Tracking code caldwell guardian

Saturday, June 11, 2011

City Angling to Make Illegal Lease-Purhase of John Deere Motor Grader

THE GUARDIAN noted item #16 in the Consent Calendar of the Caldwell City Council meeting on 6/6/2011.  It was regarding approval to lease-purchase a brand new John Deere 772GP motor grader. 

We have no quarrel with the need to keep our streets well maintained and this piece of equipment is not unreasonable to do the jobs carried out by our street department.  What is troubling is the manner in which this deal is moving forward.  Under Article 8 sec. 3 of the Idaho Constitution debts, liabilities or obligations going out beyond one budget cycle are not permitted.  We filed a public records request to see the lease-purchase documents and the request was denied by City Finance Director Eljay Waite.

Mr. Waite maintains the motor grader is "ordinary and necessary" and has ignored the Idaho Constitution. He does not have the legal authority to make that determination and  there is ample case law under Frazier v. City of Boise case law in 2004 and 2006 that clearly spells out what is and is not "ordinary and necessary".  This lease-purchase does not meet the criteria by any stretch of the imagination. The Idaho Constitution says Mr. Waite, has to come to the voters and ask our permission to enter into a long term contract such as this or they can choose to use the Judicial Confirmation process to stay withing the strictures of the Idaho Constitution.

The City of Caldwell has every right to simply lease this piece of equipment on a annually renewable lease with no ownership rights. However, when they choose to enter into a long term lease that will obligate future elected officials they have stepped over the line. They can also purchase it outright with cash up front for the deal.

A new John Deere motor grader will cost city taxpayers about $200,000.00 plus interest charges for the five years of the lease-purchase deal based on internet research on the cost of a new motor grader.  Once again your Idaho Constitutional rights are about to be trampled on and ignored by the city of Caldwell Finance Director and the blessing of the Caldwell City Council.  It need not happen when there are perfectly legal ways to swing this deal.

EDITOR NOTE:  We received the contract today (6-14-11) from the city attorney's office.  Sure enough there is a clause in the lease purchase stating the lessee can purchase the motorgrader for $1 at the end of the lease.  To be clear the City of Caldwell has not entered into a lease-purchase to our knowledge at this point in time. 


  1. A new road grader, during a period of NO growth when the city needs to reduce their operating budget by 15% to keep the mill levy even for this year? Did one of the spark plug wires fall off one of their current pieces or is the seat ripped or the heater plugged making it uncomfortable whilst using as a snow plow. These goons have got to go. The five year lease with each annual payment being a current expense on an asset with clearly a 15 to 20 year life is an insult and illegal from the the above information regarding the requirements of the state constitution. Eljay's councils Arthur Anderson (from Enron fame) are alive and well and obviously on the city vendor list along with the Deere salesman.

  2. How about an across the board 10% cut in Caldwell and Nampa city government costs? Most of the people I know are having to survive with less of everything. Caldwell and Nampa seem to be weathering the recession quite nicely with the ability to stay revenue neutral and take a 3% raise in revenue each year. Last year Caldwell raised their spending by 2.7%!

  3. The lease/purchase agreement is a public document reachable using the Idaho Public Records Law. Or it should be.

    The terms of the agreement, not how the agreement is denominated, determines whether it is a lawful lease or a prohibited installment purchase.

  4. Within the last 4 months the city has also acquired a BRAND NEW-plastic still on the seats-Link Belt Excavator (100k+) and a used but very nice 10 wheeler dump truck.

    Here's how the equipment is justified in a Government sort of way.

    Rather than put needed city improvements out for bid to the private sector, laying off un-needed workers within the city, the city has taken to handling portions of the work load in house to keep the current work force busy. Prep work for sidewalks, infra structure for parks, etc.
    This sudden "increase" in work load, in addition to the day to day responsibilities, has created the need, in the city's mind, for expenses on equipment, not to mention justifying the number of workers employed by Caldwell.
    Think the sidewalk prep work is cheaper to do in-house or put out to bid? Odds are a private contractor won't be paying government wages, vacation pay, health insurance, or paying into a pension.
    Caldwell, like most government, is expanding in the midst of a recession, fueled by its own false sense of necessity. The monster just gets bigger and bigger.

  5. So much for all the transparency in govt. Mayor Nancolas talks about but fails to deliver when asked a direct question to review something.

  6. We learned today the lease-purchase of a new motor grader 2010 model is back on the consent calendar. This is the second time around for this illegal bypass of voters and taxpayers by the City Finance Director Eljay Waite.

    The lease-purchase is neatly tucked in the consent calendar for the Monday 6-20 city council meeting.

  7. Where is the money comming from for all the work I see the city crews doing on sidewalks in town? I like the idea of the sidewalks but aren't we supposed to be broke?
    Does anyone have a good answer for this?

  8. THE GUARDIAN received a copy of the purchase documents from City Clerk Debbie Geyer today (6-17) and the city will be paying a finance charge on $251,000 purchase for this year and will front the total cost of the equipment in next years budget. There appears to be no long term requirement in this as they can walk on the deal at any time up to the point they actually hand over the total purchase price of the Motorgrader.


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