City Government

Boise City 101

With the September 30 filing deadline only four days away, Boise’s November 8 City Council election is the subject of intense disinterest by potential candidates.

So far only Jim Tibbs has announced a run against an incumbent. He is challenging Councilor Jerome Mapp. No one else has stepped forward to run against either Vern Bisterfeldt or Maryanne Jordan.

The GUARDIAN offers up some basic questions and even provides answers to the media, candidates and the public in an effort to generate interest in the upcoming City Council election.

Here are a few basics everyone should know:
–What is Boise’s population–about 220,00. Ada and Canyon Countys 510,000.
–How many registered voters in the city?–about 109,000.
–How much is annual Boise City Budget?—$390 million citywide, $132 million general fund (expenditures in FY2006).
–How many total city employees?—1,493.
–How many sworn police officers?–267 current, 286 authorized. Currently offering $5,000 signing bonus for experienced cops.
–What is approximate police annual budget?—$38.8 million (FY2006).
–What is approximate fire annual budget–$30.9 million (FY2006).
–What percentage of total budget is police and fire?–53%.
–What is term of office for mayor or council?—4 yrs.
–How many cops drive city cars to and from work?—125.
–How much has the Foothills Committee spent for land?–$5.7 million out of the $10 million raised in the serial levy election.
–How many buses in city fleet and who owns them?—45, Valley Regional Transit
–How many fire stations do we have?—15.house_fire3.jpg

-How many days a week do cops work?–4 days, 10 hrs…takes 20% more
staff than 5 days x8.
–Who pays to maintain median strips on streets? (Capitol,  Vista, Federal Way Broadway, Harrison)–Parks Dept.
–Who pays to maintain grass along connector?–Parks.

Here are a few questions for every candidate:

–Favor or oppose having judges instead of voters approve long term debt projects?
–Favor or oppose secret “executive sessions” for land acquisition?
–Should members of city boards and commissions be required to live within the city limits?
–Favor or oppose annexation without vote of those concerned?
–Who should provide homeless shelters?

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Wow…
    Sounds like you have a problem with “cops”. Why don’t we extend on your tyrade a bit:
    — If we assign 2 officers to a car, we can eliminate 1/2 the police fleet & save money. Who cares if response times will be extended – they don’t do anything anyway.
    — Better yet, we make officers drive their own cars.
    — We forget about the 20 officers positions that aren’t filled & lay-off 50 more since they really don’t do anything.
    — We cut the pay of all officers by 25%. The quality of life in Boise has nothing to do with them anyway since they don’t do anything.
    — If working 5 days a week uses 20% less manpower, lets make them work 6 days a week — maybe then they’ll do something. (and we continue to make them work 10hrs a day!)

    I say all this in gest of course! I think our police do a great job and are underpaid for their service if anything. The idea that government employees are by nature supposed to be self-sacrificing is outdated & absurd. Everyone has a mortgage to pay and a family to take care of. Government jobs, like any other corporate jobs, need to be competitive in salary and benefits to get the best applicants. Just because the tax payers are the employers doesn’t mean they get to have things cheaper (you get what you pay for – check out New Orleans – low paid officers didn’t want to stick around when the stuff hit the fan). So if that means we adjust an officers work schedule to 4 days a week (10hrs a day) then I say good… we still get 40hrs out of them & there are 20% more to call on in the event of a crisis. I hate taxes more than anyone, but going after Emergency services is not the answer. (Heck, we could save $6000 by telling our commisioners not to go to Hawaii)

  2. Please clarify. If the combined “total” police and fire budgets are approximately $69.7 million, how does that equal 53% of of a $390 million “citywide” budget? Presumably, both police and fire are not funded 100% from the general fund. The $69.7 million figure should more accurately be described as being approximately 18% of the City’s “citywide” budget (69.7 divided by 390 equals 17.87%).

    Ed Note–When the city wants to sound big, show their net worth, or debt as a precent of overall budget etc. they roll out the big $390 million figure. That includes the operation of the airport and sewer systems which are paid almost entirely by user fees and have nothing to do with the general fund budget. These are called enterprise funds. The REAL annual budget is $130-140 million known as the “operating budget” and it more accurately reflects what it costs to run the city. Your percentages work out accurately using the “honest numbers.

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