Tracking code caldwell guardian

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Commishes Vote to Hold August 3rd Election for Jail

Canyon County Commishes met as planned today to agree to go for another run at a jail bond.  The vote was unanimous to put the question to a vote on August 3rd.  This time around we will only have about 12 precincts to vote on this debt question v. the usual 48 or so precincts. 

Cost of the election will run between $30,000 and $40,000 and will take place on August 3rd, 2010.  The amount of the bond will be for the original $46 million with interest costs undefined at this point in time.  The payback could run as much as the previous bond measure.  Payback of the interest, principle and bond underwriting costs to banks could be as high as $72 million or as low as the low $59 million. (Depending on Obama stimulus taxpayer funds offset interest costs.)

The annual cost will go something like this:  $8,000/day or a little under $3 million a year to pay it all off in 20 years.  The biggest number will be the operational costs for the facility which will be in the neighborhood of an additional $15-$20 million a year. This money will come from additional property taxes needed to run the place  Current costs per inmate at the Dale Hale Detention facility run $84/day per inmate.  This figure comes from taking the current $9.3 million/year jail budget and dividing it by the number of inmate beds listed on the county website for the Dale Haile Detention facility.

THE GUARDIAN is worried about the ability of the people's ability to pay for this if it is approved.  Current property tax collections are down by 10% of what they normally run for this time of year based on information from the Clerk Auditors Office.  Add that to a sour economy and people's ability to pay for this is in question. Currently there is no extra money in city or county general funds and we wonder if this is a prescription for default on the part of the county.

The following was taken from the resolution passed by commissioners:

"WHEREAS, the County does not have sufficient funds available to pay the cost of the foregoing Project and has determined it advisable to finance such cost through the issuance of the bonds of the County pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 19, Title 31, Idaho Code, as amended, and Chapter 2, Title 57, Idaho Code, as amended, and in order to do so, the County desires to provide for the holding of the special bond election required by said provisions;..."

The "coupon clippers" at 1115 Albany are broke, we are all taxed to the max and they want to spend yet more money neither they nor us have at the moment.  Commishes  are saying we can do this for a lot less money if we act now.  They are in denial about the ability of people to pay more property taxes.

Supporters of the jail bond have verbally indicated they have in the neighborhood of $30,000 to spend on getting this bond approved from people in the community who are in support of this latest jail bonding effort.

 We would like to see sentencing alternatives used to avert the need for more jail space.  Passage of school bonds earlier this year will place an already undefined additional tax burden on property taxpayers all over Canyon County. Declining property assessments will be nullified by higher levy rates to keep the cash flowing to all taxing entities.

In any event, you will get the opportunity to vote this question up or down come August 3, 2010.  Good luck trying to find one of the 12 places that will be open for you to cast a vote. It will require a super majority of 2/3rds of the people who take the time to vote for this to pass.

Multnomah County in Portland, Oregon built a $58MM jail that was completed in 2004 and has been sitting since then because they can't afford to operate the Wapato Jail.  Here is a link for more on the Wapato fiasco.   (Wapato Jail Info Link)  Former Clerk Auditor Noel Hales is on record questioning the ability of Canyon County to fund the operation of a new jail of this size when the first bond election was held in 2006.


  1. Wonder where $30,000 to pay for the blitz supporting the jail bond will come from? Probably the outfits who stand to get the contract to build the place if the bond passes.

    They will no doubt hide this in the costs to build the place. $30K is nothing when you are looking at a potential $46 million contract.

  2. I hope there will be some organized effort to defeat this goofy idea.

    School bonds got passed this spring but this is over the top for me. I don't want one more penny in property taxes thank you very much.

  3. Your figures are laughable. Simple math from a simple mind.

  4. Enough is enough, why not use technology like tracers and home centered sentences with longer terms instead of the same old tricks. We need to evolve where new solutions exist to fix old problems or drag in the entire valley to pay for a central jail system. I do not believe any new solutions are being explored and evaluated in comparison. Bring in a think tank and let them fix it.........

  5. Were you at the meeting or are you reporting second hand information again?

    I didn't see you there. So who's opinion are you posting?

  6. I would think that waiting until November would have been more logical, ethical, and cost effective. I am disappointed that there will be a special election for an issue that has been voted on many times before. I'll do my research on the issue again, but I look to vote No once again.

  7. The IDAHO PRESS TRIBUNE is tenatively going to have a forum of three speakers speaking for the jail bond and three speaking against the bond.

    It will be held at Nampa City Hall City Council Chambers at 6:30PM on July 27th.

