Tracking code caldwell guardian

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Caldwell TVCC Would Make Excellent Site for County Administrative Offices

It is apparent to anyone with an eye on the numbers, TVCC Caldwell project is not going nearly as well as the proponents had hoped.  The college is now down to four days of operation, serving a mere 500 students. The coffee shop operator has bailed and it remains to be seen who will take over a food operation in the building that cost taxpayers $100k.

TVCC can't even afford to pay full rent on the building.  They pay rent on half of the structure and get to use the whole building.  It works out to about $5 and change for each square foot per year.  They even got a million dollar furnishings allowance from CEURA as a gift from Caldwell taxpayers.  To add insult to all of this TVCC is sending 20% of the gross revenue collected in Caldwell back to Oregon while they rearrange the deck chairs on this sinking ship.

TVCC in downtown has not brought any discernible increase to business activity downtown Caldwell based on an informal poll of downtown merchants.  In fact, there is even less going on in downtown now than at any point in the history.  We have heard from several sources the State Probation and Parole Offices are about to be vacated in downtown in the near term for a move to Edmark Plaza area of Caldwell.

Canyon County along with a host of other taxing districts got the short end of property tax spending from Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency.  THE GUARDIAN was discussing with a friend what the future for downtown Caldwell will be when TVCC pulls the plug and bails on the downtown project.  The idea of Canyon County taking over the building for county business functions rose to the surface in this ideation discussion.

Canyon County is the second largest county in Idaho and Caldwell is the County Seat.  What a great use for the TVCC building downtown Caldwell if ownership were to be transferred to the County.  All of the county administrative functions (business functions along with the Elections and Passports Office) could move to downtown Caldwell. They need the space and taking over the TVCC white elephant building would satisfy county office needs well into the future.

If a deal could be worked out between CEURA and the County Commissioners the current courthouse at 1115 Albany could transition into a Justice Center for the County.  Much needed courtrooms could be installed where county admin. offices previously existed.  The County could shut down the Nampa Annex and sell off that property to the highest bidder.  The County Commissioners and County business functions would bring people, jobs and demand for other services back to our downtown.  The new digs would be a site and address that would be a first rate location for county administrative functions. Plenty of parking, a good location, and easy access for all county citizens to conduct their business.

This is just some thoughts on the TVCC white elephant project for folks to think about and consider before it becomes Caldwell's Idaho Center type urban renewal failure.  We see the TVCC effort not going anywhere due to the lack of interest with only 500 students and no ability to expand.  It is also a redundant effort and expense to Canyon and Ada county taxpayer supported College of Western Idaho.

The TVCC building is 39,000 square feet of office space Canyon County could use immediately if given the green light.  Oregon, like Idaho does not allow for long term leases that go out beyond one budget cycle.  With the economy and cuts in tax revenue we do not see a rosy future for TVCC in Caldwell.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sticky Vinyl Windows ...Use ArmorAll

It has been a slow time for the usual things presented for your comment and review but yesterday I got a tip worth passing on to readers.

We recently had new vinyl windows installed and some of them are binding.  I went to the good people at Superior Paint and Glass in Caldwell and Fred, the owner gave us this tip.  ArmorAll applied to the friction points will take care of the binding in a jiffy.

I was advised to not use petroleum based lubricants as they are not as effective.  I always got away with WD-40 for most things like sticking widows in the past.  The ArmorAll application cured the binding and the windows now slide effortlessly.  I found ArmorAll on deal at O'Reilly's two 10 oz. bottles for the price of one.  Now the only problem I have is what to do with all this ArmorAll.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

$700K Could Be Saved At State Liquor Dispensary

The following is a letter submitted to the Idaho Joint Legislative Oversight Committee from the Office of Performance Evaluations:

"January 25, 2011

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee
Idaho Legislature

In March 2010, you directed us to evaluate the Idaho State Liquor Division.  We focused our evaluation in three areas:  (1) evaluating operational efficiencies, (2) identifying growth of the division, and (3) determining the feasibility of privatizing the state's liquor system.

We found that the division has grown substantially in the past five years.  During this same time, expenses have increased at a faster rate than both sales and net profits.  We estimate that nearly $700,000 could be saved annually if some of the state-operated stores with the lowest sales were converted to contract stores.

We recommend the division implement annual customer service training, establish data-driven criteria for store placement, track purchases by zip code, and identify those stores that would benefit the state if expanded, relocated, closed, or converted to contract stores.

While it is not possible to predict exact outcomes of privatizing Idaho's liquor system, the report discusses the potential impact of privatization, assuming the state would want to continue receiving the same level of revenue from the sale of liquor.  We have developed an interactive worksheet (available on our website) that allows users to modify the values of our assumptions to further understand the likely impact of privatization.

