Tracking code caldwell guardian

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Budget Time Starts NOW! Got Some Ideas to Save Money?

THE GUARDIAN would like to let taxpayers know BUDGET TIME  is starting right about now for all the Cities and Counties statewide in Idaho.  Just for fun we sent a couple of suggestions to our local city and county elected officials.  Believe it or not! We got some feedback from the good people who struggle to make ends meet on the millions derived from all of us over the year.  We think this is a great opportunity to get some things out for our elected officials to consider this next fiscal year.

Here are some of the things we have already received for discussion and action by the mavens of govt. on the local level:
1.  The city of Nampa and the County seem to be doing a great job for the taxpayers with the County Prosecutor doing the Nampa prosecutions.  The savings has a spread of about $300k actual cash.  The good part is the hard to determine value of speeding up the courts and getting people to trial more efficiently.  Less jail space is needed to house people just waiting to go to court.

2.  Why isn't/hasn't Caldwell issued a RFP for our County Prosecutor to bring misdemeanor prosecutions into the County PA's Office?

3.  Nampa is building a new cop shop and is installing a state of the art dispatch center.  Why not combine the dispatch services county wide into the Nampa dispatch center. *(Probably won't fly because the Sheriff will have to fore go the 911 cash generated via your phone bills).  It has been reported to THE GUARDIAN $1 million dollars can be saved if implemented.

4. City and County Coppers have got to come to grips with the cost of gasoline at $4/gallon.  Why not start replacing those big ugly Ford Crown Vics with more fuel efficient cop cars?  Chevy Impala's come in a police version and get over 20 mpg in the city.  Take a look at what other countries use for cop cars where gas is $8/gallon.  The future is here and why do we need a high speed pursuit car for city and rural county duty.  Makes sense for the Interstate we have a large Detroit Iron but in the city .... hmmmm, probably not necessary but certainly very macho.  County now uses about 12,000 gallons of fuel a month.  City of Caldwell was burning through about $15,000 dollars worth of fuel a month with the coppers using the most.

5.  Why is the Fair Board looking to relocate.  We already have the Idaho Center sitting idle.  Why create another venue to sit idle.

6.  Your turn for some suggestions from you GUARDIAN READERS to save us all some cash.  Put them in the comments and we'll forward them to city or county people for consideration.

What is really interesting is when you start looking and cutting small stuff there can be huge benefits that come from other areas.  We know the Nampa prosecution contract saved a lot of cash.  Last year they did the Nampa prosecutions and the PA turned back $920k due to the inherent efficiencies of not having to deal with a third party in the Nampa prosecutions due to wasted time.


  1. Who is trying to move my cheese?

  2. Who's paying $4 a gallon?
    County's getting it a lot cheaper than that. Under $3.00.

    Check it out.

  3. The County dispatches every police agency in the county including fire and ems from their brand new state of the art dispatch center. The only ones the county doesn't dispatch are Nampa PD and Nampa Fire. Now you suggest the county should close down and hand off everything to Nampa and that Nampa should spend tons more of my tax dollars to duplicate what the county already has?

    Sorry but that makes no sense.

    Nampa is also the smaller fish in this pond. It is they who should close their center and join up with the county. In actuality this wont happen because Nampa wants to keep siphoning the tax money from the county generated by the tax on your phone bill.

  4. Staff reductions, deferred renovations, not buying any more police limos until the existing sleds are used up THEN replacing with the aforementioned "bow ties", integrating city county services (including "bite my lip" Nampa), would save a vast amount of money, with a net increase in service. Eliminating Big Shots travel and auto allowances would would be a symbolic "token" acknowledging of what everyone else in Caldwell is having to do in the Great Recession. A list of specifics would read on like a Doctoral Dissertation.

  5. I'm sorry Anonymous #1 but I do believe your cheese has slipped off your cracker.

  6. Here is a link to Bloomberg Energy prices. the price per gallon of gas on the futures market at noon today is $3.29/gallon. The county probably does not pay sales or road taxes but why keep those behemouth cars? I think our police and public servants who spend a great deal of time in a vehicle deserve a decent seat and reasonable leg room. I am absolutely against HIGH SPEED PURSUITS. The risks to the public are not justified and put a lot of people in harms way. Get rid of these fuel hungry vehicles.

