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
By Mayor Tammy
The start of school always means that change is in the air:
new teachers, classmates, curriculum, sports, clubs, etc. It signals the end of
summer and the start of a new season is right around the corner in our
community. It’s a good time to remind area residents that this brings about
changes on the roads and in our neighborhoods.
Drivers need to be aware of students walking or biking to
school and busses stopping to pick up area kids. In addition, we hear from many
parents about the challenges associated with drop-off and pick-ups at schools
and from residents about parking issues in and around schools in many
neighborhoods. I ask everyone to be mindful of one another and your
neighbors as this change takes place. Be respectful and be safe, and for
those of you headed to work, be sure to adjust your commute times in order to
make way for this changing season.
Another big change is here at City Hall as we kick off a new
year with the Meridian Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC). Last year
was the biggest year we’ve seen yet, with more kids joining MYAC than ever
before and our advisor, Ken Corder and I are expecting even more this
year. Meridian students in grades 9-12 are invited to be a part of MYAC.
We’re holding a kickoff event for those who are interested on Monday, August 29
at 6pm or 7:30pm.
Our MYAC students continue to be leaders in the state and
our community. Whether it is promoting legislative solutions or social causes
that impact our youth, their voices are heard and they are stepping up donating
their time and energy. But they are more than advocates and community
volunteers – they are also charged with organizing events for their peers and
area residents. One of their first objectives will be focused on the Youth
Safety Summit in September. It brings in teens from across the state and
educates them on the dangers of texting and driving, as well as the effects of
bullying and drugs and alcohol. Teens say the one day interactive event is a
game changer and sets the tone for the school year.
This fall the group will also get to witness last year’s
participatory budgeting come to fruition with the opening of a permanent
outdoor gym at Tully Park. This is a historic moment for Idaho – in that these
teens piloted this participatory budgeting exercise for the first time, helping
to direct funds to an amenity the community has wanted for quite some
Leading the charge for our MYAC group this year is a new
Executive Council comprised of students from each high school, including
Charter and Home Schools. New this year – they plan to focus on middle school
outreach. This is great way to connect our high school leaders with middle
school students in our community.
I have high expectations again for this group. They have a
passion for their community that is inspiring. I have no doubt we are in
for another successful school year!
For more information about MYAC and this year’s
orientation meetings, visit www.meridiancity.org/myac.
By Mayor Tammy
Each year I host a Listening
Tour with community members from across our city. People from all walks of life
are invited to attend - and from all parts of our community - into my home to
have a conversation about Meridian. The group meetings are set by geographical
areas with the goal of getting a pulse on our City from those who live and work
here. These conversations help us identify things we are doing well, and ways
we can improve.
We had a great group of
diverse individuals who participated this summer. We had parents,
grandparents, children, business owners, employees, students and
retirees. Some were new to Meridian; others have been here for
years. They all brought unique perspectives to the conversation as we had
a refugee, commuters who bike to work, some who are struggling to find jobs,
military veterans, a widowed woman who appreciates the safety of our community,
a college student and more. I enjoyed meeting each of them and listening to their
thoughts about Meridian.
One of the questions we ask
is what are we doing well in Meridian? I heard our parks are a big hit! People
appreciate the safety of our community – our responsive police and fire
departments – and the cleanliness of our city. They also tell me The Village at
Meridian is a favorite place for entertainment, but also enjoy seeing more
dining and entertainment options in our downtown. Affordability is also a
bright spot! My favorite quote I hear often is that we have “big city amenities
with a small town feel”. I agree and we want to keep it that way.
When it comes to
things we can improve on, the same topics seem to pop up with each group no
matter where people live: Schools and Roads. I want to assure you that we hear this feedback and we pass it along to the
agencies who oversee these elements in our community. People love our
school district, but they are concerned about the inequities in funding from
the State and options on how to pay for needed additional schools. With roads,
they wanted to know about coordination with the Ada County Highway District -
how we communicate and work with them to highlight needed improvements and how
we work together in community planning. Along those lines, tour attendees
said they would like to see more attention paid to the needs of bicyclists,
joggers and walkers. This is something we are working on as we expand our Parks
and Recreation master plan for pathways over the next decade - with a focus on
connecting sidewalks throughout the community.
