With the current fiscal year in its last quarter (June 1st to September 30th), the Mayor and Council have tentatively adopted the FY2009 Amended Budget and the FY2010 Proposed Budgets. The Council will formally adopt the FY2010 Budget on August 25, 2009 during its scheduled meeting starting at 7:00pm. More detailed information about the budgets can be found on our webpage and Council agenda’s can be found at the City Clerks webpage.
The City of Meridian has been reviewing numerous City, County, State and National economic reports to help in preparing the FY2010 Budget. Many efforts have been made to reduce the overall budget without sacrificing the vision that the City has in striving to be a premier city to live, work, and raise a family. By delaying specific capital projects a few months/years and adopting a hiring freeze on a handful of positions, the City will be able to avoid layoffs to its current staff.
The City of Meridian has many of the same financial obstacles that our neighboring cities do. With the reduction in sales taxes, property taxes and government financing, a balancing act of sorts is needed to continue to provide the citizens the safety and security that they deserve while respecting the tax payers checkbook. Through special workshops and town hall meetings, the City worked with its Mayor, Council and citizens to develop a balanced budget once again for the City of Meridian.
For more information about the Budget for the City of Meridian, please contact the Office of Financial Management and Planning. Click Here for a link to our Contact Us webpage.
The first step in understanding how to conserve water in your home is to know where water is used.
Most people use 50 to 70 gallons of water indoors each day and as much as the same amount outdoors, depending on the season. Indoors, three-quarters of all the water is used in the bathroom and outdoors, lawn and garden watering and car washing account for most of the water used.
How to Conserve Water Daily
Because such a huge percentage of the water you use is used in the bathroom, that's where water conservation efforts should focus. You can install a few simple, inexpensive devices in the bathroom that can save a lot of water with no change in your lifestyle or your present habits. Most of our local home improvement stores stock these items. These are:
• Placing a water-filled bottle or container in bottom of toilet tank can reduce the amount of water flowing out of the toilet by up to 25 percent and they do not affect its flushing ability. Always be sure that at least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly.
• Low flow, water-saving shower heads. This inexpensive and easy to install piece of plumbing reduces the amount of water flowing through your shower by up to 50 percent, but increases its velocity so the shower feels the same. This also saves hot water, which saves you in gas costs.
• Faucet aerators. These devices restrict the amount of water going through your faucet by up to 50 percent, but add bubbles so the flow of water appears the same. They could be installed on all of your faucets, not just the ones in your bathroom for very little out-of-pocket expense.
Other relatively simple things you can do in your home to further reduce water use are:
• Repair leaks in your faucets and toilets. A leaky faucet can waste 20 gallons or more per day. Leaky toilets, even though they are usually silent, can waste hundreds of gallons per day. To find out if your toilet has leaks, put a little food coloring in the tank. If, without flushing, color appears in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired. Repairing a faucet is usually as simple as changing an inexpensive washer. Leaky toilets can often be repaired by adjusting the float arm or plunger ball.
• Use your dishwasher and clothes washer only when you have a full load. If you are purchasing a new clothes washer, choose one with variable load or suds-saver options. Many dishwashers are also now available with water-saving options. If you already have these options, use them whenever possible.
• If you are building a new home or remodeling an old one, consider installing "low flush" toilets. These toilets use 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of the 3 to 5 gallons used by conventional ones. They are readily available and, although they cost a little bit more, they can save you a lot of money in the long run through decreased water and energy use.
• Avoid unnecessarily flushing your toilet. Never use it as a wastepaper basket to dispose of cigarette butts or tissue paper.
• Turn off the faucet while you are shaving or brushing your teeth or hand washing dishes.
• Avoid running water in the shower while you are shampooing or soaping. Most people step away from the water to do this anyway. Many water-saving shower heads come with a button to shut off the flow without changing the mix of hot and cold water.
Outdoor uses of water are often high volume. Nevertheless, there are ways you can save water. Try these:
• Attach a pistol-type sprayer to the end of your garden hose. In addition to enabling you to adjust the rate of flow, this device keeps water from continuing to run out during those short periods when you put down the hose without turning it off (while you are washing your car, for example).
