Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
Well, thank you very much for that kind introduction, and yes, I love to hunt. Just
for clarification purposes, the eight geese in that picture were not all shot by me,
because that would be illegal. No, it was one of those good mornings, I spent
with Dave Fisher and together we shot a limit a piece and it was a wonderful
experience. I’m very grateful to be here with you today. I’m so honored for the
privilege of standing before you as the Mayor of Caldwell. It’s a humbling
experience and an education that I will be forever grateful for. I’m so thankful for
each and every one of you, for your support, for your kindness, for all the many
acts of friendship that you have given to me over the years. I’m especially
grateful for these wonderful people to my right. I’m so honored to work with the
City Council who have honesty, integrity, compassion and dedication. To the
families and businesses in this community. That doesn’t mean that we always
agree, except for on one thing. We want Caldwell to be the best place for
families and businesses that it can be. Now, I’d like to introduce them to you real
quickly. To my right Terrance Biggers, then Jeremy Feucht, who is the newest
council member to replace the untimely passing of my dear friend and almost
father, Jim Blacker. And I don’t know how you get Fife out of F-E-U-C-H-T, but
it’s his story, I’ll go with it, okay. Shannon Ozuna, known as Little Red. Uh, Rob
Hopper, Dennis Callsen, who’s the Council President this year, and at the end
Mike Pollard. Would you please give them a round of applause and thank them
for what they do?
I certainly want to thank the College of Idaho for allowing us to use this beautiful
facility. The college is certainly one of our most dear partners and without them,
we would not succeed. There’s no doubt in my mind that when the college
succeeds the City of Caldwell succeeds, and when the City of Caldwell
succeeds, the college succeeds. And we have a partnership that I am forever
grateful for and so I don’t know if there’s anybody from the college here, but
thank you very much for the partnership and allowing us to use this beautiful
facility. Thank you to the Chamber of Commerce, to Theresa, Stacy, Jackie, the
wonderful work that they do done there and our partnership as well, thank you so
very much. Thank you to the sponsors, West Valley Medical Center, not bigger,
just better, and to Hartwell Corporation. Two companies in Caldwell who are the
premium example of what it means to be a good corporate partner. Their
employees do so much for the citizens of Caldwell in volunteer work. The
partnership that we have with these two great companies is wonderful. I got the
frequent flier card from West Valley Medical Center a year ago, and I am so
grateful for the wonderful care that they gave me. And it’s not just the care that
they gave me during some of those difficult times, but the care that they showed
my sweet wife, and my children, and grandchildren when they were there with
me in those hospital rooms, so I want to thank you Betsy and your staff for the
great care that they gave us. Partnerships are the most important thing in
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
accomplishing anything and we could not be here today without the partnerships
of our fellow cities, the county government throughout the valley, these great
men and women that are elected officials are truly our partner. And they are
several of them here, I cannot see, would you please stand and thank them for
the partnership that they have with the city, and for their service to this
community and theirs. Would you please stand elected officials? And obviously,
there’s nothing that can be accomplished without the wonderful employees of this
city. We are so grateful for these wonderful, dedicated, kind, professional,
compassionate, hard working people. They are an example to me every day and
give me the reason to get up and go to work, and at the end of the day be proud
and happy for what we’ve accomplished. Would the city employees please stand
up and also be thanked as well, thank you for all that you do. Thank you to Mrs.
Transtrum and these wonderful students who sang up here today, was that
amazing or what. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure that following them was a very
good idea, Susan. We may have to have them at the end the next time. But
Mrs. Transtrum, thank you and to those students thank you very much for
sharing your talents with us today.
It’s hard to believe that’s February 3, 2015. It seems like just yesterday it was
Y2K. Satellites were going to fall out of the sky, computers were going to crash,
our VCRs weren’t going to work anymore, microwaves were going to shut down.
Computers were not going to work anymore. Do you remember all that? But
guess what happened? On December 31st at 12:01 in the year 2000, guess what
happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Except, we were standing at O’Connor
Field House watching fireworks go off and celebrating the New Year. We
survived Y2K. Then 2007 came, and we all know what happened in 2007, the
market crashed, the economy crashed, property values crashed, and we entered
into one of the most difficult financial times that we have seen in this community
and in this nation since 1929. Some call it the Great Recession, I think you
heard some refer to it and I called it in my State of the City Address as the
recession that made us great, and we survived. And not only did we survive, but
I believe we prospered, and we learned a lot. And then fast-forward to 2012, and
the Mayans were wrong. Thank heavens. Because there’s so much more to
accomplish. I wanted to spend more time with my wife, and my children, and my
family. And I’m glad they were wrong, but we also survived that. Then came
2015, and you know what’s amazing at City Council meeting last night there were
many students there from Caldwell High School, and I mentioned the word
encyclopedia and there was this glaze that went over their eyes. They didn’t
know what an encyclopedia was. These students have not lived in a time without
microwaves, cell phones, computers. They didn’t have a clue what an
encyclopedia was and we’re to this, right? We’re to this now. Everybody smile.
