Defeat of the Boise Library bond was a perfect example of WHY we need bond elections to keep the local government leaders in check.
Mayor Dave Bieter now wants to sell off excess city property, get private funding and build store front library branches WITHOUT a tax increase or a bond. Great idea! He should have done this BEFORE the election.
Boise City Councilor Alan Shealy was spot on as he told the Idaho Statesman, “We’re not land speculators,” when questioned about Bieter’s plans to sell city real estate to finance libraries.
What Shealy meant was the city SHOULDN’T be in the land speculation business, but it is. The previous administration purchased all sorts of land before the leaders were either jailed, resigned, or voted out of office. They saddled the current council with lots of real estate that has been off the tax rolls for years. They also made the purchases in secret meetings and probably paid more than market value.
The new councilors even went so far as to declare parcels in the 25th and Fairview area as “surplus” and order it sold to the highest bidder. That was a year and a half ago and nothing was done. There is also 300 acres of desert near the Outlet Mall owned by the city.
Mayor Bieter’s staff has been using the city land as a treasure trove of enticements for their own development plans–trouble is the city council has not always been let in on their plans.
First, it was the rock climbing wall with an unheard of 50 year lease. Then, they offered land near the Outlet Mall for an electric generating plant. These guys always do LEASE deals with our public property because it skirts the requirement for public scrutiny at hearings and sale to the highest bidder.
Now they want to attract a community college to city property.
Statesman’s Brad Hem gets kudos for some decent reporting on this one. Bieter told the paper Treasure Valley Community College was “very serious” about Boise land as a possible school location. Hem checked with TVCC and they named two DEVELOPERS who were pushing the deal and denied any connection. TVCC said they have no follow-up after their “exploratory” talks.
As it has become customary of late, city councilors were unaware of the Mayor’s ideas. Councilor Vern Bisterfeldt was “irked.”
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.