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Ada County, Boise City clash over funding court services

CBS 2 File Photo

Ada County says the City of Boise "has turned its back on a promise" to pay a portion of magistrate court services and the county may have to cut programs because of it.

Ada County Commissioner Jim Tibbs told CBS 2 News the county and the city had an informal agreement in which the city would pay a part of the magistrate court services at the courthouse, those are the misdemeanor cases.

In turn, Tibbs says the county would contribute funding to the New Path Community Housing Project -- the city's homeless housing facility which officially opens Thursday.

The City of Boise is adamantly denying any informal agreement. The county is giving the City of Boise $250,000 for homeless medical services.

The City of Boise has been paying more than $1,000,000 a year for magistrate services.

The county sent a letter to the city Wednesday expressing "disappointment" over what it says it the city's attempt to get a judge to exempt the city from a court order.

Tibbs says that order, dating back to 1980, requires Boise to pay the county for magistrate services at the Ada County Courthouse.

Tibbs thinks the city has broken state law.

The county has been counting on this money for its budget, Tibbs said. "If we don't get it, it looks like we're going to have to cut programs."

But the county says it will "not respond in kind" and will continue its funding of the New Path project.

The City of Boise says it's the only city in Ada County that's making the payment, and that simply isn't fair.

"We believe that the City of Boise taxpayers deserve the same kind of consideration... if other cities don't have to pay for those kinds of services, we believe it would be fair for the taxpayers of the City of Boise to get those services without having to pay well over $1 million a year for that," said Mike Journee, City of Boise Spokesman.

Ada County has until Dec. 13 to file its opposition.

A hearing in front of a Fourth District Court judge panel will take place on Janu. 25, 2019.

A new state law will cover magistrate funding costs across the state by redirecting revenue from liquor sales. But it will be five years before the plan is fully implemented.

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