    I have agreed to be one of speakers against barring any unforseen circumstances.

  8. Wow, when will people actually take the time to get the information first hand rather then through the rumor mill? The commissioner meetings are all public and everyone is welcome to attend. I was there, were any of you?

    Anonymous 1 writes "Wonder where $30,000 to pay for the blitz supporting the jail bond will come from? Probably the outfits who stand to get the contract to build the place if the bond passes."

    The 30K is an estimated cost to setup and staff the polling places and has NOTHING to do with any "blitz" as you call it.

    Anonymous 2 wrote "why not use technology like tracers and home centered sentences with longer terms instead of the same old tricks"

    Are you aware that we do currently have and use this technology? Do you really think that we should put domestic battery, rape, or other violent criminals on home arrest? If you had been at this public meeting you would have heard Reverand Bill Rosco speak about the fact that the old jail has limited if any room for rehab type programs which is the type of programs you are speaking about I assume.

    Do we think that the ACLU is going to go away if we stick our heads in the ground. Cudos to the Commissioners, Sheriff Smith, Chief Algood, and Chief Augsburger for trying to educate the public.

    Simply put, we need a new jail. Maybe if more of us taxpayers took the time to attend the public meetings and get REAL and CREDIBLE information we wouldn't be having this conversation.

  9. You are going to commit to a position ?!

    Amazing !

    Careful Paul, people might hold you to it.

  10. I may vote for the new jail, however, $30,000 for special election when it could be held during the General Election in November is absurd and wasteful.

    I work the night shift and I was unable to attend the public hearing, can someone tell me why the election will be held in August rather than November? Could it be a bit of political maneuvering? Do those that are pushing a new jail think that they can mobilize their supporters more than the naysayers and those that may not be able to vote at the countywide 12 voting sites?

    Seems a little dishonest to me.

  11. Perhaps, but I stopped taking the opinion of these Canyon County Commissioners a long time ago. I'm surprised you're so willing to drink the kool-aid. However, I don't know you.

  12. A few clarifications, and some facts to add:

    1) The election will take place at 12 polling places, not precincts. All precincts in the county will be voting in the election. This is similar to a highway district election, when there are fewer polling locations.
    2) The Clerk’s Office estimates the cost of the election at just under $35,000.
    3) The resolution signed today specifies that if the Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds are not available, the bonds would not be sold. Thus, the principle and interest payments on the $46 million bond would be $58,305,283.64. There are no stimulus dollars involved. The RZED Bonds are available to the county for a lower interest rate, and the buyers of the bonds will pay taxes on them.
    4) Yearly payments will be about $2.9 million.
    5) Operational costs for things like food, electricity and laundry will increase as more inmates are housed. However, those costs will be nowhere near the amount you state. Maintenance costs are expected to increase about $35,000. The cost per inmate will be lower with the more efficient design, which takes fewer employees to staff.
    6) Current property tax collections are in line with what was budgeted.
    7) The section of resolution you quoted is required by state code. It says, in a nutshell, the county doesn’t have $46 million to build a new jail, thus is asking the voters to approve a bond. It’s standard language, and by no means refers to operational costs.
    8) Supporters of the jail bond have verbally indicated they have $10,000, not $30,000, to spend in promoting the jail bond.
    9) Currently, there are more than 500 people on alternative sentences in Canyon County. More people are currently on alternative sentences like ankle bracelets, day reporting, Sheriff’s Inmate Labor Detail and many others than are in jail.

  13. 10) At budget time a year ago, the county decreased its budget in recognition of two things: 1) the economy, and the need for people to keep more of their money, and 2) if the county kept its budget low, perhaps voters would recognize the effort, and realize that even with passage of the bond, their tax burden to the county would still be lower than without the budget cuts. The law allows municipalities to increase their tax revenues by 3 percent each year, which would have stayed in the budget forever. That $3.4 million alone would pay for the bond, but commissioners then went on do decrease the burden to taxpayers by another $1.4 million. The county has acted responsibly compared to the other taxing districts (cities, highways, schools, etc.) which we cannot control.
    11) Again, it is 12 polling places, not precincts. Those polling places will be published in the newspapers, the county website, on informational literature, and is available by request. Finding a polling location should be quite simple, but if it is not, you are always welcome to vote at the Election Office, or by absentee ballot.
    12) In response to your commenters, the $10,000 to be used in support of the bond was collected from donations to the citizens group. None of it is county money, and it certainly won’t be returned if the bond passes.
    13) Again, more people are sentenced to alternative sentences than to jail. There are people, however, who pose too serious a risk for such a sentence. And, as one judge recently stated, “I don’t want to send a guy home to drink beer and watch Oprah. This is not punishment!”
    14) Commissioners looked into the possibility of a November election, however, because the Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds expire Jan. 1, there was some concern that if the bond did pass, all the legal requirements and due diligence with banks would not be completed in time to meet the Dec. 31 deadline to sell. Additionally, the shorter time frame created the possibility that the bonds would need to be sold at a higher interest rate in order to meet the deadline.
    15) Commissioners have put a jail bond on the ballot twice before, and each time, it received approximately 58 percent approval. The first time, in May of 2006, it was for a $72.5 million Justice Center on Nampa/Caldwell Boulevard. The second time, it was the same program on the ballot now. $46 million for a 652-bed jail on Highway 20-26 between Pond Lane and Gravel Lane near Interstate 84.

