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Meridian Mayor Simison Presents 2024 State of the City

MERIDIAN – Mayor Robert Simison delivered his 2024 State of the City Address last night, June 5, at the Galaxy Event Center. The event was hosted by the Meridian Chamber of Commerce and Presenting Sponsor, CBH Homes. Mayor Simison highlighted a series of accomplishments and improvements that were achieved by the city over the past year, reflecting its ongoing commitment to enhancing public safety, transportation, community development, and quality of life for its residents. Looking to the future, Mayor Simison also shared details about the new Auditorium District concept, infrastructure projects, transportation updates, and a future community center.
Mayor Simison began by stating “I say this to you: the state of Meridian is resolute, and as your Mayor, I am determined to stay firmly focused on being the west’s premier place to live, work and raise a family.” This determination is seen through the recent accomplishments and consistent efforts towards the goals of Meridian.
Mayor Simison announced this year’s Legacy Award recipient, Juli Bokenkamp. The award is presented to Meridian residents or businesspersons who have contributed to the betterment of Meridian in a variety of capacities over a number of years. Mayor Simison recognized Juli, who has led the Meridian’s Co-Op Gardeners, pollinator projects, and Kleiner Park Community Garden. “Her work has paved the way for the next community garden that is taking shape at Discovery Park, truly creating a legacy,” said Simison.
With transportation being the top issue for Meridian residents, Mayor Simison discussed the Linder Road overpass project. He noted that the design is complete, Ada County Highway District (ACHD) is purchasing right-of-way, and the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has programmed $7.5 million for the bridge construction in fiscal year 2026.
Mayor Simison also provided an update on Eagle Road safety improvements which were presented by ITD to the Meridian City Council on June 4. The improvements will include a pilot project for a variable speed corridor that will reduce speeds on Eagle Road during hours of congestion.
As part of his speech, Mayor Simison highlighted his proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget he recently delivered to City Council. The budget includes increased staffing for public safety, along with continued investment in capital improvement projects at Lakeview Golf Course, the Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrades, finalizing efforts to the Can Ada lift station, and safety improvements to identified intersections including converting streetlights to LED and other projects.
To meet rising costs of goods, services, PERSI, and hireing needed public safety personnel, Mayor Simison’s budget proposes taking the full 3% allowed under Idaho law. It also will request using 1% of foregone, “all of which and more was reserved last year when we didn’t take the full 3%,” announced Simison, to help with long-term needs in public safety, specifically the 18 new firefighters hired under the SAFER Grant received by the city in 2023.
“I have mentioned before that legislative policies have immediate and lasting impacts on communities,” said Mayor Simison. “For instance, growth is no longer paying for growth due to legislation like House Bill 389 from a few years ago. This bill is costing the City of Meridian about $1.4 million each year and continues to grow.”
Mayor Simison announced the creation of the Mayor’s Watertower Championship as a way to build community, school spirit, and healthy competition. “Working with West Ada, we want to celebrate youth in a fun way between our four Meridian high schools—Meridian, Mountain View, Rocky Mountain and Owyhee,” said Mayor Simison. More details about the competition for “community champion” will be released in August.  
Mayor Simison also announced efforts underway by the Meridian Chamber of Commerce to create an Auditorium District in Meridian that would provide funding for a multi-sport event center. The Meridian Chamber is currently collecting signatures to get the formation of the Auditorium District placed on the November ballot. More details about the Auditorium District, and where to sign the petition, can be found here.
Moving onto education, Mayor Simison discussed the importance of Idaho State University’s proposed expansion and the relationship with Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM). Further, he highlighted the need to work with all partners in the area “to make sure we get it right.”
Mayor Simison noted his appreciation to the Governor and Legislature for providing funding for school facilities. Additionally, he announced his support for West Ada’s efforts to limit cell phone access in classrooms. Mayor Simison said, “Classrooms should be free from as many distractions as possible for learning and connection. I feel confident in West Ada’s ability to provide a way for parents and students to connect when necessary—no different than when we were back in school.”
In conclusion, Mayor Simison announced his opposition to the efforts by the White House to change the classification of marijuana. “That is not the right thing for Meridian or Idaho, and I urge our legislature to take any necessary action in opposition to this effort.  Idaho can’t lower its standards and expect the same quality of life we have come to know and enjoy,” said Mayor Simison.
Mayor Simison’s State of the City speech and the video are posted here. The City of Meridian has more information regarding many of the mayor's updates in the Meridian Annual Report. You can view highlights and accomplishments and other City news here.
This year's Presenting Sponsor is CBH Homes. The reception sponsor is META. The other supporting sponsors for the event include Idaho Central Credit Union, Idaho State University, Citi Cards, St. Luke’s Health System, Blue Cross of Idaho, Idaho Power, Brighton Corp., St. Luke’s Health Plan, ServPro, Zions Bank, Intermountain Gas, CSHQA, SelectHealth, D.L. Evans Bank, United Heritage, Albertsons, Top Golf, Republic Services, Creation Technologies, Investment Resources, First Interstate Bank, CapEd Credit Union, ICOM, ESI construction, Jacksons, Venture Title & Escrow, Mountain America Credit Union, Disaster Kleenup, Hilton Garden Inn, Galaxy Event Center, Westmark Credit Union and Scheels.
Videos shared during the Mayor's State of the City address:
Parks and Recreation Employee Highlight
2024 Youth Scholarship Recipients

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Stephany Galbreaith

Communications Manager

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