NAMPA -- Nampa Mayor Bob Henry gave his first State of the City address Wednesday.
He inherits a city with a school district with major financial challenges.
Henry campaigned on a platform of cutting the size of government, to cut costs and to cut property taxes. But that apparently doesn't include cutting school funding.
"2014 begins a new era for Nampa city government," Henry told the Nampa Chamber of Commerce.
Henry wants to cut taxes by cutting costs, by entering into more public-private partnerships where businesses can help fund community projects.
He says even though they were spearheaded under former Mayor Tom Dale, the new naming rights for the Idaho Center with Ford, Gardner Company helping to build Library Square, and road and traffic improvements are great examples of this.
"There are several safety improvements slated this year, and next thanks to the Public Works Director Michael Fuse and his team, most of the projects are funded through partnerships with the state of Idaho and private companies. And we leverage those projects with federal dollars."
But there's one area where Henry hopes the people of Nampa are willing to pay a little more in taxes, namely, the $3.4 million school levy on the March ballot. He says it's been difficult to watch the struggles of the Nampa School District, which included a multi-million dollar shortfall a few years ago, and numerous cuts since then. He hopes the people who are tired of the high cost of government driving up their taxes, don't confuse that with the needed cost of educating kids.
"The district certainly can justify the need. Between their own well publicized problems and the cuts at the state level made to education, the need is obvious," said Henry.
The mayor didn't talk about cutting fire or police, but did talk about the feds and other local agencies helping with public safety programs.
He's also asked for cost-saving ideas from other city employees, and has gotten about 100 already.
You can also go to the city's website to give your ideas on how Nampa can save money.
Click below to watch the Mayor Henry give his first State of the City Address: