Boise County to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection

Boise County to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection »Play Video
IDAHO CITY, Idaho - Boise County says it plans to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Commissioners say they plan to do it because of a recent lawsuit. In December, a jury found the county violated the Fair Housing Act when dealing with a proposed treatment center for troubled teens, Alamar Ranch.

A judge awarded a $4 million settlement and attorney fees, totaling $5.4 million.

"It's probably two-thirds our annual budget," county comissioner Terry Jay told KBOI-TV 2News.

County leaders say the only way they can keep up with public services, such as emergency services and trash collection, is to go the bankruptcy route.

"We had numerous meetings," Jay said. "Hours and hours and hours together doing cash flow analysis, checking our different funds and seeing what was available for a settlement agreement."

Mention of Alamar Ranch, a 72-bed treatment center for troubled teens, stirs strong feelings among the locals.

"I think Alamar aught to be run out of the state," Gary Stroud said.

Many dislike the idea of having teens with histories of substance abuse near their homes. A petition was even circulating to keep the developer from coming in. Boise County commissioners didn't disallow the construction, they just put certain restrictions upon it. That's when the developer sued in federal court.

"Nobody's got money to fix stuff and we're just getting by and trying to make it," Cain said. "It's not right."

Now the company's lawyers want their multimillion dollar windfall now, but Boise County can't pay all of it upfront. County staffers all got word Tuesday morning. Now uncertainty is the word for their jobs and the future of the county.

A federal bunkruptcy judge will determine how much they can pay and when.

KBOI-TV 2News asked the question of Jay: Do you feel like the commission has let the citizens of boise county down?

"No," he said. "I really believe the commission has done their best to protect the citizens of Boise County in all aspects of this from the original land use application right on through the decision we made yesterday to sign a resolution to file for chapter nine bankruptcy."

The county's lawyers will file the protection within the next few days and from there it comes down to Boise to a federal judge who must sort it all out.