Idaho Free Press from Nampa, Idaho on February 27, 1976 · Page 46
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Idaho Free Press from Nampa, Idaho · Page 46

Nampa, Idaho
Issue Date:
Friday, February 27, 1976
Page 46
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Mayoral history outlined Ernest Starr serves as mayor for one-fifth of city's history By Karen Soulhwick Nampa may be a long way J J c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y f r o m ^Celebrating its Bicentennial as a ·ity. but in oilier ways it has Reached about the same point in its history as the United States |ilid during the F.D.R. i Franklin Delano Roo^evelti period. jj] For example. Nampa's t ongesl in-service mayor has cached his 15th year as head of [iiily government. During Mayor jjfernesl Starr's tenure in office, 5he city budget has nearly quadrupled, but city services ave also increased, along with apulalion. business and in- Jluslry and (he cost of living. Starr has been mayor of ^'ampa now for one-fifth of the 75-year history as an in- j-orporaled m u n i c i p a l i t y . ' H e as on the ballot three previous jimes and had logo into a run-off 1961 before attaining the position, but since the institution J»jf a four-year term in 1965 Starr ljias won successive terms -. over who would actually be running the city. Many of Starr's appointments for city offices were challenged by the council and in at least two of these'cases -- those of city attorney and city clerk -- the council's wishes prevailed. But as Starr became more and more the incumbent mayor and council members tame and went, the balance of power shifted -- to the point that now outgoing Council President William Johnson and incoming member Frank Bevington have called for a city manager form of government which would strengthen (he council's role arid lessen the mayor's in c i t y government. ijiily's 75-year history as an in- But Starr feels he has {jfjorporated m u n i c i p a l i t y . He mellowed over Ihe years. Where he used to jump into controversies, now he more often sits back and waits it out. He lists many acc o m p l i s h m e n t s d u r i n g his period in office, some of which "f have had a lol of resonsibility Jt Slarr said he first challenged for." Starr named passage of a Cinrnmhpiit m n v n r Proci,-,n bond issue in 1965 lo construct a new sewer plant for the city and completion of a new library in 1966 as two important city projects early in his mayoral career. In 19G7the new Mercy Medical Center was built and N'ampa Boulevard interstate connector was finished. The interstate highway between Nampa and Caldwell was completed in 1966. By 1969 the Nampa Comprehensive Plan was developed, followed in 1970 by the comprehensive zoning ordinance. Also in 1970 the 16lh Avenue ^ncumbent m a y o r Preston C^apell in 1955 because "I went to ijS meeting where people com- ;»Jnented thai there wasn't jjjnyone thai could beat Caoell. I Sjjook [his as a challenge and Stan." but "I didn't win," lie Sjdded. iN In 1957 someone did beat jv'apetl in his bid for a fourth 5{erm. bul it wasn't Starr. Wnomas A. Leupp defeated Ihe Sicumbenl by a narrow 250 Wotes. In 1959 Leupp won re- Calection over write-in candidate 5|larr. IN Starr finally made it into gffice in 1961 by defeating overpass was dedicated. Starr Cftilliani Lees Jr. 2,341 votes to Sl'as a Earlier in 1961 by defeating said federal funds of $1 million were accumulated over eight years to finish Ihe project, replacing a narrow Iwo-lane underpass built in 1901 which was too low for large trucks and ijx^uuut; me 1301 uiayurai filled up with waler in any Selection campaign. Ihe Pix rainstorm. Bfhealre. owned by Lees, was Karcher Mall, which has had significant impact on the development of Nampa, was completed in Ihree phases in the late 1960s and early 1970s. , - \lso in 1969 the Boise Cascade cunlaTner' plant was bulit and ,.-, . local improvemenl district 47A .jeaclion for him." Slarr said, installed sewer lines in all areas eluded $1 for a padlock 50 cents IHCily council minutes during of ihe cily. The mayor noled for prisoner meals and II for two parr's early years in office Nampa is the only large cily in .JJiow a continuing c o n f l i c t Idaho wilh all portions on city JSelwecn him and the council sewer. j!j2.234.341 votes to 2.234. This a run-off, though. In the general election l,ees dged oul Starr by Ihree votes, i 188 to 1,185. d u r i n g the 1961 mayoral Neclion campaign. Ihe Pix jhealre. owned by Lees, was IjSeing picketed for allegedly Slowing an "immoral" movie, SjBullerfield 3." But Slarr l^HscountKl this as.a factor in his jfrarrow victory. '· ''" B^TIw publicity over the theater elpcd Lees because it created a Most areas of the city also have curb and gutter, installed over a 