City Government

Park Bailout Needed Due To Bad Management, Citizens Deserve Voice In Spending


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.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t acquire pieces that connected. The argument for this money is they need to connect the pieces they have acquired. They planned all along to come back to the voters for more money. Further every time they take property off the tax rolls it increases the taxes on those of us “left” behind to make up the difference. So when you expand your CCDC districts, get more property for government purposes it shifts the cost of running boise on us. On top of that they take their 3% every year. So in the past few years as our property values were decreasing our taxes were increasing.
    I’m tired of this. Voters should say “no” and make them tighten their belts like the rest of us are doing.

  2. We live off South Cole, adjacent to the Murgoiteo (sp?) plot of land that runs between Cole & Maple Grove. The city owns the land, and we were assured at the time of purchase that annexation and park development were imminent. That’s been 8.5 years.

    Now we see further development occurring in the southeast area, where there are already numerous parks and lots of access to the Foothills. Our planned park languishes, and while it is still being actively farmed, our yards are being overrun by goat heads and cheat grass moving in from the ag land.

    I sure would like to see our neck of town getting some attention from the city, rather than additional money being thrown in an area that’s already well taken care of.

  3. The broader question is whether it is prudent to allow Government to borrow at all, or whether budgeting should require mandatory savings so projects can be funded from cash. $18 million of interest is a lot of money to flush down the toilet. Governments and municipalities have become cavalier about borrowing money. Primarily because they are not the ones having to pay the bill. I agree with Judy. Taxes have gone up while property values have gone down. Government must be forced, like everyone else, to suck it up when times get tough. They are supposed to work for us, after all.

  4. The Speckled Hen
    Sep 11, 2013, 11:07 pm

    As much as Boise bangs on ACHD about equity, has anyone ever asked the city how equitable they distribute Parks funding among the neighborhoods?

  5. Agree with the lack of attention to west Boise and specifically SW Boise where virtually no parks exist.

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