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City of Meridian Blogs

Winter Storm: The Silver Lining

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By Mayor Tammy

This winter storm, though frustrating at times...maybe more often than not, has opened my eyes to the kindness of our community, the hard working city staff I’m surrounded by, and those at our partner agencies. I have appreciated the 'around the clock' work of our countywide road district - ACHD's teams; as well as the city's contractors - Titan and Granite. At the City – it has been all hands on deck! We had crews working around the clock in partnership with ACHD to respond to the situation in our community. It was a coordinated effort that involved Fire, Police, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Finance, Communications, Legal, City Clerk, my staff and more! Our team set up a hotline that is working like clockwork, making sure each resident’s concern is heard. Our Parks employees are helping our school district clear parking and walking paths for our kids; our Police and Fire crews are pushing out stuck cars and helping shut ins get access to care, by shoveling citizens out of their driveways. In the City of Meridian alone we have about 600 miles of roadways, so covering that amount of area is a tremendous amount of work. To say I am proud is an understatement!
 
I’ve also felt immense pride as I watch our residents – neighbors helping neighbors - countless acts of kindness throughout Meridian. This winter will pass – eventually – and though it can be rough in the process, I’m reminded of how lucky and blessed I am to call Meridian home, work alongside our employees, our partner agencies and live among all of you!

 
2017 Storm Hotline

A Banner Year for #MyMeridian

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By Mayor Tammy

January is the start of a new year, when we set new goals and resolutions. As we usher in this new year, I’m focused on preparing my State of the City address. We are a thriving community with much to celebrate!

2016 was a banner year for Meridian – a year that began with big news as Governor Butch Otter announced the state’s first medical school would be built in Meridian. I’m excited to bring you more details about the proposed Idaho College of Medicine’s plans for 2017.

This past year we welcomed many new businesses to Downtown Meridian including Frankie’s Java, Gallery Coffee and Blue Sky Bagels. The Meridian Boys and Girls Club ribbon cutting for a new gymnasium and teen center in our downtown was an unforgettable moment for our community—furthering our commitment to youth in Meridian.

We added more recreation amenities! We recently celebrated the grand re-opening of the Homecourt facility off Franklin road which gives residents more options for indoor recreation.  Tully Park received a new addition that has residents excited and it was instantly a success—an outdoor gym (pictured below)! It was a unique project lead by the next generation—the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. Looking ahead to 2017, the Meridian Parks and Recreation department will be busy, with three new parks planned to open. I’ll have more information about these parks in my State of the City address.

We also saw businesses expand in 2016. AmeriBen held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new company headquarters at Ten Mile, and there’s more to come! I’m excited to tell you more about the plan in that area, regarding mixed use developments and what we can expect to see in 2017.

Finally, this year we celebrated a unique partnership called “The Hill” in South Meridian—that includes a combination of education, health, and recreation with the Treasure Valley Family YMCA, the West Ada School District, the City and St. Luke’s. 

So what’s next? We have many projects to build upon in 2017. Please join me for this year’s State of the City address to learn more about what’s in store for our community.  We also have the Taste of Meridian following my address. It’s a chance to sample some of the great restaurants that call Meridian home. I look forward to seeing you in February!

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Recreation Celebration

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By Mayor Tammy

This winter I’m thrilled to say that we have even MORE activity options for you in our community! The City of Meridian purchased the Homecourt Facility from the Treasure Valley Family YMCA this fall and we are now offering recreation opportunities in that space located off Franklin Road (936 Taylor Avenue). The community is invited to help us celebrate the Meridian Homecourt on Tuesday, Dec. 20 from 1:30pm – 3pm. It will be a great event that includes a ribbon cutting, celebrity basketball game and holiday treats. I’m gearing up to take part in the basketball game along with some of our council members and department directors. We’ll face off against local celebrities and our community partners from the “Y”, and the Meridian Library. On top of that –we’re excited to have the Meridian High cheerleaders at the game who will provide halftime entertainment.

From more indoor space, to additional amenities – we want to continue to offer our residents a variety of recreation options in Meridian! The Tully Park Outdoor Gym is now open and despite the cold, getting attention from those looking to recreate outdoors! As we look to the new year, we will have even more to celebrate with new parks that will open or break ground in 2017. Look for more details on those parks in my State of the City address on February 8, 2017 at 3:59pm at Meridian Middle School.

While I’m working on my address and looking to the New Year, I’m also starting to create resolutions – such as adding to my “step count” each day. I encourage you to create active resolutions as well. It’s easy to do right here in our community! Take a look at the activities our Parks and Recreation department has organized in the Winter/Spring Activity Guide that was released this past week and try something new. In the meantime, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Check out the Meridian Parks and Recreation Winter/Spring Activity Guide:www.meridiancity.org/activityguide

Holiday Safety and Giving

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By Mayor Tammy

Thank you to everyone who came out to our Christmas in Meridian festivities! Our Parks and Recreation Department organized a host of events that launched December with great fanfare and loads of Christmas spirit - officially kicking off the holiday season in our community!