    I would encourage all of you to contact the commissioners, the sheriff, or jail staff to find out more about this proposed jail. Jail staff is happy to give tours of the current jail, and explain why the design makes it unsafe for both staff and inmates. Please check your facts.

    Angie Sillonis
    Canyon County Communication Officer

  14. It was the opinion of Steve White who told the commissioners to put the bond before voters. Had you been at the meeting you would have known that.

    "If we don’t pass the bond now, we’ll lose the 2.88 percent interest, we’ll lose the $10 million in savings over the 20-year life of the bond, and we’ll lose the advantage of the slow economy, which could save us 20 percent in construction costs."

  15. "If the Bond passes"

    This issue still should have waited until November no matter whose OPINION it was, Mr. White or otherwise. Either way it will be tough to get a super majority.

    Many of us take the time to research issues, and I for one appreciate Ms. Sillonis's and Paul's comments. We also have jobs and families, so we can't make every public meeting like the police officers above. Please forgive me for that.

  16. You don' suppose the 12 polling places for this election were picked because they were places were the county got more favorable votes in the past. This is a tactic that has been sucsessfully used by school districts many times.

  17. Cheap Seat Comunications OfficerFriday, July 09, 2010 9:51:00 AM

    I always have to scratch my head a little when someone tells me how they had to buy a new car or whatever because their current one needed a new set of tires or maybe a new set of spark plugs. Its not for me to judge there brilliant decision but its obvious they just wanted a new car and feel the need for an excuse. This jail bond business seems a lot the same to me and there are a lot of people (mostly county/city employees) willing to offer sage excuses and predictions of doom if we don't do it, and of course we can't forget about the great financing deal we will lose if we don't do it now.

    Because of the Great Recession we are now having I am going to buy a tire or two and maybe a spark plug for the old beater, instead of a new car, not because I can't afford it, but because I am concerned about future income and such. It just seems to make sense to me. The financing deal attached to this hussle sounds a lot like zero down, instant rebates, no payments till the the 12th of Never, etc.

    Why does this not make sense to the promoters of this plan that has already been rejected several times? I think most of them work there and want nicer digs. I think I'll wait a bit for mine.

  18. Ask Bill Hurst how his office chose the twelve places to vote. Again if you were at the meeting you would know the answer instead of imagining the worst. It was discussed openly how they came to that decision. But believe what you would like if it makes you feel better Bob.

  19. so the reason for the new jail is because the ACLu says so. is it also because the Canyon COunty employees want new digs paid by the already strapped taxpayers? i guess we'll never know.

  20. Hey Angie.. get your info about RZEB bonds correct.

    "RZEDBs are taxable bonds that finance public infrastructure projects for which the federal government will reimburse the governmental issuer for 45% of the interest paid. RZEDBs are not available to finance privately owned or used projects. The RZEDB Program is available to municipalities that are located within a designated Recovery Zone and have public infrastructure projects in support of economic development."
    If this is not OBAMA STIMULUS MONEY then help me out.

  21. No, the reason for a BIGGER jail is because there isn't enough room for all the prisoners that need to be jailed. Hey buddy. Thanks for turning this on it's head and finding a way to make it sound like it's all the guards fault because they are all just thoughtless money grubbing feeders from the tax trough that want gold plated toilets in the restrooms at just your expense. Jerk.

  22. Whether the County does or does not need a jail isn't what I take issue with, but rather how much more does the county and city government think taxpayers can bear before our financial backs break? Taxpayers can only fund so many things before they've had enough, even if the items are genuinely needed.