  7. The Commissioners Offices have been remodeled at least three times in the last 6 yrs or so. Is this necessary and needed? I think not. These people have forgotten where their money comes from. If I thought a recall would be successful I would sign on the form but the reality is Dave Youn survived a recall and that pretty much sums up what will happen if a recall is started.

  8. Although certainly not exclusive to Caldwell, reverse budgeting in our community must come to an end. Year after year, a number is established at day one and, if by some chance, there is still money left at day 365, cash is quickly spent because if the department doesn't use it, they lose it.

    Don't believe me? Take a peek at Caldwell's new Link Belt loader-purchased brand new within the last two weeks and devivered, plastic still on the seats and all, to Caldwell for the tune of $80-120k.

    In the past, Nancolas touted the fact that despite the slow down, the city has not had to lay off any employees. Were this philosophy applied in the private sector the pride and bankrupcy lines would cross quickly on the graph.

    Rather than put out for bid legitimate projects that would stimulate the private sector in caldwell, the mayor and his administration are using city employees on projects to keep them busy-park development, prep work for sidewalks, etc.-at a cost, when you factor in 401k, sick days etc for city employees is probably costing 20-40% more than if bid by private contractors.

    The argument could be made that city employees are paid even to sit around waiting for a pothole to develop or a waterline to break, which I understand. Maybe more could be done with less during the economic slowdown, though. Its a tough pill to swallow, but maybe a needed one given our communities situation.
    Start running this city like a business and not a charity. Being mayor means making tough decisions that aren't always going to win you any friends from your constituants or employees.

    I, for one, may find a way to muster up a little respect for you while you are on stage crooning the masses if I know that when faced with tough choices the right one was made, even if it wasn't the easy one.

  9. CG says,

    I attended the widening of Hwy 20/26 workshop meeting last monday at the Caldwell Police Station and listened to all three proposals on the table for widening Franklin/20/26 and all three approaches have the city street dept. doing most of the project. It was just assumed by me as well as others that using Caldwell Street Dept. in all three projected cost proposals was done to save taxpayers money. The comment about reverse budgeting now wanting more answers from Nancolas.

    I now have to wonder if this is not just another switcho-chango sleight of hand from Nancolas. Is this a WPA project for the city crew? Is using the city crew the least expensive approach? I understand and accept the fact this is a multi-million dollar perk for developers and really is not traffic driven. It is yet another "if we build it will they come" hail mary handout to developers.

    Was that loader bought based on need or what... My trust of Nancolas in all of this gives me an ugly feeling in my gut.

  10. While sitting at the stoplight at the intersection of Green Hurst and South side Boulevard in Nampa recently I saw an great example of how many city employees it takes to fill a 2 ft. diameter pothole. There were a total of 8 people and 5 vehicles involved. 5 were leaning against pickups 2 were holding stop signs and 1 was filling the hole. I love to see our tax money at work.

  11. Anonymous #2: Actually only one city in Idaho has a complete state-of-the-art dispatch center and I can assure all of you that it isn't even in the western part of the state. Since when did Canyon County get a state of the art dispatch center? Upgrading to a 700MHz system is not state of the art. It is a failure waiting to happen. It has already happened elsewhere in the country (e.g. #1 Harris County, PA comes to mind)(e.g. #2 Locking out the public listeners is a bad idea. Now the public must rely on 4th and 5th hand information, or worse, when the need to evacuate comes from a railroad accident or shooting will the local coppers take you out of your home at gunpoint? YOU CAN BET MONEY ON THAT! Perhaps you might cite reference (accurate ones) to back up your claims. As it now stands Nampa City is maintaining four(4) separate radio systems (155 MHz Fire, 460 MHZ Parks and Rec, Police, etc. 700 MHz Police w/ADA, Bannock, Blaine, Bonneville and Canyon Counties communicating together - who is in charge? finally, there is the 49 GHz freq to link the towers together.) All of these are at taxpayers expense and will be an added burden when the new federal budget hits and the so-called "first responder" grants dry up.

    Yes, I agree the day of using a V-8 Patrol car should come to an end. Overall they are very expensive to operate.

