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!
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
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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
More information at www.meridiancity.org/courthouse.
Absentee voting has begun and
early voting for the November General Election begins one week from today. Ada
County voters will have the opportunity to vote early at Meridian City Hall,
October 17 – November 4, 9am -6pm (closes at 5pm on Nov. 4). This is a
great time to cast your vote ahead of Election Day, November 8, when polls are
open from 8am-8pm.
While this November election is anything but typical, it is
an important one that has the ability to transform Meridian with the addition
of services and amenities our citizens have been requesting.
The Western Ada Recreation District (W.A.R.D.) has a $20 million bond on the ballot that would provide for two indoor,
year-round aquatics facilities; one each in south and north Meridian to
complement the outdoor Meridian Pool the district operates at Storey Park. Our
citizens have rated aquatics as a high priority need - for play, wellness,
space for community gatherings, competition, swim lessons and water
safety. Water safety is critical—Idaho ranks in the top five states for the
highest drowning rates. Swim lessons save lives, and we need to make sure
Meridian families have options locally to learn how to swim.
I’ve also heard people comment we should have more than the
one outdoor public facility, built more than 40 years ago to serve 5,000
residents. Currently, our citizens say they travel to Nampa or Boise to meet
their aquatic needs. It is a fact that we are the largest community in Idaho
without an indoor aquatic center. Now, we have a rare opportunity - the land
for both proposed sites has been committed and an operator has offered to cover
the operation and maintenance costs of the facilities, which can save taxpayers
hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs annually.
The proposed south facility
would be part of 'The Hill' project which includes the YMCA that will be
breaking ground later this month; and next to Hillsdale Elementary, a new city
park and the proposed library – creating a unique community gathering
spot. A similar vision is being laid out for north Meridian and if the
bond is approved, the YMCA would look to focus fundraising efforts,
once they complete the south Meridian facility, for a north Meridian
location as well - creating a second community gathering spot. If
this is important for our families - our citizens – the
time is now. The opportunity to
support the building of these community assets
that our citizens have been asking for, and one that families and children can
utilize in many ways, is in the hands of our voters.
Also in the hands of voters - the
Meridian Library District’s bond that is on the ballot. The $12 million bond would fund
the construction of two new branch library projects: one in south and one in
north Meridian. Both these bonds require a super-majority to pass—which means
every vote is very important. You can click here to
read more about this bond.
While Meridian is the #1 Place to Live in America, with
these two bonds we have an opportunity to transform
and enrich our community by adding resources and services that make
Meridian a great place to live, work and raise a family. I am ‘all in’ and will
be supporting these two bonds on the ballot. I urge you to get informed and get out and
vote—your voice is important.
husband Jan and I spent some time at unBound, the Meridian Library’s makerspace
located in downtown. We expanded our imaginations and experienced innovation
first hand with the virtual reality headsets, 3D printers, the woodworking and
engraving machine and more. Needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and
all the learning that takes place for people of all ages and abilities at
During our experiences, my
husband made the comment: “Do people realize that libraries are more than just
books and movies?” Although using my library card for e-books, magazines, and
movies saves me major dollars every year, the Meridian Library District (MLD)
offers so much more! Patrons have the opportunity to check out mobile hot spots
(you can take the internet with you on your next camping trip!); graphing
calculators; as well as Robotics, computer programming and even American Girl
Doll kits. There’s also free scanning, faxing, and notary services as well as
3D printing and so many innovative and educational community programs. The list
endless possibilities that await us in our personal and professional worlds! The library’s three branches and Bookmobile are all
huge assets to our community, but one thing that is sorely needed is more
space. In order for MLD to continue as one of our community’s gathering and
learning centers, additional branches are needed to accommodate for the
district’s rapid growth. This is why I will vote in favor of the library’s bond
this November. The $12 million bond would fund the construction of two new
branch library projects: one in south and one in north Meridian. The bond
requires a supermajority to pass—which means every vote is very
The main library on Cherry Lane
was built 20 years ago, in 1996, for a city of 40,000 residents. While the
library has done a great job adding branches in downtown and in south Meridian
(at a cost of $100,000 per year to lease the Silverstone space); these
facilities can’t effectively handle the more than 92,000 patrons in the City
and outlying district. By moving the collection currently in south
Meridian, they could re-program the funds being used to lease the Silverstone
space and bring additional services to the new branch at the Hillsdale
location, once constructed. This would allow for more programs, collections for
checkout, and professional staffing.
