Guardian Top Stories

ACHD, Procecutor Disagree Over Website Use

Last fall, the Ada County Highway District used its official website to link to a private website advocating in favor of a ballot measure supporting passage of increased vehicle fees which exempting trucks over 8,000 lbs.

Several citizens complained to Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennets who referred the matter to Grant Loebs, the Twin Falls County attorney who acted as special prosecutor. The allegations were investigated by an Ada County Sheriff’s detective on behalf of Loebs.

Allegations were centered around the use of public assets, staff, etc. to advocate on behalf of a ballot measure (the website link). There was also a complaint that ACHD staff had worked with the political action committee (PAC) with proofreading and other minor clerical acts.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?

Prosecutor Loebs spent nearly five months on the case and ultimately wrote a letter to the ACHD about “possible violations” of the “Integrity in Government Law.”

In the letter, Loebs said in part, “On July 26, 2018, Ada County Highway District Development Services Manager Gary Inselman-at the direction of General Counsel Steven Price-while engaged in his capacity with ACHD added language to and provided edits for the pro-Measure website, “citizens4bettertransportation.com.” The sole purpose of this website appears to have been to advocate for the Measure. I believe this violates the letter of 74-604 (1) and 74-604 (2), and certainly the spirit of the law…”

He went on to offer a deal which included admitting the civil violation and essentially promising to train the staff and not do it again. Bottom line, no fine, no trial.

ACHD through its attorney at Holland & Hart denied Loebs charges and refused in a letter to accept the offer outlined in his letter.

WHERE DOES IT STAND?

Loebs told the GUARDIAN he cannot justify a costly court battle which could reach the “tens of thousands of dollars,” when the ultimate penalty is a $200 civil fine. Citizens would have been forced to pay for the prosecution as well as the defense. He does not plan to prosecute the matter further.

Ltr frm Twin Falls Prosecutor re Possible ID Code Violations 040219

2019-04-12 ADBennett letter to Grant Loebs

EARLY GUARDIAN STORY ON THE TOPIC

A Different View Of Latest Library Scheme


Team Dave and its leader, Mayor Dave Bieter are trying to sell the idea of “saving interest fees” by simply inserting $50 million cash for the proposed mega-library project. This after several years of economic schemes, projections, and sales pitches.

If Boise has $50,000,000 stashed away in a slush fund, we the people have been overtaxed.

We really hesitate to be this harsh, but Team Dave cannot be trusted. They are touting a plan to eliminate confusion over “voting to vote” following the successful petition drive by citizens seeking a voice in their government. The “cash scheme” may save up to $15 million in interest on an $85 million edifice, but it will also ELIMINATE CITIZEN APPROVAL of the project at an election.

Citizens need to be careful of the wording in any ordinance. Sometimes insertion or deletion of a single word tips the authority away from the citizens. Team Dave has repeatedly used public money to manipulate public opinion on street cars, airport tax exemptions, the library, the F-35, and other issues. Trust in a “public dialogue” has evaporated. Bieter is still spending to attract noisy F-35 fighters to Boise.

A GUARDIAN reader offers up this chronology of events regarding the library.

To get to a vote we have seen:

–A price tag that blew up from a $40 million remodel to a $103 million monstrosity.

–Plans to issue bonds through CCDC before the majority of the public saw the architects rendering/model.

–The dismisal of history – The Cabin. But the library minutes (4/4/18) show they will be able to save 2 light fixtures from the existing building. Great trade-off.

–First class airfare and other extravagant charges for the overpriced architect.

–A 40-year lease on the Biomark building site that was originally purchased for library expansion.

–The Civic Center For Education & Culture was scrubbed from the record and renamed “a library project.” A consultant was hired to promote it.

–The price tag has been lowered to $85 million, although most realize this lower price simply means defering some of the components of this project.

–Impacts on the nearby Anne Frank Memorial.

–Consultant fees and branding campaigns paid for with public monies to sell this idea to the audience who paid most of the public monies in the first place.

–Boise leaders signed a contract with an architect not licensed in Idaho who was fined by the state.

–The City has dropped the idea of using CCDC as the lease financing conduit, as a result of citizen outrage leading to HB 217. Now they seek to avert an election by paying cash.

–Now we read that the City has piles of cash stashed away – yet we lag on hiring the police we need, build the fire stations, expand the existing library hours, etc.

–We are now being sold the idea that we will save money by not paying $15 million in financing fees and interest by not using lease financing. This is the hidden cost that has only been recently revealed.

–City economists are projecting a downturn in the economy in the coming months – shown in library meeting minutes and city budget docs/presentations, but the insanity continues.

Meanwhile: City of Boise, please stop this insanity! We are not fooled.

Library Petition Garners Enough Signatures For Vote

The Ada County Clerk’s office confirmed Thursday that enough signatures have been verified to place the questions of an $85 million Boise library and a sports park project on the November ballot.

Mayor Dave Bieter released a statement saying, “I respect the citizen engagement behind it and the passion for our community it represents,” Bieter said. “Now we will continue the conversation with Boise voters about the Main Library Campus, a project I strongly support as a tremendous asset for economic equality and prosperity for Boise’s future and people.”

The GUARDIAN advises opponents of the library project to avoid holding their collective breath. With city funds and legal staff at his disposal, Hizzoner is not likely to cave to the will of the voters over his own “vision.”

Even after urban renewal funding was removed from the proposed library formula by the Capital City Development Corp. (CCDC), Team Dave continued to spend public money on architect Moshe Safdie. City records show a payment of more than $400K was issued in May.

The STATESMAN has a story with more details on the funding.

Without referring to the proverbial “sinking ship,” we note several members of Team Dave are headed to “new opportunities.” The IDAHO PRESS has details on the personnel changes in the office of the mayor.

Property Values Sky Rocket In Ada

Rather than go into a lengthy discussion of the tax system, we will offer a simple formula for property tax estimates and provide a forum to share your recent assessment notices.

Property taxes are determined by local government budgets which are limited to 3% increase plus the value of new construction (growth). A levy as a percentage of the assessed value is made to cover the budget.

In Boise the combined levy rate is roughly 1.5% of the assessed value. That means $1500 taxes on $100,000 value.

In the case of the GUARDIAN home, the value increased 50% over the 2018 assessment after the homeowner exemption of $100,000.

To figure the increase percentage, subtract the previous value from the current value and divide by the original number.

For instance an original value of $100,000 increased to $150,000 is a 50% increase.

NOTE: While the above math is correct, the methodology may not be correct. We have had communication with an accountant who says we can expect an eventual tax hike of about 6%. The lower the value of a home, the higher the percentage hike due to the $100,000 homeowner exemption limit.

Forum To Discuss Bench CCDC Plan

City of Boise official map of Vista portion of proposed Urban Renewal District.


State Rep. John Gannon will be hosting an informational forum on the proposed Central Bench urban Renewal Disitrict.

Date: Wednesday 5/29 6-8 pm Location: South Jr High This will be an opportunity to learn about and understand the issues around the proposed Central Bench Urban Renewal District. Representatives from various agencies will be on hand to answer questions and provide information.

The plan is to convert the commercial property along Vista, Latah, Orchard, and Curtis to an urban renewal districts.

Coincidentally, Boise City is currently running a mobile “history exhibit” which details the failed trolley that ran on similar routes around 1910. The GUARDIAN fears they may be “grooming” citizens as part of a “desire named street car.”

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