I really appreciated the
discussion on our downtown – people were quick to point out that they liked the
façade improvements, banners and aesthetic improvements; but would like to see
more outdoor dining opportunities. I also received great feedback on the new
Youth Farmer’s Market – those who have attended say it is a great addition to
our City! People expressed a desire to see expanded events and activities in
downtown such as a music or concert venue. All of these comments are near and
dear to my heart and I’m so excited to see many people from the community are
already working to make these dreams a reality.
Specific areas within our
community had their own area of focus as well. North Meridian would like
to see more commercial businesses and improvements to Chinden – validating and
building on efforts by a task force I created
last summer with the goal of reducing congestion, improving safety and creating
economic opportunity along Chinden. One frequent question that was
received was ‘when are we going to get a new Costco?’ At the time of this
writing, the City has not received an application so there is nothing to
confirm at this point.
In South Meridian, people
wanted to know about what infrastructure is expected in this area and when. Of
course many were aware of the South Meridian project that includes a YMCA, city
park and other partnerships - set to open in 2017. But those at our meetings
wanted to talk about sidewalks, pathways, and road improvements in the area as
well. We plan to hold a Town Hall at the new Hillsdale Elementary on Wednesday,
August, 31 at 6:30pm. If you live in South
Meridian I would encourage you to come and talk about this area of town. As
well, participate in a ‘BE THE MAP’ exercise and show us what priorities are
important to you for sidewalks, pathways, road/intersection improvements and
My heartfelt thanks to
everyone who participated in this year’s listening tours. I appreciated your
time, comments, and the opportunity to hear what you think about Meridian. Your
voice matters and we care what the people in our community think. Working
together we will continue to be the best place to live in America.
If you are
interested in taking part in next year's Listening Tour, please contact Ken
Corder in the Mayor's Office, firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mayor Tammy
I had already started writing my musing for this week when
the incident in Dallas occurred (and now the latest in Baton Rouge). I am horrified by what I see unfolding. That
musing will be saved for another day… My heart aches for Dallas and Baton Rouge. My prayers go
out to their law enforcement officers, their families, and their communities. My
thoughts and prayers are also with the families and friends of those lost in
shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota and their communities.
Such tragedy. Where is our moral compass at this time in our
nation? There is so much hatred everywhere. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of
it channeled at law enforcement – even here locally.
Following the news out of Dallas, Meridian Police Chief Jeff
Lavey sent a note to his team that said this: “I’m feeling sad, frustrated and
angry about what happened in Dallas. I’m trying to wrap my mind about what the
heck is happening in our country. Now is not the time to become paranoid or
create gaps – it is not an “us versus them”. We must be diligent, aware and
watch out for each other. We must continue to do our jobs. Officer safety is
always paramount but we have a community to serve in partnership with each
other for the common goal of ensuring Meridian remains a great place to live
work and raise a family.”
I work alongside our police officers. I can attest to you
that our department is one that cares for our community.
Councilman Joe Borton summarized their service perfectly
after the Dallas incident when he said, “The Meridian Police Department does
care about the safety of our citizens, and its officers, and has been
proactively conscious of that mission every day. It is one of the factors
that makes our police department outstanding and our city safe.”
Our police officers get ready for work each day not knowing
what lies before them. Just last month, a Boise Police Officer was shot in the
line of duty. Our officers’ days could be filled with danger as they seek to
serve and keep our communities safe. It’s no accident that Meridian is one of
the safest in the state – it is thanks to the service of our department as well
as their relationships with our community.
Shortly after the Dallas events I received a couple of
emails asking for accountability in our police department. My initial
response was what makes people think our officers aren’t accountable? The
Meridian Police Department’s mission is “to provide the highest quality service
in partnership with the community to preserve and protect life and property through
education, prevention and enforcement”. The department is focused on
accountability and transparency – something enriched with the body worn camera
program. The department also has an Office of Professional Responsibility. This
includes a strict process of reviewing all public complaints, comments,
inquiries and even praise our employees receive and involves our legal
department. They have a professional policy manual that is reviewed to make
sure it meets or exceeds national standards at a minimum of twice per year,
which we hold our officers accountable to. Because of this, we are one of the
few law enforcement agencies that is accredited through the Idaho Chiefs of
Police Association. And many of you may remember the recent video we had go
viral - when one of our officers responded to a dangerous dog situation and
handled it without the use of force. This is because of the training
programs we use. We take public safety, officer training, preparedness,
and accountability very seriously.
Our department has 97 police officers and 26 civilian staff
dedicated to making Meridian a great place to live, work and raise a family.
