Tracking code caldwell guardian

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