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City of Meridian Blogs

Celebrate—Celebrate Meridian

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By Mayor Tammy


Over the past 18 months I have used this blog to share with our community some of the many things we have to celebrate about in Meridian.  From community leaders to awards received, we have had a lot to share.  Today I’m excited to announce that the City is continuing this trend with a new partnership with Mountain View High School and Treasure Valley Community Television (TVCTV). 


Beginning in January CableONE subscribers can turn to channel 39 every Thursday at 8:00 pm for Celebrate Meridian, a 30 minute focus on our community.  For those of you who don’t have CableONE, Celebrate Meridian can be viewed on the City’s website in the video section after it airs on channel 39.


Each month Celebrate Meridian will discuss timely issues and feature guests who will give perspective and provide information about our community.  January’s guests include Senator Russ Fulcher and Representative Marv Hagedorn.  Both legislators share their thoughts on the upcoming 2011 legislative session and how it relates to our community.  This is great information for those looking to learn more about our community.  I appreciate both of my guests for taking time out of their busy schedule to share their thoughts.


In addition to guests, Celebrate Meridian will include updates about community events as well as profiles on Meridian businesses and exceptional student leaders.  Each episode will conclude with an “Ask the Mayor” segment where I answer viewer questions.  If you have a question you’d like to ask on Celebrate Meridian, send us an email by clicking here.


This program is produced in partnership with the students at Mountain View High School.  Every month the students in media production at the school volunteer their time to help direct and produce Celebrate Meridian.  The program is taped on a set inside the high school using the school’s equipment and operators. Under the direction of their instructor Michael Gartner, these students have received a variety of national awards for television production and we are excited to be working along side these future media professionals. 


I hope you will tune in or log on to Celebrate Meridian each month to learn more about our community.  Do you have an idea for a future show?  If so I want to hear about it. Email me at MayorTammy@meridiancity.org and together we can recognize those individuals and Celebrate Meridian as the premier community to live, work and raise a family.


Business Retention and Expansion

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By, Brenda Sherwood, Economic Development Coordinator


As the year draws to an end, it’s commonplace for many businesses (real estate agencies, banks, financial consultants, etc.) to throw their annual economic forecast events predicting the outcome of the year to come.  Now if you’re feeling like me, I’ve had it up to my eyebrows with the negative!  Yes, we’ve seen some of the worst turbulences in recession history and there are still many efforts that need to be made, but I’m certainly seeing a lot of economic indicators that are pointing towards an upturn in our economy.


Beginning this past month, The Mayor’s Economic Excellence Team has focused attention to our Business Retention and Expansion Program.  Its objective is to help existing businesses become more competitive, encourage synergistic collaborations and   to simply thank each company for being such a viable asset in the community.  Our BR&E program has engaged a variety of state agencies, higher learning institutions and local economic development organizations to participate in the future growth of businesses in Meridian.  Our formation of numerous strategic partnerships was designed to bring this commitment to a greater level. 


Why Retention?


Many assume that economic development means attracting new business or industry to the community.  I have people on the street asking me all the time, ‘what companies are coming into town?’  In this economy, many businesses are still hesitant to just pick up and move or expand their company to another state.  Actually, in good times and in bad, there is greater economic potential when helping one of your existing businesses or industries survive, grow and prosper.  These businesses account for nearly 80% of all new jobs created.  Retaining businesses that are already located here, and taking the time and energy to grow them, contributes more ‘bang for the buck’ than trying to lure new business into our area.


Now, I shifted into business retention to focus on the positive!  A majority of the companies we’ve met with here in Meridian have been reporting gains and growth for the past several months.  Time after time, we’re hearing companies tell us that they are finally starting to experience numbers similar to those before the recession.  If there’s anything that has put me into the holiday spirit, it’s the enthusiasm and positive attitude by the many CEO’s, Presidents, managers and owners of the companies we’ve visited here in Meridian.


We have a long way to go and it will take some time for companies to reestablish their confidence again to begin hiring, but for many businesses, hope is just on the horizon.


The Mayor’s Economic Excellence Team is committed to retaining and expanding the existing businesses that sustain our community, so when an economic development professional contacts your business, please take the time to set up an appointment with us.  We invite you to share with us what's holding you back from growing and making new jobs for our friends, partners and children. You'll be surprised what's out there to support growth, once you find the person(s) that can help you navigate the "system.”


To schedule a visit from our Economic Excellence Team, please contact me at 208.489.0537


May the year ahead bring peace, good health and much happiness to you and yours.  Happy Holidays.


