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Tom’s Priorities

Property Tax

Ada County homeowners received residential property tax relief this past year. Our County continues to be safe, provide essential services while maintaining our quality of life. All this within a balanced budget.

In 2023, with help from the legislature, Ada County reduced residential property tax. The imbalance between residential and commercial property tax was also addressed. We will also keep property taxes stable this year.  We are always looking for ways to improve budget and tax policy.  

Property tax is the main revenue source for the county. This revenue funds the 41 independent Ada County taxing districts. These include cities, school districts, highway district, fire districts, cemetery districts and such.   Each separate taxing district independently approves a budget. A tax levy is then imposed to meet the requested budget. The County Commissioners only set about 22% of the total property tax within the county. Thus, they can only impact about 22% of the property taxes imposed in Ada County.  This fiscal year ends on September 30, 2024. It ends with a balanced budget and reduced property tax. 

Planning & Zoning

Planning is vital. It is key for the continuation of a good life in our fast-growing county.  Water is essential to sustain life in the semi-arid desert of Ada County. Caring for the quantity and quality of our water is my top planning concern.I have spent the past 2 years focused on water quality and quantity. I have studied declining aquifers, responsible development and loss of farmland. I am working with water interest groups. I am addressing recharge issues. These are key parts of my search to address the many concerns facing Ada County. My efforts will continue to:

  • Hold ”water summits” with the various water interests to coordinate water usage.
  • Partner to bring relief to areas of the county where wells are going dry.
  • Help develop a well study (well monitoring) in central Ada County.
  • Work to start aquifer studies. They aim to identify potential water restoration.
  • Explore the diversion of flood water to underground aquifers for storage.
  • Help flood control district, water districts, DEQ, domestic water providers, and cities. These projects improve water availability and use. They check supply and coordinate understanding of water flows.
  • Work to create a water information database. The database will be available to planners, developers, and government. It will also be available to industry and individual water users.
  • Help coordinate with government entities on water issues.

Public Safety

Public safety is a critical component of Ada County government.   Ada County continues to be a safe and secure place to live and work. More than half of the county budget is for the largest police agency in Idaho, the Ada County Sheriff.   

We are always looking for new ways to improve public safety. Outside of the county jail, supervisors oversee about 2000 people. Innovative jail management processes have improved our ability to provide justice. An example is the community transition center. It helps individuals in the system. It also keeps Ada County residents safe.   They also use alternative sentencing, pretrial release, house arrest, probation, and community service programs. 

Another improvement is the “Bridge” juvenile justice program. The new “Bridge Youth and Family Resource Center” opened in 2023. It helps youth and families. The Bridge screens and assesses at-risk youth and families. It connects them with resources to keep them out of juvenile detention. The Center works to keep youth out of juvenile justice and child welfare systems. It does this by connecting families with helpful services in the community.  

A recent addition is our Specialty courts. These courts help adults transition from the criminal justice system. They help them become productive members of our community.  These courts divert people involved in crime, who have drug issues, from prison and jail. They put them into treatment. Matching treatment and supervision to the needs of these courts helps reduce crime. It also cuts alcohol and drug use and jail time. Many have avoided prison. They reenter our community as “graduates” of Ada County programs.

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