Last week presented many positives for both Meridian and me personally. It’s not every day I get to welcome an old friend to Meridian, but I did just that last Wednesday, when I was privileged to help cut the ribbon to open the new Rosauers Supermarket and Huckleberry's Natural Market near the intersection of Eagle and Ustick Roads.
You see, growing up in Moscow, Rosauers was where my family did the bulk of its grocery shopping. It was a Sunday tradition – a trip to the store after church; or riding our bikes there just to treat ourselves. They were the place to go for choice of products, quality and cleanliness, and where you felt like you were someone – they knew your name. Looks like those things have not changed.
Beyond conjuring up fond memories for me and many others, the new Rosauers is a marvelous addition to our community for another incredibly vital reason – the positive economic impact it in our community long before opening their doors and beyond.
The 60,000 square foot store was built by ESI Construction of Meridian, with the support of numerous local subcontractors. Its shelves are stocked with more than 75,000 products, many of which are produced locally and regionally. Upon opening, the store created 130 new jobs in our community, 80% of which are sustainable, full-time positions with excellent wages. These are all important economic drivers which bode well for our area’s economic future.
Another highlight of the past week was Thursday evening’s charitable dinner-auction planned and hosted by the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) to benefit the Meridian Valley Humane Society.
This MYAC event is held annually to benefit a local nonprofit organization. Past recipients have included the Meridian Senior Center, the Meridian Food Bank, and the Idaho Meth Project, as well as Habitat for Humanity. Over the past few years this event has raised an astounding $20,000 dollars for these worthy organizations.
The Meridian Valley Humane Society, which operates the animal shelter in Meridian, was selected as the beneficiary of this year’s dinner-auction proceeds. Our youth were impressed by this group that feeds, walks, and cares for the lost and stray dogs in Meridian. Many in our community don’t know that the shelter is operated by an all-volunteers staff who donate more than 14,000 service hours annually -- the equivalent of seven full time staff positions.
Having this type of volunteer-run facility in Meridian saves tax dollars and provides a local place for lost or displaced dogs to go, rather than being sent to a neighboring city. This saves our pet owners time and money when searching for a lost dog or looking for new four-legged member of the family.
The animal shelter always welcomes additional help. If you want to learn more about volunteering at the Meridian Valley Humane Society or the many other ways you can help support its mission, go online to www.meridianvalleyhumanesociety.com or stop in for a visit at 3401 N. Ten Mile Road, close to the City’s waste water treatment plant.
During the last month, the City Council has heard and is considering a few changes to our Ordinance regarding outdoor sales and temporary uses.
Outdoor sales and temporary uses are regulated in the City of Meridian for the purpose of protecting the health, safety and welfare of Meridian residents while also encouraging those uses that complement permanent City of Meridian businesses. The City wishes to have safe, attractive and desirable temporary uses that add variety to the shopping and/or dining opportunities in Meridian and that also support and facilitate community events and celebrations.
These proposed changes are intended to improve and refine the processes and standards that are already established. Some of the changes that are being proposed include:
- Lengthening the maximum number of days for temporary sales units that stay on site for the full duration of use from 60 to 90 days
- Ensuring that outdoor markets have the permission of the owner of the property to put up temporary signage
- All temporary signs be removed within 24 hours of close of the outdoor market
- Temporary construction sites will not be able to store construction materials or equipment in or upon a public right-of-way unless permitted by the right-of-way agency
- Discarded materials, rubbish and garbage generated at a temporary construction site will have to be enclosed in a container meeting Meridian City Code requirements
The City Clerk’s office is continually looking for ways that we can improve and streamline our application process. If you are considering holding a special event or having a temporary sales unit, please call our offices at 888-4433 and we will be happy to help you through the application process.
By Mike Barton, Parks Superintendent
The Parks and Recreation Department's mission statement is to enhance the community s quality of life by providing well designed and properly maintained parks and recreational opportunities for all citizens. The Parks Maintenance Division is directly responsible for the overall appearance and safety of the parks that so many of you enjoy. With spring approaching, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of our maintenance programs as follows:
- Turf Management--Sprinkler irrigation is the single most important aspect of a turf management program. We utilize state-of-the-art technology to operate our irrigation systems. Maxicom irrigation compiles weather data that is fed from our weather station to the computer and then out to each park to automatically determine the amount of water needed to replenish the soil each evening. The system is set up with data from each sprinkler zone, including soil type, precipitation rate, and crop coefficient. These values together with weather data give us an evapotranspiration rate. For example: If our evapotranspiration rate for that day is .25, the system will automatically replenish ¼ of an inch of water allowing us to use our resources wisely.
- Infrastructure--The infrastructure in our parks includes parking lots, pathways, playgrounds, restroom facilities, lighting, and picnic shelters. One of the most important components to our infrastructure is our playgrounds. They provide great recreational benefits to park users but can be the most dangerous component if not properly maintained. We have two certified playground safety inspectors on staff who follow safety guidelines set forth by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) and the National Playground Safety Institute. Each playground is inspected monthly for worn parts, cracks, and other wear that could cause a safety hazard. If a hazard is noted, it is promptly repaired to new condition.
- Janitorial--The cleanliness of our parks promotes a feeling of well being to all users. With fourteen restrooms, twelve picnic shelters, and countless litter receptacles, janitorial services is a full-time job that occurs seven days a week. Our service schedule is designed to clean, prep, and empty litter receptacles in our regional and community parks daily and in our neighborhood parks five days per week. During special events, festivals, or large reservations, we have staff onsite throughout the entire gathering to ensure that park users have an enjoyable experience.
Our maintenance staff takes great pride in quality service and takes ownership in our assigned areas. We constantly strive to improve our service; that is why we solicit input from our users. If there s ever a suggestion that can help us improve our service and your experience in one of our parks, please contact me, at email@example.com.
