We got a strange press release from Boise City touting the bond rating of the airport of all things. Team Dave was proud of an A+ bond rating from Fitch Rating. That rating is rather moderate, considering there are four higher ratings with AAA the highest. CHART
Not unlike President Bush’s famous “You’re doing a heckuva job Brownie” quote about the FEMA director’s Katrina relief efforts (before he was fired), Mayor Dave Bieter said of the fifth level rating acquired by airport director Richard McConnell, “This favorable bond rating underscores how well our airport is managed and how valuable it is to our entire region.” Yup.
With regard to airports, the Idaho Constitution says:
…any city may own, purchase, construct, extend, or equip, within and without the corporate limits of such city, off street parking facilities, public recreation facilities, and air navigation facilities, and for the purpose of paying the cost thereof may, without regard to any limitation herein imposed, with the assent of two-thirds of the qualified electors voting at an election to be held for that purpose, issue revenue bonds therefor, the principal and interest of which to be paid solely from revenue derived from rates and charges for the use of, and the service rendered by, such facilities…
While the airport claimed several years ago there was a “public safety issue” in not having a new parking facility, the city has steadfastly avoided seeking the permission of citizens to build a parking structure, as required by the constitution. The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled rather unambiguously they must seek permission of voters to sell bonds–as specified in the constitution.
Unless the airport is about to seek permission from citizens to enter into long term debt, we can’t see why they even bothered with a press release about a FIFTH LEVEL bond rating. While long term debt must be repaid by revenues from the airport operation, we citizens get to decide if any proposal is in the best interests of the city.
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