Okay. And within seconds, I can post that and have it be on Facebook, and the
whole world will see it. Things have changed dramatically. It’s a wonderful
change, but on that note, parents, beware. The internet and technology is the
most wonderful amazing tool on the planet, but it is also a place where you must
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
be careful what these little ones are watching. Be aware. Because there are
people out there who want to hurt you and your children. There are sites that no
one should view, let alone these little ones, so, parents beware.
Now, I want you to consider what life is about and what this city is about. Why
are we here? Why do we do the things that we do? I believe it’s because of the
dash. There’s a statement that’s made that it’s not how many breaths we take,
but how many moments in life that take our breath away. Life is about math.
Math is where we are the sum total of our life’s experiences and without all those
experiences we would not be who we are. So, along with the good comes bad.
Along with success comes failure. Along with happiness comes sadness. Along
with excitement comes boring, which is what my granddaughter said this speech
was going to be. Along with hard work comes fun. But all those experiences
together determine who we are, as a city, as individuals, as businesses. So, we
would not want to miss any of those experiences even though some of them may
have not been the most pleasurable. I’d like to read to you a poem by Linda
Ellis. “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred
to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end. He noted that first
came her date of birth, and spoke the following date with tears, but he said what
mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash
represents all the time that we have spent alive on earth. And now only those
who love her know what that little line is worth. For it matters not how much we
own, the cars, the house, the cash. What matters is how we live and love, and
how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard, are there things
you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be
rearranged. If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand the way other people feel. And be less quick to
anger, and show appreciation more, and love the people in our lives like we’ve
never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a
smile, remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So when
our eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of
the things they say about how you spent your dash.” Now, all of us will have a
dash in our lives at some point in time and many of us have dashes in our lives
now. We work for a company from 1998 to 2015, there’s a dash in there. But
what did you do with that time? There’s those of us who have served on the City
Council, and will have a plaque at some time that says served from one date to
another date, and the dash, what did we do with that dash? That’s what makes
life worthwhile, is the dash. And now, I’d like to talk about someone who is the
epitome of the legacy of the dash. George Crookham was born and raised in
Caldwell and graduated from Caldwell High School in 1980. He studied plant
science at the University of Idaho with a focus on genetics and plant breeding,
graduating in 1986. George met his beautiful bride, Keri, at the University of
Idaho in 1985. They married in 1989, and they have been happily married for 25
years. They have four kids, Krystynne, Madison, Davis, and Kathryn, and one
granddaughter, Jordyn. Starting at a very young age George worked at
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
Crookham Company. He started in the fields and worked in every possible
position in that company. Learning quickly that a good leader knows every
aspect of the company. George has always been an incredible asset to this
community and he gives back to his community is so many ways it’s hard to even
imagine fully listing everything that he has done. He has dedicated his time,
talents, and effort in making sure that Caldwell is a community that we can all be
proud of. His dedication to the youth soccer program is inspiring. He’s one of
the founders of the Caldwell Optimist Soccer Club. He has been a ref for 20
years and a coach for 25 years, and has served 20 years as either the president
or vice-president of that soccer club. George has always been very involved with
the Idaho Youth Games since inception in 1999, running the soccer program. He
was instrumental in the capital campaign to build the YMCA. And also serves on
the Strong Kids Campaign since 2007. He serves on the Caldwell Chamber
Board, the West Valley Medical Center Board, the Ag group in which he was the
founder; the goal is to product agricultural land. George is truly an amazing
individual and an incredible example to all who know him. George has been
often sought after as a source of information on agricultural issues and his heart
and passion for youth soccer, and his willingness to share his time and talents
are beyond words. He is truly one of Caldwell’s finest citizens in every respect
and is deserving of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. George, would you
please come forward and accept this award - It’s not very often when you hear
from George Crookham you got me because he’s always on top of everything.
Now, you see thought I forgot to introduce my family, didn’t ya? I didn’t. I held
back introducing them until now, because a very wise man once said the main
thing, is to keep the main thing, the main thing. It’s up to us to figure out what the
main thing is, and for me and I think for this community, the main thing is family.
