The following are questions that I have been asked by multiple groups. I thought you would like to view them all in one easy to use format.
Questions by Concerned Citizens of Canyon County Committee
In response to the economic downturn, what cuts are you willing to make? Would you consider a cut to your salary?
Initially, I believe all county budgets will be on the table for possible adjustment so we can operate within our means. I will study the available facts and the financial data as it is presented to the commission. The commissioners will need to work together and find the best options available. This would be my third major economic down-turn while serving in an administrative position dealing with tax revenue, so as before, we must work together to keep a balanced budget. Yes, I would be open to consider a change in the commissioners’ salary if necessary. I trust that our county residents will also help out by donating a percentage of their income to charity to help others in these tough economic times.
What is your feeling toward tax incentives for new businesses?
Tax incentives can be a useful incentive. Through my experiences as Mayor I have used tax incentives to draw new businesses to our area. For years many of the cities at the west end of the Treasure Valley have united together to seek out new quality businesses to bring to our area. Tax incentives must be given wisely and with discretion. The proposed business should not consume prime farm ground. It should enhance our way of life in Canyon County by providing high quality, high paying jobs, while supporting and enhancing our surrounding communities. These new companies should work with the local colleges and trade schools to provide jobs for their graduates. If the company has met those conditions, the financial data and the power of the agreement need to be examined. Does it make sense for the commissioners to grant an exemption? Will this tax incentive cost taxpayers more money, or is it helping to reduce our taxes? If presented to me when serving as your commissioner, the proposal must be proven to be beneficial to the county.
Would you be in favor of urban renewal money for the county?
The proposed new urban renewal district in the county would have to be passed by the voters, not by a vote of the commissioners. If that’s what the public wants, then I would help implement the district. Otherwise the answer should be no.
What is your plan for the jail expansion? Do you favor the pond property? Are you familiar with the DLR plan and do you support that plan?
My plan would be smaller steps towards developing more beds that are needed to increase our jail capacity. Steps that we can afford without the need of another bond levy. Another part of my plan is to educate the public on why expansion is needed. In 2008, the City of Greenleaf came up against a similar “Goliath.” We had a very large need and a very small budget. We needed to replace a failed sewer system and we were legally in trouble with DEQ and the EPA. I attack problems like this by gathering facts through thorough research. I then educated my city council and then our constituents through numerous city meetings. We gathered as many of our townspeople as possible in multiple public meetings. We listened, we informed, and then came to an agreement on the best cost-effective way forward. This jail problem will not be solved by voting “NO.” We also shouldn’t solve it by trying to be extravagant. We should educate our Canyon County residents as to what it is costing us each time we vote “no.” There is a very real cost in higher crime rates, criminals receiving early-release for lack of room and other costs involved in out-sourcing.
I believe the most efficient facilities would be at the existing courthouse complex not out at the pond property.
I am aware of the DLR plan and this group’s efforts to challenge the commissioners with different statistics and conclusions. Their 2017-2018 data will need to be refreshed because of still more growth. It will be good input for the new commissioners as they start their own path forward concerning the jail.
However, I do not support the current DLR plan. I was appalled at the cost per bed in their report. We can do something for far less.
How do you intend to pay for a new jail?
I believe that Commissioners Hanson, Rule, and Van Beek have had some innovative ideas on how
to work within our existing funding streams and allocate or re-allocate resources. Again, I am more in favor of looking into alternative measures and ideas on addressing our bed shortage problem.
Why are you running at this time for commissioner?
I believe I am the best candidate for this position. I have governmental leadership experience. I have a tested conservative background. I have led the City of Greenleaf through tough times and we are stronger for it. I am at a time in my life where I can allocate the time needed to serve the county as commissioner. I present a tested and qualified option for the voters in this primary. My 23 years as mayor, my private business and non-profit leadership experience will serve the county well. You can find out more about me and ask for more specific details on my web site: bradholtonccc.com or
follow me on Facebook: Brad Holton Canyon County Commissioner District 2.
What do county commissioners do?
The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC, Board, or Commissioners) is the governing body of Canyon County. Consisting of three elected officials, the Board serves as the county’s budget and taxing authority, its legislative body, and chief executive authority.