15-year period. Developers now are required to do this themselves. Nampa's billing system has gone modern, with the computerization of billing, collection, irrigation and payroll starling in 1972. Starr said one of the disappointments of his career has been failure to get new law enforcement and city hall facilities. The present city hall- police department complex, built in 1909. is admittedly inadequate today. In fact,:'( has been the various city projects which prompted Starr to stay in office each new election. "We have always had so miiiy projects under way at a new election that I always felt I should run. ft is difficult for a new administration lo follow through." Starr added he felt the public should have the right to elect its mayor as long as they want and does not favor a law to limit the terms of mayor such as has existed on the national level since Roosevelt's unprecedented four terms. All the city's projects have also cost money. Nampa's budget for 1962, the first full year Starr was in office, was $1,172,610. The budget didn't pass the $2 million mark until 1970, but from there it really jumped, reaching $2,576,920 by 1972, more lhan $3 million by 1973. $3.6 million by 1974 and just short of $4 million in 1975. Two large budgetary items last year were completion of the expanded municipal airport and construction of the Midland Substation of the Nampa Fire Department. But not all the growth and progress, nor all the disappointments, have occurred during Starr's period in office. When Nampa incorporated, as a town in 1891, it authorized payment of first claims against the town, including $1 for a cow funeral. Total bills allowed at this early session, regi^hgdjj^i'figu^, funeral, the list" 6( v clalmfe in- dog funerals. Nampa officially became a city in 1901, and a mayor was elected as chairman of the board of truslees. The firs! item to come before W.J. McClelland was the matter of putting locks on the city jail. By 1905 mayoral terms were increased to two years and Hudolphus W. Purdum was elected mayor. During his administration the first sewer works in Ihe rily were authorized. Alarmed at the potential danger from septic tanks and filler beds, Ihe mayor and councilmen authorized the first municipal sewer system, by resolution. They contracted for an expenditure of $5,970 lo complete Ihe project. The administration of E. H. Dewey, elected mayor in 1909, was faced with Ihe problems of a rapidly growing cily, and city offices were running completely out of space. An ordinance to bond for $30,000 to build a city hall passed 216 for and 32 against. That building is still being used today. A companion ordinance to bond for $20,000 lo build a fire station also passed on a 213-39 vote. Dewey was re-elected mayor in 19U. That year the council passed an ordinance permitting Sunday movies and the cily purchased a typewriter. Minutes of the Aug. 7, 19il council meeting were the first to be recorded by typewriter in- slead of longhand. A special meeting called Aug. 12, 1912, resulted in the city erecting a tent lo be used as a "pest house." The scourge of smallpox had striken one Nampa victim. When T. E. Munhall was elected mayor in 1915, he was informed by the fire department that one of its horses was useless and Ihe two others were too weak to pull Ihe fire equipment on Nampa's unpaved streets. The council therefore put the old fire horses out lo pasture and purchased its first horseless carriage, a new Model M complete wilh running boards, electric lights, eleclric generator and chains for the wheels.. Tbe superstructure from'lh'e old Worse-drawn fire truck was installed on the automobile chassis to give Nampa modern fire-fighting equipment. The mayor and council were first put on permanent salaries »; The Nampa post office was nearing completion in 1931. During the 1920s and l* 30s nine chief executives served two-year terms. Nampa's City Hall was built in 1909. On the front corner sidewalk in this 1910 photo is a horse watering fountain, later moved to Lakeview Park. during the term of Mayor E. W. RJsing (1933-35) with the mayor receiving $50 per month and the councilmen $25. The turnover of mayors was rapid during the 1920s and 30s as nine chief executives served two-year terms. In 1921 J. R. Bow was elected and was the first candidate lo receive more lhan 1,000 voles in a mayoral election. In 1939 and 1941 B . H . W a i g a n d gjCCNTCNNIAl TRACTS' FAMILY DINING IS * SPECIALTY AT DENNY'S! !j The United States might not Slave been born, were it not Mor the unwitting help of King Sbeorge I!I and his Prime {Minister. Lord North. Not J j n l y w a s P a r l i a m e n t iogmatic and unyielding to tae political ferment in the ! colonies, but King George and lord North, by their insults, threat"; and refusals