That’s why we do what we do in the dash. That’s why we do what we do at City
Council meetings. That’s what we do what we do at budget workshops. That’s
what we do what we do in our businesses, in our churches, in our homes. The
family is the main thing. So, I’m going to read a song, if I get through it, and then
I’m going to introduce my family. And it goes like this; it’s a song by Kenny
Chesney. “I turned on the evening news saw an old man being interviewed.
Turning a 102 today. Asked him what is the secret to life, he looked up from his
old pipe, laughed, and said, all I can say is don’t blink. Just like that, you’re six
years old, and you take a nap, and you wake up and 25, and your high school
sweetheart becomes your wife. Don’t blink you just might miss your babies
growing old like mine, turning into moms and dads. Next thing you know your
better half of 50 years is there in bed and you’re praying God takes you instead.
Trust me friends, a hundred years goes faster than you think, so don’t blink. I
was glued to my TV when it looked like he was looking at me and said best start
putting first things first. Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand you can’t
flip it over and start again. Take every breath God gives you for what it’s worth
and don’t blink. So, I’ve been trying to slow it down, I’ve been trying to take it in,
in this here today, gone tomorrow world we’re living in. So, don’t blink cause just
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
like that you’re six years old, and you take a nap, and you wake up and you’re
25, and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife. Don’t blink you just
might miss your babies growing like mine did, turning into moms and dads. The
next thing you know you’re better half of 50 years is there in bed, and you’re
praying God takes you instead. Trust me, friend, a hundred years goes faster
than you think, so don’t blink.” We need to remember why we’ve been placed
here on this wonderful earth. And that’s to give the talents that our Heavenly
Father has given to us and use those for the betterment of those around us. To
take the time to do the things that really matter in life, and that’s what city
government is about, is doing the things that really matter. And at the end of the
day when there’s that dash by the plaque that we will be given as elected officials
what is the legacy that we have left behind. Not everybody is going to agree with
the things that we do. Not everybody is going to agree with every decision that’s
made. But at the end of the day, if we have done those things that really matter
and kept the main thing the main thing, then it has been a success and it’s been
worth all the time and effort. I would like to introduce to you my main thing and
that is my family. Would you please turn the lights on because I want to make
sure that I can see who’s here. I can’t see a thing from up here. My sweet wife,
where’s he at? My much better half of 37 years. As a matter of fact, February
19th will be 38 years. My son, Caleb. I’m sorry, that’s Pamela. My son Caleb.
His girlfriend, Tashina. My daughter, Ashley Mae, my nephew in-law, Brad
Burbank, my brother, Michael Nancolas. Siri says Nancoolas, it’s a joke. And
then this is the other pride of my life, my little sweet granddaughter, Lily Haines,
would you please stand up, sweetheart. The reason she’s sitting up here next to
Monica cause if she sits in the back Monica is a bad influence on her, so she’s
up here so she can be a good influence on Monica. So, again, in keeping with
the fact, if the main thing is the main thing, then youth and families must certainly
matter. Caldwell is the first in the state of Idaho to organize a Mayor’s Youth
Advisory Council. Caldwell is the first in the state of Idaho to adopt a Youth and
Family platform from the National League of Cities. Prioritizing youth and family
in budgetary discussions. Caldwell is the first in the state of Idaho to adopt a
Youth Master Plan. Caldwell is the first to adopt mentoring policy for employees
allowing them to mentor on company time. Why would we do that? Because
we’re trying to keep the main thing the main thing. Through that the Youth
Forum for the past two years has been Don’t be a Bystander. In 2013, a
partnership with the College of Idaho, Caldwell School District, Vallivue School
District, and Cossa School in Wilder, held a conference here at the beautiful
College of Idaho. And here’s a testimonial from one of the students that
attended. “His father was diagnosed with cancer and the student had struggled
to keep focused on responsibilities at home, and school, and friendships with his
peers. The Youth Forum helped him to realize the importance of his relationship
with his father as his hero. It is a better choice to become better due to life’s
happenings and help others who might be going through the something similar
than to be bitter.” That was his quote. Student number two, was abandoned by
her mother and other family members. She struggled with feelings of rejection
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
and depression. “The Youth Forum helped her to realize that she is important
and she can move forward no matter what. To make good choices in education
and by building new and meaningful relationships.” Those are amazing quotes
from two students who attended one of the seminars that was sponsored and put
on by the committee that is handling our Youth Master Plan. Why would we
allow city employees to mentor on city time? Because when family succeeds
and the youth of our community succeed then so do cities succeed. And when
families fail, the results of that oftentimes end up on the laps and doorsteps of
City Hall. So, it’s important that our students succeed. So, we allow our
employees to go out and build relationships with students within the schools.
