Boise bonds fall short, voters re-elect council incumbents

Votes for fire upgrades, new parks and open space get just less than the two-thirds needed.

sberg@idahostatesman.comNovember 6, 2013 

A majority of Boise voters supported the two bond issues on Tuesday's ballot, but that support fell short of the two-thirds requirement for both to pass.

With nearly all the ballots counted, the fire station bond measure got a few more votes than the parks and open space bond. A total of 64 percent of Boise voters supported the fire station bond, and 61 percent supported the parks and open space bond.

City Council President Maryanne Jordan called the narrow defeats "an interesting dilemma."

"Those kinds of numbers are normally a landslide (victory)," Jordan said. "So to call it a failure might be a little harsh."

Losing the bond elections doesn't change the needs for fire station upgrades, a new fire training facility, new and improved parks and purchases to protect open spaces in and around Boise, Jordan said. Without a bond, addressing those issues will take longer, she said.

One city bond, dubbed the Public Safety bond, would have allowed Boise to borrow $17 million to upgrade three fire stations, relocate one station and build a fire training facility. The other bond sought to set aside $10 million for open space purchases and $5.5 million for new and improved parks in the Central and West Bench areas.

Mayor Dave Bieter didn't return a call seeking comment Tuesday night.

Bieter announced the bond measures at his State of the City address in June. At the time, he and other city leaders envisioned a single bond that would authorize the city to borrow as much as $50 million for fire department infrastructure, parks, open space and a new Downtown police station.

After hearing from constituents, however, the city broke the bond in two, and dropped the police station.

City Council election results

All three incumbent City Council candidates in this year's election voted to put the bonds on the ballot. All three won re-election comfortably Tuesday night.

Ben Quintana retained Seat 2 with 68 percent of the vote; challenger Tyler Smith received 32 percent of votes.

In the three-way race for Seat 4, incumbent TJ Thomson garnered 54 percent of the vote, besting challengers Jill Humble (23 percent) and Bill Jarocki (22 percent).

"It feels amazing, and I'm so grateful to the citizens because these two challengers were highly qualified individuals," Thomson said. "In the next four years, my No. 1 priority is to make this the healthiest city in America."

In the race for Seat 6, Maryanne Jordan cruised to an easy win with 62 percent of the vote. Paul Edmond Fortin received 21 percent of the vote, and R. Bryce Petersen got 17 percent.

A total of 25,283 ballots were cast by City of Boise residents for a turnout of 23.4 percent. Boise has 107,979 registered voters, according to the Ada County Elections Office.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

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