Guest Opinions

Vote for Boise open space levy: Building a better home takes continuing work by citizens

Foothills grasses, and fall in Boise.
Foothills grasses, and fall in Boise. kjones@idahostatesman.com

Boise is more than just a place on a map. It’s our home. It’s the place we work, go to school and raise kids. It’s a home that we love and cherish. And just like any home, Boise is something we constantly strive to make better.

That’s why I’m supporting the Boise Clean Water and Open Space Levy on the Nov. 7 ballot. In previous years, a similar levy has helped protect nearly 11,000 acres of open space that is necessary for clean water, native plant and wildlife species, and the continued growth and use of Boise’s extensive trail system.

[RELATED: More on all the issues and candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot at the Statesman voter guide. ]

But our work is not done. Making a better home doesn’t have an end date. It’s an ongoing project. Luckily, for Boise residents, the Boise Clean Water and Open Space levy isn’t new. Two years ago, 74 percent of voters approved the levy that raised $5 million as an investment for a better Boise.

The levy on this November’s ballot will resolve a clerical error in paperwork filed with Ada County that sets the city of Boise’s general fund tax levy each year. The paperwork unintentionally omitted a line specifically calling out the levy approved by voters in 2015. As a result, only half of the money from the levy was collected.

This year’s levy will resolve the issue by allowing the city to collect the revenues in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 – rather than fiscal years 2017 and 2018. If approved the the final total amount collected will remain equal to the $10 million originally approved by voters.

Those dollars will go to protect clean water and drinking water, wildlife habitat, critical open space and native plant species, while enhancing recreation opportunities and trails to ensure our way of life is not only protected, but enhanced.

Our home is unique. With 190 miles of trails for biking, hiking, running and walking, our city has recreation and exercise possibilities unheard of in many urban locations. We have a trout-bearing river flowing right through town with clear water that we float and fish.

Tell most people who live in urban environments that you went fishing in the middle of a city and felt comfortable consuming the fish you caught, and they’d call you crazy.

But not in Boise. Our unique city is an urban gem, and it’s not by mistake – it’s that way because we have constantly worked to make it better. That work must continue. We must vote yes this November for clean water and open space.

By supporting the levy in November, you’ll be keeping our city on the course that has provided us with the amazing opportunities and healthy living spaces we’ve all come to expect.

By voting yes, you’ll show your support for this fantastic place on the map that Boiseans call home.

Kate Thorpe is development and operations director of Conservation Voters for Idaho, which works to protect public land and environmental health and to elect pro-conservation candidates from both parties.

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