Michelle Edmonds in the Caldwell Police Department, Tammy Frans, Public
Works, Debbie Geyer the City Clerk, Maria Gigray, Caldwell Police Department,
Monica Jones, our HR Director, Fiona May, from the library, Denise Milburn, from
Parks and Recreation, Susan Miller, from the Mayor’s Office, Devin Riley,
Caldwell Police Department, Cheryl Wendell (phonetic), Caldwell Police
Department, and Frank Wyant, Caldwell Police Department. These great men
and women of the city are spending time, and keeping the main thing the main
thing with these students. The results are phenomenal. Susan has had the
privilege of mentoring a young girl named Karina. This little girl is legally blind.
She was at a place in her life where she was lost, felt alone, felt inadequate, and
Susan built a relationship with her that is nothing short of miraculous. These two
have bonded and here’s the quote from this confident, amazing little girl. “My
good news for the day. Karina and I were hanging out yesterday and for the first
time in five years she pulled out some homework and quietly started working on
a math paper. We sat there in comfortable silence for a while and then she
looked up at me with a big smile and said, Susan, I have all As and Bs, and then
simply turned back and started her homework again. Almost every time I get
ready to go now she says, now, how long can I have mentor, and I say, for life.
We laugh, we hug, and we go about our day.” That’s the magic of the mentoring
at work. Donna Shines and her organization, and the partnership with the city
are changing lives. They are making a difference in this community. Speaking of
the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council this is something that is a great source of
happiness for me. More than 700 students have passed through this program
since its inception 15 years ago. We have students that have gone on to
become doctors. We have students who are teachers. We have students who
are moms. I’ve had the privilege of performing the wedding ceremonies for many
of these students. And it is an absolute source of pleasure and pride to be
associated with these great young people who have come through the Mayor’s
Youth Advisory Council Program. It’s my privilege now to introduce to you, to
give a State of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council for 2015, this year’s Chair,
Ms. Emma Campbell.
[Emma gives speech].
Isn’t she cool? That’s an older phrase meaning awesome. But again, 15 years
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
of that wonderful entity in the City of Caldwell is certainly a source of pride for all
of us. These students are great examples of everything that’s good in life. Their
dedication, commitment, and humor is always a source of inspiration for me.
Here’s another note from a past Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council Member,
Marissa Nestor. “Thank you, Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council was the only
extracurricular activity that touched my soul while in high school.” What a
profound statement that is, it touched her soul. Again, helping to change lives.
People make this community great. That’s what Caldwell is all about. That’s
why Caldwell is a great community. People like Earl and Judy Priest who have
opened their doors, their hearts, and their compassion, and have fostered over
200 youth in their lifetime. They are the proud owners of Priest Electric. Another
example of great business owners in this community. Jim and Sharon Porter,
who came into this community and literally set it on fire with their love and
enthusiasm. Forming Love INC, an organization to help others. Simply to help
others. These are great people. They come to City Council meetings all the
time. I’ve told Pastor Porter that he needs to get a life, if that’s his only form of
entertainment. No, we appreciate you so much Jim and Sharon Porter are
wonderful examples of why this community is great. Rob and Nancy Roberts,
the owners of R & M Steel who donated a building to the Parks Department that
is under construction and will be open later this fall. Bob and Elaine Carpenter, I
don’t know how Carpenter Screen-Printing stays open with as many hours as
they donate to this community. Bob Carpenter has spent countless hours on the
downtown committees over the years helping to create Indian Creek and now on
the Downtown Committee regarding the plaza. Elaine Carpenter has been a city
council member and has worked years on the Historic Preservation Commission.
Helping establish the Steunenberg Historic District in Caldwell. Chuck Randolph,
what a man. He has spent countless hours in the education system and in
numerous volunteer efforts helping Caldwell become the great place that it is.
Mike and Jeannie Goff from Ripley Doorn here in Caldwell. Another example of
community leaders who share their time and their talents most often known for
the work with the YMCA. We honor our veterans in Caldwell. We love and
appreciate everything that they have done for us and their families. We honor
your sacrifice. We appreciate your commitment to freedom. We appreciate the
defending of the freedoms that we enjoy year after year, decade after decade,
century after century. The things that we enjoy in the country and this community
are largely because of the dedication of our military personnel. Would you
please help me thank all those veterans, those that are active in service now and
those who are retired, would you please thank them very much for their service?