Among other duties, the Board enacts laws, ensures compliance of laws and secures professional services for the county. Under Article 18, Section 10 of the Idaho Constitution, two county commissioners are elected every four years – one for a two-year term and one for a four-year term. State law specifies the procedure for determining which commissioner is to be elected for a four-year term, and which is to be elected for a two-year term (Idaho Code §31-703).
The Commissioners are constitutional officers whose authority encompasses both the executive and legislative body for the county. In general, this authority is described by Chapters 7 and 8 of Title 31, Idaho Code. As the county’s legislative authority, the Board has the power to enact ordinances, resolutions and proclamations. Ordinances are laws enacted by a local legislative authority. They may govern matters not already covered by state or federal law or may supplement (but cannot supersede) existing state or federal law. They are intended to affect the general public and are typically permanent in nature.
Ordinances enacted by the Board are effective only in the unincorporated area of Canyon County unless specifically provided for in state law. A resolution is a formal expression of the opinion or will of an official body adopted by vote in a legislative action. Resolutions are less formal than an ordinance, are administrative in nature, and typically concern internal government operations. Resolutions are usually considered to be temporary in nature, but often have a long-term effect. While both ordinances and resolutions are legally binding, proclamations are non-binding formal public declarations.
As part of the executive branch of government, the Board is charged with taking actions and providing resources to ensure compliance with its legally mandated duties and to ensure that the ordinances it enacts are carried out. Such duties include enforcement of land use ordinances and building codes, setting of precinct boundaries, and the budgetary powers of appropriation, among others. The Board is also charged with the oversight of the official conduct of all county officers, though this authority is limited under Idaho law. The Board has additional duties as the Board of Canvassers of Election, certifying true and complete abstracts of all votes cast in all elections. The Board also sits as the Board of Equalization (BOE) to hear property assessment appeals and assure that the market value for assessment purposes has been appropriately established.
Questions by the Caldwell Board of Realtors
Civic groups you belong to:
I personally have been called to civil leadership, i.e. running for public office, perhaps a different path than most. I do belong to a civic group called the Treasure Valley Partnership. This is a group of elected officials, the mayors and commissioners of Canyon and Ada County. You can find their website at: treasurevalleypartners.org For more detailed information. I serve this Group as the secretary treasurer.
Prior political experience:
Served on Greenleaf planning and zoning. Elected as mayor for two terms in the 1980s, appointed mayor in 2004 and have been reelected three consecutive times currently serving in the third year of my fifth term. This adds up to a little over 23 years as being the mayor. During that time, we have installed a completely new sewer system, yet we have the lowest property taxes in the county, and the highest occupancy rate consistently in the county. Irregardless of the higher utility bills, people want to live in Greenleaf.
List any community engagement or service you are a part of:
Serving as mayor is perhaps one of the ultimate community engagements, especially in a small town! You are at the top of the chain for customer service for the water, sewer, irrigation water, garbage, roads and streets, parks, and the list goes on. It’s a position that you’re certainly engaged in the community.
What are the most important things you hope to accomplish?
To fully do my part in being a fully functional board of commissioners. We face a tumultuous next few years because of our broken economy. In my 23 years as mayor I have certainly seen highs and lows. The most important thing I can bring is my experience into navigating the budgets that we’re going to have to deal with in the future days. Knowing how to listen to public input and make needed changes.
What specific experience do you have that qualifies you to run for public office:
Elected five times as mayor. Runs my own private business for the past 40 years. Has been the chair of a nonprofit camp for over 30 years that servers over 55 different denominations, universities, schools, small groups, civic groups, government groups, and the firefighters. This gives me a broad range of experience; business, nonprofit, government. How we run our county government and spend our tax dollars is extremely important to me.
Are there any changes or updates to land use regulations or development standards that you would like to see happen in Canyon County?
Well certainly there is always needed changes to your land use regulations and development standards no matter how good they were when you last approved them. As a Mayor I know that I may have a personal opinion, but this area of land use regulations and development standards needs to be a public process that commissioners seek out and follow what the public is telling them. Being a County Commissioner will have similar boundaries of my personal opinion needing to be set aside for what we find is the general common opinion of the county residents. The county goes through a comprehensive plan review process every 7-15 years to review our goals and plans for land use. Out of this process we will need to add or amend some of our rules and goals the county is currently operating under. This is a good thing to keep our land use goals and rules current and directing our county towards a future we would like to live in. Development standards need reviewed in a similar way, so they are current and working for the public good and are applied in a fair and equitable manner.