• Water your lawn only when necessary. It takes 660 gallons of water to supply 1,000 square feet of lawn with 1 inch of water. This is nearly the same amount of water as you use inside the house in an entire week! Water your lawn when it begins to show signs of wilting - when the grass does not spring back when you step on it - rather than on a regular schedule.
• Use mulch around trees and shrubs and in garden beds. This greatly reduces the amount of water lost through evaporation and so reduces the need for watering.
• Consider using a drip irrigation system in your garden. This system supplies water only to the root zones of plants. In addition to saving water, it reduces weeding because it doesn't water the areas between rows and hills of crops.
• Use only plant varieties that are well adapted to your locality and sell conditions. Poorly chosen varieties often need greater amounts of fertilizer and water just to stay alive. If the expense of replacing all of your shrubs and trees seems daunting and too expensive, make a goal to only change out a couple at a time. The money you will save in water costs will be worth your efforts.
• Avoid watering the lawn. Your lawn may turn brown in the middle of the summer, but this doesn't mean that it's dead; it’s just dormant and will return when cooler weather or rain returns. Most people are usually more concerned about their neighbors will think if their grass begins to brown a little rather then focus Rather, the grass is dormant and will regrow when rain and cooler weather returns.
• Use the water from your roof downspouts for watering your garden and flower beds. Placing buckets in these areas can provide you with a quite a few flower bed or garden waterings.
And just remember when it comes to conserving water and saving money, every little bit helps.
As many regular visitors to our website noticed, on June 15, 2009 the City released a new look and feel to our website. By enhancing our look, we were able to eliminate a lot of the unnecessary page scrolling and allow visitors a streamlined experience.
In addition to the cosmetics changes, we implemented a new content management system (CMS) which helps manage how information is organized and accessed. We realized that our old back-end management tool was outdated and cumbersome to use. This upgrade enabled us to provide enhanced functionality and features for visitors and staff alike. The CMS we chose is a cutting edge .Net application by Ektron.
As an IT Department, we love Technology and the ways that it can simplify the distribution of data. Our vision is to eliminate the need for someone to call to get an answer. Calling should be your choice, rather than the only method to obtain information. Especially since most city services are only open during business hours. The internet, when used correctly is a powerful tool which makes information accessible by a click of a mouse. And with tools internally, we’ve equipped employees and departments to manage their own content without requiring a degree in Computer Science.
Although the finished product looks tremendous, it had many challenges. To efficiently upgrade our site, we utilized a two-phased approach. The first part of the project was to convert all of our existing content over to the new CMS, while keeping the existing look and feel. This task alone was quite time consuming with over 2700 unique pages of content. We accomplished this task largely through the use of our interns from the Meridian Technical Charter High school in about four weeks.
Once the content was successfully migrated, we started the second phase; an updated look and feel. What was not apparent to most visitors of our site was that six weeks prior to the new look, we had already migrated the back-end to the new CMS. This was the goal, to get the back-end working while keeping the look the same.
In order to complete phase two, we contracted with a local design company Fuel3. Fuel3 worked with city staff to design a modern look, that interfaced with the latest social networking sites, and was easier to navigate. Once Fuel3 completed the design work, we had the challenge of operating both sites in parallel until the launch date. The key to success was making sure everything worked in the new site without breaking the old one, which was still live. After a few weeks everything was done and rolled out on schedule.
Some of the new technologies built into our site are:
• Pulling a RSS feed from weather.gov to display the current weather on the top of the site.
• One stop shop for all our online services under the Online Services dropdown
• A powerful search engine for finding any piece of content anywhere on our site.
• Rotating banner images that are configured from inside of the CMS.
• Photo Gallery with a built in slide show.
• RSS feeds and E-mail subscriptions for newsletters, agendas, etc.
• Calendar of Events.
• Menus and every piece of content are now editable without knowledge of HTML.
We encourage you to check out the new features and let the City know what you think!
Today many of our Meridian Youth Baseball and Softball athletes will begin participating in a variety of regional baseball tournaments in Washington and Oregon. In fact, seven of our eight teams qualified for the regional tournament due to their success in state tournament play.
I want to wish our area youth athletes well as they participate in these regional tournaments. Winners of the regional tournaments qualify to participate in the Babe Ruth World Series later this year. The MYB/S league includes over a thousand area athletes, ranging in ages from four to fifteen and is built on sportsmanship, teamwork, discipline, and community involvement. In fact, MYB/S even held two charitable tournaments this season.