One of the wonderful things that we did in 2014, was to make the commitment,
move forward and purchase the old Carnegie Library building. It will be the home
of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the Disabled
American Veterans groups. These groups will come together to offer services for
those families that so desperately need their help. Also, a meeting and gathering
place for military veterans, both active and retired. It will also be the home of
activities for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Military Order of the Purple Heart,
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
and the Marine Corp League. I cannot think of a more noble or honorable effort
of the City Council then to preserve the history of that building and by honoring
our veterans in the partnership that has been formed. We also have a
community garden that was the idea of the Board of Realtors here in the City of
Caldwell. I would like to thank Gail Strack, Randy Jensen, Dan Pugmire, and
Tracy K
asper, for their efforts in making this a reality. A peaceful place for our veterans
to go and have a wonderful time growing vegetables in our community. And we
hope that they will take those vegetables and take them to the Farmers Market in
Caldwell, and what a great partnership that would form. We would like to thank
the sheriff, Sheriff Donahue and the Inmate Labor Detail because they have put
in thousands of dollars worth of hours of volunteer effort into helping us turn the
old Carnegie Library into a Veterans Memorial Hall. I’d like to thank Terry Harrell
and John Muirhead, and the other leaders of these organizations. John and
Terry have been down at that building countless hours making sure that this
project is moving forward. Without these two individuals’ efforts, this would
probably have come to a standstill. And then all those that work with you Terry
and John, thank you so very much for your efforts. Community growth and
development. That’s a topic that is at the top of everybody’s minds. In 2007, as
was mentioned, we entered into a very severe recession. This city lost more
than one-third of its assessed value in a very short period of time. When that
happened, property values going down, it meant that the levy rate went up. And
even though the levy rate went up, revenues at the city level reduced. That’s a
very difficult combination. Higher levy rates, lower revenues, yet still the demand
from our public to receive services that were effective and efficient. The Council
had to make difficult decisions during that period of time, but because of the
decisions they have made we have built a foundation where again we not only
survived the recession, but we have prospered. We have started decreasing the
levy rate again and our goal is to continually decrease it over the next few years
to get it below .099. One of the ways that we will continue to drive that down it to
create jobs in this community. The partnership with Caldwell Housing Authority,
Mike Dittenbur, and his great Board of Directors, we have partnered to to create
the Farmway Sewer and Water Project. This is opening up the west and north
side of the Boise River to infrastructure. We have water and sewer that now will
be available to not only Farmway Village, but to businesses and development
that choose to build and develop in that area. Bringing jobs and economic
development to our community. Why would we do that? Because it’s part of
keeping the main thing the main thing. Our citizens need jobs in this community.
Good paying jobs. We need housing opportunities that people can afford. This
will help us accomplish that in an area of Caldwell that to date has been
undeveloped. Also, this year we decided to invest in the expansion of the
Caldwell Event Center. We purchased 10 acres of ground known as the Norman
property right next to the existing fairgrounds and rodeo grounds. It is our intent
to continue to master plan and partner with the College of Idaho, the County Fair,
and the Caldwell Night Rodeo, where the cowboys are the stars, and provide an
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
event center that is second to none. We want to make sure that we have an
event center that fits the needs of everyone in this community. That is a
wonderful investment in our families and good wholesome activity. Another
decision that was made was to invest in the wastewater treatment plant. To
make sure that our capacity is strong. That we have available capacity for
businesses and homes that want to come into our community. Building up the
tax base and allowing economic development to move forward. In 2012, we took
over operations of the wastewater treatment plant. But in 2013 and ’14, is when
we first realized what the savings of that wise decision might be. Operation costs
were reduced from approximately $1.6 million per year under a private contractor
to less than $500,000 per year under city personnel costs. That is a wonderful
savings for the citizens in this community. Now, you might ask why didn’t my
sewer bill go down. I’ll answer that question for you. And that’s because of the
proposed changes from EPA in the NPDES permit for our treatment plant. The
cost of meeting these new rigorous levels for phosphorus and potentially
temperature will cost us millions of dollars over the next few years to comply with.
We believe this is wise planning and good decision-making so that when these
new rules are promulgated and we’re required to comply, we will be able to fund
these improvements without bonding. That’s a really big deal. Without bonding.
Because you see when we have to bond that means you pay interest. And that
interest goes on and on. And so, a $10 million dollar project can easily become a
$20 million project if we have to bond. But because of the wise financial
decisions that this Council has made the great financial policies that have been
put in place by this Council, we will be able to fund those improvements without
bonding. Saving our ratepayers millions of dollars over the next few years in
interest payments that will not be necessary. That’s a really big deal. Thank you
for your wise decision-making. I also want to acknowledge the efforts of Brent
Orton our Public Works Director, and the staff at the treatment plant for helping
us make these decisions and making our treatment plant efficient and effective.