This is just one example of
why the library has identified these projects as necessary in order to continue
providing much needed services to their rapidly growing district. I can’t
emphasize enough the key role that libraries play when it comes to being a
strong and healthy community.
With this bond we have an
opportunity to change our community for the better. To learn more about
the bond, visit the library or go online to www.mld.org. Or you can attend one of two open houses the library
is holding to educate the public about the bond: Saturday, Oct. 1, 10:30am at
unBound or Tuesday, Nov. 1, 12pm at the Silverstone Branch.
If you haven’t been to the
library recently, I encourage you to spend an afternoon learning about what
they do and what they bring to our community. MLD is a great community partner!
I’m sure after you spend a little time learning more about our library, you too
will see how they are providing resources and services that make Meridian a
great place to live, work and raise a family.
by Mayor Tammy
was thrilled to see so many people attend our recent Town Hall at the new
Hillsdale Elementary gymnasium. It showed me that the feedback I received from my
Listening Tour was true - people want to hear what’s happening in South
Meridian! So here’s a recap of what we heard regarding developments.
Parsons with our Community Development Department kicked off the presentations
with a look at what is under construction or coming soon to South Meridian.
There are several residential neighborhoods moving forward with a majority of
the developments occurring between Overland and Amity and Eagle Road to Ten
Mile. There are also two multifamily
projects along Overland -- the Silverstone Apartments near Eagle will join the
new complex just opening near Camping World. When combined with the new
assisted living facility that is planned as well, there are several new types
of housing to meet the needs of our community and residents.
the commercial side - a Bish’s RV Dealership is going in next to Camping World
on Overland and Walmart is looking to add a gas station. There is also a Winco
planned between Eagle and Locust Grove on Overland. Several businesses are
planned for the area along Meridian Road near Overland including a new Dutch
Bros., Starbucks and Dowdy’s Automotive. For more information on projects like
these, you can always visit the Citizen Access page on our website to learn
about what is under construction (www.meridiancity.org).
It’s part of our commitment to be as transparent as possible and make sure the
public has a voice in planning.
new businesses and services are contributing to the job growth we have seen
with many employers located in our Silverstone and El Dorado business parks
grow over the last several years. Power Engineers, Ameriben, and Citi have been
helping to fuel the job growth in this area. With a low vacancy rate, Silverstone
is also looking to add up to 150,000 square feet of additional space in the
much needed schools also just opened in South Meridian: Victory Middle School
and Hillsdale Elementary. Heartfelt thanks to the patrons of West Ada School
District for always supporting our kids regardless of the locations of the
schools – its all about our kids! As you may or may not already know, Hillsdale
is the beginning of a larger partnership project! The Treasure Valley Family
YMCA calls the partnership one that others will emulate across the country! It
includes a Y facility with a health provider, the elementary school, a City
park, and space for the Meridian Library to build a facility as well as a
Western Ada Recreation District (WARD) indoor aquatic center if voters choose
to support the bonds needed for these projects to be included. The YMCA says
they are very excited to break ground on the first phase later this fall. It's
a project they have spent over a decade working toward.
Library Director, Gretchen Caserotti told the crowd at the Town Hall that the
proposed Library would be utilized by the public and Hillsdale Elementary with
a unique design to make it a great, safe space for all. Of course that capital
project is contingent on this November’s bond election - which would provide
for that facility in South Meridian as well as a new library branch in North
Meridian. While not discussed at the meeting, just a few days ago WARD agreed
to put a bond request on the November ballot which would allow for the
construction of the indoor aquatic center at the South Meridian YMCA, and an
indoor facility in North Meridian. I’ll have more on the importance of these
ballot initiatives in upcoming blogs.
