City Government

Wise Voters Behind New Library, Police Digs

LibraryThanks to the wisdom of Boise citizens dedicated to fiscal responsibility, a new library is set to open Tuesday at Ustick and Cole for under $5 million. It joins recently opened store front facilities at Hillcrest and Collister shopping centers.

Boise Councilors along with Team Dave wanted to spend $38 million for grandiose library projects, but citizens gave them a resounding “NO” for such wasteful spending about six years ago at a bond election.

Even though the library bond failed, the city now has a series of small libraries without long term debt. Why wasn’t this done in the beginning? If it was not the right plan, why did council approve an ill conceived proposal…which is what the mayor essentially called it AFTER it failed?

That election proves that when citizens put their foot down and demand common sense from elected officials, services can still be provided for a a reasonable amount…in the case of four branch libraries, the citizens were able to have what they need for less than HALF the amount politicos tried to spend. There is one more library branch to be built at Bown Crossing in east Boise.

On the down side, Boise politicos have taken away ANY voice of the voters when it comes to long term debt. They simply will not allow us to vote on long term debt as mandated by the Idaho Constitution. Such was the case with the newly opened “City Hall West” which houses both police and fire department headquarters and other departments at a location west of Maple Grove off Emerald. They “saved” the money by overtaxing us for about five years–which also amounts to long term debt without a vote.

GUARDIAN editor David R. Frazier asked City Councilors seven years ago to put a proposed $30 million (with interest) police headquarters to a vote of the people during the Coles administraton. When they refused, he battled them in court and won, saving citizens more than $15 million in tax money. Ultimately, the new facility cost only $14 million.

Don’t be fooled by the media hype. These worthy projects are the result of vigilant citizens, not the whims of politicos. The GUARDIAN is convinced that empowered citizens are the key to a unified community working for the common good.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I have heard that over the last few years, certain department heads in city hall were told, “here is your budget, but you can only spend 90% of it. The remainder will be funneled into the slush fund”. Can anyone shed some light on this?

  2. Can anyone tell me the last time we actully got to vote on any big ticket items? School bonds are the only thing that come to my mind.

    The job of elected officials is to spend their budgets not manage, control or cut back on anything. Not too dificult a task if you think about it.

  3. And I only trust the Guardian to follow-up on whether or not the LEED investment really results in a savings of energy costs compared to other city facilities and the downtown LIBRARY! Maybe it will; maybe it won’t I’m certain the DAILY PAPER will not perform this public service for the citizens of Boise.

    EDITOR NOTE: Reminds us of Amity School, built as an “underground” school, state of the art. Cost, energy, psychology, learning, all considered. They never built another one.

  4. This “smart” and environmental stuff that gets tossed around is just so nauseating, pious, and meaningless. It’s essentially another form of branding.

  5. The Branch libraries in strip malls is a great way to get closer to the people. They enable people to walk or ride bikes. My wife and kids are a big user of the Collister branch.

    Reading the daily today, looks like another public private partnership(PPP) could be in the works. I have yet to figure out who is getting the better deal on PPP’s. The developer who gets guaranteed rent or the city who gets easy financing.

  6. James Bond you are correct it is branding, LEED is just a rating system that is a way to clarify how sustainable or healthy a building is. The only way to prove that the tax payers are getting their bang for the buck if a High Performance Building is promised is to use a rating program (LEED being one of them) to verify the promises. LEED certification may not be ideal for this project, but maybe the Energy Star program is.

    I do not think that the Guardian is qualified to make an “intelligent” decision as to the payback. To get an accurate ROI, there are many variables that come into play. On a building you can line item any one part, but you need to see the synergies as it relates to the buidling as a whole to help determine the ROI.

    Another advantage of looking how different systems in a building interelate is possible a possible reduction in construction costs by being able to downsize or totally remove a related system. There then is the possiblity of reducing operating expenses.

    See this for more:
    http://www.wbdg.org/resources/lcca.php

  7. When I worked on the Vaughn Killeen campaign for mayor in 2003, we also advocated using existing strip malls for libraries, branch police and parks programs, etc. Many of these older strip malls are struggling and it will help the merchants – and the city’s own urban renewal efforts – to reinvest in strip malls and bring more people to them. Why not offer a cashier service as well so people can pay their utility, sewer or water bill? I think the days of the freestanding, purpose-build, single-use library building are long over.

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