It’s also important that we move forward with economic development. There
have been many policies put in place to encourage expansion of our existing
businesses, to encourage growth residentially, and to encourage commercial and
industrial growth in the City of Caldwell. Over the last few years, we have
implemented the Foreign Trade Zone in the City of Caldwell in and around the
Caldwell Industrial Airport. We have implemented a job creation grant through
the Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency. We have also made dramatic
improvements in the infrastructure in the area of Exit 29, making the
development costs for the industrial park and for businesses around the airport
much lower as they come into our city. We believe with the efforts of the
Economic Development Council, now Steve Fultz, who is now a city employee,
and with the wise decisions and policies that have been put in place that
construction value will continue increase. And you can see in 2011, ’12, and ’13,
and ’14 we’ve seen dramatic increases in residential growth, and in commercial,
and industrial building permits. That is a great addition to our community. That
also means new jobs. We want to have jobs for our families to stay in this
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
community. We want jobs for our students as they graduate from college to stay
in Caldwell. It’s important to have jobs that provide benefits that provide wages
where they can support a family. Caldwell has done its fair share, but this is
certainly the principle of rising tides. We are so glad when we see new jobs
created in Nampa, Mayor Henry. We are so glad when we see jobs created in
the county, Commissioner Dale. We are so glad when we see jobs created in
Meridian, Mayor de Weerd. And we are glad when we see jobs in Boise, Mayor
Bieter, because we all benefit when those things happen. But we’ve done our
share. We’ve worked hard with local businesses, with the economic
development groups in Caldwell to create jobs in this community. And you can
see since 2010 through 2013, we have gone from 13,190 jobs to 18,255 in the
City of Caldwell. That’s a 38% increase. We are doing our part and we will
continue to work hard to provide a community where businesses want to come
and families want to live. We welcome many of the new businesses in 2014, and
we appreciate the fact that they wanted to come here. So, is it the fact that we’ve
generated these jobs the important thing or is it the fact that our employees are
building relationships with the development community that is the important thing.
Obviously, they’re both important, but here’s what some of these developers
have to say about the great employees at the City of Caldwell. Gayle
Manufacturing, who you just saw in the newspaper, announced that they are
building a new company in Caldwell. Plans to build a new manufacturing facility
in Caldwell to replace an existing facility in California. Chief Financial Officer and
founder, Jim DeBlasio, I love Idaho for a lot of reasons. It’s a great place to
operate a business. A great place to live and it’s a wonderful community. Our
experience has been wonderful here. That’s a great tribute to the Red Carpet
team and the development personnel at the City of Caldwell. A new grocery
store and restaurant is coming to Caldwell. Building owner Travis Stroud. This is
according to the Idaho Press Tribune. Caldwell’s got a lot of good energy.
People want to be here. The city is easy to work with, which has been very
helpful. Again, a testament to the quality of individuals we have working at the
City of Caldwell. From Skip and Doug Oppenheimer. Mayor Nancolas and other
city leaders provided literally the best responsiveness, cooperation, and proactivity of any city leaders with whom we have worked. What an honor it is to
have that said about our city from these two great business individuals. Doing
business in Caldwell, Tommy Ahlquist, COO of Gardner Company, who built that
beautiful new building right next to West Valley Medical Center. The tallest
building in the City of Caldwell now at four stories. But this is what Tommy had
to say, and I apologize I didn’t write this. Mayor Nancolas is a tremendous
leader. He has put together a clear vision for Caldwell that will continue to attract
business and economic development for years to come. Now, I humbly submit to
you that that vision was created by many, many people. It’s just my privilege to
be a part of it. As we look at opportunities and communities to work in Caldwell
is at the top of our list and we hope to work with them on projects in the future.
One of the main areas of emphasis for our upcoming year is Downtown Caldwell,
and yes, a creek runs through it. It’s amazing how many places I go now where
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
when Caldwell is mentioned they talk about the creek. They talk about the lights.
They talk about the wonderful experience coming to Downtown Caldwell. That is
a change of attitude among those around us and we are so grateful for that.