We thank division officials and staff for their cooperation and assistance throughout this study.  The report includes responses from the Liquor Division and the Governor.


Rakesh  Mohan"

I have lived in Idaho since the late 1970's and always thought it rather odd folks had to go to a state liquor store to buy liquor.  Even more odd what the inability to buy it by the quart.  Why the State of Idaho is in the retail liquor business is indeed a strange statutory custom.  The State could still collect the sin tax levied against liquor and remain revenue neutral without the cost of running retail stores and distribution.  This report is a welcome sign that I might be able to go to my local grocery store and buy my liquor or anywhere licensed to sell the stuff.  Time for the Idaho Legislature to move into the 21st century.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Social Security Is a Promissory Note, Not An Entitlement

Lately we have been hearing Social Security is a government entitlement program.  Now that the Baby Boomers are hitting retirement the government won't have the cash to make good on the program and the program is not sustainable.

I have to admit, I am a more than a little bit confused about all the financial jargon floating around these days.  However, I do remember "premiums" for Social Security were made palatable to all the workers of the country by telling us 50% is paid by the worker and 50% by the employer.  Hogwash... it was all paid by forced withholding of nearly 15% of a workers income for the duration of his employable years.

I can remember in the 1960's I hit the limit or maximum that could be withheld and it seemed like a raise in pay.  Over the years I know there was a cap on how much was extracted from a worker but I never hit the cap as the years rolled forward and I got older.  15% of my pay, some years less and toward the end of my working years it was more but we'll use 15% of our pay went into Social Security.

It is more than annoying to hear from our elected officials that Social Security is an ENTITLEMENT!  Now that I have reached the age I can collect on the program I am told the program is a government handout?   I beg to differ on this point, ever since the age of 16 Social Security withholding has been deducted from my pay. It is now time for me to get the money back.  It was taken from workers and a good faith pledge it would be there when I and others retired.  We are not parasites who have failed to pay our way.  Republican and Democrat politicians who call Social Security a ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM surely need to think this over.

I would settle for the same retirement given to members of Congress and forego any further S.S. payments.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nampa City Council Mulls $250K Move to New Police Station

The Nampa City Finance Director has pulled $250K out of thin air to facilitate a move by the Nampa City Council to the New Police Station.  Ms. Chandler Went on at length to describe the move in a Statesman story today.  Here's the Link to the story by Kris Rodine for your edification on this move. 
City Councilors are getting the bums rush on this great offer to move them to the new digs downtown by city employees who want to do their version of "THIS OLD OFFICE" with the current city council chambers. 

When questioned on where the money would come from Madam Finance Director was less than forthcoming.  THE GUARDIAN will make a educated guess that the cash for this move will come from that wonder of wonders...URBAN RENEWAL.  This is the pot of gold at the end of the politico's rainbow.  They can spend this money on anything and everything their political hearts desire with no accountability for their actions to taxpayers.  While it comes from property taxes and all county taxpayers anti up for this even when they don't live in the district or even in Nampa.  It is that mysterious "increment".

Barring a better explanation from the Nampa masters of the Nampa Universe this is our story and we're sticking to it.  Anyone with a better explanation for where this chump change money for the move will come has an open invite to explain it to all of us out in taxpayer land.

Also reported to THE GUARDIAN is Nampa will be taking the 3% increase in property taxes "they are ENTITLED TO TAKE this year".  We will have to wait until the budget meeting by Mayor Tom on the 13th of July at 6:00PM for the details of his latest and most draconian budget for 2011/12.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Canyon Insider on Bujak Caper with Commishes

Every once in a while we get a comment that is worth a stand alone post on the CALDWELL GUARDIAN.  Today we received the following comment from "CANYON INSIDER":

"I see that now the bankruptcy trustee has sued the county for a million bucks.  Steve Rule told me that you would have to pay back $171,000 to the trustee, but I never expected a one million dollar price tag.  And this does not even include Bujak's 25 million dollar lawsuit that you know is coming down the pipe.  How much have you paid lawyers to pursue Bujak?  My best guesstimate is close to $100,000 and you haven't even scratched the surface.  There is still discovery and trial.  You are going to pay more than $300,000 for a shot to get $300,000 from Bujak?  Let's use some common sense and do the math here.  It looks like to me the longer you fight the more of our taxpayer dollars you are going to waste!  David Ferdinand is quoted in the paper as saying you intend to fight.  To what end?  Bujak has nothing except the money he is going to get from the county.  There is no way you can win this fight.  If you can't win a fight, don't fight it!
Commissioner Alder, you have been quiet through most of this.  I am hoping that means you agree with me and are being silenced by your fellow commissioners.  Please take a stand.  All you are going to do by fighting is make a bunch of attorneys, including Bujak, very wealthy at the taxpayers' expense.  Get Bujak and the trustee to the table and settle this mess!  Stop the bleeding!  This whole situation is looking more and more like Vietnam."