I’m thankful for their service, as I am with law enforcement across this
nation. Unfortunately there are rare and tragic incidents that cast a shadow on
all law enforcement. We simply can't let that happen. Not in Idaho, not in
Meridian. All lives matter! It’s time to rise up and unite as people - as a
country - and stop spewing hate.
By Mayor Tammy
I love summertime in Meridian! The
other day I was able to shop for produce at the Youth Farmers Market, attend
Dairy Days, cool off at the Kleiner Park splash pad with my grandkids and watch
the sunset from my patio on a gorgeous summer evening. As I watched the
sun go down, I thought of all of the amazing things we have to do, right here
in our own backyard! So if you are looking for some summer fun – here are 10
ideas to consider:
10. Youth Farmers Market
This year marks the first annual
Youth Farmers Market! This event is a long-awaited addition because it’s something the community
has wanted for some time, but ours is unique because the majority of vendors
are youth from across the valley. Bring the family downtown on Saturday
mornings, support our local youth and shop the fresh produce, baked goods,
crafts and more! (Now – Sept. 24, Saturdays from 9am-12pm, Meridian
City Hall Plaza)
9. CableONE Movie Night
Can you believe this is the 10th
year of CableONE Movie Night? I can remember when it began and it has
definitely grown to be a community favorite! Check out the schedule of movies
and share your pictures on social media with the hashtag
#MeridianMovieNight. (Now – Aug. 26, Fridays at dusk, Settlers Park)
8. Concerts on Broadway
This event grows in popularity
each year. Who doesn’t want to listen to some great concerts under the summer
night’s sky?! Join us for Concerts on Broadway here in the Meridian City Hall
Plaza! The concerts are free and there will be food trucks at each event this
year. (July 9, August 6, August 13, 6:30pm, Meridian City Hall Plaza)
7. Meridian Parks
There is plenty
of fun to be had in our parks this summer. The splash pads at Kleiner and
Settlers Parks are a great way to cool off and there’s fishing right here in
town at both of those parks! Our parks play host to numerous events throughout
the summer such as the Independence Day Festival at Storey Park, concerts,
races, vendor shows and more. And don’t forget to check out Storey Bark Park –
your dogs will love the amenities!
6. Kleiner Park LIVE
Speaking of our
parks - Kleiner Park Live is a Thursday night summer outdoor concert
series at the Kleiner Park band shell. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs and
enjoy some great evenings at the park. There will be food and beer vendors on
site. The next concert is July 7, featuring Hang Eleven. For more information
check out the list of shows and dates at www.meridiancity.org/kleinerparklive.
5. Roaring Springs/Wahooz
It’s probably one of the more
sought after destinations in our community come summer. Beat the heat at
Roaring Springs or check out Wahooz for some family fun!
4. Indoor Activities such as
Across town, you can stay cool by
staying indoors. Big Al’s, like Wahooz, offer specials throughout the summer
including Kids Bowl Free! Last year Big Al’s provided over 115,000 FREE games
of bowling at their three locations in the Northwest including Meridian. Other
options for indoor fun in town include Jump Time, Dart Wars, and Danik
3. The Village at Meridian
Aside from the great shopping and
dining, The Village is hosting events throughout the summer including Yoga at
Fountain Square, Kids Storytime, Ladies Night Out and Art Walks, and the Rock
the Village Concert Series that kicks off July 8 and is held every Friday night
through August 26. We’re seeing some other local businesses host summer concert
series this year including the Courtyard Marriott and the Homestead Bar and
2. Meridian Library
If your kids are getting stir
crazy this summer, the Meridian Library has plenty of fun and engaging options
for them! From the new unBound location in Downtown Meridian that hosts
programs each week, to the Summer Reading event that includes incentives –
there’s something for everyone!
1. Experience Downtown Meridian
And finally, I encourage you to
experience Downtown Meridian this summer. Learn about our community’s history
by following our Historical Walking Tour or check out the changes in downtown.
We’ve welcomed several new businesses and just revealed new updates along Idaho
Avenue including decks, planters and more!
Of course aside from my top ten
there’s community favorites like golfing at Lakeview Golf Club, Food Trucks in
the Park every Wednesday at Settlers, the Barn Sour Race (August 20), and
the Community Block Party in September. Plus, our Parks and Recreation
Department put together a Summer Activity Guide that is full of fun ideas and
activities for people of all ages!
You can always check out more
events online on our website – www.meridiancity.org. We look forward to seeing your
pictures and videos on social media from your summer fun in our community with
the hashtags #MeridianSummer and #MyMeridian.
