City Government

Kudos on Library Vote

Updated Post 5 pm 10/19/05

Boise City Councilors deserve kudos for allowing the public a vote on a proposed $38 million library bond.
library sign.jpg

This move by the council–just three weeks prior to an election–marks a departure from past policies that went around voters and did not allow them a voice in major building projects. The GUARDIAN applauds the move toward citizen approval of long term debt.

The present council has voted not to allow citizens to vote on a proposed $27 million airport parking garage and they have created a slush fund for a future police station so citizens won’t have to approve it. Those funds are “intended, but not mandated” for a cop shop.

At the Tuesday meeting the council directed staff to prepare ballot language for branch libraries which would include a deal with the Park Department to share space with recreation centers at three locations as well as some sort of police presence.

They plan to “phase in” spending of bond revenues from 2007 to 2009 and pay for 20 years, according to an Idaho Statesman piece. BAD NEWS. Mayor Dave Bieter rightly asserts the increased tax on a median priced home would be less than most books. GOOD NEWS

Here is the simple advice to all you library types: JUST DO IT!

Don’t screw around with a convoluted phase in plan and get eight bucks one year, $15 the next etc. If the people want to buy three libraries for $22 a year, for godsake give them libraries! Do it now, do it right, and do it quickly.

We checked with the library director who tells us the problem with building three libraries at once is paying for the new staff and incidentals needed to run new facilities. In short, they can, “afford the new house payment, but not the gas, electricity, and landscaping.” Their plan is to figuratively get a credit card with a $38 million limit and spend at a pace they can afford over a three year period and then pay it off over the next 20 years.

We suggest the bond would be easier to understand–and pass–if the amount requested matched the project the city is able to handle in a timely fashion. If you can only afford one at a time, just ask voters to approve one at a time.

Tell us up front how much you need and if we think it is a good deal we will give it to you. But, you better get us some libraries pronto!

Show me the ballot.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. How’s about uppin’ it to an even $40 million, so the branch libraries can have an exclamation point on the LIBRARY! sign, just like the downtown library? (That’s a good thing – it shows that Boise is WAY more excited about reading than the folks in, say, Meridian, or Twin Falls or Pocatello.)

    Do people still read? Books? Who knew?!!

    But seriously… some of our elected “representatives” in these parts have a long and storied history of overriding popular votes, when the outcome wasn’t popular with those representatives. We’ve seen it more than once with term limits, at the State Legislature. Can the City Council vote to override the will of the people, if there’s a conflict?

    Ed note–Legislature can repeal state initiatives just like they can repeal any other law. City council doesn’t have that luxury with a bond which offers the “full faith and credit” of the citizens.

  2. Will those of us in Boise’s “Area of Impact” get to vote on our impending tax increase?? If Boise knows they’re going to annex us then wouldn’t it be fair?

    Ed note–I think they just tossed you a bone to sweeten the pot with funding on a new park.

  3. WHAT????

    The City Council NOW wants us to support them while they can hardly stay awake when neighborhoods stand before them and plead that they not “row house” or Walmart-size Condo” their nieghborhoods!

    It is our turn to show the city that WE (the voters)are in charge – not them. Please vote the libraries down.

    The City Council does not deserve our support.

    It is our turn to vote NO.

  4. Is supporting Libraries the same as supporting City Council? Since it is apparent that at least two of the current Council members have never seen the inside of ANY Library, I think it’s easy to discern. The “let’s cut off our nose to spite our face” mentality has never worked and likely won’t work now. Some think voting NO on a School bond is a No on growth vote. Problem is the growth has already occurred by the time a bond levy is put forward. If you don’t want to vote “for” City Council, then it appears you have at least some, albeit perhaps the lesser of evils, choices. I can assure you however that regardless of who is voted into office, within two years, you can throw ’em all in a bag, shake ’em out and never tell them apart. What is it about public office that sucks the very gray matter from otherwise perfectly normal people?

  5. A yes vote is in fact a vote of support for the Council. Why do you think the vote is taking place when it is? It is not by chance.

    If the library vote passes the current Council will use the “win” to their advantage – – I do not indend to give them one.

  6. Cutting off your nose to spite your face? Try cutting off your whole head. Using a library– the single most democratic and accessible form of local government– as a sacrificial lamb to express your dissatisfaction with a transitory group of politicians is incredibly short-sighted and mean spirited. So what if they use a possible win as political capital somewhere down the line? Think about what a library is, what it offers, what it adds to a community. It’s not the appropriate target upon which to vent your spite. You’ll have your opportunity to do that in November.

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