ANALYSIS OF THE PARK BOND
Mayor Dave Bieter has promoted his voter-financed bailout of needed fire department facilities and additional parks as “A buck a month,” project.
The GUARDIAN sees it as a whopping $51,000,000 expenditure of tax money. The ballot fine print legalese says:
“The total amount to be repaid not later than twenty (20) years from the date of such bonds based on the anticipated interest rate is $51,236,267, consisting of $32,915,000 in principal and $18,321,267 of interest. The amount estimated to be collected each year from the levy for such bond issues is $2,561,813.”
Boise’s city mothers and fathers have given the residents on the bench a raw deal over the past decade, annexing hundreds and hundreds of acres of property, extending sewer lines and approving subdivisions in a massive exercise in urban sprawl.
They collected “impact fees” for parks, but never built them. Now they claim a need for a debt load to fund…you guessed it, PARKS! All of their planning, maps, graphics, are aimed at more foothills land acquisition for “open space.” They talk about “other areas” as an afterthought.
The past record is a mixed blessing. They tend to acquire the “low land” gulches, hollows, etc., leaving the prime ridges and hilltops for developers who sell the sites as having “natural habitat” in your front yard in lieu of rooftops. No doubt about it, the $10,000,000 Foothills levy has preserved some land. However, we oppose the city funds being used to acquire Stack Rock in Boise County, and the city acting as banker for the state of Idaho while acquiring a failed development at Hammer Flat.
Before Boise allows more development in the Harris Ranch area east of town adjoining the Hammer Flat parcel they so gallantly saved, they need to conduct an inventory of natural areas throughout the city.
There is no need to “rush to judgement” on the park bond. It should be properly vetted so we can have a chance to insure preservation of some high-desert areas, enhance and preserve the many streams–yes there are quite a few small streams running through SW Boise.
The city council has done an end run and suspended the requirement for three readings in their race to get the Bieter Bond on the ballot. Council decisions and spending led to the need for a bond. If citizens are to bailout the bad management, we need a voice before the debt is approved.
Next: a look at the fire department bond proposal.
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