We will keep the community updated on the progress of these seven teams and will be posting information on our Facebook page as it becomes available. I encourage you to check in to monitor their progress.
With one trip to Leighton Family Baseball Complex, it is easy to see why so many teams that practice and play there go on to have success at the state and regional level. The City’s goal for Settlers Park and the Leighton Family Baseball Complex is to be a tournament caliber sports complex and provide youth with the opportunity to participate in athletics on a competitive basis. Or, it can be just a great way to spend an afternoon.
If you have never attended a ballgame at Settlers Park, make plans to attend this week, as not all tournament participants are leaving Meridian. The 12 and under and 13 and under state tournament winners will have home field advantage in this weekend’s local tournament. Come out and support our local athletes and enjoy a great weekend in Meridian.
Meridian is a vibrant community whose vision is to be a premier city to live, work, and raise a family. The City strives hard to provide opportunities for its residents to live in a safe community. Many city departments have an educational component and are ready to provide you service and education. The fire department provides classes on home/business fire safety, emergency evacuations, fire extinguisher safety, child passenger seats, CPR, first aid, babysitting safety, senior fire and fall, disaster planning and much more. We schedule classes at one of our City facilities or at locations throughout the community.
We are currently taking applications for our fall Public Safety Academy scheduled to begin in September. This ten-week Academy is free to members of the community. If you are interested in experiencing both the fire and police departments first hand, then this Academy is for you.
In early August our firefighters will be hosting our famous Salmon BBQ. This is the 30th annual BBQ with the proceeds supporting the Meridian Burn-Out-fund. Along with food and drink and many raffle items, there will be fun and educational activities for the children; making this a family friendly event. Tickets are now on sale at the Fire Department Administration Offices in City Hall.
With the City of Meridian having so many young families, one area of safety where the department gets a lot of requests to teach about is Child Passenger Seats. We schedule car seat inspections throughout the month and rotate a monthly check-up event throughout the city. On September 12th we will be hosting National Child Passenger Seat Safety Day at fire station #1. There will be safety and educational booths encouraging safe practices and car seat technicians will be on hand to inspect a large volume of seats during the day.
Fire Prevention Month is quickly approaching and although the month of October is the designated month of recognition, the department receives so many requests that we start providing educational skits in elementary schools and preschools during the month of September. Traditionally, September and October are our busiest months for public education so you will want to call early to get on our schedule. This years Fire Prevention Month theme is “Stay Fire Smart – Don’t Get Burned”
Meridian Fire is passionate about being your partner in Safety, to schedule or discuss an educational class for your group; call our Public Education and Prevention Specialist Pam Orr at 489-0452 or e-mail at email@example.com.
The Meridian Police Department is gearing up for National Night Out on August 4th. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet your neighbors, elected officials and public safety personnel as we take control of the evening. Police members will be visiting many block parties, neighborhood celebrations, ice cream socials and other activities your neighborhood may have. Please make sure you contact Melissa Delaney at the police department to ensure you are on our list.
Our Public Safety Academy recently held their graduation after successful completion of ten weeks of lectures, demonstrations and hands on experience in Police and Fire operations. After the graduation, the alumni were happy with the experience but sad that it was over. The next academy will be this fall and we are currently accepting applications.
We are continuing to research the history of the Meridian Police Department dating back to 1903. Any citizen that has knowledge of any history that they feel is beneficial to our department is asked to contact Barb Hatch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department members have been busy participating in many community events this summer. We had a team of runners compete in the Sawtooth Relay run from Stanley to Sun Valley and another team participated in the Main Street Mile in downtown Boise. Meridian Police and Fire competed in the First Annual Hot Wings eating contest at Buffalo Wild Wings. Proceeds from this event benefitted the Fire Burn Out fund and the Police K-9 program.
The next competition is scheduled for July 30 at 5:30 PM. This will be a Guns and Hoses baseball game held prior to the Boise Hawks game scheduled for 7:30. Proceeds for this event go to the Police Memorial Scholarship Fund. Please come join us at the ballpark for an evening of fun.
Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 846-7370 if you have any questions or comments in regards to your police department.