Name? Brad Holton
Why are you running? I am at the time in my life, with the experiences I have acquired, that I can serve the taxpayers well in our county government as one of the three commissioners.
I would not need “on the job training” about how Canyon County currently assesses your taxes, who our various county departments are and what they do, or to gain a working knowledge of other inter-governmental entities this county must do business with. My years of leadership experience in municipal government (23+), non-profit (30+), and private business (43) far exceed that of the others running for the District 2 seat.
What are your top three priorities?
1. Build and maintain a working relationship with the other two commissioners that fosters respectful and challenging debates as we work through what the best decisions will be for the county.
2. Work with our elected county officials and various county departments to be the most efficient government we can be for our county taxpayers.
3. Be an example of customer service. Our county’s operating funds come from you, our taxpayers. We need county government to be as transparent and answerable to the public as possible, seeking out the public’s opinion whenever it is possible to do so.
What sets you apart from your challengers?
I have battled with and come to agreements with the EPA, the DEQ, and the City of Boise for Canyon County and the City of Greenleaf. These experiences have tested and hardened me for future challenges the county will likely face.
I have led 23 years of council meetings, run public hearings, and networked with more than 30 other public entities.
I have learned to be a good listener and yet be one of the leaders at a public meeting or a public hearing. These are very important skills for a county commissioner, as Commissioner Tom Dale or Mayor Steve Rule would attest to.
I come from the most conservative city in the county on property taxes. I will bring that perspective to the commission. I led Greenleaf through the economic downturns in both the 80’s and in 2008 that required real-time adjustments to expenses so as not to exceed the city’s income. Economic changes can lead to tough times in leadership, times that I am well prepared to lead through as we prepare the budget for the upcoming years.
As the county rebuilds itself from the coronavirus pandemic, what needs to change with our health care system?
This is a great question and one that I have been contemplating on almost a daily basis. Idaho Statute Title 39-4 Public Health Districts addresses the county’s involvement with our healthcare system. Since the crisis hit my state, county and city I have been meeting at least biweekly with other Canyon and Ada county/city officials as well as the associated health district directors. In these leadership meetings it is clear this pandemic is a moving target, making it difficult to know what we should do and when should we do it. (This has been a
troubling time for me personally over how we have seemingly set aside our constitutional rights.) I have no doubt there will be many lessons learned and changes made or proposed. In the future, when we are reviewing this unprecedented time, public opinion and support will be needed so if this happens again, we will be better equipped to respond to the health crisis.
What role should the county play in addressing the rapid growth the Treasure Valley has seen over the last few years?
Generally speaking, the county is responsible for the land outside the city limits. In Idaho we believe, and State Statues allude to the fact, that new growth should pay its way into our communities. This is clearly not what is happening. Perhaps one of the most challenging topics of new growth is the added burden to the existing taxpayers, i.e. the new bond levy elections addressing needs caused by new growth.
A second and more important issue is the consumption of Canyon County’s prime agricultural lands, both irrigated and dry. Canyon County is one of the most productive seed crop areas in the world! The steady consumption of these agricultural lands is one of the major causes of the tax shift to our residential properties.
All new growth is not good! Certain types of growth will and do cause higher property taxes to existing residents. The county commissioners need to be a vocal component in educating the taxpayers on how the various land use options being contemplated could impact property taxes in the future. The county needs to be attentive to the desires of the county residents regarding how, and how much, growth will be handled in the future years.
Do you agree with the county’s budgeting priorities? What, if anything, would you change?
Because the pandemic has nearly frozen the economy, we are headed towards a great unknown. How well will our economy recover or our tax revenues come in for the next several years? Perhaps there will be only be a few budget priorities held today that will stand unscathed over the next few years. In addition, two of the three county commissioner positions are up for election every two years. The county’s top administrative board is subject to the changing of the commissioners who in turn change our county’s priorities.
These realities make it difficult for the county to follow through with any long-term priorities. In order to change this trend, I will work with county staff, seek public input, and make those identified long-term goals (think multi-years to fund) known and owned both by the county staff and the public. The jail is but one example of a long-term priority that needs to be addressed. If the ultimate solution the county needs is seemingly un-affordable, then we must take interim steps that are measurable, attainable and affordable to reach the long-term goal. The very thing we as individual taxpayers have to do in our personal lives, live within our means!
