by Mayor Tammy
This week I will deliver my 10th State of the City Address.
Looking back over this last year it is amazing to see what we have been able to
accomplish as a community. I hope you
join me as, we celebrate our past year’s accomplishments, identify the
challenges we face, highlight a couple of our plans for the year ahead and
thank those who have been part of our successes. This event will be held
February 5 at Meridian Middle School at 3:59 p.m. You can visit www.meridiancity.org
for more information if you would like to attend or watch the event streamed
from our website.
I don’t want to give too much away before my State of the City Address, but
during my presentation we will continue the conversation about the need to have
a safe community, create family wage jobs, have places to go, improve our
transportation network, and ensure you have a responsive government. Whether
our Fire Department is working to improve their response times or the Public
Works Department is working with the Ada County Highway District to enhance our
water and sewer infrastructure and roads in our downtown, you will be able to
see how our City employees and partner agencies care about this community.
We continue working with our business and regional partners in growing and
attracting family-wage jobs, which will in turn, bring prosperity for our
citizens, our community, and the broader region. In order to remain a vibrant,
self-sustaining community, we must encourage and support investment and job
creation, strategically attract appropriate businesses, and support existing
business by providing a positive environment to operate within. By building an environment where our
businesses thrive and in which new businesses are attracted we can identify and
grow the future “Scentsy’s” of our world.
In the coming year I’d like to build upon our successes, which means continuing
to ensure Meridian remains the safest community in Idaho. But we cannot rest
there. We must focus efforts on ‘building our children’ who hold the future in
their hands. For example, by working with the Boys & Girls Club in Meridian
to expand so they can accommodate our kids who want a safe place after school
and can have caring adults to spend time with.
This is just a glimpse of what I plan to touch on this week. We have an amazing story to tell and I look
forward to seeing you at State of the City Address. You, too, can be a part of
setting the stage for our future.
If one of your goals for the New Year is to become more engaged in your community, the City of Meridian has a number of volunteer opportunities which may be of interest to you. With vacancies on four separate and distinct groups and Commissions, there is something for everyone so please make sure and take a look and see if you have the time and talents to get involved.
First, the Meridian Development Corporation (MDC) is looking to fill the remainder of a term which would run until August 2015. MDC is an independent agency leading downtown Meridian s urban renewal efforts. MDC Commissioners meet the second Wednesday of each month, at 7:30 a.m., and the fourth Wednesday of each month at 4:00 pm, at Meridian City Hall. Anyone is eligible to apply for this position.
The Meridian Arts Commission also has an opening for a three year term which through March of 2017. The Arts Commission advises the Mayor and Council on arts/cultural policy and promotes public awareness and participation in the arts. This commission meets the second Thursday of each month at 3:30 pm at Meridian City Hall. Anyone is eligible to apply for this position.
The City of Meridian is looking for a Commissioner to serve the reminder of a three year term until September 2015 on the Impact Fee Advisory Commission. Members of this commission review and make recommendations to the City Council regarding existing and proposed impact fees and fee structures to help ensure that growth pays its own way. The ideal candidate will have an interest, background, or understanding of police and fire operations and public safety issues. Meetings are held at least annually, with additional meetings held as needed.
Finally, there is an opening on the Air Quality Board (AQB). The individual selected will serve as the City of Meridian s citizen representative on the board which governs the Automotive Inspection and Readjustment Program (AIR established by Joint Powers Agreement # 1291 between Ada County, and the cities of Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and Garden City) which seeks to reduce vehicular pollution levels in Ada County. There is no set length of time to serve in this position and the board meets the fourth Monday of each month at noon at the AQB’s Meridian office location. Visit www.emissiontest.org/ for more information about the work of the AQB.
To be considered for one of these voluntary positions, you must complete an application form which can be found here or obtained from the Meridian City Clerk s Office. In addition, a letter of interest and resume should be sent to Mayor Tammy de Weerd at Meridian City Hall, 33 E. Broadway Avenue, Meridian ID., 83642, by Friday, February 7, 2014.
by Mayor Tammy
I am so excited for this year we are just beginning and seeing what it brings! In addition to seeing our kids go back to school, January also officially kicks off the new legislative session. This is a time when our senators and representatives evaluate Idaho and its needs and make changes to our laws as they believe to be in the best interest of Idaho and its citizens. They don’t do this in a vacuum, and in fact, rely heavily on what they hear from the public they represent when they make these important decisions that impact us all.
As part of this process, last week the City of Meridian was fortunate to hold its third annual Legislative Town Hall. We invited Idaho’s legislative leaders from the House and Senate, as well as our local legislators, to Meridian so they could hear about issues important to the City, Joint School District No. 2, the Chamber of Commerce, the Meridian Development Corporation, and The CORE. In addition, they heard from members of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council and the public. This unique event not only brings together members of the House and Senate, but it allows them to hear a variety of issues that may be unique to our growing community, giving a more global perspective to the challenges we face that other parts of the state may not.