Chief Jeff Lavey
Hello. My name is Steve Siddoway, and it is my great pleasure to serve the citizens of Meridian as the Parks & Recreation Director. We have a growing parks system, as well as a number of growing recreation programs. Over the past six weeks, we have been pleased to open and commemorate a number of wonderful new facilities that will serve the citizens of Meridian for years to come.
1. Meridian Community Center--On Thursday, May 21, we held a grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting for the new Meridian Community Center. It was great to have several children from the Boys & Girls Club in attendance. This promises to be a valuable resource for classes, summer camps, and other activities throughout the year. We look forward to expanding our use of the center to accommodate a growing number of recreation programs for the citizens of this community.
2. Meridian Bark Park--On Tuesday, May 26, we held a grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting for our new dog park. This is a great addition to the types of services and amenities we are able to offer the citizens of Meridian and their pets. We would like to thank the Meridian Police Department for their partnership in opening the Meridian Bark Park and making it available to the public.
3. Gordon Harris Park--On Friday, June 5, we held the grand opening for Gordon Harris Park, formerly known as Kiwanis Park. Gordon Harris has been an active supporter of Meridian Parks and Recreation for many years, through the Daybreakers Kiwanis Club. His can-do attitude and get-it-done work ethic have made a real difference to the entire community. We are privileged to have been the recipients of his abundant volunteer efforts and are pleased to name this park in his honor.
4. Adventure Island Playground--On Saturday, June 13, we held a commemoration ceremony to honor the many donors—especially Darin and Angela Lindig—who contributed their time, talents, money, and a whole lot of effort to create our signature playground in Meridian Settlers Park. This is a universally accessible playground for children of all abilities. The recent additions, such as the Sound Garden and the Little City of Rocks provide even more play opportunities for children throughout this community. We hope you enjoy this wonderful playground!
5. Settlers Village Square--On Saturday, June 27, we officially opened the new tennis courts and horseshoe pits in Settlers Park. They are the first amenities of their kind in our park system. This is the first phase of a three-phase addition to Settlers Park that we call Settlers Village Square. The next phase will build more tennis courts, and the third phase of the project includes a public plaza, or village square, planned for the corner of Ustick and Meridian Roads, which is where the overall project got its name. We look forward to adding these future phases over the next several years!
For more information about these and other parks in Meridian, click here
Anna Borchers Canning, AICP, City of Meridian Planning Director
When I tell folks that I am a City Planner, they often have little or no idea as to what that may mean. “What kind of planning?” they ask, still perplexed. It is often best to try and describe some of the things we do; the Planning Department is responsible for four primary tasks.
The first, and by far the most important, is to work with the City leaders to develop a vision for the City with regard to where businesses, industries, residences, and public uses such as parks, fire stations, and schools, should be located. This vision is recorded in a document called the “Comprehensive Plan.”
The second task is to review development proposals and to make sure they are consistent with our comprehensive plan—our blueprint to guide growth and development—and our City codes and regulations. Another of our tasks is to work with our transportation planning partners to ensure that Meridian’s transportation needs are known and addressed (to the greatest extent possible). Finally, we administer the Community Development Block Grant program for the City.
We currently have a staff of nine in the City of Meridian Planning Department, although we are gradually getting smaller due to the slow down in development activity. I have a great staff and I enjoy my job. We have no lack of interesting challenges, whether it is the formerly frantic pace of development in the City or the need to find new solutions and ways of doing business given these difficult economic times.
Sharing “good news” in our community is often overlooked, with media outlets often focused on what’s going wrong in our communities. We are fortunate to have good news stories in Meridian; I want to make you aware of one of these.
Last Thursday I received an email from a resident in the Glenfield Manor neighborhood. Like other neighborhoods, a few of the homes in their neighborhood have fallen into foreclosure and abandonment. What makes this story worth sharing is the power of neighbors – of community building.
These neighbors recognized that an abandoned home gave the entire neighborhood a less than positive image. To help out, 16 year-old named Trey grabbed his lawn mower and weed eater and spent over five hours cleaning and maintaining an abandoned yard.
Through his service and hard work he helped our community become a better place. Trey received no financial benefit, just the feeling of knowing he was improving his community. Many youth in Meridian are community-minded and service-oriented, sharing a certain community spirit that others envy and admire.