The League of Women Voters of Idaho and the Idaho Press Tribune-voters’ guide
1. What do you hope to accomplish if elected?
I hope to build a working relationship with the other commissioners that fosters respectful and challenging debates as we work through the best decisions for the county. To work well with our elected county officials while educating our voters for a more symbiotic relationship. It is the commissioners’ job to set the example for the rest of county government excelling in customer service, for our county’s operating funds come from you, the taxpayer.
2. What experiences have prepared you for this office?
While mayor I have battled with and come to agreements with the EPA, the DEQ, and the City of Boise for Canyon County and the City of Greenleaf. These experiences have tested and hardened me for future challenges the county will likely face. I have led 23 years of public meetings and networked with more than 30 other public entities. I have learned to be a good listener. I am mayor of the most conservative city in the county on property taxes. I will bring that perspective to the commission.
3. Canyon County has been attempting to build a new county jail for years. What solutions to jail overcrowding would you pursue?
The county has to make some kind of movement forward on addressing the over-population in our current jail. I believe a functioning board of commissioners, along with an involved county staff and an engaged public, can identify measurable, attainable and affordable steps to solve the overcrowding. What seemed the solution, a completely new and much larger jail is, for me, completely off the table at this time. I will be actively seeking smaller sized steps that we can budget for and afford.
4. Canyon County has the largest Latino population in Idaho. How would you ensure Latino Idahoans have a voice and place in county government?
I live my life, run my business, and lead my city as mayor, not looking at ethnicity, but seeing the intrinsic value each person has. I will bring that same standard with me to the leadership position of commissioner. I will treat all our residents equally. Do certain individuals need additional help or encouragement to participate in our government? Yes. But to start identifying and holding up one people group over another is wrong. As a commissioner I will treat all people fairly.
5. Please name a decision the county has made in the past year that you either agree or disagree with, and specify why.
Going ahead with the temporary modular jail facilities. This was a needed change in direction from attempting to build a completely new jail. This demonstrates leadership that is willing to step back and pursue much smaller steps. I agree that this is currently the best option for the county. Our voters have said that no new taxes are going to be tolerated at this time. Therefore, we need to determine which of many possible smaller steps we can afford to carry out in the next couple of years.
6. What’s the most important challenge facing the county, and how would you address it?
Growth is pressuring all of our county departments and consuming our farmland. I believe that if the public is educated on what types of growth are good and what types actually raise our property taxes, we can start to address one of the current challenges to our county. As a commissioner I will be especially critical of new growth if it negatively impacts our taxpayers financially! For more in-depth responses and videos see my website: bradholtonccc.com
Coalition for Ag Future CAF
I was requested to write my thoughts and position on agriculture as a Canyon County Commissioner so here we go!
If your busy here is the bottom line, I am Brad Holton running for county commissioner and I am pro AG.
Here is why I am pro AG.
Agriculture in Canyon County starts with the land. Rich ground that for the most part consists of sloping plains. We are bordered by the snake River on the west and the Boise river that runs down through the county meeting the snake River. The land not only has multiple water sources but also good drainage that is so important for keeping rich productive soil in balance to grow bountiful harvests. Unfortunately, rich soil by itself is not a valued commodity until you have water. Just look out in any direction from the center of the county and you will find that we are surrounded by dry BLM ground. It is not only the ground that is so important, it is a combination of our soils and the availability of irrigation water.
In general terms the gradual slopes in Canyon County makes it possible to supply water through canal systems to most all parts of our County. These canal systems did not happen overnight, there were many startups and failures in the late 1800’s until the federal government got involved. Lake Lowell was not operational until the early 1900’s. This valleys’ irrigation projects were the combination of several smaller irrigation systems and now the 3 dams upstream on the Boise River. These projects have taken many years to complete. Today our growing county residents take for granted the many water conveyances around us not realizing that The Boise Project Board of Control and several different water companies plus the many irrigation districts provide water for the setting we are living in. Water is what separates us from dry BLM ground. Yet as we grow we have more and more of our population that is clueless about the value of our ground and the importance of our irrigation systems. The demand for water continues to increase. New subdivisions demand more water. Without a change in our blind consumption of AG ground we are headed for problems. Because we have a limited number of productive agricultural acres, and a limited capacity of water to deliver throughout the irrigation season. Multiple new allocations of our reservoir water in storage behind our 3 dams have been taken. They continue to be removed from our finite water storage capacity in the existing irrigation system. Although there is some talk of a possible fourth reservoir at Twin Springs.