    The county should have seen this train coming long ago and acted based on a plan rather than panic and have to react to the enviornment. It would have helped if the county could have asked for taxpayer money before Caldwell went on its spending spree as well.

    Maybe we can put beds in the new airport terminal, nobody's using it.

  23. County Commissioners had a plan. It was called full speed ahead without taxpayer approval of the first site selected. They managed to wriggle out of that senario and tried a repeat perfromance by building a jail piecemeal at the current site, again, without taxpayers byuying into the project.

    They found themselves in front of a District Court Judge trying to figure out if they had crossed the line of Constitutional impropriety.

    The economy tanked, growth came to a screaching halt, cash flowing into the county dried up and now the Commissioners are pleading with taxpayers to approve this mess they have created.

    Next, they tried to incite a law suit from the ACLU to delare the county needed a new jail. The ACLU said simply to fix it, clean it, and knock off the overcrowding.

    The real problem here in my view is County Commissioners do not enjoy a very high degree of trust with taxpayers. It is sort of like trying to get your virginity back at this point.

    If the jail has reverted to poor conditions it is a management issue of not taking care of what they have. If a new jail is built, it too will go downhill without proper maintenance, care and respect for a public asset.

  24. "if the jail has reverted to poor conditions it is a management issue" I don't want to place blame on anyone, but that is a good point.

    Wow, I cannot believe how many posts are on this site about this issue.

  25. Eileen says..
    Our elected officials only think they know what is best for us. Remember when two former Nampa Mayors pushed the Idaho Center and accompanying amusement park? We would all have jobs and get to live wealthy in a HORSEY DISNEYLAND! Sweetwater Junction never materialized and our Nampa taxes support the Idaho Center to the tune of $500,000 per year. Rent is too high there so most events must be held elsewhere. It is a COSTLY DUD.

    Then Nampa began to annex all the subdivisions at the edge of town to get more tax revenue. Most owners did not want annexed. Some fought valiantly. Most lost and their taxes went up. The former Simpson Building Supply land and some acreages behind it were swallowed up. Now a strip mall is there standing empty. I doubt Nampa collects any money from it or all the other empty strip malls around town. Another DUD!

    Now Canyon County Commissioners are trying to force us to fund a new jail. For our own good! We keep voting it down and they keep blowing our money on elections. We would approve an addition near the court house, but they think they know best! So, here we go again! The money is OURS and we do not want to spend millions to pipe the sewer under Boise River at that bad location! NO! NO! NO!

  26. This page is full of insignificant hateful little people who are all in the dark! None of them are right! They told me not to move here because this state is full of backwards boobs.

    For - Against, For - Against, Hell this is the best entertainment I've found in a long time!

    Please keep it going this is fun ! Popcorn anyone ?

  27. We can't afford this right now.... I don't understand why they can't see that!

  28. We get what we vote for. It is common knowledge that Steve Rule has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer. Ferd took a .38 snub nose with him on an airplane, and fought the law for months, before the judge let him go with fines, and admonishments. Alder seemed to not have any problems until she voted for the August jail bond vote. It seems most of the politicians Canyon County elects don't seem to know what they are doing. Why can't these people talk directly to the voters instead of hiring a "communications director"? I guess they would look even sillier if they didn't have a mouthpiece.

  29. Because they need someone to translate intelligent discussion into drivel so people like you can understand it.

  30. The commishes need to get it through their thick skulls that we cant afford anything else like the new schools, CEURA and all that other stuff they keep cramming down our throats and raising our taxes on. Why do the commishes keep raising taxes on us for all of it? They are supposed to represent us. Vote them out! There is enough schools now and Caldwell is pretty enough.

  31. Oakland Ca just laid off 80 cops. The California legislature has spent so much money that they don't have, that California is close to defaulting on it's debt.
    California business are moving to Nevada and other lower cost states. To much government spending has put California close to bankruptcy.

    Canyon County voters should take a lesson from California's blotted government spending and VOTE DOWN THIS JAIL BOND ON AUGUST 3.

    Rule, Alder, and Ferd have become advocates for the ACLU and the contractor that wants to build a new jail, we don't need, rather than the taxpayers of Canyon County. How many more times will they put this jail to a vote if this jail bond gets voted down on August 3. This is the third vote.

  32. The amused POTATOHEAD should have listened to those that warned about living with "backwards boobs"! I doubt he is missed, from where ever POTATOHEAD came from!