We’re grateful for the great Street Department employees and other volunteers,
and other departments that put those lights up. Granted, we spend about
$30,000 a year on the lights on Indian Creek, but I cannot think of a better
advertising campaign that would produce more results for a better investment of
dollars than what we invested in Indian Creek. People come to our community
and bring their families, and walk around downtown. I had the privilege of
standing under the gazebo on the weekend after Thanksgiving and there were
hundreds of people downtown. You could not find a place to park. Families
holding hands, walking along the creeks of Caldwell. That’s keeping the main
thing the main thing. I’d like to thank the Downtown Caldwell Organization and
the work that they’re doing right now in helping us put together a plan for a plaza
downtown. We appreciate their vision, their input, and look forward to their report
here in the next few months. The City of Caldwell Framework Master Plan has
been adopted for several years and it is our goal to implement that plan as many
pieces as we can over the next three years. The downtown is the heart and soul
of your community. We want to see that downtown alive and vibrant again and
we believe we have the pieces in place to make that happen. Another part of the
keeping the main thing the main thing is providing parks and pathways for the
citizens of Caldwell and those who come here to visit. Caldwell has
approximately 310 acres of parks, which if I may brag for minute, is more acres
of park per thousand than any other city in the Treasure Valley. The reason we
invest in parks is because it’s a great place for families to have wholesome
activity. To get exercise. There are six miles of pathways in the City of Caldwell
and we are working on more. We have a great Parks and Recreation
Department that provides opportunity both recreational opportunity and park
opportunities for all the citizens in our community. We’re very grateful for their
hard work. You can see here in this picture just an example of the many people
who enjoy our parks in the great City of Caldwell. And when you hear these kids
running, and jumping, and laughing, and you see them scrambling for the Easter
eggs at Easter time, it helps you understand why this is important. We
appreciate the volunteers at the greenbelt. Brian Billingsley and his Pathways
Committee have put together work projects who have cleaned up the greenbelt
and continue to invest in the greenbelts throughout Caldwell. Now, you have
mileage markers around the greenbelt so you know how far you’ve gone. We
have plans to continue to expand the greenbelt as the City Council has
authorized the purchase of the three properties at the end of Plymouth or next to
the old Silver Bridge along the Boise River. We now have the capacity to build a
park in commemoration of the Oregon Trail, which runs right through those
properties, and it is our goal to also expand and complete the greenbelt so that it
connects with Curtis Park. That is the vision of Bill Gigray and the Greenbelt
Path Committee for many, many years and we believe that we now can make it a
reality. Education in the City of Caldwell we could not be a community that is
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
successful and takes care of our children without the wonderful, wonderful
education partners that we have in this community. The College of Idaho,
Treasure Valley Community College, the Vallivue School District, Caldwell
School District, Heritage Community Charter School, Thomas Jefferson Charter
School, this is where education happens. This is where empowering our youth
happens. This is where keeping the main thing the main thing happens. We’ve
developed a partnership again, with Republic Services, they’re the trash haulers
in our community. And they’ve developed a program in partnership with the City
of Caldwell where part of the funds that are collected from recycling go to the
Caldwell P16 Program and the Vallivue AVID Program to make sure that these
students have these programs available for them for many years to come.
Education is also an economic development tool. I recently attended another
economic development seminar and do you know what the number one criteria is
that a company looks for when they come to a community? Workforce.
Treasure Valley Community College, the College of Idaho are helping us provide
that workforce for these companies that are looking at coming to Caldwell. It is a
worthy investment to provide education to everyone that wants it. And with these
great partners, we are able to do that. It also doesn’t hurt having football back in
Caldwell again. Was that cool or what? That was exciting. I’ve never seen so
much purple in my life. It was awesome. The College of Idaho was our partner
in helping redevelop Simplot Stadium. Putting in a synthetic turf field, doing ADA
upgrades, a new football field, and scoreboard, but the most amazing thing was
watching those freshman and sophomores who didn’t know that they weren’t
supposed to win any football games, compete with juniors and seniors across the
Frontier Conference, they won four games, they could have won several more.
They were in them till the end. But what was even more amazing was watching
the thousands of people inside Simplot Stadium. That’s football fever, folks.
That is awesome. They did their report. The first season alone was a $4 million
impact to the City of Caldwell. That’s partnership. That’s partnership. We’ve
also partnered with the College of Idaho to complete Wolfe Field. As you know
that is a state of the art baseball facility in partnership with the College of Idaho.
It’s known as Wolf Field. The generous donation of Graye Wolfe and many other
benefactors have made this project possible. We fully believe that through this
program and the football program, we will be able to bring high school
tournaments, college tournaments. And these fields are available for the youth of
our community, and provide opportunity that did not exist before. Another part of
keeping the main thing is making sure that our families and children are kept
safe. Oftentimes, we look at a crime index and really don’t know what that
means. But I think this slide shows very effectively, where Caldwell is in the
overall realm of things. We have worked extremely hard over the past decade to
drive crime down. To remove it from our streets. To send a loud and clear
message that crime will not be tolerated in the City of Caldwell. And with our
partners the school district, the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, the mentoring
network, the YMCA, and all these other programs we are succeeding. So what
you see before you is a graph that compares the City of Caldwell’s crime index to
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
cities of our own size. It’s really not fair to compare us to Nampa, or to Boise, or
to Meridian because of the population variances, so we went and got the five
cities, that are our same size. And the reason that this is here is not to say that
those have crime slightly higher than ours is a bad thing. These rare wonderful
cities. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, resort community. People pay three times more for
a home there then what it’s worth, sorry. I probably shouldn’t have said that. I
didn’t mean that, sorry, Mayor. But what I mean is these are great communities.