My hope for all our residents is that this season is successful for all. That’s why I spoke with our Fire and Police Departments to gather some safety reminders to share with you this week.

Here are some quick safety tips from Meridian Police Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea:

- Slow down, especially when the roads are wet or covered with snow.

- When shopping keep your purse with you and have your keys ready to open your car when you get to it (keep your hands free of clutter).

- Place gifts out of site in your car while shopping.

- Survey your surrounding when walking to or from your car.

He also asked that I remind everyone to be patient and said, “don’t forget this time of year is for holiday cheer, not road rage”. What a great reminder as we run our holiday errands!

At home – there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to safety. The Meridian Fire Department says one quarter of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems and although Christmas tree fires are not common, when the fires occur they can be serious. So here are some tips from the fire department:

- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.

- Following Christmas, if you have a real tree, be sure to dispose of it by taking advantage of Republic Services unlimited trash pickup and tree recycling week, the two weeks following the holiday. Meridian Fire says dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.

I’m grateful that we have fire and police personnel who serve our community so well and keep Meridian one of the safest places to call home in Idaho! On top of that – they give back to the people here!

Our Police Department will be participating in “Shop with a Cop”. Kids in our community who otherwise may not receive gifts will get to have breakfast with our officers and then they will take them shopping for Christmas gifts!  The Meridian Police Employee’s Association is also providing gifts for a family that is in need this holiday in our community.

The Meridian Fire Department is doing its part to give back as well! Each Meridian Fire Station is a drop off site for food to benefit the Meridian Food Bank and for toys as part of the Toys for Tots campaign. Meridian Fire Local 4627 is also collecting funds to purchase coats. It’s called Operation Warm. The coats are made here in the U.S. then sent to our community for distribution. To learn more about these efforts, call the department at 208-888-1234.

As I typed my title for this blog, I thought about the importance of having both safety and giving in our community. These are two things the Meridian Police and Fire departments are going above and beyond to provide for us not only over the holidays, but year round – and for that, I am so thankful! 

Thankful for #MyMeridian

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By Mayor Tammy

This week is Thanksgiving a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for. That is so easy to do sitting here at my desk! I can think of many reasons I’m thankful to call Meridian home - #MyMeridian. We get to live in a community that is recognized as one of the top places to live in the nation! I don’t know if you realize this, but recently we were named among the Top 5 Cities in the Nation from 24/7 Wall Street, the Top 10 in the Nation for Economic Growth (2nd amongst Small Cities) according to Wallethub.com, one of the safest cities in Idaho by SafeWise, and Meridian earned the title for Happiest Renters from AparmentAdvisor.com.

The word is out, and while part of me wants to keep it a secret, we can’t help it when the nation notices that our economy, our safe community and our home is one of the best!

Meridian just keeps getting better - recently our community welcomed even more opportunities for family fun! Wahooz just opened a brand new addition that only enriches the experience for families. And this past week, the City of Meridian opened the new Tully Park Outdoor Gym to give families a place to get healthy together, in the outdoors. It’s a special project that was lead entirely by our youth in the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council – showing them that they can make an impact and leave a legacy in our community.

When it comes to economic development we have a lot to be thankful for. Businesses are expanding in our community and/or moving here! Brighton Corp and AmeriBen are building corporate headquarters off the Ten Mile I-84 exit. The plans for that area are huge – combining residential, business and entertainment developments. I look forward to sharing more with you during my State of the City address in February!

In Downtown Meridian we’ve welcomed new businesses, including Blue Sky Bagels – located just down Idaho from Frankie’s Java, to add to the many selections opening in the area. Recently, downtown was recognized by Idaho Smart Growth – earning a Redevelopment Award for “placemaking” efforts to create a sense of community along Idaho Avenue.

We also live in a safe community – consistently one of the safest in Idaho. I’m grateful for the service of our Meridian Police and Firefighters who work hard to make sure we remain that way.

I am a Mayor who certainly has a lot to be thankful for – but aside from all of this – I am mostly thankful for our people. I know I say it all of the time but I can’t stress enough that a strong community is the direct result of the people and businesses who call it home. I’m thankful for all of you!

Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving – filled with family, friends, and good food! Meridian City Hall will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the holiday but we will be back in full force the next week – preparing for our Christmas in Meridian festivities Dec. 1-3, with the Winter Lights Parade and Tree Lighting scheduled for Friday, Dec. 2 at 6:30pm.

I look forward to seeing you at these events and other functions in our wonderful community!

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'Tis the Season

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By Mayor Tammy

This Tuesday is Election Day and I encourage everyone to head out to the polls (8am-8pm) and let your voice be heard. This election has the ability to transform our community, so do your research and cast your vote! You can find the information you need, and your polling place at www.idahovotes.gov.

As much of the country has been focused on this election for nearly a year, I think it is important that we not lose sight of the season ahead – my favorite time of year – the season of giving! We have so much to be thankful for here in Meridian, but there are always those in our community who need a helping hand during this time of year.  Luckily, there are many ways you can give back this season in our community.