to accept. ! *ace overtures, alienated J Muive colonists. As a result, Up* mood of rebellion spread Snd hardened in Uie colonies, 4V World Almanac recalls. SERVING HOME-STYLE COOKING AT A PRICE YOU'LL LIKE! Featuring. . . FRIED CHICKEN BUFFET STYLE DMKG WITH GREAT SERVICE! DENNY'S LIHE-A-DINER 1923-2nd St. So. -- Nampa, 466-9824 Fulltime in 1901 lo 16 today wilh 178 full-time employes. The one fulllime department 75 years ago was the Police Department, apparently consisting of a chief and possibly a night man. The Fire Department was on a volunteer basis for a long time. The Street Department headed by a part-time superintendent included all residents of the cily within became the (irsl mayor lo serve certain age limils who served as two consecutive terms in 20 years. He was receded in 1941 out of a field of five candidates for whom more than 3,000 votes were cast. S. G. Honstead took over as the city's chief executive in 1945 and also served two terms, but narrowly missed being ousted' from office when Peler Johnson "employes." They had Ihe choice of working on the streets and alleys or paying someone else lo do it. The city clerk and treasurer both were parltime jobs with one of the local bankers filling Ihe latter post. The second fulltime department was superintendent of the came wilhin a vole of unseating water system, set up a few years him. Johnson came back lo win afler Nampa became a cily in Ihe 1949 race. Presloti Capell in 1951 was Ihe firsl candidate to receive more than 3,000 votes. Although his totals kept d i m i n i s h i n g he continued to serve through three two-year terms. He narrowly defeated Starr in 1955 with a 1,641 lo 1,379 margin. During Nampa's growth, (he original city services of fire and police protection expanded inlo recreation, irrigation, water, sewer, health and other items. Cily deparlmenlsgrew from one 1901. Up until the late 1930s the departments wilh fulltime employes were cemetery streets and alleys, water, police and fire. The I r r i g a t i o n Department sometimes had a year-round man. While Nampa was still a cily of Ihe second class -- until after the 1950 census -- members of the city council served as chairmen of committees supervising each department. It was not uncommon for a new ra^ committee chairman to decide he wanted to repay political debls by giving jobs lo his political supporters or their friends. That meant the old employes were oul. By 1961, when Slarr look over, there were 14 cily departments, including city clerk, treasurer, police, fire, parks and recreation, streets and alleys, waler, irrigation, sewer, cemetery, engineer, inspector, health and forestry. Now Ihe city has 16 departments - - eliminating health and forestry, bul adding finance, personnel and maintenance. The city employs 178 persons Fulltime, including the largesl department -- still police-which has about 40. The 1976 budget for salaries and benefits for fulltime cily employes is estimated al $1,800,000. And whal of the future of Nampa? During lasl year's cily council c a m p a i g n , several candidates campaigned actively f o r . a C.JIY manager form of government -- in which Ihe mayor would appoint a city manager lo run the cily and resign himself to largely or ; namental functions. Mayor Slarr commented he would not support (he cily manager form as it was presented. "I don'l support the mayor as - chairman of the council, chosen from the council," he said. "You should separate ihe elections of mayor and council." He added he felt the people had the right lo elecl the mayor separately, not have him chosen from among Ihe council. "There needs lo be someone Ihey can go lo if they are unhappy with Ihe cily manager. It's hard lo go to a committee," Slarr said. "One problem with the city manager is he becomes en- treched and gets too d i c - tatorial." He added a new mayor would have the right to re-appoint Ihe cily manager or leave him in. The need for a new city hall- law enforcement complex remains a pressing issue for Starr. Hesaidhesees thai as Ihe city's lop priority followed by i n s t a l l a t i o n of pressurized irrigation throughoul Ihe cily -a project which starled lasl year. Other needed ilcms include another fire substation in the south parl of town. As for his running again, "I probably won't make lhat decision until then (in 1977 when he is up for re-election again)," Starr said. "I know I've been here loo long, but it depends on what's going on and if I feel the city- would benefit by my serving another term. If I don't feel that, I wouldn't run." he said. HAPPY BIRTHDAY j AMERICA j 4 Business Is Essentially \ People, | And fortunately j We Know The Best. CROOKHAM COMPANY rHC NOUSC THAT QUALITt BUILT' CALDWELL

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