Boise & Garden City

Boise council puts conservation levy on ballot

On Nov. 3, Boise voters will decide whether to raise their own taxes a few dollars a month to pay for continued and expanded protection of natural assets in and around the city.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to put a two-year, $10-million levy on the November ballot. Voters passed a similar levy in 2001, though that measure was only for acquisition and protection of open space in the Foothills above the city.

The new levy can be used to protect wildlife habitat, water quality and native plant species.

Unlike a bond election, which requires a two-thirds supermajority, a levy requires only a simple majority to pass. If voters approve it, it would raise property taxes in Boise by about $2.40 per month, per $100,000 of taxable value.

Councilwoman Lauren McLean, a leading figure in the pro-levy campaign in 2001, wasn't at City Hall on Tuesday, but she said making her voice heard was important enough to take the somewhat rare step of joining the meeting by phone.

"We all know what an incredible asset we have in our iconic Foothills, and what a success the first levy was in setting aside open space for future generations," McLean said in a statement. "We all love Boise, and we have heard loud and clear how much our fellow citizens love not only our city but our Foothills. This levy provides us, if passed, an opportunity to build on what’s left from the first levy, and have another $10 million to protect and enhance even more open space and lands along our river to create a sustainable future for our great city."