With today’s economic times, and many neighborhoods facing similar issues, I challenge you to follow Trey’s lead and better your neighborhood and community. Organize a community clean up event, work together as friends and neighbors to assist someone in need, or pick up a piece of trash on the street. It’s amazing when we work together as a community what we can accomplish.
I know the good news will not end with Trey. If you know of a good news story, or a member of our community who is helping others; I want to hear about it! Email me your good news stories at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meridian is a community that cares! Thank you all for carrying on this important tradition.
Hello, I’m Tom Barry, the City of Meridian Public Works Director, and I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the Public Works Department. My Department is comprised of 8 divisions and 14 sections with a total of 91.5 budgeted staff positions. I joined the Department as its Director in January of 2008. Prior to that, I worked for nearly a decade for two full-service public works departments in the greater Seattle area.
You know, I get asked the question from lots of folks “What exactly is Public Works.” Well, my Department is responsible for planning, designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining the entire water and sewer infrastructure in the City (with some minor exceptions). And we have quite a bit of infrastructure that must be managed. In fact, you may not know that we operate and maintain approximately 447 miles of water lines, 379 miles of sewer lines, 15 pressure reducing valve stations, 1 booster station, 18 active wells, 12 sewer lift stations, 3,500 active fire hydrants, and 8,500 sewer manholes. Our drinking water pumping capacity is 44.5 million gallons per day and our maximum permitted wastewater treatment capacity is 7.0 million gallons per day, although the treatment plant has been rated to accommodate up to 10.2 million gallons per day of flow. Most of what we do is “out of sight” – meaning not only is it cool, but that our infrastructure is primarily located under the ground. But managing the City’s water and sewer system is not all we do in Public Works.
My Department is also responsible for managing and permitting all land development and building construction activities in the City. We also manage citywide capital construction and inspection, administer floodplain, surface water and other environmental programs, and oversee the City’s geographical information system (otherwise referred to as spatial data or maps). One thing that makes us unique is that we do not manage our own street infrastructure. That’s the job of the Ada County Highway District (also known as ACHD). While we do coordinate and plan with ACHD, it’s their job to design, build and maintain most of our streets in Meridian (except those managed by the state or federal highway departments). You also may not know that as a separately funded operation, our revenues don’t come from taxes. Instead, we are operated much like a business – in that our revenues come mostly from the sale of our water and sewer services or from connection fees from new development.
On behalf of all of us in Public Works, I hope you found this information helpful. Please feel free to contact me or any of my staff at 898-5500 for more information about our services or to schedule a tour of our Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Have a great day,
Tom Barry, P.E.G.
The City of Meridian Finance Department includes Financial Reporting, Budgeting, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Purchasing, and Utility Billing. We believe that transparency and accountability are key to the governing process. As such as one of our major functions we produce a variety of financial reports that provide information for the City staff, elected officials, and citizens. However we do realize that most people do not get on the internet and rush to finance and accounting sites to read financial statements! Therefore we encourage specific questions about items you might wonder about on topics from Utility Billing to Purchasing. You can send your questions and/or suggestions to my email address – email@example.com
This time of year one of our primary areas of focus is the development of the next fiscal’s year’s budget. The draft budget has been developed and will be discussed in detail at our upcoming budget workshop. The workshop will be held July 2nd starting at 8 am at City Hall. The workshop will be followed by a public hearing August 25th starting at 6 pm at City Hall. The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend both events. The City’s FY2010 revenue forecast is available on our website. The City was very conservative this year expecting no increase in building activity and no increase in consumer spending. Realistically we except the state will start to climb out of the recession in 2010 but we chose to remain conservative and not reflect that in our forecasts.
The FY2010 Budget is also conservative on the expense side. The City has been able to maintain our high level of service the last two years with minimal increases to our tax supported services personnel and operating expenses by tightening our belts. The City Hall was constructed with funds saved over a period of several years and the City carries no debt for it as a consequence.
This spring we added transparency reports to our website. These reports list our monthly expense transactions by department and vendor and type. We feel these reports are easy to read and understand but we certainly encourage questions anyone might have regarding the content.
Stacy Kilchenmann CPA
CFO, City of Meridian