Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has taken the free advice from the GUARDIAN and split a bond debt proposal into two portions, allowing citizens to have a say over both park and fire department expenditures.
A downtown police station was removed from the debt package because the specifics were not ready to be considered. Bieter shaved a few dollars off the proposal which now stands to cost taxpayers $240 per $180,000 of assessed valuation (median value of residence) over a 20 year period. Total cost is projected to be $32.43 million.
The GUARDIAN has to offer a shout out for putting the measures on the November 5 ballot. The council will get a proposed ballot language next week. After a history of avoiding citizen approval for debt, it is a welcome move to allow us all a chance to vote.
However, the bond debt is akin to having your kids spend their lunch money on toys, knowing you won’t let them go hungry.
While ignoring routine maintenance and replacement of fire stations, Boise’s councilors have annexed rural areas–creating urban sprawl–which demands new fire stations. These stations were funded from the general revenue budgets, leaving the existing facilities in need of repair and replacement.
We also feel a joint training facility funded by all the departments in the county would be more appropriate than squeezing cash out of just Boise taxpayers.
In the case of parks, budgeted revenues have gone toward getting parks north of the river on line. At least one was created through donations of well to do developers. Nice to get the gift, but it shouldn’t have been at the expense of SW residents.
We would like to see open space funds dedicated for areas south of the river. Ditch banks agricultural enclaves, wetlands, etc. would be great investments to provide riparian habitat for the hordes of deer, fox, and other wildlife otherwise displaced by development. The Foothills serial levy worked well, now its time to take care of all those Southwest Boise acres annexed over the past 15-20 years.
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