Canyon commissioners: How should we spend $16 million?

CALDWELL, Idaho (KBOI) - Canyon County Commissioners voted to give some tax relief to property owners, but not as much as recommended. They are trying to decide what to do with the extra $16 million.

On Thursday, during a preliminary budget meeting, the commissioners voted to put $2 million toward property tax relief instead of the $5 million recommended by the county clerk.

Even though property values have gone up, commissioners hope by giving $2 million back to property owners it will keep their current taxes at the same price for most people.

Even though upgrades to the courthouse have already been budgeted, commissioners said having extra money would help in case any extra expenses pop up.

One of the biggest issues brought up is the uncertainty with the jail. There is still no set plan on how deal with overcrowding , and where a new one would be built.

Sheriff Kieran Donahue said the problems with overcrowding could be one of the biggest costs in the future because of liability.

Even though voters have turned down bonds for the jail in the past, Donahue said he thinks they would be more willing to pass it if the county put down a bigger down payment.

"We may have to look at $20 million for a bond, but that's a lot different than a $50 or $55 million for a bond," he said.

These are only preliminary steps in the budgeting process are more could change with the surplus in the future.