borne by the citizens of Canyon County.

Our second recommendation:
In the interest of the County of Canyon tax payers and the State of Idaho’s economic welfare we recommend the selection of an Idaho development firm partnered with an Idaho Architectural firm to build the new facility.  In our investigation, consisting of interviews with jail constructors and architectural firms, we have determined the cost to build in Idaho (as of the date of the publication of the DLR Group’s proposal) to be only 45% of the cost the DLR Group indicated.  We have also found a jail currently under
construction in Kootenai County is being constructed for $67,000.00 per bed; and within the past 20 months a facility was completed in Jerome County at $84,000.00 per bed.  In comparison, the DLR Group’s proposal was $189,655.00 per bed.  Like Canyon County, Kootenai County has failed on three bond issues. They also had a failed effort in securing a Judicial Confirmation. Finally, they decided to use available and excess county funds to incrementally construct their needed incarceration facilities.  

Our third recommendation:
Question - Is a jail expansion to the capacity of 663 combined cells and dormitory beds needed? A review of the U.S. Census for Canyon County identifies a 2% population increase per annum from 2010, indicating the 2018 population with the same growth pattern will be 220,250 and the 2028 population 263,220. When compared with Ada County’s functional facility at 2.25 beds per 1,000 of population; an average bed usage of 1,000 per day; and a population of 444,028 in 2016; Canyon County’s proposed facility in fulfilling the ten-year (10) need would require 592 beds. However, based on a statistical average from the National Institute of Corrections at 2.52 and Utah at 2.54 beds per 1,000 population, a ten (10) year staged development of the jail consisting of 663 existing and new beds is appropriate; with planned expansion after 2028 in 10-year increments.  By utilizing the existing 477 beds this would require a new addition of 186 beds at a cost of $15,624,000.00 based on present construction costs within Idaho. 

Our fourth recommendation:
Utilize excess funds from the County Budget, and the sale of excess property now owned by the county such as the aforementioned Notus site. 


Board of Directors; Concerned Citizens of Canyon County 

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.

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:

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
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.


** 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 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.