Upcoming Road Construction

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By: Tim Curns, Transportation & Utility Coordinator

With multiple City of Meridian utility projects beginning soon we wanted to give you a heads-up so that you can plan your commutes accordingly. Please note that residents in the project areas will be notified closer to construction beginning to inform them of how they will be affected. Here is a quick summary of what to expect:


Currently, work is underway on E. Carlton Avenue in the downtown area to replace aging water mains. This work is anticipated to be complete by the end of January with intermittent lane restrictions and closures.


The McMillan and Locust Grove Intersection will be under construction beginning this month and ending in August. The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) will be reconstructing the intersection and adding a traffic signal. In conjunction with this project, the City is relocating water mains to accommodate the road widening. Stay up to date on road closures by visiting the ACHD construction website.


During the late winter and spring of 2011, construction will also being on NW 4th Street and adjoining sections of W. Washington Street and W. Carlton Avenue This project will upgrade aging water mains and relocate the existing sewer pipelines.


In the late spring of 2011, construction will commence on W. Maple Avenue to upgrade undersized and aging water mains.


Questions regarding the Carlton, NW 4th Street, and Maple Avenue utility projects can be directed to the Meridian Public Works Department at 898-5500.


For questions about the McMillan and Locust Grove Intersection Project please contact ACHD at 387-6100. Any utility related questions about this project can be directed to Meridian Public Works.

Affected streets for the NW 4th and Maple Ave Projects



Finance Blog Update

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Title: Finance Blog Update

By, Stacy Kilchenmann


It’s December and most people are busy with holiday preparations.  In the City’s accounting department we are very busy too, but not with visions of sugarplums but rather debits and credits and cash reconciliations.  We are preparing our FY2010 financials statements and getting ready for our annual upcoming financial statement audit. 

The following excerpts provide a brief explanation of what a financial audit is and a history of the audit function.   You can find the City’s most recent audits on our Finance webpage.


Financial audits exist to add credibility to the implied assertion by an organization's management that its financial statements fairly represent the organization's position and performance to the organization’s stakeholders (interested parties).   The audit is designed to decrease the possibility that a material misstatement is not detected by audit procedures. A misstatement is defined as false or missing information, whether caused by fraud (including deliberate misstatement) or error. "Material" is very broadly defined as being large enough or important enough to cause stakeholders to alter their decisions.

The exact form and content of the "audit opinion" will vary between countries, firms and audited organizations.

In the US, the CPA firm provides written assurance that financial reports are fairly presented, in all material respects, in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), where the threshold for materiality is determined via auditor's judgment.

City’s financial audits are governed by the Government Accounting Standards Board.  GASB issues accounting standards those governments are required to follow.  These standards have the goal of increasing transparency, accountability and consistency.  GASB in recent years has also required conversion of the fund accounting used in government accounting to full accrual accounting so that year-end statements are comparable to a business financial statement.



Audit of government expenditure

The earliest surviving mention of a public official charged with auditing government expenditure is a reference to the Auditor of the Exchequer in England in 1314. The Auditors of the Imprest were established under Queen Elizabeth I in 1559 with formal responsibility for auditing Exchequer payments. This system gradually lapsed and in 1780, Commissioners for Auditing the Public Accounts were appointed by statute. From 1834, the Commissioners worked in tandem with the Comptroller of the Exchequer, who was charged with controlling the issue of funds to the government.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Ewart Gladstone initiated major reforms of public finance and Parliamentary accountability. His 1866 Exchequer and Audit Departments Act required all departments, for the first time, to produce annual accounts, known as appropriation accounts. The Act also established the position of Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) and an Exchequer and Audit Department (E&AD) to provide supporting staff from within the civil service. The C&AG was given two main functions – to authorize the issue of public money to government from the Bank of England, having satisfied himself that this was within the limits Parliament had voted – and to audit the accounts of all Government departments and report to Parliament accordingly.

Auditing of UK government expenditure is now carried out by the National Audit Office. Sing industry (acting through various organizations throughout the years) as to the accounting standards for financial reporting, and the U.S. Congress has deferred to the SEC.

This is also typically the case in other developed economies. In the UK, auditing guidelines are set by the institutes (including ACCA, ICAEW, ICAS and ICAI) of which auditing firms and individual auditors are members.

Accordingly, financial auditing standards and methods have tended to change significantly only after auditing failures. The most recent and familiar case is that of Enron. The company succeeded in hiding some important facts, such as off-book liabilities, from banks and shareholders. Eventually, Enron filed for bankruptcy, and (as of 2006[update]) is in the process of being dissolved. One result of this scandal was that Arthur Andersen, then one of the five largest accountancy firms worldwide, lost their ability to audit public companies, essentially killing off the firm.