This year the City is watching and advocating for issues which we believe are important to both how we will continue to develop as a community and what we need to be focused on as a state to ensure good public policy. Specifically the issues we discussed and shared information with our legislative leaders included information about the need to maintain the current standards for well construction to ensure our water supplies remain safe for all; our opposition to the removal of eminent domain which is a needed tool to ensure city services can be delivered to all parts of our community; our concerns with the current practices of annexation related to City Area of Impact; and our desire to let discussions move forward on creating an Idaho Resident Code and an Idaho Energy Conservation Code to benefit all rather than using the existing international codes. In addition, the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council shared their views on making the failure to wear a seat belt, for someone under the age of 19, a primary offense for traffic stops. In case you missed the event, we have placed a video of it on our website.
While there is much to be said and more to be learned on all of these issues, they represent some of our needs and desires as a community and we have taken the important step of educating our House and Senate elected officials. They were able to ask good and important questions related to these and the many other issues showing their breadth of knowledge and desire of understanding. I encourage you to engage with our area legislators on issues that matter to you as I know they care, listen, and value your input.
Specifically, I’d like to thank our attendees for their interest in our community: Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder, Senate Majority Caucus Chair Russ Fulcher, and Senators Cliff Bayer and Marv Hagedorn. In addition, we were also pleased to be joined by House Majority Caucus Chair John Vander Woude, House Minority Leader Grant Burgoyne, and Representatives Joe Palmer, James Holtzclaw, Tom Dayley, Steve Harris, Reed DeMordaunt, and Jason Monks. I wish them and all the members of the House and Senate wisdom and guidance as they tackle the issues in the 2014 legislative session.
The Idaho Tennis Association presented the City of Meridian and the Meridian Tennis Association each$1,000 check to be used to encourage more children to play tennis. The money will be used to purchase nets and build an equipment locker at the Settlers Village Square in Settlers Park.
“The Idaho Tennis Association is excited to partner with these two organizations to offer 10 and under children the opportunity to learn how to play tennis,” said Mike Harvey Executive Director of Idaho Tennis Association. “Idaho Tennis Association offers programs for 10 and under children, family classes and adult leagues. We are excited to expand these programs in Meridian.”
Settlers Village Square will include six 78’ courts, one championship court and three courts for 10 and under players that can double as pickleball courts. It is scheduled to open this summer.
The past 12 months have been an exciting time in the City of Meridian. The community saw continued growth, welcomed many new businesses, wrapped up a huge road project and added more seats to the City Council. Here is a quick look back at some of the top highlights of 2013 in Meridian.
In May, voters decided it was time for the Meridian City Council to expand from four to six seats. The expansion led to the largest City Council election in Meridian’s history. Seventeen candidates faced off for the four open seats. In the end, Luke Cavener and Genesis Milam won the newly created seats, Joe Borton, a former Meridian Councilmember, won seat 2 and Keith Bird was re-elected to seat 4. The new Councilmembers will be sworn into office on January 7.
Drivers celebrated when the Meridian Split Corridor Project Phase 2 wrapped up in September, one month ahead of schedule. During construction, drivers experienced road closures and had to spend extra time on the road. The delays seem to be paying off now that the project is complete and drivers are experiencing the ease of traveling to or through downtown. The new traffic pattern features a crossover street from Main to Meridian Road to help get drivers quickly through the area, wider intersections at Fairview Avenue and Main Street and Cherry Lane and Meridian Road and five lanes from Cherry Lane south to the railroad tracks. The road project also coincided with a large-scale update to the sewer and water services in the area.
In October, The Village at Meridian opened its doors. The new lifestyle center, on the corner of Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue, features a state of the art cinema, shopping and many dining choices that are new to Idaho including Yard House and Kona Grill. Since opening, The Village has quickly become a destination for Idaho shoppers. It also brought many new jobs to the community. The general manager for The Village at Meridian estimated as many as 2,000 jobs would be created in 2013.
Another positive economic sign during 2013 was the increase in new home construction. More than 900 home permits were filed with the City during the past 12 months. In fact, more homes were built in Meridian than any other city in the Treasure Valley. Home construction is a positive sign for Meridian’s economy. It helps put people back to work, from roofers to architects, and shows consumer confidence is growing; something that is good for all local businesses.
With 2013 behind us, Meridian is already looking forward to the new year. It will be the first time the City has had six Councilmembers, work is set to start on a new public safety training center and it appears the City is poised for another year of steady growth.
