A Boise attorney has estimated judicial confirmation for a wastewater facility will cost Rigby $7,000 to $8,000 and take three to six months.
In an email to the city, Stephanie Bonney, an attorney with MSBT Law, indicated the exact cost will depend on the time the process takes. She wrote she has extensive experience with judicial confirmation, and said the average time it takes is four months, with almost all judicial confirmations costing cities $7,000 to $8,000.
Dave Swager, city clerk, said he had sent out two requests for proposal (RFPs) to two legal firms in Boise, but said MSBT was the only to respond before the Jan. 2 council meeting. Rigby Mayor Jason Richardson said he would like to continue to collect proposals from attorneys before making a decision. City council members authorized Richardson to work out details with applicants, with costs of the attorney not to exceed $25,000.
Richardson said after the meeting, another estimate came in with a comparable price estimate and time frame. He said neither is estimated to take more than six months, and said now he must decide what to do to move forward with the process.
Rigby decided to use judicial confirmation to attempt to secure funding for what is estimated to be an $18 million upgrade to the city’s wastewater facility. The cost could be as low as $13.4 million if the city opts for a newer, potentially risky technology city council members have voted to study further.
Judicial confirmation is a process cities can use to collect taxes for ordinary and necessary expenditures. It is an alternative to a bond election and gives citizens less power over the decision to fund or not fund the project.
In this case, city council members are held to an Environmental Protection Agency deadline to secure funding for the facility by June 1, 2020. Rigby needs to be fully in compliance with EPA requirements by Aug. 1, 2023. If the city fails, EPA will charge $30,000 per day per violation.
Swager said the city’s most recent use of judicial review was in 2012, when a judge authorized Rigby to install water meters throughout the city. Swager said the project never came to fruition due to public opposition.