ACHD commissioner: Boise City Hall raises represent 'unprecedented arrogance'

It's unlikely Rebecca Arnold and Boise City Hall's elected officials will be getting together for a cup of holiday cheer any time soon.

On Tuesday — before the council approved pay raises for Mayor Dave Bieter and themselves and raised sewer fees — Arnold fired off a pointed email to City Hall. Arnold is an Ada County Highway District commissioner, re-elected earlier this month, although she says she was writing on her own behalf.

Here's an excerpt: "I am well aware of the jobs that you perform and my opinion is that you are already compensated fairly for the work that you do. You were all well aware of the salaries when you ran for office and if you are not happy with the salaries, please resign and go back to work in the private sector. Approving a 20% increase for yourselves would be an exhibition of unprecedented arrogance."

The raises will go into effect in two phases, in 2014 and 2015. By 2015, Bieter's pay would reach $113,059, up from the current $91,229. Council pay would reach $22,799, up from the current $19,375. City leaders point out that Bieter hasn't received a raise since taking office in 2004, while the council pay hasn't increased since 2006.

Sewer fee increases — a 70-cent-per-month increase for single-family homes, and a $12 one-time fee on new accounts — are designed to reduce phosphorous emissions from the city's wastewater plant. The city is facing more stringent Environmental Protection Agency standards on phosphorous emissions.

Here's Arnold's email to Bieter and the council, send prior to Tuesday's votes:

I realize that providing input to this body represents an exercise in futility as you seem to do whatever you want anyway. However, please read this email into the record at today's Boise City Council meeting. I am a Boise resident and have been for more than 25 years. I do not recall ever having a council in place that has consistently raised taxes and fees as this one has. You have raised property taxes every year despite the recession (although you did, interestingly, only raise the property taxes half of the allowable amount during the last council election year) and it seems you have never seen a fee that you felt didn't need to be increased. Enough is enough!!

I am opposed to any increases in the sewer fees or any other Boise City fees. Boise residents just cannot afford any more increases. ACHD has kept the amount of property taxes that goes to ACHD at the same level for the last 4 years and we recently decreased impact fees. Perhaps you might consider following that example and try tightening your belts instead of continually raising taxes and fees (eliminating the out-of-state boondoggle trips would be a good place to start!).

I am also adamantly opposed to raising the salaries of the Mayor and Council. Absolutely ridiculous! I am well aware of the jobs that you perform and my opinion is that you are already compensated fairly for the work that you do. You were all well aware of the salaries when you ran for office and if you are not happy with the salaries, please resign and go back to work in the private sector. Approving a 20% increase for yourselves would be an exhibition of unprecedented arrogance.

I also question placing these items on the agenda for a day meeting when probably most of your constituents would be unable to attend. A night meeting would have been more appropriate to afford the public an opportunity to provide input.

Pay raises

Let's tie the mayor's salary to performance: Give him commission for every job he creates.

Nice in theory BUT the mayor

Nice in theory BUT the mayor does not create jobs. It' s the private investors and developers who put their money up -and at risk - who create the jobs. Developers get vilified sometimes but reality is that they take big risks and some have lost everything , including some long time Idaho families. The high Boise city fees and taxes are a deterrent to job creation. Good for other cities though who have lower fees and taxes.

our top quality Council and Mayor are due a raise.

If Boise wants less skill, less dedication, and lower quality managers in these positions, we can keep salaries below standard and skip the raises. High quality folks (like our Council and Mayor) will then move to the private sector, and we'll have precisely the lower quality we've insisted on.

LOL! Try having an

LOL! Try having an intelligent conversation with mayor Dave - the quality ain't there! And we already pay more than $90,000 a year for that!

Boise has the highest

taxes and fees in the valley pushing businesses to Eagle, Meridian, Star and Nampa. Those of us outside Boise appreciate the Council continuing to drive businesses out because it costs them less to operate outside the Boise city limits. Thank you Boise City Council, you are the best friends other cities here in the valley can have!

