City Government

Boise Officials Skirt Bid Law

Boise coppers will resume using the infamous shooting range in the foothills, but City officials will be competing with Pinocchio in the area of facial features when Councilors approve a new land acquisition Tuesday night.

After declaring land at 25th and Fairview to be “surplus property” and ordering it to be sold to the highest bidder more than 6 years ago, officials in Boise are about to conclude a convoluted insider 3 or 4 way land swap aimed at subverting the Idaho bid law.

Proof that “everything old is new again,” is the city’s plan to acquire the same old shooting range behind Fort Boise–remember the foothills fire that “wasn’t caused by the copper shooting tracers?”

In what can only be described as an “insider trade” worthy of those weekend meetings between the Feds, Bank of America and Merril Lynch, Boise officials somehow got the police association to sell the shooting range to a group of doctors wishing to build a private hospital at 25th and Fairview. The city has agreed to do a land SWAP with the docs in lieu of an auction to the highest bidder.

It is perfectly legal to do a land swap, but we don’t think the original resolution calling for an auction was ever recinded and the deal is obviously aimed at solely benefiting the doc’s new facility. If the city were transparent in their dealings, they would have simply traded the land directly with the Police Association–or purchased it– and not involved a 3rd party.

We suspect there is some manipulation of the appraisals which will allow the docs to claim “donations” on their taxes and the city to claim a “net gain.” If the land in question at 25th and Fairview really is worth the appraisal, they should sell it and pocket the cash. Truth is, it won’t sell for that price. Furthermore, the action effectively precludes anyone else from acquiring the land–potentially at a bargain basement price. If any of the parties had to actually PAY for the parcels in question, we doubt the deal would be concluded.

Throughout its nearly decade long ownership of the land in question, Boise officials–PAST AND PRESENT–have practiced deceit and deception.

Orginally purchased as a “shuttle parking lot” for a bus to the courthouse and downtown by Capitol City Development Corp. (CCDC), Boise City later acquired it as an “ideal location” for a police building after the legality of the CCDC purchase was questioned–they cannot invest OUTSIDE the CCDC district. Boise bailed them out.

Then, a few months later the City purchased the old car lot at 2900 Fairview, claiming THAT land was the “ideal location” for a police headquarters because it was centrally located. They even testified in court documents there was a “public safety issue” demanding that coppers be centrally located at 2900 Fairview. The City claimed they would finance the 2900 property, in part, through sale of the 25th and Fairview property. They never sold ANY of the land and lost a court fight to the GUARDIAN editor over an illegal financing scheme for a police building.

The coppers are currently in the process of remodeling yet a third “perfect location” for a new headquarters near the western city limits off Emerald in a business park. It is being funded through a slush fund not approved by voters and the council is under no legal obligation to use 5 years of excess taxes for the new building, although the current councilors each year have budgeted funds for a
new facility.

Team Dave has repeatedly cited the Fairview parcels as a revenue source to “build libraries,” most recently as part of the latest Mark Rivers BoDo scheme known as the “Library Blocks.”

If the ends justifies the means, the City has won this round, but they should loose a lot of public trust. The coppers will have a shooting range and the ill advised land speculation of the past decade will at least be partially unloaded.

Here is how the official press release describes the current transaction:

“The training range, appraised at $750,000, will be acquired under a land exchange with Surgical Hospital, LLC. Under the terms of the agreement, the City will acquire the shooting range and an industrial property located at 950 Citation Court, valued at $415,000, in exchange for the city-owned former Vocational Technical building at 25th and Fairview, valued at $975,000. In addition to providing City taxpayers with a net property value of $190,000, the property exchange will also help encourage redevelopment along the 30th Street Corridor.”

The City Council will consider the acquisition at tonight’s meeting.

Meanwhile, all the meetings and cooperative agreements for a joint venture shooting range for Boise, Ada County, Meridian and Garden City have failed. They simply cannot reach an consensus on location and other issues.

That means residents of the city will have to pony up the cash not only for Boise, but for Ada County deputies as well. The county mounties are currently driving clear out past the Boise Stage Stop to a National Guard range in the desert to do their practice shooting.

Proper certification and training for all lawmen is important because of the huge liability local jurisdictions–and the public–undertake with the use of deadly force.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. “That means residents of the city will have to pony up the cash not only for Boise, but for Ada County deputies as well. The county mounties are currently driving clear out past the Boise Stage Stop to a National Guard range in the desert to do their practice shooting.”

    Time for a county-wide police force and disband the BPD and GCPD?

  2. This is just a classic example of RULE #6 FOR LIFE, Insider deals and nepotism are not tolerated unless you are a friend or a realative.

    The above rule applies at all levels of government and in the private sector. We just need to get used to it and call the politicos and insiders out when they are caught behaving badly.

  3. Stupid Times Three
    Sep 16, 2008, 5:48 pm

    Let’s see, the coppers showed how reckless it is to have a firing range in the foothills when they started the Foothills Fire 12 years ago with an errant shot into the brush. That one may have been an accident. Not learning from your accidents and putting another range in the foothills is stupid.

    Any first year account will tell you that building and maintaining two facilities is more costly than one. It follows that knowingly having the people pay for the city and the county to have separate ranges is stupid.

    Finally, politicians only do complicated things, like multiple simultaneous land swaps, when they are trying to hide the ugly truth from the people. Trouble is, the people always find out. It follows that this land swap scenario is stupid.

    Stupid times three.

  4. “They even testified in court documents there was a “public safety issue” demanding that coppers be centrally located at 2900 Fairview.”

    I imagine the recent terror report that discussed the potential damage if the upstream dams broke and took out downtown may have ended the Fairview Police Department plans. If you have a natural disaster…it is probably a good thing to not have the Police Department under water too.

  5. Okay Growthophobes this is the other side of the coin when it comes to government regulation and city planning. Most would agree they would rather have a medical building at 25th and Fairview than say another strip club and a low rent car dealership. But in order to get it there you had back room dealings and possible corruption.

    The same goes for City Side Lofts which got the land to build that development from CCDC for free! The reason? The land was in urban renewal and the city wanted more downtown housing, CCDC kicked in the funds.

    The means might justify the ends but either way the taxpayer ponies up the money and somebody got a hell of a deal.

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