In the latest example of local officials skirting voter approval for debt in excess of a single year’s revenues, Bonner County finds itself crosswise of the Idaho Constitution.
Instead of asking permission of citizens as prescribed in Article VIII, sec. 3 of the Idaho Constitution, Bonner Commishes simply took a lesson from their Federal counterparts and raided a dedicated fund. They tapped solid waste fund to finance a $3.1 million juvenile facility. It doesn’t matter who you borrow from, it is illegal for cities and counties to borrow without permission of citizens.
A recent legal opinion from the Idaho Attorney General says the move is illegal. Sadly, the pattern of local officials acting on the bad advice of lawyers has become a pattern of local Idaho government. Until there are penalties for violation of the constitution these officials have sworn to uphold, there is no accountability.
The main reason is to prevent an elected body from obligating a future elected body to make payments. Only the citizens have the right to make that decision–“full faith and credit” of the voters. Sorta like your mother-in-law buying you a new car and putting the loan in your name to repay. Well intentioned perhaps, but not a proper transaction.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.