Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Statement of Residency

At the end of 2004 my wife and I began looking for a bigger home to accommodate our family and we absolutely wanted it to be back in Coeur d’Alene – near parks and schools for our kids. The available inventory of homes for sale were either not big enough for our family or well out of our price range. So after spending several months looking at dozens of homes all around the city, in February of 2005 we decided for budget and space reasons to build a home in the Coeur d’Alene Place subdivision in the northern part of town.

We contracted to build the home, expecting that it would take not much longer than 6 months to complete and that we would be moving toward the end of the summer. We are excited to be moving a half mile back into Coeur d’Alene, excited to be living in a neighborhood with good schools and parks within walking distance, and a community with many young families.

But in the intervening months the “time to build” for new home construction in North Idaho has grown very long, owing to the sheer number of homes being built, the volume of work for available building trades workers, and an unexpected national shortage in concrete. Not to mention the backlog of building permits for an overburdened city building department!

In the early summer of 2005 I was encouraged to consider a run for the City Council. After managing the successful library bond campaign and getting to see the inner workings of the city, I decided to consider the prospect. When Councilman Ben Wolfinger announced he was not going to run for re-election, I began to seriously consider running. Unfortunately it became clear that our new home would not be completed by the requisite 30 days before the filing deadline, so I investigated alternative options.

I sought out opinions from municipal and elections professionals, as well as the personal views of many citizens around the city. I am advised that the definition of residency is based on fact and intent, the fact of where a person spends their nights, and the intent to return there after an absence of any duration. While I’m not an attorney, it seems clear that the law on what constitutes residency is somewhat open to interpretation. So I decided to erase any doubt and be very clear about the facts of our situation.

Unfortunately my wife and I are not able to afford both a mortgage and the high rent for a second home, and selling and moving twice would be problematic. Thus, because the completion date of our new home is subject to the fluctuations of building schedules, weather, and unforeseen delays, I am taking the steps outlined below to legally establish residency in the city limits of Coeur d’Alene. While this is not an optimal situation for our family, and we are incurring additional costs to do so, I want to abide by both the spirit and letter of the law.

I very much want to serve the City of Coeur d’Alene, and while these steps I’m taking are a slight burden to me and my family, they are ones we are willing to bear to try to contribute to the betterment of our community. My wife is immensely supportive, and as a native Idahoan she wants the best for our city and the hometown she loves.

So effective July 2005:
• I have legally rented a room on a month to month basis in
Coeur d’Alene where I now reside;

• I have changed my legal residence to my address in Coeur d’Alene;

• I am in the process of changing my vehicle and driver’s license registration to Coeur d’Alene;

• I will be spending weeknights away from my family sleeping in my rented room in Coeur d’Alene (addressing the "fact" of residence), and I will spend weekends with them - not unlike the people who own lake homes and live there on weekends without sacrificing their residency;

• My wife and children will stay at the home in Grouse Meadows, Hayden (just steps from the city line at Prairie Avenue), and will join me in moving into Coeur d’Alene permanently the first day our new home is ready (addressing our intent to remain within the city jurisdiction);

• Because of the cost of technical infrastructure and my need to make a living I will continue to work out of my former home during the day where I am set up - with the side benefit of spending time with my family during breaks in my day and at their after school events, like any Dad would. I chose not to try to move my family now to minimize any disruption in their lives.

I am committed to the city of Coeur d’Alene and to serving the citizens of Coeur d'Alene, and there is nothing more important to my wife and me than the quality of life of our children. My goal is to positively impact that for my family and others in the city of Coeur d’Alene.

If you have any questions, concerns, or issues, please call me directly at 661-7337 or email me at: mike@idahokennedys.com.


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