Two issues occupied the majority of Monday’s Twin Falls City Council meeting: Twin Falls police chief Kingsbury awarding his officers with awards and certifications and the city council raising impact fees. P.O.S.T. (Police Officer Standards of Training) certifications are earned by police officers over the course of several years. The first certificate (basic) must be obtained within one year of being an officer in Idaho. Certificates above the basic level are obtained through a mix of time on the job and outside training done by the officers.
Both Bailey Kemp and Joshua Rivers of the Twin Falls Police Department received their basic certificates, Shawn Applewhite received his supervisor certificate, and Liz Guzman received her intermediate certificate. Detective Brandy Matthews and officer Preston Stephenson received their masters certificates as well. The City Council congratulated the officers receiving their certificates and said some kind words about the officers’ years of service.
The Twin Falls City Council cannot raise impact fees unless they hold a public hearing before doing so, and Monday night was dedicated to that hearing. In past council meetings, the members of the council have expressed their desire to get these fees increased as soon as possible. The proposed fee increases can be found in our write-up of the original proposal from a few weeks ago, or you can go to the source. Generally speaking, they raised fees by a lot. Impact fees represent an unvoted-for and largely unaccountable tax on growth: they are collected from new home and business construction projects in the form of application fees and permit fees. If you are planning on building anything in the Twin Falls city limits, I recommend you apply before November of 2021 when the new fees take effect.
Several members of the community spoke against the fee hikes, including city council candidates Hannah Cameron and Mike Allred – no one spoke in favor. Some of the points brought up by the public were that the amount the fees are being increased (over 100%) seems high and that Twin Falls is in the middle of a housing crisis as it is. In the end, the city council voted unanimously in favor of the increases. Throughout the public hearing, city manager Travis Rothweiler attempted to justify the fees by pointing to the fact that the city services twice it’s resident population in traffic every day, and that the state of Idaho doesn’t return enough of our sales tax dollars to us here in Twin Falls. It is a rare moment when one bureaucrat accuses another of injustice, but whenever it happens, it just has to make you smile.
To paraphrase chicken little: the sky is looking a little low. What can be done? Thankfully, we still live under a representative republic form of government. If you have opinions on how things should change, reach out! Tell your Council members (all seven of them!) what you think. They can be contacted at their emails (listed below) or in person, every Monday night at 5pm at City Hall. The only way to turn the tide is to start paddling in the other direction. Grab an oar.
Twin Falls City Hall
203 Main Avenue East
Twin Falls, ID 83301