Boise & Garden City

Ada County’s population grew 3.6 percent last year. Here’s what that means for you.

Take a quick float down the Boise River

A summer trip down the Boise River should be on everyone's bucket list. In most conditions, the journey from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park takes at least a couple of hours. Don't have that kind of time? Here's the trip in 170 seconds.
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A summer trip down the Boise River should be on everyone's bucket list. In most conditions, the journey from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park takes at least a couple of hours. Don't have that kind of time? Here's the trip in 170 seconds.

A new report lists several ways Ada County grew or expanded in 2018 as its population grew 3.6 percent, to an estimated 471,000 people.

That expansion affected virtually every element of county government, said the report released by the Ada County Commission.

The growth was the fastest in three years, thanks largely to people moving to the Boise area as its economy booms and the city keeps making best-of lists. The population grew 2.6 percent in 2017 and 1 percent in 2016.

What does that mean for you? In short, more of just about everything.

More neighbors

COMPASS, the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho, estimated the year’s growth at more than 16,000 people. Some of them now live in the 204 new subdivisions processed by the assessor’s office in 2018, creating 6,540 new subdivision lots.

The assessor’s appraisal division measured and collected the physical characteristics for 4,730 new homes and re-inspected 36,000 parcels — an amount equating to about 20 percent of the county. Ada and Canyon counties combined account for 50 percent of all the growth in the entire state.

The county treasurer’s office served a record number of taxpayers at its office on North Cloverdale Road.

More voters

Noteworthy growth also took place during the November election, where 192,303 people cast ballots. The 2018 election, where voters chose a new governor, is second only to the 2016 presidential election in turnout. That year, 202,971 ballots.

More county jobs

Several offices reported hiring new employees in 2018. One was the Sheriff’s Office, which reported adding 38 employees. That number comprised 11 jail deputies, two jail sergeants, four inmate transport deputies, eight registered nurses and a nursing supervisor. The office also “hired as many staff as possible” at driver’s license offices, helping bring wait times to less than 30 minutes.

The county reported 1,895 employees total.

More work for government employees

With more employees comes more responsibility.

Across the county government, agencies and departments reported an increase in services provided.

Paramedics reported adding 24 hours of additional ambulance resources in 2018. Weed, Pest and Mosquito Abatement reported rises in several of its services. Its larvicide team inspected 11,086 more sites than it did in 2017 and reported an 85 percent increase in inspections over the last three years.

More people attending public events

Expo Idaho reported it increased the number of events by 9 percent, and the Boise Riverside RV Park “had its highest gross year-to-date,” a 20 percent increase to $987,117. At the Western Idaho Fair, gate admission rose 13 percent as more than 250,000 people attended. The highest carnival and food and beverage sales of all time were recorded on Aug. 25.

The Parks and Waterways Department saw records set left and right on the Boise River Float. It set a gross revenue record for the float’s equipment rental and shuttle service, besting the record set in 2015 by 41 percent. Parking revenue also rose 44 percent over the record set in 2013. The department reported a record for the top three single-day revenue totals, and it said nine of the top 10 days in the float’s history came in 2018.

This story has been revised. The Ada County report originally said the county’s population grew 9.6 percent in 2018, a figure this story and its headline repeated. In response to a Statesman inquiry, a county spokeswoman acknowledged that the percentage was in error and said the county would correct its report.

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Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.

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