Boise City Council President Elaine Clegg said Friday that she didn’t know if a proposal to hire a consultant to promote Gowen Field’s candidacy for a squadron of F-35s would resurface after the council defers its decision on the hiring for the second time.
The proposal first came up in two weeks ago in the form of a resolution to pay Washington, D.C.-based consultant Kiley and Associates up to $100,000 to help convince decision makers in the nation’s capital to base 18 to 24 F-35 strike planes at Gowen Field, the Idaho Air National Guard base that uses the Boise Airport’s runways.
The U.S. Air Force announced in December that Gowen is one of five finalists nationwide for an F-35 wing. The Air Force plans to base squadrons of the latest generation strike plane at two of the five finalist bases.
At its March 21 meeting, the council deferred a decision on the Kiley contract to April 4. Two council members and Mayor David Bieter were absent from that meeting. Councilwoman Maryanne Jordan said she didn’t want the decision to fall on the four remaining members of the council.
Clegg said council members wanted more information on the contract and still do.
“We need to understand what exactly it would do, why it’s necessary on top of what the state’s doing,” she said.
At a community meeting Thursday on the Bench, speakers from various neighborhoods near the aiport urged the crowd of around 70 to attend Tuesday’s meeting and oppose the spending of public money to bring the F-35 to Boise. Some airport neighbors say noise from the aircraft will make their homes unlivable.
Clegg said the decision is being delayed until further notice.