City Government

Boise City Campaign Issues

The single most important role of any city council is the budget process.
Boise City is about to embark on the process of deciding how to spend more than $157,000,000 of our tax money.

The department heads will parade through with power point presentations full of charts and graphs explaining why their requests should be at the top of the list. The mayor has a shopping list of pet projects as well. When they get finished with all the boring meetings a proposed budget will be printed.

Citizens will be able to comment at an August 14 public hearing. Little will change and few citizens–if any– will testify. If you want your voice heard, the best place is at the polls.
As we have done in the past, the GUARDIAN offers a list of campaign issues for any and all candidates, voters, media newsies, and the politicos making the decisions.

–Open the depot daily! Don’t schedule any summer private events Memorial Day through Labor Day. Keep the Sunday hours year round.

–Stay out of the railroad business. Do NOT budget for providing freight trains and building an industrial park. Not a city function. If the rail line was a good idea, the Union Pacific would have kept it in operation.

–Get out of real estate speculation period! Quit looking at Fairview area city-owned real estate as “money in the bank.” It was wrong to acquire when Coles did it, it is wrong today. Council has previously declared it surplus and has NEVER acted to sell it.

–Don’t spend taxpayer money advertising with chamber or anyone else to GROW the city. If someone wants to come here and pay their fair share of taxes, welcome them with open arms. –Eliminate office of economic development. No deals “leasing” our public real estate to get around bid laws…like council did with the private hospital and the rock climbing wall. Put it up for bid and sell at auction as law prescribes.

–The “city hall west” is nothing more than long term debt to get around the constitution. City calls it “saving” and paying cash. It is nothing more than spreading out a multi year capital expense over several budget years. We defy anyone to show us it is financially different than the Foothills serial levy…multi year tax to accumulate $10 million. It is an underhanded move to go around the voters.

–Kayak park is simply a payoff to supporters. Read current Mayor hotline to get the pulse of the public–they are pissed at the thought of such an expense for so few citizens. Better spent for open space multi use athletic fields, etc.

–Paving airport needs to be tied down prior to appropriation of $18 million. Outrageous to budget that amount if Feds will pay. The city will have another “slush fund” when the Feds come up with money. No problem with enterprise fund project with VOTER APPROVED debt to be paid for out of operating expenses–as the constitution mandates. Just WHAT is the expense and WHY is it in the city budget…sounds like a “parking garage project” as presented so far. Should NOT be in general fund budget.

–Planning doesn’t always have to be for future GROWTH. Planning can be for Micron to get bought out and cut back on Boise footprint…disaster planning so to speak. Point being ALL planning is not for growth.

–Why move the locomotive out of JD Park at a cost of more than $300,000? Leave it in place and improve the display. Just because it is part of someone’s master plan is not a good reason.

–Abolish CCDC board and use current planning, zoning, and council to do the job. They are costing the rest of a lot to make up in taxes what downtowners don’t pay in taxes.

–No more Tax Increment Districts! They drain resources and serve only to enhance a few developers. Good projects should fund themselves and not at expense of the rest of us.

–Police union needs to know mayor and council are on the management team and no longer cops. (Councilors and Mayor represent the people and Kip Wills represents his “brothers.” ) Tibbs is no long a brother. He should be a hard nosed leader who is looking out for the best interests of 200,000 citizens. If the cops want to join in the effort, treat them fairly and pay them well–just like any other city employee, but no better or worse.

–City track record in the courts is a disaster. Current mayor and council has lost EVERY high profile case. (Airport parking, Ada County Avimor, ACHD comp plan, Ten Commandments, Community House, just to name a few.)

–Library bond failed and now the city has a series of small libraries without long term debt. Why wasn’t this done in the beginning? Proposal for $38 million seems hollow at this point. If it was the right plan, then tweak it and have another vote. If it was not right plan, why did council approve an ill conceived proposal…which is what the mayor essentially called it AFTER it failed.

–City politicos should stop sleeping with Chamber of Commerce with payments for promotion, Sun Valley conference, Mayor “live aid” breakfast worth $30,000, etc.?

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I agree with some things and disagree with others. But all are worthy of debate. Good list.

  2. I agree with Sisyphus.

  3. Concerned resident
    Jun 25, 2007, 5:29 pm

    In addition to the faults you already pointed out with Team Dave trying to sell “City Hall West” to the voting public, here’s another thought.

    Due to it’s horrible location, the only ways to access that area are from Emerald (east or west) or Mitchell (north to Fairview). Now imagine the traffic nighmare that will result when you have marked police cars coming and going at shift change and throughout the day, unmarked police cars doing the same, civilian police employee cars, fire administration employee cars, and those of however many other City services end up out there. If I lived in that area – and thankfully, I don’t – I would be outraged.

