BOISE -- The city of Boise and Ada County Highway District are in conflict again, this time over parking sensors. This dispute has been going for close to a year now. But both sides say there's a lot more to it than just parking meters.
It all started about 10 months ago when the city started installing new parking meters, and to go with them, new parking sensors in the road. ACHD halted the project saying the roads are under their control. The city believes it's all part of a parking issue, which is under their control.
"The public right-of-way is the roadway and the sidewalk," said Boise spokesman Adam Park. "We've installed parking meters in the public right-of-way ever since we've had parking meters. It's an everyday part of running a parking program."
"The city at this point doesn't acknowledge that ACHD controls the roads, says they don't need permission," said ACHD chief information officer Craig Quintana. "We beg to differ and have an Idaho attorney general's opinion that says so."
The two agencies were negotiating a possible resolution for the past few months. But last month, ACHD said the city demanded they be able to put as many sensors as they wanted, anywhere they wanted. So, Tuesday, things came to a head when ACHD sent a letter to the city giving them 10 days to accept their last, best offer of a deal.
Park calls that an ultimatum.
"It's really unfortunate that it's come to this," Park said. "This is really poor form. The citizens of Boise expect us to resolve these issues."
The deal would allow the city to install the rest of their sensors, leave them installed for five years with automatic renewals, and leave an option for new sensors to be installed, as long as ACHD licensed them. If the city doesn't agree ACHD is threatening legal action or to just pull the sensors out.
"We think it's a pretty generous offer given what the city would like to have happen," said Quintana. "The stopping point for the city is that they'd have to acknowledge that ACHD has control of the roads. For whatever reason that has been a burr for City Hall."
And that is apparently part of the real issue here. City leaders just don't like the fact that ACHD has governance over Boise roads, calling it "dual control" over Boise. They also seemingly don't like that ACHD exists at all.
"The City Council president has gone on record on numerous occasions saying she doesn't like the fact that she has to deal with ACHD about roads in downtown Boise," said Quintana.
"This shows the dysfunctionality of this model. We're the only county in the entire country where the cities within the county don't have control over their roadways," said Park.
The mayor and the city council are expected to meet and discuss what they'll do next at their regular meeting on Tuesday.