  33. Why are they redoing all of the curbs and gutters in Caldwell when we cant afford it? Just another example of government waste when we should not be spending. They shouldn't be doing any new projects but they go ahead without our permission or a vote and do it anyways! We say no and they just ignore us. I'd be interested to know how much Team Garrett, urban renewal, the comishioners and school district have spent this year and on what. It will definitely affect my future votes. Can someone also explain why we have to pay for a sherrif's department when we already pay for a police department. Maybe we should close one!

  34. The county is required by statute to have a Sheriff. The Sheriff is the primary servant of the Judges, Courts and the County Jail. He is also responsible for Patrol and Criminal Investigations in the unincorporated areas of the county.

    As an elected official it is the Commissioners responsibility to oversee all elected officials and they set the levy rates and the budget for all elected county officials.

  35. Get over it and give the commissioners a blank check for $46 million. They will show us all how to roll through the money like drunks on payday.

    You would like to think they have the project nailed down to the last penny after what will soon be 3 times at bat on this project.

    Isn't the designated jail property in the middle of a flood zone?

  36. Well if that is true why are we being double taxed for a police department? Why do we have to pay for two police departments? I say close one of them, there is no reason to have two! And if the comishioners can order Garrett to stop all this nonsense why haven't they? Well whats the holdup? They should tell him we don't want TVCC to have a building at our expense, a prettier creek and all that other nonsense that is costing me enough already!

  37. Thank you Bill for the clarification. You have provided quick course in civics for a reader who was heretofore confused about incorported cities and counties.

    City services are a large part of city residents property taxes. I would venture to say residents in the county v. city pay about 40% less proeprty taxes.

    Thanks again for your contirbution here Bill..

  38. Where should they build a jail if not at the highway 20 location?

    your description of next to the courthouse is not descriptive enough. Which two city blocks should they buy up? How much will it cost to buy them, and demolish what is there? My guess is $10 million plus. That's more than the 2 million to bring a sewer line to property already owned by the county. Someone tell me exactly where this better location downtown is please because I haven't heard any good alternatives out of you people yet.

    You also didn't figure out how you are going to feed these people because their kitchen cant handle the increase. If you plan on remodeling it and adding on to the building, how are you going to close the kitchen down so you can get the work done to expand it and still feed the inmates? Any of you figure that out yet? Yeah yeah I know more of your tea party babble about doing more with less, out of control taxes and stupid politicos. Really thought this one out havent you?

  39. we have plenty of jail space for a county this size. 30% of the people are 18 or younger, 20% are 65 or older and do not fit jail demographics.

    that leaves 90k of the county population who could postentially end up in our jail. using the current assets the jail @ 296 beds and the work center at 223 beds we can lock up 5112 people a year at 85% of useful capacity. that rounds out to 5 in 100 people in the county can now be locked up if the place was managed to 85% of actual capacity. that would leave 44 beds vacant each day in the jail and 33 beds empth in the work release center.

    the people promoting a jail would not tolerate any of their assest to underperform by a factor of 15% slack. they would want and expect their business to be as close to 100% as possible before they went out for new plant and equipment.

  40. Close the jail, close the animal shelter and close the Police Department. Problem solved, spending under control. Cops get paid too much as it is just to write us tickets they don't write for each other because they are cops. If the jail closes think of the money we can save by getting rid of a few of those who have bellied up to the taxfeeder trough!

  41. I was wondering how long it would take for austerity to come around. If not embraced by the commissioners then forced on them by the taxpayers. Maybe it's time to look at why we manage to have about 5% of the world's population and about 25% of the world's prisoners. Seems like some of the policies this country is trying to champion are not really working in terms of harm reduction.

  42. Interesting debate. I think much of the unrest stems from the fact that the current commissioners lack any credibility whatsoever. These are the people who didn't even know the County's general fund wasn't receiving a dime from Bujak with that sweet contract he set up for Nampa prosecuting until a taxpayer sued to look at records. Even though County has now retroactively invoiced Bujak for that money, he's STILL not turning it over. Why? Because it probably got spent getting his house out of foreclosure. But instead of doing what's right, and trying to hold him accountable for it, (and building up some credibility with the taxpayers in the process), they're going to pretend Bujak didn't steal the money and move on with life. It's like Young's son getting paid while on leave all over again. This group is always two steps behind cleaning up messes, never being proactive about avoiding them.

  43. The above comment is really good. Well said.

  44. Well, final figures are not in, we should have the election results by morning. It looks like 60% of the taxpayers voted NO! Unless Al Franken is in the race, it should not change much by morning. All I can say to the Commissioners is- - -


    Old Broke Lady in Nampa


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