On Tuesday, March 13, voters will be asked to go to the polls to support a tax levy to benefit our kids in Meridian, Eagle, west and southwest Boise, and Ada County. I will be voting in favor of this levy and urge your support as well.
I don’t like paying taxes any more than the next person, but I will always support providing our children with the best education possible. Why? Because investing in our children’s education promotes prosperity for us all.
Our business community does much to support public education. They realize that to be competitive in business and economically we must prepare our future workforce. They understand that education is an investment, and that in order for America to compete successfully in the global economy, investing in education is vital. Businesses that come to the area, looking to bring their company and jobs often ask about the community’s commitment to educating our children and if it’s solid. It is for reasons like this that our Chamber of Commerce has also chosen to support this levy.
Over the last three years, Joint School District No. 2 has decreased its expenditures by $40 million, which is a 20% decrease. They rank 113th out of 115 school districts statewide on cost per student (only two districts in the state pay less than our patrons!) and rank 112th in administrative costs. Boise School District receives $7,557 per student, our District gets $4,759.
While they have already made many changes in response to budgetary belt tightening, there appears to be little or nothing more they can do without huge impacts to our students. Our kids are already missing nine school days a year – almost two full weeks of class time! How will this impact our student’s preparation for college; our future workforce; our ability as a region, state, and nation to compete globally? It is incumbent upon us to step up and assure our kids have what they need to succeed.
So what is being asked of us?
Successfully passing the two-year levy will restore the nine school days that have been cut from the school calendar for two years. The levy would also allow the school district maintain its current staffing level and avoid further personnel cuts.
The levy also replaces one-time revenue in the district’s current budget no longer available after this school year. Essentially, if this levy fails the district will have to cut an additional $5.5 million from its 2012-13 budget and an additional $7.1 million from its 2013-14 budget through a combination of eliminated school days, salary and benefit cuts, and staff reductions.
All children deserve a quality education. We, as a society, must be willing to invest in that goal as we all are affected by it. My youngest will graduate this spring, so although I won’t have children of my own in school - my grandchildren are enrolled in Meridian schools, as are the children of my neighbors - these are our future car technicians, nurse practitioners, or doctors who will be providing our services. They must have the education needed to take care of our needs. In education, as in life, you get what you pay for. The choice is ours.
The District has made many changes administratively in response to the public's concerns. It is now incumbent upon us to step up and assure the best for our kids and the teachers that inspire them.
You can find additional information regarding the levy at: www.meridianschools.org. You can also find out where you vote by visiting: www.idahovotes.gov/YourPollingPlace. Let’s work together and stand up for our children.
FROM FY2011 AUDIT REPORT ENTIRE AUDIT IS AVAILABLE ON CITY WEBSITE UNDER FINANCE DEPARTMENT
FINANCIAL ANALYSIS OF THE CITY S FUNDS
Governmental Funds provide information about near-term inflows, outflows and balances of resources that are available for spending. At the end of a fiscal year the unreserved fund balance serves as a useful measure of a government s net resources. Types of governmental funds reported by the City include the General Fund, the Capital Projects Fund, the Impact Fee Fund, and the Public Safety Fund.
At the end of the current year, the City s governmental funds had a combined ending fund balance of $27.2 million which is an increase of $971,669.
As discussed in the Notes to the Financial Statements the City implemented GASB Statement No. 54, Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2011. The GASB statement changes the fund balance classifications so they can be more consistently applied. Of the combined ending fund balance of $27.2 million $119,984 was non spendable, $3.1 million was restricted by law, $6.5 million assigned by the intent of the City to specific purposes, and $17.4 million was unassigned and available for spending by the City within the purposes specified for the City s funds.
City of Meridian, Idaho
Management s Discussion and Analysis
The General Fund is the primary operating fund of the City, used for major operations including public safety, planning and development, parks, and administration. At the end of the fiscal year, the unassigned fund balance of the General Fund was $17,408,645 down from the previous year balance of $17,779,306. The City maintains a general fund balance reserve equivalent to four months of on-going personnel and operating expense. The amount of reserve is calculated using the upcoming budget year i.e. the FY2012 budget is used to calculate the balance at the end of FY2011. For fiscal year end this amount is $8.5 million.
The restricted impact fee fund can only be spent on police, fire and parks capital projects that sustain the level of service existing when the fees were adopted per Idaho statute. Little was spent from the fund in FY2011, the fund balance increased from $1,964,241 at the end of fiscal year 2010 to $3,077,450 at the end of fiscal year 2011.
The Development Services Fund is used to account for Building and Planning Department Operations. The fund is combined with the Capital Projects Fund to create the fund balance, Reserved for Capital Improvements. During FY2011 the City transferred $600,722 from the Development Services Fund to the Capital Projects Fund.
Assigned for Public Safety Purchases is a fund used to save for public safety construction or large capital purchases. At the end of FY2011 the balance is $2 million, essentially unchanged, except for a small amount of interest, since the end of FY2010.
General Fund Budgetary Highlights
Total actual general fund revenue exceeded the final budget amount by 2% which is a little over $500,000. By and large the additional revenues were due to greater than budgeted property tax collections. For the year ended FY2011 61% of the general fund revenue was from property taxes. Intergovernmental is the next highest percentage of revenue, this category includes grants, sales tax revenue sharing, and a joint powers agreement with the Meridian Rural Fire District. The amount received for grant revenue varies from year to year, this year it was just over $700,000. For the last three years sales tax revenue sharing and Meridian Rural Fire District reimbursements have been consistent at about $3.5 million and $1.5 million respectively. The original revenue budget was amended upward during the fiscal year to reflect about $765,000 in additional revenue from grants, donations, licenses and permits.