Our View, May 21 election issues: Eagle voters need to buy City Hall

May 10, 2013 

Looking ahead to the May 21 elections, we are offering opinions on some of the issues to be decided. Today we focus on whether Eagle voters should vote yes on a $1.2 million bond to purchase their City Hall.

The lingering resentment toward city of Eagle leadership for creating a City Hall to begin with is evident in the many fits and starts and votes on financing the building over the past decade. But no amount of even justified disgruntlement can overcome the present math in the present situation.

If the 2006 building didn't already exist and the lease terms hadn't already been set, we could argue with the people who didn't want it in the first place.

But it does exist and the cost of going forward with a lease that will cost $260,230 versus $93,000 annually on a 15-year bond to purchase is not something we can debate. Of course this all rides on the City Council's numbers - vetted by a 25-member body at times - and Council's promise to not raise property taxes.

We came out in favor of a $1.9 million bond in the November 2012 election on this issue, which resulted in a narrow loss for bond proponents - until a voting snafu was discovered that denied people their vote. The May 21 election, a revote, for what now is a $1.2 million bond is the result.

This time the eligible voters among the city's 20,000 residents are eyeing a $167,000 annual savings. One could argue the city could lease less expensive quarters and walk away from their lease. But the city would also be walking away from the opportunity of purchasing a 13,000 square-foot building that it would own outright in 15 years, located on property they own right next to the library.

The price of the building was set at $2.4 million in 2006. Hard times have reduced the value to $1.9 million. The timing is right. The price is right, even if the methodology of city leaders was too wrong or too ambitious in the past. We hope voters can get past resentment and embrace an investment.

Our View” is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@idahostatesman.com.

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