Majority of Idaho cities, counties submit letters of intent to support public safety
Fifty-four cities and 28 counties submitted letters of intent to participate in Governor Brad Little's plan that leverages federal coronavirus relief funds to cover local public safety personnel salaries and gives cities and counties the opportunity to pass on the savings to property taxpayers.
The interest in the plan exceeded the funds available, so a pro rata allocation will cover approximately 44-percent of local government payroll costs.
Under the plan, Idaho property taxpayers in participating cities or counties could see a 10- to 20-percent one-time reduction in their property taxes this year.
The U.S. Treasury Department guidance gives the Governor the discretion to determine what expenditures are necessary due to the public health emergency. The Governor studied the issued and concluded that the new program is a necessary and appropriate use of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds, and communicated the establishment of the program to the U.S. Treasury in July, at the request of the counties.
“Our focus is to support our communities and our police, fire, and EMS personnel and ensure there are no reductions in public safety during these unprecedented challenges. I appreciate the cities and counties working with us to ensure the resulting budget savings are given back to the people of Idaho in the form of property tax relief rather than backfilling local government budgets. As a fiscal conservative, I believe all federal funds – which are taxpayer funds – should be managed prudently and judiciously on behalf of all taxpayers. Wasteful spending simply creates debt obligations for our children and grandchildren. The Trump Administration has praised Idaho’s conservative approach to managing the federal relief funds, and I am committed to continue acting as a responsible steward of scarce taxpayer resources,” Governor Little said.
Cities and counties that submitted letters of intent to participate include:
Twin Falls Count