Elmore County taxpayers push back and get court order

Taxpayers push back, get court order.

A recall vote for two directors of the Western Elmore County Recreation District will happen on November 7. A group called "Friends of Recreation" initiated the recall after a contract was canceled to build a recreation center. A court order signed Thursday could bring more ammunition to the recall effort.

"In 2000 when we had the election the recreation district was created to build a recreation center," said Betty Ashcraft, who is a member of "Friends of Recreation."

The 20,000-square-foot planned facility never got much past the groundbreaking. Instead, taxpayer money has been spent on other things like local sports teams and activities. 

"They have given away almost $200,000 to special interest groups," said Ashcraft.

With about $3.5 million left, "Friends of Recreation" brought the case to court.

"We resorted to filing an injunction because we wanted to protect the taxpayers' dollars and use the taxpayers' dollars as they were intended," said Ashcraft.

"Yes, this is kinda extreme, but it's the only way we can get through," added Vivan Meyer, who is a member of "Friends of Recreation."

The District Court of the Fourth Judicial District found that since 2010 the Western Elmore County Recreation District has granted or given money and property to private organizations and other governmental entities citing that recreation districts are not authorized to do that under Idaho law.

The court ordered, through a permanent injunction, that the Western Elmore County Recreation District cannot grant, gift money or property to another.

"Any taxing district must obey the Idaho statutes," said Ashcraft.

Ashcraft and Meyer hope the court order means Western Elmore County, encompassing about 22,000 people, will finally get what they have been waiting for.

"Our recreation district was formed to build a family recreation center," said Ashcraft.

KTVB did reach out to the Western Elmore County Recreation District and the board president, Art Nelson, said they were still reading over the permanent injunction. Nelson added that an attorney would be contacting us when they were ready to comment.

The recall election on Tuesday is for Nelson and board vice president Judy Mayne. You can find their responses to the recall here.

If citizens vote in favor of the recall, Elmore County Commissioners would replace the two board members. The permanent injunction remains no matter what happens.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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