Is Boise public safety/parks/open space bond worth $13 to you?

Boise says a $34 million measure would cost voters very little.

cmsewell@idahostatesman.comAugust 9, 2013 

  • LEARN MORE, HAVE YOUR SAY

    The city will present specifics on the proposed bond projects at three open houses:

    • Monday, Aug. 19, 4 to 8 p.m., Morley Nelson Community Center, 7701 W. Northview St.

    • Wednesday, Aug. 21, 4 to 8 p.m., Grace Jordan Community Center, 6411 W. Fairfield Ave.

    • Thursday, Aug. 22, 4 to 8 p.m., Boise City Hall, Council Chambers, third floor, 150 N. Capitol Blvd.

    Residents may submit comments at the open houses, to the mayor and to the City Council at mayorandcouncil@cityofboise.org, or by calling the mayor's office at 384-4422.

    The Boise City Council must approve holding the bond issue election by mid-September in order to get it on the Nov. 5 ballot.

  • THE READERS SPEAK

    Here's what some readers on IdahoStatesman.com thought of the city's proposal Thursday:

    Makin_Sense: "All seem reasonable to me. Especially more and upgraded parks. For $13 dollars per year? I'll just go to Lucky Perk 2 times less this year."

    4AllsSwell4: "But how do we pay for the maintenance? Don't have the $13. Sorry."

    depressed: "Bieter obviously doesn't understand that we can't keep spending on the homeowners' backs. If the city wants to do this, then propose a city tax and spread the burden on all the folks."

    LGM1: "Two new parks within walking distance of my house? For $13 a year? Sold."

  • BOND HISTORY IN CITY OF BOISE

    Under Idaho law, bond elections need a two-thirds supermajority to pass. A two-year tax levy requires a simple majority, but Boise officials want to pursue a bond issue this year because of the scope of their proposal. “A serial levy collects all the funds in a two-year period and has a much greater annual impact on property owners. Serial levies are great for certain projects but are not a good tool for funding projects at this level,” said city spokesman Adam Park.

    Boise has run just two bond elections in the past 20 years. Both failed, though a majority of voters supported each. In 2006, voters rejected a $37.8 million bond for three branch libraries, with 57 percent in favor.

    In 1994, voters rejected a $19.7 million parks bond, with 52 percent in favor.

    Voters supported the city’s 2001 Foothills tax levy — $10 million — but that needed just a simple majority to pass. It got 59 percent support.

    The Greater Boise Auditorium District ran failed elections in 2003 and 2004 for a new convention center. Law enforcement and transportation projects have had better luck at the polls.

    A $9.4-million jail bond succeeded in 1992.

    Voters in 1990 and 2008 passed Ada County Highway District measures to increase their car registration fees to fund road repairs. Those measures needed a simple majority.

The city of Boise unveiled plans Thursday for an array of public safety and park improvements. If the City Council approves holding the bond election, it will go before voters on the November ballot.

The breakdown for the bond: $18.5 million for public safety; $10 million for open space; and $5.5 million for parks.

Annual cost to the average homeowner: $13.

PUBLIC SAFETY $18,354,000

• Build a new fire training facility on city-owned land near the West Boise Wastewater Treatment Plant on Joplin Road: $6.85 million.

• Rebuild undersized Fire Station No. 4, Ustick Road and Milwaukee Street: $2,554,000.

• Rebuild deteriorating Fire Station No. 5, S. 16th Street: $2.5 million.

• Relocate Fire Station No. 8, Overland Road and Roosevelt Street, to the east for better coverage: $3.2 million.

• Remodel outdated Fire Station No. 9, State Street and Collister Drive, to bring it up to code: $1.3 million.

• Build a new police station in the Downtown Boise area: $1.95 million, plus another $1.95 million in impact fees.

PARKS $5,477,975

• Borah Park, 801 S. Aurora Drive: Develop four additional city-owned acres and add amenities, including a volleyball court and a dog-off-leash area; $525,000.

• Franklin Park, southwest corner of Franklin Road and Orchard Street: Acquire a former Boise school site and develop a three-acre park; $760,000.

• Liberty Park, 520 N. Liberty St.: Develop 2.5 city-owned acres and add amenities such as Little League fields and restrooms; $835,000.

• Milwaukee Park, 3950 N. Milwaukee St.: Add amenities, including a basketball court and restrooms; $335,000.

• Pine Grove Park, 8995 W. Shoup near Maple Grove and the Flying Wye: Develop four city-owned acres into a new park with picnic shelters, basketball courts, a playground and a dog park; $1,129,339.

• Sterling Park, 9851 Irving St. off Fairview Avenue between Maple Grove and Five Mile roads: Develop eight city-owned acres into a new park with picnic shelters, tennis and basketball courts, a water spray pad, and a dog park; $1,893,636.

OPEN SPACE $10 MILLION

• Acquire more preservation land throughout the Foothills.

The city says the 20-year bond would be a great deal for taxpayers, with just $13 added to the annual bill on an average Boise home (value of $184,546). That estimate includes a homeowner's exemption.

Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell

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