Happy New Year! I wish you my warmest blessings for 2014 – good health, lots of laughter and success in progressing towards your goals.
It is an exciting time at City Hall as we prepare to welcome some new faces to our City Council. Soon, we will swear in the three new candidates and one returning Councilmember who won their campaigns during the November election. Two of the Councilmembers about to take office will fill brand new seats, meaning we will have six Councilmembers for the very first time.
While I am excited to welcome our new Council, I am also sad to be saying goodbye to our Council President, Brad Hoaglun, who decided not to run for re-election. Brad has worked tirelessly for the last six years to help further our mission of making Meridian Idaho’s premiere community to live, work and raise a family. Brad will be sorely missed as we move forward and I wish him the very best! If you see him, please take a moment to thank him for his dedicated service to our community.
As tough as it is to say goodbye to Brad, I am excited to welcome Joe Borton, Genesis Milam and Luke Cavener to the City Council. I can say with full-confidence that these Councilmembers will indeed represent the citizens of our community and I am excited to officially have them on our team. While I have had the pleasure of knowing each of them through a variety of involvements, I wanted to share a little bit about each Councilmembers with you.
To some of you, the name Joe Borton may sound familiar. Joe previously served on the City Council from 2005 to 2008. Speaking with Joe, I can tell you he is very excited to be serving his community again. He says he can’t wait to listen and learn from all of your experiences in our community. Joe cares about the future of Meridian very much because he and his wife are raising their two sons here.
I am excited to welcome Genesis Milam to the Council. As a small business owner and mother she will bring a fresh and unique perspective to decision making. Genesis is already focusing on moving Meridian forward and wants to continue to find new ways to foster business development in our community, especially among small and home-based businesses.
The final new face to the Council, Luke Cavener, wants to be a voice for young families in our community. Luke is married and has a 6-year-old son. Luke has told me he wants to help demystify local government and make Meridian even more accessible to the community. Luke will be our youngest Councilmember and I am looking forward to having him as part of the team.
While not new to the Council, it is great to welcome back Keith Bird. Keith has served on the Meridian City Council for 16 years and when he starts his fifth term this month he will be the longest serving Councilmember in Meridian’s history. Keith has seen this community grow from a small Idaho town to the state’s third largest city. His experience and institutional knowledge is invaluable to our community and he has always made sure we’ve stayed true to our roots.
Please come and get to know your new and returning Councilmembers! Join us January 7 at 6 p.m. at City Hall as we swear in the newly elected Councilmembers and bid farewell to our dear friend Brad Hoaglun. I look forward to working with this new and larger City Council as we put the needs of Meridian first to create a community all families want to call home.
Christmas is almost here. While many families have already finished their holiday shopping, the stores will be busy the next few days as last-minute shoppers pick up their final gifts. And once Christmas is over, the stores will once again see a flood of people cashing in their gift cards and making holiday returns.
During this busy shopping season, the Meridian Police Department tends to see an increase in crimes of opportunity, like packages being taken out of unlocked cars. To help make sure your last minute shopping goes off without a hitch, the Meridian Police Department has some easy tips to help you enjoy the holidays, instead of criminals enjoying the holidays at your expense.
While shoppers are looking for a good deal, scrooges are looking for a good steal. “The first trick of successful Christmas shopping is protecting your credit cards and cash,” said Meridian Police Chief Jeff Lavey. “People often accidentally make themselves easy targets for criminals by leaving their purses in shopping carts and stepping away for a few seconds to grab something further down the aisle.” Officers say it only takes criminals a few seconds to grab a purse and run.
If you carry a purse, officers say it is best to carry one you can and will keep close to your body. Don’t leave a purse or wallet in your shopping cart when you’re digging through the sale section, even if it’s just for a few seconds, and don’t leave it in your shopping cart while loading your car. Police officers say it is best to never put a purse in your shopping cart.
As you pick up your last minute deals, make sure you keep all of your receipts. As your bank statements come in, make sure your bill matches up with your purchases. These receipts can come in handy in case anything unexpected shows up.
“After you’ve made all your purchases, take a few minutes before you leave the store to make sure you’re ready,” said Lavey. “Ask yourself, did you get your card back? Do you have your hands free in case you need them quickly? Do you have your keys in your hand, so you can open your vehicle without being distracted? When you’re prepared it makes it that much harder for someone to try and take you by surprise.”
If you are out shopping, officers say it is best to keep your purchases out of sight. The best place for shopping bags is in the trunk. Most thieves are looking for an easy target. If they can’t see what they will get from breaking into your car, chances are they will look for another target.
Following these tips can help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. But if you find yourself the victim of a crime, call the Meridian Police Department right away. The sooner officers learn about a crime, the more likely they are to find the person responsible.