Boise mayor stumps for bonds

With a week left before Election Day, backers of the city of Boise’s bond proposals are making their last push.

sberg@idahostatesman.comOctober 29, 2013 

  • Boise bond: the basics

    Two bond measures that would allow the city of Boise to borrow almost $33 million are on Boise ballots this election.

    One bond would authorize $17 million in debt for construction of a new fire training facility and upgrades to four fire stations.

    The other bond would set aside $10 million for open space purchases and $5.5 million in new and improved Central and West bench parks.

    Business owners and homeowners would roughly split the cost of repaying the bonds. If both measures pass, the owner of an average Boise home — valued at $184,000 — would pay an extra $12 per year in property taxes. A business with $1 million in taxable property value would pay an additional $132 per year, according to the city.

    The total cost of repaying both bonds over 20 years would be more than $50 million.

    Both measures require a two-thirds majority to pass.

The crowd at a City Club of Boise lunch Monday had a chance to ask questions of Mayor Dave Bieter, Brice Sloan, a former firefighter and co-chairman of the Yes! Yes! For Boise campaign, and Toni Hardesty, state director for The Nature Conservancy of Idaho. All three are supporting the bonds.

Sloan focused on the public safety bond, a $17 million measure that would pay for upgrades to several fire stations and the construction of a new fire training facility. As Boise’s population densities have shifted, Sloan said, response times for emergency calls have been creeping up. Passing the bond would help reverse that trend, he said.

Hardesty answered questions about the city’s parks and open space bond, which would put $15.5 million into open space purchases and new and improved parks. Besides making Boise a more enjoyable place to live, she said, the bond would help protect wildlife and undeveloped land around the city from degradation.

One questioner asked why the city didn’t observe the customary three readings of the law that put the bonds on the ballot. Bieter pointed out that readings of proposed laws are usually formalities, and that he and the City Council held a variety of events — including open houses and special Saturday hours during which residents could talk directly to the mayor — to present the bonds to the public.

Another person asked what the city would do with its existing training facility, located near the Boise River west of Downtown, if voters approve money to build a new one. Bieter said Boise has received “a significant amount of interest” in the property from private developers.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service