    Then there is the constant use of a full sized fire truck (4-6 MPG of Diesel)on a medical response. Nampa once had a squad truck that went on medical calls. Let's return to that concept. Minimum staffing per Nampa FD Website is at least 3 men. Two in squad and one, or two can bring the big truck if needed. I think the use of non-transport paramedics on fire trucks is also ridiculous.

    That is a good start.

  12. The first rule of city (any) government management is never forget who you are working for. You are working for the citizens (including taxpayers) of the city, NOT city employees, city contractors and other service providers or specials promotions you may think are pretty. If you forget this rule, you shalt be thrown out on your ear resulting in such discoloration and swelling as to warn others against any future political assparations you may have.

    Have a nice day Nancolas. Eljay, et all.

  13. Crown Vics are well over $30k by the time they have all the cop goodies on them. then comes the care and feeding of these behemouths. To me the use of these cars today flies in the face of the people paying the bills and trying to figure out how to make ends meet. These cars scream...we don't care about trying to save any money.

  14. Years ago you could not get the Fire Dept. people to even consider taking on Para Medic calls. The loud response was "we're FIREMEN not medics". Now with the modern fire codes in place there isn't a lot to do but wash and wax the big red trucks. Now there is a turf battle over EMS calls. Combine these services under one roof and quit sending these big lumbering trucks on paramedic calls. It really ticks me off seeing a fire truck responding to a 911 Para Medic call. All it does is keep their call for service numbers up and little else.

  15. The idea of paramedics is not new on fire trucks, but there is a little known secret about why fire departments have paramedics. Under President Clinton, the U.S. Fire Administration (FEMA) created a grant program called SAFER (for safer communities, etc.) to qualify for certain monies departments had to prove they went on a certain amount of medical calls. The cities should prove they need to utilize these trucks like they do and not use a smaller vehicle. Boston and Seattle have the nations highest cardiac survival rate and the fire department maintains "chase" units (a suburban, or similar) to respond to these calls. They send the main fire truck on trauma calls, entrapment, etc. There is an actual NFPA code for the need to have a actual fire truck on these calls. The problem lies with the use of paramedics and the fire union. Bad idea money wise and a waste of resources if your not transporting the patient.

  16. All of the city employee's have seemingly forgotten who they work for and where the money comes from. Perhaps we need a tea-party type movement on the local level.

  17. Warning ! The tea party has infected this page.
    This page is no longer a safe haven of moderate conservatism. The Tea party has assumed control. No real facts are to be found here!

  18. I see a lot of misinformed criticism of the Ford Crown vics labeling them as costly compared to other fleet vehicles of comparable size. But nobody has said how expensive.

    Without objectively examining the shop that was nominated as one of the best 100 fleets in America (Canyon County) I think you all have no clue as to what what you are talking about.

    If you knew ALL the facts you would know that it's costing us taxpayers about $3,000 per car per year plus fuel. Find out how much the state or any other department is paying for their cars. Want to know why? Because up until now the commishes have been content to let the fleet manager do his job. Keep pushing the commishes to get their hands into this mess so they can screw that up too.

    Just Brilliant!

  19. Hey Anon-
    Been reading through the posts and would like clarification about the tea party comment. Please elaborate as to what you deem unfactual.

  20. A reader sent a series of links as a comment. We tried to see where they went but all of them were dead links. We encourage comments and links that support a position but when they are dead links it serves no purpose to post them in GUARDIAN COMMENTS.

  21. Clarification- The "Tea Party" also known as the ultra extremist arm of the Republican party who is trying to reshape it to their extremist views, has infected this page. Clear enough?

  22. Take a drive by the Nampa police station any time of the day and you will see 12-15 or more police vehicles sitting in the parking lot. I guess 1 advatage to the new police station is they can hide the vehicles in the garage.

  23. Now thats funny! I dont care who you are!

  24. You know, there are a lot of anti free speech forces at work here in Nampa that will try and silence the peoples voice. This is typical of the Triple T Axis (Team Tom & Thorne). Someday in the not to distant future the people are going to get a grip, on the city and be in charge again. Remember the election for two seats in the city council are up for grabs, choose candidates wisely.


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