for parks in South Meridian, Meridian Parks and Recreation Director Steve
Siddoway spoke about our plans for a 10 acre park that will be on the same
property as the Y facility and Hillsdale Elementary – and potentially a library
and indoor aquatics center. The park will include a half mile pathway and an
agricultural themed playground, along with other amenities. Crews are expected
to break ground next spring with an opening a year from now. One year after
that, in the spring of 2018, we expect to break ground on the first phase of another
park in South Meridian - a 77 acre regional park that when fully built will be
a regional park similar to Settlers.
we wrapped the meeting with an interactive session with COMPASS, designed to
find out what residents want to see when it comes to infrastructure projects in
South Meridian. During the meeting, attendees chose what types of
infrastructure projects were important to them – road widenings, intersection
improvements, pathways and sidewalks, and lighting – and which specific
projects. We also asked them about what types of services they would like to
see and grocery stores was most important – glad to see we have at least one
coming to the area! To see the outcomes from this session, including what road
improvements the audience listed as top priorities, click here. We also have videos of the Town Hall so you can see design
plans that were presented during the meeting.
am so grateful to those who took the time to attend the Town Hall and share
feedback with us. And I was thrilled to have so many partners present; sharing
what they are doing to help our City add even more amenities for residents in
South Meridian. Together, we can take this information and use it to work with
our departments and partners to focus potential improvements in this area.
By Mayor Tammy
This is a busy week for the City with two huge opportunities
for citizen engagement.
On Wednesday, you’re invited to a Town Hall at the brand new
Hillsdale Elementary. We put together this Town
Hall to give residents a chance to: Discuss
and provide feedback on infrastructure in South Meridian; learn about
new developments planned for the area south of I-84; gain understanding about the Meridian
Library bond; and hear updates on the South Meridian
YMCA partnership project. The meeting
begins at 6:30pm. We will live stream it on our City of Meridian, Idaho
Facebook page and we’ll post a video to our website, www.meridiancity.org, the following day.
Prior to the Town Hall, on
Tuesday, you’re invited to weigh in on the proposed budget for fiscal year
2017. The public hearing is set for 6pm at Meridian City Hall, and council will
vote on the proposed budget following the hearing. We’ve held two workshops
during the summer ahead of this public hearing. These workshops allowed the
council and I, as well as the public, to hear presentations from each
department on how your dollars are invested in bringing services to the
community and what is needed in order to maintain levels of service. From
those workshops, the council and our finance team have put together a proposed
The proposed FY17 budget for the General Fund is $53.2
million. This includes a projected $9.9 million carried forward from the
current budget year for projects currently under construction. The
General Fund, comprised primarily of property tax revenue, is the account which
pays for Police, Fire, Parks and the administrative functions of the
City. The FY17 budget includes a 2% increase in the allowable property
tax, primarily focused on public safety needs, along with several park projects
paid for by growth impact fees. This includes supporting the City’s Public
Safety Fund for future capital projects in the Police and Fire Departments.
The proposed FY17 budget for the Enterprise Fund is $66.7
million, including a projected $17.1 million carried forward from the current
budget year for completion of ongoing projects. The Enterprise Fund,
which is funded by water and sewer assessment fees and user rates, is the
account used to fund the City’s water and wastewater operations and maintenance
as well as the infrastructure necessary to serve our community and respond to ongoing
Ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, you are welcome to view the
budget summary and notice, by visiting our website and clicking on City News
and Meeting or view a full budget proposal in the Meridian City Clerk’s Office
at City Hall. We will be live streaming the public hearing as we did our
workshops in June and July, so those interested could follow the discussions.
We want to be completely transparent in how we are putting tax dollars to use.
We work diligently to keep our tax rates among the lowest in the State for a
full-service city, while providing the levels of service you should expect.
That transparency and openness is one of the many reasons residents tell me
they love living in Meridian.
Citizen engagement in Meridian is necessary to ensure your
voice is heard and that our services continue to meet your expectations.
As your Mayor, I encourage you to take part in one or both of these
opportunities - learn more about what’s happening in Meridian and discuss the
future of our community!
Meridian Budget Hearing: Tuesday, August 30 at 6:00pm
at Meridian City Hall
Meridian Town Hall: Wednesday, August 31 at 6:30pm at