Boise & Garden City

Growth drives more spending in 2020 budgets. See what’s coming in your city, county

Former Boise Mayor Brent Coles weighs in on the city’s 2020 budget

Former Boise Mayor Brent Coles testifies before Boise City Council on the city's budget for the fiscal year 2020. Coles was mayor from 1993 to 2003.
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Former Boise Mayor Brent Coles testifies before Boise City Council on the city's budget for the fiscal year 2020. Coles was mayor from 1993 to 2003.

Across the Treasure Valley, population growth is driving spending increases as city councils and county commissions prepare budgets for the year beginning Oct. 1. That means higher tax bills for some property owners.

Spending is going up in realms from police protection to office space. Some jurisdictions are playing catch-up. In Ada County, for example, there is “a backlog of capital-facility demands,” Commissioner Diana Lachiondo said.

State law allows cities, counties and other local taxing districts to boost the portion of their revenue that they collect from property taxes up to 3% per year without voter approval. They also increase their tax revenue from growth — that is, when new construction or annexed property is added to the tax rolls.

If a taxing district opts not to collect the full 3% in a given year, state law allows it to collect it later in the form of “clawbacks,” also known as forgone taxes, in a later year. Ada County is one jurisdiction clawing back money next year.

Here’s what cities and counties are doing:

ADA COUNTY

County government

Ada County’s proposed budget for the 2020 fiscal year is $288.1 million, an increase of 2.5% percent from this year’s $281 million.

Ada County is planning to take the full 3% plus growth allowed by law. It will also collect about $4.5 million in forgone taxes to help pay for a new driver’s license office and a new coroner’s office.

Ada County Commission Chair Kendra Kenyon said the budget is the result of “keeping up with the demands growth has placed on the county.” Lachiondo said the county is grappling with “significant demands on resources,” forcing commissioners to make “tough choices.”

You can still have a say. The tentative budget was adopted July 30. The final budget is set to be adopted on Tuesday, Aug. 20, after a public hearing at 9 a.m. in the Ada County Courthouse at 200 W. Front St.

Ada County Highway District

ACHD’s proposed budget is $123.7 million, down 2.5% percent from the 2019 fiscal year budget, which was about $129.9 million. A big reason the budget decreased is that the 2019 budget included $7.2 million from ACHD’s cash reserves to build the Cloverdale road overpass. over Interstate 84 after a crash caused a fire that damaged the old overpass.

ACHD plans to raise property-tax revenue the full 3% plus growth.

You can weigh in: There will be a public hearing on the budget at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 at ACHD’s headquarters at 3775 N. Adams St. in Garden City.

Boise

Boise’s proposed budget is $764.7 million, up 1.6% percent from $752.8 million in 2019. Boise plans to take the full 3% plus growth.

Data from the city shows that Boise’s average city property tax bill will rise nearly 9%.

Public hearings are over, though the budget bill will be read to the council for the second time on Tuesday, Aug. 20, and the final time on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at City Hall, 150 N. Capitol Blvd. in Boise. The Aug. 20 meeting begins at 6 p.m.; the Aug. 27 meeting at noon.

Meridian

Meridian’s proposed budget is $120.5 million, up 0.2% percent from 2019’s $120.3 million. (The original budget for fiscal 2019 was $130.5 million, but that was amended down.)

Meridian is considering raising property-tax revenue 1.5%.

You can have a say: A public hearing on the budget is scheduled at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, at City Hall, 33 E. Broadway Ave.

Eagle

Eagle’s proposed budget is $31.9 million, down 1% 2019’s $32.3 million. Eagle will raise property-tax revenue the full 3% plus growth.

The budget was approved on Aug. 13.

Garden City

Garden City’s proposed budget is $18.1 million, down 5.2% from 2019’s $19 million.

Garden City is considering raising taxes the full 3% plus growth. It is also considering collecting forgone taxes, although the council still has to decide how much. Mayor John Evans said the city’s forgone balance was $104,000.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled Monday, Aug. 26, at City Hall, 6015 N. Glenwood St.

Star

Star’s proposed budget is $5.1 million, up 15.2% percent from 2019’s $4.4 million.

Star is considering raising taxes the full 3% plus growth.

You can have a say: A public hearing is scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, at City Hall, 10769 W. State St.

CANYON COUNTY

County government

Canyon County’s budget for the 2020 fiscal year is $105.7 million, up 10.6% percent from 2019’s $95.6 million.,

Canyon County will take the allowance for growth but will not raise taxes for property owners, Commissioner Leslie Van Beek said. It will also not be taking any forgone taxes. Van Beek said the goal is to “minimize impact” for taxpayers.

Want to have a say? A public hearing is scheduled at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in the public meeting room on the first floor of the county Administration Building, 111 N. 11th Ave., Caldwell.

Nampa

Nampa’s proposed budget for the 2020 fiscal year is $193.2 million, up 6.2% from 2019’s $182 million.

Nampa proposes to take 2% plus growth, though it is also considering collecting $396,939 in forgone taxes.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19 at 411 3rd St. S in Nampa.

Caldwell

Caldwell’s proposed budget is $85.6 million, up 1.6% from 2019‘s $84.3 million.

Caldwell will be raising taxes the full 3% plus growth allowed by state law. It will not be collecting any forgone taxes.

A public hearing is scheduled at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, in the Community Room at the Caldwell Police Station at 110 S. Fifth St.

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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.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.
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