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Posts published in “Day: July 19, 2015”



Most folks are unaware that Boise City’s urban renewal agency owns the Ada County Courthouse through a convoluted “lease” agreement which was used to deny voters the right to approve or reject the debt.

Capital City Development Corp (CCDC) financed the courthouse, but now the current Commishes are aiming to pay off the thinly disguised debt with a mid-August payment within the current 2015 budget. We applaud the move and hope the current Commishes will go to the voters for approval of future “profound projects” as required by the Idaho constitution.

Here is today’s press release on the Ada budget about the lease that was really a purchase as well as an outline of the proposed 2016 budget.

On Tuesday, July 21 at 6 p.m., Ada County will be hosting a public presentation of its fiscal year (FY) 2016 proposed budget. The public and media are encouraged to attend the presentation, which will be held in the first floor Public Hearing Room of the Ada County Courthouse at 200 W. Front St. in Boise. Parking is free after 5 p.m.

The presentation will cover the proposed budget of $231,435,852 for the year beginning October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016.

During the current fiscal year, $37 million was budgeted to pay off the lease and purchase the county Courthouse, scheduled to occur in August. As a result of this purchase, county taxpayers will save $6 million in future lease payments. Despite continued growth within Ada County, the removal of this large one-time expenditure is what causes the FY16 budget to be down from last year.

Highlights of the proposed FY16 budget include the second year funding of public safety initiatives approved last year. These initiatives include $6.9 million for construction of a new emergency 911 Dispatch Center. Of that funding, $2.6 million will be provided by the $1.00 surcharge applied to monthly telephone bills, with the remaining $4.3 million from new county property taxes. The FY16 budget also contains $4 million to cover a 27th pay period, due to a calendar anomaly which occurs once every 11 years. Fees collected from Drug Court have been saved over time to build a new Drug Court and treatment facility at a cost of $2.8 million. A 2% merit increase for the county’s 1,780 employees is included at a cost of $2 million, and $1.2 million is included to replace aging network systems throughout the county government infrastructure.

The proposed $231,435,852 budget is funded by $109,395,305 from property taxes, $95,996,814 from other revenue, and $26,043,733 in savings. A breakdown of the proposed budget will be made available Friday, July 17 on the county website at

First take

Layoffs happen. I was laid off from my first job when I was in high school - the local McDonald's staffed up for summer, then eased back as summer's end approaches, reflecting customer demand. I got it then, and it's understandable now in larger contexts. When Intel last month laid off several hundred people, that was unfortunate but it wasn't too hard to understand: Parts of Intel's business has slowed, especially the large part geared around supplying chips for computers. The growth business is in chips for other things, and Intel is getting into that, but transition means some jobs will be lost.

The complaints surfacing seem to recognize all that. The complaints seem to have more to do with changes in the rules about who is ineligible to be rehired by Intel when the corporation is hiring. The Oregonian reported last week, "Previously, employees say, workers became eligible for layoffs when they received substandard ratings in the company's rigorous annual-review process. But according to documents obtained by The Oregonian, Intel selected some employees for last month's layoffs based instead on the level of performance-based stock grants they received last year."

But I think there may have been more upset about Intel executive Brian Krzanich's comment that "this is the way a meritocracy works."

Well, no, but this is the way today's megacorporations - or their CEOs at least - think. Anyone who's been through a large layoff knows that people are swept out without much regard to the quality of the work they were doing: They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's injurious enough, but adding the insult to the trauma of joblessness is what's most meritless here.

A letter to the Oregonian's editor commented, "Something needs to change if this is acceptable in America. We've become a nation of sheep." Have they been not only injured but insulted enough, yet, to actually start, you know, organizing, the way their forebears did a century and more ago?