City Government

Boise Officials Adopt GUARDIAN Fire Training Plan

Kudos to Boise officials for joining the GUARDIAN in calling for a joint training facility for Boise, Meridian, and Eagle fire departments.
Fire truck in motion at night with lights flashing in Boise, Idaho.
We had questioned the need for a $17 bond–not the facility, but the funding–well before the election. On October 6, the GUARDIAN said: “Boise Fire Dept. recently entered into some “mutual aid” cooperative agreements with other Ada County departments like Meridian and Eagle. Those agreements should be backed up with mutual training. Any fire training academy should be funded by all the departments in the county, not just on the backs of Boise property owners.”

Rather than do their home work BEFORE the election and look for ways to get all the departments in the county to put “skin in the game” to fund a joint training facility, Boise officials chose to “sell” the idea of increasing taxes and having the entire cost of a new training facility placed on the backs of our citizens.

In a front page story Friday, Sven Berg of the DAILY PAPER outlines plans by Chief Dennis Doan to explore funding options with the other departments. The GUARDIAN plan is a logical one and we are pleased Doan has jumped aboard.

We find it a bit deceptive–perhaps even deceitful–for Boise officials to seek a tax hike when they were well aware of alternative funding methods for a joint training facility. The logical place for the training facility would be at the West Boise waste water facility which is bordered by Meridian, Eagle, and Boise. Good central location.

The GUARDIAN offered the joint facility idea three times:

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Public Safety agencies need to understand there is a limit to what taxpayers will support.

    I would offer that ALL public safety entities in this valley need to adopt a METRO approach to funding. It will offer career paths, stop job hopping, end a lot of duplication and finally save taxpayers some money.

    Problem is the “local control” issue that is costing all of us a bundle of cash. Additionally, there is the fiefdoms of waste and spend with egos of those in management who would oppose this with every objection you can think of if this ever got off the ground.

  2. Grumpy ole guy
    Nov 22, 2013, 8:00 pm

    Somehow the expression “Better late than never” leaps to mind. But, really, what comes to the forefront of my mind is that since we don’t seem to be ready for a total city/county government, we should seek as many joint endeavors as possible. This is an excellent place to show how cooperation succeeds and saves tax dollars. All city and County commissioners should be alert for more such opportunities, and so should we citizens.

  3. Nan e mouse
    Nov 23, 2013, 8:32 am

    First they pitched a library bond, which failed and lo and behold they found the money!

    Now they’ve pitched a fire bond, which failed and lo and behold they’ve found a way to fund the biggest part!

    Methinks the city fathers and mothers ought to take some accounting courses to fully discover all the pockets of money they seem to have squirreled away.

    It wouldn’t hurt for them to visit a lumber yard either. Those two by fours up against the head might get them some sense regarding not continually wasting taxpayer funds.

  4. Note to Nan e mouse.. I too often wondered where money magically appeared for pet projects and started digging into city and county finances.
    The big secret here is the LGIP. Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) is where local governments stash their excess money from public view. It is held in trust by the State Treasurer and is invested in Short and Long Term Bonds. Cities have millions stashed away from pubic view and you will never see it on any city budget but rest assured it is there and it isn’t chump change.

  5. Grumpy ole guy
    Nov 23, 2013, 9:14 pm

    Flyhead. Can you tell us more? Please.

  6. Hi Grumpy,
    We are systematically overcharged for everything we pay for under the heading of “Enterprise Funds” and they fall under the headings of water, sewer, cemetery, trash hauling and any other service we pay for that gets billed to your address and collected by the city.

    All you have to do is file a public records request to find out how much is held in the LGIP for any city. The Secretary of the Treasury for the state of Idaho is the keeper of these funds. Cities can’t “invest” money but the State Treasurer can and does so in relatively safe investments.

    We are all overcharged for everything. Caldwell charges 18% to collect money for Allied/Republic waste collections. And they do this with all city services. We just never hear about it and it is tucked away with little public scrutiny. This is where they pull money out of nowhere to buy things like the TVCC building in Caldwell. It was about $25MM when I looked at this several years ago for the funds held in trust for Caldwell.

    Hope you find this helpful.

  7. Grumpy ole guy
    Nov 27, 2013, 6:06 pm

    Flyhead. Thanks for the information. I take it that these monies can not be “invested” but can be placed in interest-bearing accounts by the State Treasurer? Are they available “instantly” to the local authority from which they came? Do you know the total amount of this fund? Does the Treasurer’s office accrue any money in providing this service, or does the State underwrite the cost of providing this service?

    EDITOR NOTE–Grumpy, we did a little research. The smaller cities use the investment arm of the Idaho Treasurer to handle their excess cash, much like an interest bearing checking account. The money is indeed available via a secure website used by the cities. Boise is big enough to do its own investing of excess cash, but has used the Local Government Investment Pool in the past.

  8. Dave I know this is way past prime time, but I just saw it. I just wanted to say I believe you are way off where a training center should though it’s not needed be located. Half of Boises crews would be driving 10-15 miles, there district wouldn’t be covered properly. Boise has 16 fire crews and 3 ladder co. And X’s that by 3 shifts, ect. First eliminate the maintenance building at the drill grounds and maybe won’t need a new one, also it’s hasn’t been a big deal for past 40+ yrs where it’s located. If they actually find the magic money the city finds every time when they say their broke, moving to an area by airport, plenty of land and access to the freeway close by meaning better responses, less travel time ect

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