Coeur d’Alene, Twin Falls, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, they’re all cities of similar size.
And our crime index is lower than three of them, and just slightly higher than one
of them. That means we’re succeeding. Our police department and everyone
that works with them is doing a fantastic job. Now, this is the other part of it that
is a just a staggering comparison. Look at the assessed value of these cities.
Caldwell is the lowest. That means that we have less dollars to work with to fight
crime then these other communities. Also, take a look at the budgets for their
police departments in these other communities. And again, I’m not saying that
their budgets are too high. I want you to know how effective and efficient our
police officers are with the revenues and money they have available to do the job
that they do. Again, we have the lowest crime rate except for one. We have the
lowest assessed value except for one, and we have the lowest budget period of
all of them. That means we are doing an efficient and effective job because of
our partners and the way we do business in the City of Caldwell. Congratulations
to the police department. But is that what makes them great? Is that why the
city is great or is it because they care? Monica Jones came into my office today
and told me that she did a ride along with Sergeant Myron Kershaw. And one of
the calls that they went on was an older gentleman had passed away. And so,
the police department goes just to make sure that there’s nothing awry, but they
go into these homes. And Monica came back to me and said that what she was
most amazed with is how kind and gentle Myron was with the family members.
So, the crime index being low is a great thing, but these officers are more than
that. Take a look at what they’ve done throughout the year. The Shop with a
Cop and Community Halloween Party are just two examples of these police
officers and those that work with them in administration, they take of their time,
their talents, and their effort to go out into the community and build relationships,
and let people and children know they care. That’s keeping the main thing the
main thing. The Caldwell Fire Department. Again, this graph is only to show you
what we have to work with. Our fire department I would say is really efficient. It
costs the citizens of Caldwell $982.33 per call. If you compare that to
communities around us, you’ll see that we are lowest. And again, that doesn’t
mean that these other communities are doing anything wrong. The only reason I
show this graph is to show you how effective and efficient this department is
being managed. Chief Weldensdorf and those that work with him and those
great firefighters go above and beyond the call of duty. They work with very little
resources, but they do a great job. We find year after year that fire losses
continue to go down, but is that what makes them great? No. It’s doing things
like Climb, Conquer, Cure, the money they raise for leukemia and lymphoma.
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Caldwell State of the City Address
Date: February 3, 2015
They raised $14,000 for MDA in their Fill the Boot Campaign. They partner with
local businesses to help a family with special needs. And then this is the thing
that I still am amazed at, is these firefighters put together a fundraiser and rode
bicycles all the way to San Francisco, California to raise money for youth that
have heart problems. The Jayden DeLuca Foundation was at the center of this
and our firefighters put together this event because they care. That’s what
makes them great. That’s keeping the main thing the main thing. We are
blessed to live in this great community. The Caldwell Night Rodeo where the
cowboys are the stars. We are so grateful to have this event in our community
because it brings families together. We’re grateful for our partners and you can
see those listed on this slide, and we’re grateful for the services that they provide
for our community. Family events sponsored by the city, Movies for a Cause, the
Chamber Farm to Fork event was a wonderful event Theresa. The Fourth of July
celebration, Indian Creek Festival, the Chamber Nightlight Parade, Winter
Wonderland bringing thousands of people to our community. Thousands of
people to our community so that they can also experience what makes Caldwell
great. We’ve talked a lot about facts and figures. We’ve talked a lot about
fireworks, but it’s the things we do as individuals, the compassion, the heartfelt
service that is rendered by the people that we’ve mentioned in this State of City
Address today, that make us a great community. And it is our hope and our
belief that as we move forward into the coming years that we have the policies in
place that will help Caldwell continue to thrive. We have the fiscal policies in
place that will allow us the funds that we need to do the necessary projects to
provide the infrastructure, the parks, the roads, the streets that we need to make
Caldwell the greatest place that we can for businesses to thrive and families to
succeed. We believe that we have the economic development policies in place
that will continue to help us create jobs and help those businesses that are here
to survive. Those businesses that are here that want to expand the ability to
expand. That they will find a great place to live, work, and play for their families.
We believe that Caldwell is the treasure of the valley. And it’s because of all of
you, the things that we have done together that we’ve achieved that. May God
bless each and every one of you in your efforts to keep the main thing the main
thing. Thank you.
Transcribed by: Documents by Dawn LLC, [email protected], (208) 841-1109.
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