In addition to the issue of ground and water there are still other important components that set apart the AG ground in Canyon County from the rest of the world. The very dry desert air, the moderate temperatures, the amount of available sunlight, and the length of our growing season are but a few of the important qualities that prove this area called Canyon County to be the ideal location to produce seed crops. This certainly is a unique combination and it is critical that our Canyon County residents be educated on just how valuable our AG ground is. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Canyon County Government has neglected protecting our prime ground. This needs to be accomplished in legal and defendable ways.
This taking of our farm ground is impacting our quality-of-life, our cost of living and our property taxes. In the last five years there is a sure and steady shift away from AG and industrial/commercial tax revenues over to our residential properties. This is an awful use of prime farm ground when there are other grounds available.
Ultimately it is the Board of County Commissioners that either approves or denies the land applications for change of use. I will be pro AG as your county commissioner. For many years the county has used the conditional use permit as a means to approve satellite subdivisions. In working with the City of Greenleaf, Wilder and Parma we choose to greatly increase the size of our impact area to form another layer of protection for our surrounding farm ground.
The goal was to have a legal standing and respond to “change of use land applications” going through the county P&Z. This ultimately helped us give direct input to the commissioners that we were against such takings of farm ground.
There is a host of reasons why the cities are against satellite subdivisions.
When placed out in the county they have all kinds of negative impact to the surrounding AG ground and will end up costing all of us money. School expansion, the need for greatly improved roads, additional traffic (that is not mindful of AG equipment), increased speed and volume of vehicles. Hundreds and hundreds of new wells drilled, new septic tanks and drain fields placed in high nitrate areas, increased consumption of irrigation water, non-compatible use with seed crops, intolerant neighbors complaining about farming operations abutting their new subdivisions. And the list goes on and on. These issues and more need to be contemplated when considering the change of use for any AG grounds. The fact is there are many ideal locations for subdivisions still throughout the county that would not take out farm ground. Why not educate the public how valuable our prime AG grounds are? Present factual data about the costs to us the existing taxpayers, caused by the taking of our prime AG ground. As your commissioner I will push back on these issues demanding answers.
A city can annex ground with or without that ground being in their impact area. Under normal conditions it is in their impact zone, but if several large pieces of land are getting annexed quickly it is possible that some of the ground may not lay in any impact zone. I have even seen a city annex ground that was in another cities’ impact area (Kuna and Meridian). Cities cannot annex ground unless the owner of the ground applies for annexation into the city. Even then a corner or side of the ground must touch an existing City boundary. (There is also a method called eminent domain which has very limited use)
We have resent history of groups such as the Coalition for Agriculture’s Future and The Treasure Valley Food Coalition that have tried to address the issues of farm ground being consumed for uses other than farming, think subdivisions! I believe we still have an opportunity to keep our prime farm ground, but it will demand our involvement at many levels of government. We must get the mind set of collaborating with many different groups to address this concern. The commissioners being one of the most important positions! This is because they make the final decision. We must start attending and or giving responses to public hearings on land use applications. Demand answers to many of the points I have brought up plus some of your own. This aids the P&Z and the Commissioners in making good decisions for all of the residents of Canyon County.
I am Brad Holton running for Canyon County Commissioner District 2. All county registered voters get to vote for the commissioners regardless of what district they live in. It should be noted that in Idaho’s primary elections you must declare an affiliation. Your affiliation will dictate which ballot you receive. You will find me on the Republican ballot. All candidates’ running for the commissioner’s office in this primary election are only on the Republican ballot. THERE WILL BE NO POLLS OPEN THIS PRIMARY ELECTION. ALL VOTING WILL BE DONE BY
ABSENTEE BALLOT. BE SURE AND GET YOUR REQUEST FOR A BALLOT IN BY MAY 19. If you need assistance with applying for your absentee ballot call Canyon County Elections office @ 208- 454-7562