Boise & Garden City

Boise council to vote Tuesday on conservation levy

Tuesday afternoon the Boise City Council will have its first official discussions of Mayor David Bieter’s proposal to raise money through a two-year special levy for the enhancement of outdoor recreation and protection of open space, water quality, wildlife habitat, native plant species in and around the city.

Hours later, the council is scheduled to vote on whether to put the levy on the ballot Boise voters will see in November. In 2013, Bieter proposed borrowing money through municipal bonds to pay for similar nature protections. That election failed because bond measures in Idaho require a two-thirds supermajority to pass; only 61 percent of ballots cast were in favor of the bond.

The levy, though, requires only a simple majority to pass. If it does pass, it would raise Boiseans’ taxes by about $2.39 a month per $100,000 of taxable value. The tax increase would start in October 2016 and go through September 2018.

In 2001, Boise voters passed a two-year, $10 million levy for the protection of open space in the Boise Foothills. City government has used that money to protect thousands of acres. About $1.5 million is left.