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.
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.
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