A recent trend in audits (spurred on by such accounting scandals as Enron and Worldcom) has been an increased focus on internal control procedures, which aim to ensure the completeness, accuracy and validity of items in the accounts, and restricted access to financial systems. This emphasis on the internal control environment is now a mandatory part of the audit of SEC-listed companies, under the auditing standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) set up by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.


Business Supporting Youth Awards

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 By Shelly Houston

Meridian’s Promise recently held its annual Business Supporting Youth Awards program. During the presentation, Mayor Tammy, along with Meridian’s Promise President Mark Bennett, handed out awards to three outstanding individuals and groups who regularly go out of their way to support Meridian’s Youth.

What makes each of these winners so important and such good examples to our community is that they are not in traditional “kid-focused” businesses. They aren’t daycare centers; they aren’t pediatricians; they don’t run amusement parks. Yet they have each found unique ways, within their spheres of influence, to engage and enrich our city’s young people.

Let me tell you a bit about each of them.   

Our Individual Winner is Rich Nesbit, a local family man and realtor for EXIT Realty. He is extremely active participant in the Meridian Kiwanis, dedicating more than 300 volunteer hours to their year-round projects, many of which directly benefit children and families.

He is a liaison for the K-Kids service club at Meridian Elementary as well as the Builder’s Club at Meridian Middle School.

Rich has made his realty office a “safe place” for the kids who wait out front for the school bus. During the winter months and inclement weather kids are invited to wait indoor in the front lobby while waiting for their bus.

He offers his services at the Meridian Boys & Girls Club, reading books during story time and obtaining donations of needed supplies. Earlier this summer he coordinated vendors to voluntarily repair the club’s HVAC system, repair the sprinkler system, and improve the outdoor landscaping.

Rich has spent time as a field trip parent for both his kids, been a soccer coach for two different youth teams, and a game day coach and team manager within Meridian’s youth soccer program.

When it comes to making sure Meridian kids get off to a healthy start, our Small Business Winner -- the Idaho Dairy Products Commission -- does more than its share to encourage strong, fit, healthy kids.

This non-profit group, with the cooperation of the members of the Idaho Dairy Council and United Dairymen of Idaho, regularly provides healthy milk, ice cream, cheese, and yogurt snacks at a variety of children’s events free of charge – including Meridian’s Free Family Fishing Day.

They have provided more than $100,000 in in-kind and monetary donations to Meridian’s middle schools, provide milk and dairy products to students at low income schools, and awarded a $12,000 prize to Meridian’s Siena K-8 School as Idaho’s winning school in the Fuel Up to Play 60 competition.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a national school wellness program that is works with youth, schools and communities to offer actionable solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic and help youth develop positive life-long healthy eating and daily physical activity habits.

Wells Fargo, our Large Business winner, is truly a driving force in the Treasure Valley, helping support programs as diverse as the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, the Boise Art Museum, Ballet Idaho, The Boise Philharmonic, and the World Center for Birds of Prey.

When funds are tight in the school district, one area which understandably feels the pinch is bussing for field trips. Yet thanks to a $7,500 grant from Wells Fargo, Meridian students were able to be on the move. 2nd and 3rd graders got an opportunity to learn about agriculture at the Ag Expo. 4th graders go a first-hand look at Idaho history by attending Idaho History day, and 3rd graders experienced the splendor of live music by the Boise Philharmonic.

However, Wells Fargo is about much more than money. They encourage their employees to volunteer in the classroom, donate books to the Reading First program, and actively participate with youth-focused groups such as the YMCA’s Strong Kids campaign, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Computers for Kids, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and youth scholarship programs.

Wells Fargo is proud to support organizations working to strengthen our community. Through the efforts of their enthusiastic team member, volunteers, and contributions, they share their success within our community by giving back to non-profits and educational institutions that address vital community needs and issues.

As you can see, each of our three Business Supporting Youth Award honorees have found ways to help fulfill our community’s promise to youth, each in their own unique ways.

Hopefully their stories will inspire you or your company to do more for the youngsters who are Meridian’s future leaders, and perhaps to join Meridian’s Promise, our community’s initiative to build the character and competence of their community’s youth by fulfilling each child’s need for the Five Promises set forth by America’s Promise -- The National Alliance for Youth. These Five Promises are (1) Caring Adults with which they have ongoing supportive relationships; (2) Safe Places with structured activities during non-school hours; (3) A Healthy Start and future; (4) Marketable Skills through effective education; and (5) Opportunities to Give Back through community service.

Let’s all help pull our weight and ensure a bright and prosperous future for our community’s youth.