City officials work to stop Idaho's sustainability rankings from dropping

Posted at 2:52 PM, Sep 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 16:52:37-04

BOISE — According to the UN's annual report, Idaho has seemingly dropped in meeting nation-wide sustainable development goals across the board. 6 On Your Side previously spoke with Idaho power to see how they think Idaho can improve the ranking for affordable energy, which dropped. Boise ranks third in the nation for low energy prices.

"We’re moving away from our coal facilities," said Idaho Power vice president of customer operations for Idaho Power Adam Richins.

The Boise metro area received the worst possible rankings for categories like climate action and no poverty, which the city says are more long-term goals.

"This is stuff that has to happen on a 20-30 year scale as opposed to a three and 4-year scale, so its kind of hard to say how this is going to turn out," said communication director for the City of Boise Mike Journee.

Ways to improve the areas where the treasure valley has fallen would mean making changes to affordable housing efforts, increasing early education, and decreasing childhood poverty. The City of Boise isn’t solely responsible for these outcomes, and other Treasure Valley cities want to help them improve.

In a statement given to channel 6, Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling says, in part:

"The Healthy Impact Nampa Coalition was formed to address affordable housing, public transportation, and access to healthy food. In 2018 a weekly grocery shuttle was created” as well."

Looking at the clean water side of things, King also mentions the bond approved for improving the wastewater treatment plant, which could help to enhance the clean water category Boise has dropped in.

The City of Caldwell also sent a statement addressing its improvement plans, stating in part:

"Sky Ranch Business Park is a prime example of the utilization of these programs and is estimated to bring in hundreds of jobs by the end of 2019. The City of Caldwell has partnered with school districts and the urban renewal agency in order to ensure schools are located optimally for families."

The purpose of these reports for cities is to provide context for planning, which the City of Boise says is happening now.

“Mayor Bieter would love to have the conversation with other agencies, ACHD, Ada County, even some of the Canyon County municipalities, if there's a way for us to have a more common baseline for how we approach these issues," said Journee.

To see City of Caldwell's statement, click here.
To see the full breakdown for 2019, click here.

Statement from Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling:

"In 2017, the City of Nampa formed a “think tank” coalition of community leaders to help address some of the critical issues facing Nampa. The Healthy Impact Nampa Coalition was formed to address affordable housing, public transportation and access to healthy food. From the coalition, and driven by community leaders, in 2018 a weekly grocery shuttle was created which runs on Saturdays, as well as “The Traveling Table” food pantry, which occurs the third Wednesday of each month in North Nampa. The commitment of the City of Nampa is that we continue to look at the overall health of our citizens, poverty, economic development and key strategies to improve the life of our citizens. It takes all of us working together to make a positive change in our community from private businesses to non-profits, faith-based institutions to schools.

Our school system is doing a phenomenal job of bring awareness and resources to the area of youth behavioral health.

While housing markets continue to rise, Nampa has some of the lowest housing in the Treasure Valley and our area also has low utility rates.
In 2018, Nampa voters approved bond funding to pay for upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant to ensure compliance with changing federal guidelines and to increase capacity for our growing community. None of this work can be accomplished by local government alone but requires overall community engagement and the work of many stakeholders. Through our comprehensive master plan update we are working to design a city that will be a sustainable, livable and vibrant community for generations to come.

Our goal is to make Nampa a safe and healthy community where people prosper."