Biography & Background
Wanting to lower property taxes and cut wasteful spending is one thing; having the actual experience of delivering on those promises to taxpayers is another.
Upon arriving in Boise in 1990, I put my BA to good use. I first began advocating on behalf of taxpayers on issues such as sewer installation rates with Boise City, and water rates with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. I regularly attended county meetings and hearings and was chosen by the Board of Ada County Commissioners (BOCC) to serve as the citizen representative on the Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
Some of my other successes as a citizens’ advocate included:
- Winning the inaugural Max Dalton Open Government Award for work to bring the Idaho Housing and Finance Association under the Idaho Public Records Act
- Working with a group of fellow concerned citizens and successfully getting legislation passed to increase the Homeowner’s Exemption from $50,000 to $75,000 and tie it to the Housing Price Index
As an elected Ada County commissioner, my achievements included:
- Leaving a cumulative $81 million in property taxpayers’ pockets by not taking the allowable 3 percent increase from 2009-2013
- Prompting a $6 million property tax rebate by revealing, and objecting to, the county’s $20 million slush fund
- By questioning a more costly proposal, saving $7 million for taxpayers on an emergency radio system when a less expensive alternative was deemed preferable
- Winning the Health Care Heroes Award as a “Health Care Innovator” for envisioning free preventive medical screenings by students to save taxpayer money on indigent care, and then working with ISU and other community partners to make it happen
I have decades of knowledge, hands-on experience, and the expertise to analyze the budget with a fine-tooth comb to find savings, while still fulfilling the county’s legal obligations.
Along with my extensive community involvement and taxpayer advocacy, I have also raised six children to adulthood. I volunteered at the Salvation Army’s Booth Home for Pregnant and Parenting Teens until shortly after my youngest daughter was born. Because she has Williams syndrome, her needs and care took priority over my community involvement for several years.
In recent years, I have been doing quality home renovations with my husband, who is a chemical engineer at Micron. My long-term interest and involvement in local real estate makes me an ideal addition to the Board of Equalization (BOE), one of many hats worn by the county commissioners. The BOE hears valuation appeals and determines equitability of property assessments from the Assessor’s Office.
Keeping taxpayers informed is essential. My first term as a commissioner, I regularly wrote articles that were published in the Valley Times and the Kuna Melba News. My second term, I wrote similar articles and posted them to my blog. These articles are still available on my website. For more, please see SharonU.com.
For a proven effective leader, with a record of delivering on campaign promises to leave more of your money in your pockets, please vote for Sharon Ullman for Ada County Commissioner.
Top three issues:
1. Provide property tax relief: As I did during my previous two terms, I will work diligently to reduce taxes and hold down fees. By using zero-based budgeting – periodically reviewing every budgeted county expenditure to see whether it is justified – it is possible to find ways to ensure the effective, efficient provision of services while still cutting wasteful and unnecessary spending.
Examples of budget cuts that can easily be made include:
- Cancelling an $80,000 annual contract with a lobbyist since lobbying the Idaho Legislature is a task better suited to the commissioners themselves
- Consolidating the county’s 13 PR/PIO positions (It was “only” nine in 2020!)
- Eliminating the position of Chief of Staff, a bureaucrat who comes between the commissioners and county department heads
Often, when positions are cut, the employees in those positions can fill other job openings within the county. The employment of county personnel should obviously not be terminated without legal oversight to protect against wrongful termination lawsuits.
Property taxes are impacted by several different factors, not just county spending. For example, in 2000, 53 percent of the taxable value of property in Ada County was residential. By 2021, that figure had shot up to 73 percent. I plan to work with the Idaho Legislature to again link the Homeowner’s Exemption to the Housing Price Index, to bring the residential share of property taxes back down to a more reasonable level.
2. Uphold the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions. Protect and preserve individual rights, freedoms and liberties, including the Second Amendment.
- With appropriate safety measures in place, gun shows should be welcomed back to Expo Idaho.
- There should be no mask or vaccine mandates by Ada County. These mandates run contrary to our core beliefs.
I will work to undo the $46.6 million morgue long-term lease purchase that violates the Idaho Constitution.
- Article VIII, Section 3, LIMITATIONS ON COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL INDEBTEDNESS, states, in part: “No county… shall incur any indebtedness, or liability, in any manner, or for any purpose, exceeding in that year, the income and revenue provided for it for such year, without the assent of two-thirds of the qualified electors thereof voting at an election to be held for that purpose….” It goes on to say: “Any indebtedness or liability incurred contrary to this provision shall be void….”
- Last year, an existing building came available next door to the current county morgue, for $8 million. It was larger, and on more land, than the newfangled morgue facility now being built. In addition, it was previously used for manufacturing of fire-fighting equipment and has high ceilings and rollup doors, perfect for county use. Even if it were to cost another $5 million to retrofit a facility like this one for use as a morgue, the project could be completed for a fraction of the cost of building new.
In government, there is no place for wasteful extravagance.
3. Save Murgoitio Park: Having lived in the Southwest Community when promises to the public were made, I am passionate about seeing that the Murgoitio Park property not be developed into housing.
For decades, a regional park has been promised on this 160-acre parcel between Maple Grove and Cole Roads, south of Victory. When one looks at an Ada County map, the absence of any large parks in this part of the county is immediately apparent.
The residents on the southwest side of Boise need an advocate among the commissioners, to challenge Mayor Lauren McLean in her quest to have housing built on the Murgoitio Park land and ensure the nearly $11 million of parks impact fees collected within the 83709-zip code area (with the county’s authorization!) have not been misappropriated for use elsewhere in Boise.
I believe that Ada County must get control of the property through whatever means necessary: purchase, eminent domain, or legal action taken against the City of Boise for wrongful use of the parks impact fees collected in the Southwest Community that have reportedly been spent elsewhere in Boise.
Development of Murgoitio Park can be accomplished, over time, in conjunction with community partners. Management of the park could be provided by the county, which already has a Parks and Waterways Department in place.
At this time, I am opposed to a compromise that includes housing on any portion of the property.
Promises made to the public should be promises kept.
A lot of constructive positions which is very uncommon these days.
Thank you, Marc. I wish it were more common!
My wife and I have been retired since 2017 and would like to stay that way for the future. With our taxes being doubled since ’04, we are very seriously considering leaving the area for a lower cost home. Right now, our property tax portion of our house payment = >20% of the
total payment (including P & I.) We along with other -‘fixed income families’, have worked a lifetime to be able to retire with a very modest
income. When the growth of an area does not support itself because of poor fiscal management, it is time for a change. The financial
drain on an area as home owners are converted to renters is a pending disaster! Please, do all that you can to get re-elected and
reign in the waste and corruption.
Thank you, Gary! We are certainly trying to win this election!
I’m sorry you are your wife are faced with possibly having to leave the area due to property tax increases. A big increase in the Homeowner’s Exemption, coupled with lower spending, would help a lot. County commissioners have no authority over the other taxing districts but can at least set a good example!
The other thing that could help people in your situation would be an overhaul of the “Circuit Breaker Exemption” to allow more people to qualify for a greater level of assistance. Here is a link if you’d like to know more about that program: https://tax.idaho.gov/pubs/EBR00135_12-30-2021.pdf
We really need to have a property tax system that is supportive of folks like you and your wife who have gotten to this point in life and should be able to enjoy it without worrying that you will have to move out of the area.