    Trust me, you will not want to go anywhere near that general area during daytime hours, lest you be caught in one gigantic traffic jam. The whole scenario with this building is the epitome of the old “lipstick on a pig” analogy.

    Nobody in a leadership position at City Hall has been able to do this right, so they simply make do with the “least worst” option. I only hope the voters will see through what a sham this is.

  4. Grumpy Old Guy
    Jun 25, 2007, 7:00 pm

    OK, the libraries. Have you looked at those plans? There is NO space for library users in them. These are going to be the home-work and after-school hang-out places for kids? Where. And, what about reference assistance. Where is that located on those plans. Meeting rooms – fine, good service, but where are the places for a relatively large number of people to sit and relax and read and use the resources – and, come to that, where is the space for the resources? I really don’t see much space for reading materials there.

    I’m also worried about traffic around the Ustick site, too. I haven’t driven there lately but I seem to remember it as congested with left-turns not the easiest things in the world to execute.

    I’m sorry that our “powers that be” are offering these small (cramped?) areas which don’t appear to be anywhere near full-service sites and calling them library service. They really look a lot more like stationary book mobiles than a place to attract reading, contemplation, research, or even comfortable user spaces.

  5. Actually the Ustick Library site and the SE Boise site are full service libraries. The other two are storefronts.

    Regarding the City Hall west. I don’t know why it will take $4+ million to renovate and furnish. All these people who will work there already work someplace else. One would think they have furniture. It may not be brand new but I bet it’s functional. Use that and save a little money for the taxpayers on the mill levy.

    I wish there was someone on the Council who could say – stop spending so much. Hey maybe Tibbs might want to take that on – ya think?

  6. Probably Dave Bieter wants the White-water park to be named Bieters Washout! What a legacy he will have– Circumventing the voters at every turn, spending money like a drunken sailer, more money spent on lawsuits than on citizens needs-A forced annexation against citizen wishes for which they can’t provide services for.

    All the monies spent on promoting this area could be spent better taking care of those who are already here first!

  7. I agree with much on the list but I take huge exception to your comment on the kayak park. It is not just a kayak park. It is much much more. It will be a city park that has something for everyone and will be 2nd to none in the world.

    Calling it a “kayak park” and leaving out the “rest of the story” is disingenuous at best and probably bordering on dishonest.

    You can read the rest-of-the-story in my comment in the Mayor’s hotline thread.

  8. Hey Grumpy!
    How much do you want to bet the city charges us to use those meeting rooms at the “new” libraries?

    No room for the citizens to actually USE the libraries? Who would expect any thing different?

  9. I’d like to know the justification for a 12% budget increase — line by line. Has the city’s population increased by 12% in the last year? I think not.

    Just because the city has money to spend from increased property valuations doesn’t mean they should spend it all. How about helping out on property taxes by actually reducing some mill levies for a change?

  10. I went to both planning meetings long ago and one of the key reasons for putting in one of these kayak parks is the HUGE benefit to the local economy.

    If I remember correctly, they pay for themselves in two years and keep on paying the initial investment every two years into the future.

    Our Parks & Recreation Chief came from Golden Colorado where he oversaw construction of one of these in the same capacity.

    They benefit: kayakers, canoeists, tubers, boogy boarders, fisherman (it creates habitat and pools), strollers, and all the people who stop to watch the action.

    Rodeos and out of town kayaker visits hugely benefit local businesses. It also gives benefits in air quality for the very large amount of trips that do not end up going up to the Payette River to kayak, but stay in town.

    The whitewater at that location now is caused by a dangerous pile of concrete that was dumped into the river to back the water up for a cheap/crude canal diversion.

    These have been built all over the country and you will not find a town that does not just LOVE their (white)water park.

  11. While you point out several “issues”, it seems you may be missing the “big picture”. Having local control over issues like transportation, parks and infrastructure requires leadership, imagination and courage. Like it or not there is more at stake than simply the fact that money is being spent. It seems to me that the mayor has put a lot of effort into identifying areas where WE want to see discretionary funds spent.

    Do you realize that several of the city departments you are criticizing require NO taxes to operate? Do you realize projects like the Boise River Recreation Park will generate revenues sufficient to pay the project off in less than three years – after that it continues to generate income, improves run-down areas in Boise and Garden City greatly and fixes a badly broken stretch of the river in the process!

    It’s also interesting that you criticize the lack of use of the Depot then criticize moving the locomotive to the Depot – one small step that will make the Depot’s use more viable in financial terms. Seems like you want your cake and eat it too!

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