By Mayor Tammy
This week – the old meets the
new in Downtown Meridian. A long time tradition and a new community tradition
will help us usher in the official start of summer – the long-standing Dairy Days
and the new Meridian Youth Farmers Market!
I can’t believe it is already
time for the Meridian Youth Farmers Market to kick off its inaugural season
(Saturday, June 25). It feels like just yesterday we were meeting in the Mayor’s
Office trying to figure out how we could make our community farmers market
unique to the valley. With the idea to create a Youth Farmers Market, we
launched something that had never been done before in the area – a market that
is focused on our youth. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this
market is a tremendous opportunity for our area youth. The focus on our kids
will give them the chance to learn ‘life skills’ and profit from their hobbies
and projects, but most importantly, their passions.
Every Saturday from 9am-12pm
(June 25 – September 24), I invite you to visit the market in the Meridian City
Hall Plaza and support our youth! You’ll find products such as fresh fruits,
vegetables, herbs, baked goods, refreshments and food trucks!
We’re excited to kick off
this new community event in the midst of the 87th annual Meridian
Dairy Days (June 23-26). The Meridian Dairy Board has put together an
even larger Dairy Days event this year, with more options and activities for
families. New to the event this year – an Art Festival on Saturday June
25 at 11am in Storey Park. This is the first time the Meridian Arts Commission
has teamed up with the Dairy Board to put this event together. It will feature
20 local artists, art classes for kids and performances by the Treasure Valley
Also at the Park; Brown’s
Carnival which opens at 4pm on Thursday, June 23, and the Pancake Feed that
same day at 4pm, benefiting the Meridian Food Bank and the Meridian Injured
Police Officers Fund. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are packed with family
activities including a bike rodeo, live entertainment and a fireworks show at
the Meridian Speedway on Friday at 10:30pm.
The large Dairy Days Parade
where thousands are expected to head to Downtown Meridian is on Friday, June 24
at 6:45pm with a new route! It will begin on Main Street at the Meridian
Speedway, run north to East Fairview, then south on 2 ½ Street.
I’m looking forward to this
weekend as we celebrate two traditions in Downtown Meridian, an old and new one
- giving residents even more options for activities in our great community!
For more information on
these events, visit week www.meridiancity.org and click on the City
News and Meetings tab.
By Mayor Tammy
As we wrap up the 2015-16 school year, it's appropriate to highlight a group of people who are near and dear to my heart. They are the ones who wake up each day and come to work with the sole purpose of protecting our kids. The Meridian Police Department School Resource Officer (SRO) program consists of 9 officers who are assigned to 13 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, 3 high schools and several alternative, charter and private schools in our community within the West Ada School District.
Our SRO’s do more than just enforce the law. They walk the halls of our schools connecting with our kids; they also attend events such as high school sports games – keeping our community safe. Our SROs are involved in youth education, mentoring kids in our community and working directly with them – as evidenced by an event that took place this past week at Mountain View High School. A few months ago, Meridian Police Officer David Gomez spoke with a local newspaper about the students he encounters who don’t have necessities, like shoes. After reading this article, local business Pulse Running and Fitness Shop donated 100 pairs of shoes to Mountain View students in need on May 31. Officer Gomez was thrilled saying “these shoes will go to kids at the school who desperately need new shoes and cannot afford them. I have given out three pairs of shoes today already.”
Officer Gomez is popular amongst the students and faculty at Mountain View but he’s also well known in the community for his Internet Safety for Families Class that he offers for free throughout the year. It’s an extremely important class in this age of technology, designed to teach parents and students about the dangers of social media and how to stay protected.
Another popular SRO in our community just announced he’s retiring! School Resource Officer Mike Lock has been with the Meridian Police Department for 24 years and has served many of those years as the SRO at Meridian Middle School. Officer Lock’s impact on our kids has been immeasurable. The community is invited to join us in celebrating Officer Lock’s retirement on Friday, June 10, 2016 at 3pm at Meridian City Hall.
I’ve called out two SRO’s by name, but it takes the whole team - and their caring supervisor - working diligently each day with our schools and youth. They are key to keeping our community one of the safest in the state and the number one place to live in America. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard from residents, even employees here at City Hall, about how an SRO has made a difference in the lives of a student. So as we close out this school year, I want to say thank you to the Meridian Police School Resource Officers who serve and protect our youth, each and every day.