Editor Note: A couple of months back I asked for the cost to the county for litigation of Mr. Bujak and the figure given to THE GUARDIAN was $83,000.00.  It may be time for the Commishes to declare victory and walk on this matter

Thursday, July 7, 2011


The Caldwell Guardian received his public records request today on CITY OF CALDWELL RESOLUTION 89-11.  This resolution authorized 58 paid hours away from the job for all City non-union employees.  Here is the text of Resolution 89-11:


     BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and City Council of the City of Caldwell, Canyon County, Idaho, be and the same hereby, are authorized to grant up to 59 hours of paid time off or, as approved by the Mayor, equivalent pay to full time regular municipal employees, part time regular municipal employees, police department employees, and appointed officials that are currently employed during the period of October 2009 through September 2010 (excluding fire department union employees) and set and effective date of July 6, 2011.

     WHEREAS, the Mayor and City Council recognized that the above referenced employees have been required to take on additional workloads due to layoffs and unfilled open positions. In addition, these employees have met their performance requirements and said employees have received no annual pay increases since October 2008; and

   WHEREAS,  the City of Caldwell reached an agreement with I.A.F.F. Local 1821 to compensate each member in the amount of $1105 and the Mayor and City Council desire to extend up to 58 hours of paid time off to other City employees that were not eligible of this compensation; and

     WHEREAS, the City of Caldwell employees are required to use this paid time off prior to September 30, 2012 or prior to separation from the City.

     PASSED BY THE CITY COUNCIL of the City of Caldwell this 5th day of July 2011

     APPROVED BY THE MAYOR of the City of Caldwell this 5th day of July 2011"

 The GUARDIAN is going to let readers draw their own conclusions on this resolution.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spend the Money and Spin The Justification, City Employees Get 58 Hrs. Paid Time Off

One of the alleged hallmarks of the Nancolas administration in Caldwell is supposed to be "TRANSPARENCY"  we noted the following on the consent calendar for last nights city council meeting:

“4. Approve Resolution authorizing the granting up to 58 hours of paid time off for full time regular municipal employees, part time regular municipal employees, full time police department employees, and appointed officials and set an effective date of July 6, 2011.”

I fired off an email to city finance director Eljay Waite asking what this is all about.  Mr. Waite told me to file a public records request with the city clerk Debbie Geyer and then if I had any questions to then refer them to city human resources director Monica Jones.  

I also copied two city council people on this and have received nothing from them regarding my question about what the deal is with 58 hours of time away from the job at taxpayer expense.

  It seemed like a pretty simple and straight forward question that would have some kind of reasonable answer. I filed my public records request this morning and am waiting to get a copy of the resolution via email.  Stay tuned for more when I get my stuff from the city clerk.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Veterans Medical Care $54.9Bn FY 2012

We copied this post from a veterans newsletter published bi-weekly by a retired Vet who lives in the Philippine Islands. It puts front and center the ongoing costs of taking care of our Veterans who came out of their service to our country in need of medical care once they leave the  military.

The VA medical system is one of the most cost efficient medical care delivery systems and is repeatedly held up as a model system.  All medical records are paperless in the VA system and can be accessed instantly  wherever a Veteran goes for medical care within the system.

President Barack Obama requested $54.9 billion in funding for the Department of Veterans‘ Affairs (VA) for fiscal year 2012 and $56.7 billion for fiscal year 2013, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office this week.

 VA officials said the new budget estimate was increased overall by about $1.4 billion for fiscal year 2012 and $1.3 billion for fiscal year 2013 to support health care-related initiatives proposed by the Obama administration, such as expanding homeless veterans programs, opening new health care facilities, offering additional services for caregivers and providing benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange. 

The president‘s request for fiscal year 2012 also included about $953 million in contingency funding to provide additional resources in the event that the down-turned economy results in increased use of VA health care.  The president‘s request for appropriations for VA health care relied on anticipated funding from several sources, including collections, unobligated balances of multi year appropriations and reimbursements. VA officials identified changes made to its estimate of the resources needed to provide health care services to reflect policy decisions, savings from operational improvements, resource needs for initiatives and other items to help develop the president‘s VA budget request. 

The VA operates 152 hospitals, 133 nursing homes, 824 community-based outpatient clinics and other facilities to provide care to veterans.  [Source: Health care Finance News article 15 Jun  
2011 ++]