The City of Meridian, like many others in the area, just wrapped up our United Way campaign. The United Way has been an organization I have supported as they fight for the health, education and financial stability of every man, woman and child in the Treasure Valley! Careful research helps the United Way Vision Council determine what organizations will receive funding and the resources needed.  It’s an organization where you can truly see your dollars in action – and why funds were distributed in certain ways. I was overwhelmed to see so many employees get involved, whether by donating money or time, or just attending presentations to learn more – it all counts!

While the United Way focuses on the big picture, this time of year there are several organizations who are doing what they can to brighten the holidays for all residents in our community.  This Saturday the Meridian Parks and Recreation Department is hosting the annual Holiday Classic Volleyball Tournament to kick off the season for one organization focused on the holidays. The tournament raises funds to buy Christmas gifts for low-income pre-school kids who take part in Meridian’s Head Start Program. It’s a great cause and annual event for our city!  

From ‘Toys for Tots’ to stuffing the bus campaigns, angel trees, bell ringers, coat drives, food drives, and more -  the next several weeks are a critical time heading into the holiday.  I’m sure now more than ever the Meridian Food Bank, the Salvation Army, the Marines Corps and so many more would welcome donations in the form of money, toys, food and time to help make this time special for everyone.

Speaking of giving time – I would encourage all residents to join us on Friday, November 11 as we honor those who have served our country at the Veteran’s Day Ceremony. This annual event is held at the Rock of Honor in Kleiner Park and begins at 11am. Part of giving back is showing our military men and women that we support them! I am proud to be part of this year’s ceremony and look forward to personally thanking many of our local veterans.

Whether it’s time given to family or friends in need, or donations to a local organization – I appreciate the focus of this time of year. 'Tis the season for giving!

Courthouse Details You Need to Know

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I wanted to update our citizens as we move to the next step in the process begun long ago on providing a courtroom, or not, that was initiated in 1994. The Ada County Commissioners brought to life this ’94 court order that was long forgotten, frankly, because the issue was already addressed in the ‘90's.  

The county found the ‘order’ and sued our cities, Meridian and Garden City, in 2010 – to build a court facility or pay the county to use the facility our citizens helped pay for.  Much has happened since 1994. Since then – voters said they wanted a consolidated courthouse in Ada county which opened in 2002 and is paid in full. Ironically, Meridian asked to house magistrate court services while planning for the new City Hall in 2004, but the county said no. Despite turning down Meridian providing a courtroom, the county continues to press the issue. Why?

It seems to be about money. They didn’t want a courtroom in 2004 and we have yet to find anyone associated with the courts that wants one now. Ada County says they are just enforcing an active court order, but they say that can be fulfilled if we just pay them money.  The county wants us to pay $660,000 by using what we collect in fines and then some. These are the fines the city receives from infractions. That is, fines that are received after: fees are paid to the county for the court facility, the state, a court technology fund, and for the Idaho State Police POST Academy. The remaining amount of these fines we receive support the efforts of our law enforcement. How does paying the county fulfill a court order for a courtroom?  It doesn’t. In fact we believe Meridian taxpayers already pay for the court system – just like all Ada County residents do – through your county taxes. They are asking you to pay again through your city taxes as well.    

I’ve asked the Commissioners to tell me why county taxpayers in Meridian will have to pay this extra cost when all county residents don’t have to? They still can’t give me an answer. They will tell you that Boise pays. Boise was the only city in Idaho with a municipal court – even before the courts were consolidated. Boise’s situation is different.

On November 4, 2016 I will go before a panel of District Judges and testify on behalf of you.  While I would like to be talking about whether or not a courtroom facility is even needed, we will not be able to do so. That’s because the court can order a city to provide a courtroom but they don’t have to justify why it’s needed. We can’t ask why, we just have to present a plan for providing a courtroom. So we will. We will present what we’ve found to make the most fiscal sense, even if we won’t know the problem we are trying to solve with such a plan. If the court demands we provide a facility, it will be one that is accessible and a more convenient service for our residents and police department.  

We believe that this is something that could go away entirely if the Commissioners stood with us and testified that a facility in Meridian isn’t in the best interest of all county residents. Sadly, they seem entrenched with their position that they are just asking the court to enforce a 22-year-old order. They won’t work with us to define what the problem is that our plan needs to solve! One candidate running for Ada County Commissioner gets it and says it’s time to get out of these legal battles and find solutions – together! I couldn’t agree more! 

I’m still hopeful for a resolution that is fair to all Ada County taxpayers. We will be discussing this more at our Town Hall on Wednesday, October 26 at 6:30pm at Compass Public Charter School. You are also welcome to attend the public hearing to show your support of the cities. That is scheduled for Friday, November 4 at 1pm at the Ada County Courthouse.

I still maintain what I’ve said along - we need to discuss what makes sense today. We are elected to lead. We should also be expected to come to the table and publicly have a conversation about how we, as two cities (Meridian and Garden City) and one county can move forward.

More information at www.meridiancity.org/courthouse.