However, don't count on us to bail you out when you have such a reduced tax revenue base after you've driven out the last business and landowner outside your city limits. No, that won't happen.

What do you expect?

You're right Ms. Arnold but what do you expect out of an entity that appoints members instead of having an election every time one of them resigns? What do you expect when there are only 6 councilors to represent over 200,000 people?

The number of councilors has not changed since day one in 1800 something. The people of the past had one councilor for every 1000 or 2000 voters now it's more like one councilor for every 20,000 voters. Your vote has been diluted by a factor of 10 compared to what people had at the turn of the 20th century.

There's a term for this and it's called disenfranchisement. The same thing is happening at every level of government.

And ACHD is one to talk about fairness. For year's the vast lion's share of tax money collected in the North End, East End and West End has been spent by ACHD in the areas west of Cole Road.

Come on Rebecca, let's hear it. Even though Boise has half the population of the county I'm willing to bet well over 50% of ACHD's expenditures have been outside Boise City limits for years. Oh, you don't keep those kinds of statistics? What a surprise.

You would lose that bet.

You would lose that bet. You aren't even close. ACHD does keep those stats and you can get a copy from their office by calling achd director. BTW, do you drive on any of the roads outside the North End or whichever neighborhood you live in?

You're wrong straightshooter2...

Whether I drive on roads outside the north end or not is a red herring and irrelevant. People outside Boise limits drive on Boise roads including the north end, so that's a wash if anything. We in the greater downtown area pay taxes at higher rates due to higher as*essments and get little investment in return. The 30th St Extension should have been built many years ago but the money has been diverted to the suburbs for decades. Thankfully we'll have a new urban renewal district soon so we can reclaim our tax money and use it to fix the Fairview/Main corridor.

As far as spending by area stats by ACHD is concerned, I have already tried to get that info and they claimed they do not keep such stats. So it's up to you to prove I'm wrong. Though I don't have a spreadsheet to show you, I have kept track of their projects for years and the vast majority have been west of Cole/Glenwood with a smattering in the southeast suburbs. How in the heck can you deny this?

Hmmm, read the post about

Hmmm, read the post about the $20 million bridge in Boise. Did you include that in your math? The information you seek is available and has been reported on in the Statesman on several occasions with charts. Maybe you deny it exists because you know it proves you wrong. Call the ACHD director Bruce Wong at 387-6110 and you can get the information.

You are still wrong straightshooter2

I know all about the East Parkcenter Bridge and it was $14 million not $20 million and that was built to serve the suburbs not the downtown area.

Of all the projects proposed in the late 60s and early 70s, Veterans Parkway Bridge, Curtis Road Extension, West Parkcenter Bridge, East Parkcenter Bridge and 30th Extension all have been built except the downtown area's 30th Extension. The other 4 serve the suburbs.

Other huge projects over the last 10 years or so, widening Overland all the way to Ten Mile, widening Ten Mile north to Ustick, widening of most of Ustick, widening of Victory Road, Maple Grove, Franklin, Linder, Locust Grove Bridge and widening, Pine Road, Meridian Couplet, Eagle Road south of freeway, Cartwright Road extension, Hill Road Parkway, and I'm sure there are more.

Now, you seriously are going to maintain that ACHD is not spending the majority of its money on the western half of the county? Name one major project in the greater downtown area in the last 20 years. ACHD can't even be bothered to fix the sidewalks in the Fairview/Main corridor.

Not so! Call the director

Not so! Call the director and get the reports. And your number on the bridge is wrong. Looks like you just want to spew misinformation and are not rely interested in the facts

Bridge

hmmm...$20 million dollar bridge is southeast boise? That's a smattering!

There is that bridge! Maybe

There is that bridge! Maybe MrEnceph just does'nt have good math or reading skills! He obviously missed the Statesman's articles on the breakdown of ACHD spending.

When did ACHD...

ever break down while spending?

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Nothing happened and what if it did?

Sorry for the confusing

Sorry for the confusing choice of word.. The Statesman articles pertained to the report ACHD generated showing the revenue and expenditures by city.