City Government

Boise Fire Dept. Inept On Finance Plans

Long time GUARDIAN readers will recall “we told you so!” when it comes to recent revelations about Boise Fire Dept. financial ineptitude disclosed by the Idaho STATESMAN.

In his Statesman Thursday piece, reporter Sven Berg said Boise officials spent twice as much as they promised four years ago in a bond proposal. The bon d passed, some of the projects were not built and the money is gone.

“The overruns are due partly to rising demand for construction crews and materials — factors that have driven up costs and slowed both private and government projects across the Treasure Valley the last few years.

But city leaders admit a bigger factor was their miscalculation of both money and time. They say they’ve learned their lesson. And they’re getting the projects — and others — built anyway, by tapping rising property-tax revenues.”

The GUARDIAN was CRITICAL of the proposal at the time. This analysis apparently fell on deaf ears.

Nearly FIVE YEARS AGO we went into great detail about the need for other departments to have “skin in the game” if they were going to use Boise’s then-proposed training facility.

The GUARDIAN also raised some important warning five years ago which have proven valid. We have included the warnings below.

–Why do we give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in free fire protection to Boise State while charging around $1 million for Boise police at the same institution? BSU and other state agencies have a huge exposure and every taxpayer in the state should pay a tiny bit to protect those assets and people. It shouldn’t rest on the shoulders of Boise taxpayers alone.

–The fire budget has been used for new construction to facilitate growth in South and East suburbs.

–All the departments in the area work together on “mutual aid” agreements (memorandums of understanding). That’s good, but they should also pony up some cash for mutual training facilities. Boise’s claim of allowing the other departments to use the proposed new training facility in exchange for use of their stuff simply falls short.

–Instead of buying new fire equipment, the department is planning to lease trucks. If the leases are true leases, that COULD be OK. However, if they try to disguise long term debt purchases as a “lease,” they could ignite a legal tinderbox.

Boise FD has a You Tube VIDEO showing construction with a Chief Dennis Doan voiceover talking about the merits of the fire training center which is called a “regional facility” to be used by the department and “its partners.” We don’t know who will actually pay to use the place, nor do we know who the “partners,” may be.

Comments & Discussion

12 comments for “Boise Fire Dept. Inept On Finance Plans”

  1. Brian vermillion
    Aug 31, 2018, 4:08 pm

    Once you’ve got the taxpayer on the hook you might as well reel em in all the way! As usual us taxpayers will just say
    “Thank you sir, may I have another” as they spank us with more “improvements”.

  2. western guy
    Aug 31, 2018, 4:11 pm

    Inept is how to describe the budget drones at City of Boise Finance Dept.

    They projected a new fire station cost to be the same as when Harris Ranch was built at ‘bottom of the economy’ prices? Truly inept.

    Remember, there’s always more money in the Reserve account!

  3. Growth for the sake of growth is the specialty of the cancer cell.

    I am not certain it was ineptitude or a failure to lock the contract in a set price. When they agreed to the bond Boise citizens forgot to take into account the growth of the valley. The politicians did not help any either.

    With the unrelenting growth because our hands are tied (I promised while I was golfing or whatever.) policy they will need another fire station (Dry Creek area) and that will require more personnel, etc.

    You could keep the cost of the fire truck leasing and purchase down if you didn’t run a high dollar item on every medical call in Boise, or even Ada County. Smaller more fuel efficient quicker pickups or suburbans get to the scene faster than the 33-seconds quoted and cost less money to operate.

    Will Boise or any other city in this valley do something more cost effective? DOUBTFUL! It’s better to put the taxpayer on the hook then take personal responsibility.

  4. It’s blasphemous to question their budget. We need to follow California’s lead on this and just let them spend us into oblivion. It’s the right thing to do.

  5. Nero fiddles with a $85 million library while Rome burns!

  6. Creat tje Problem
    Sep 3, 2018, 9:22 am

    Rules of politics –

    1. NEVER let a problem go un-used!
    2. Whenever possible CREATE the problem!
    3. Always ask for MORE MONEY to solve the problem.
    4. Start over at #1.

  7. western guy
    Sep 3, 2018, 11:40 am

    5 commnets so far. Where is the outrage over total mis-expenditure of public funds?

  8. First the Boise mayor and council members are Elected civil servants. They work for their constituents! The fire department, in the first year, was given money from the general fund for design costs for the projects! Boise Residents did not NEED to move two fire stations 1/2 mile away from existing, our CIVIL SERVANTS WANTED to move them.
    If our civil servants aren’t capable of getting things right, at costs of millions of dollars why don’t WE get civil servants that can. Remember last year when our elected civil servant Dave Bieter was so transparent about the Ridge to River SNAFU? Shame on US for thinking our elected civil servants are doing whats best for we Constituents.

  9. Frank;
    What 2 fire stations got moved?

    Western guy;
    It was in the Thursday Statesman so nobody saw it.

  10. western guy
    Sep 5, 2018, 5:23 pm

    Fire station on Overland Road across from Hillcrest golf course got moved somewhere east, paired with a paramedic ambulance station. Station on Franklin Road near Bishop Kelly high school was previously somewhere else but that might not be the second one that Frank noted.

    Just drove by that station on Franklin Road today. Very minimalist design/construction. Compare to the freaking Taj Ma Hall’s on Ustick and Harris ranch! But Franklin was probably built with regular money, not the City bond.

    EDITOR NOTE–Western, you are correct about #6 on Franklin. That was built many years ago, but similar screw up. City purchased land at Cole and Franklin(old 66 gas station), found it contaminated and built at present location where the land was about half as expensive. They were stuck with the commission and/or earnest money on the dirty site.

  11. The reason the cities have no desire to control anything related to growth is that they profit from growth.

    The more property you can develop and the faster, then the more tax money you collect and the more you can spend – then you just blame the developers.

    After you collect more money then you claim you cannot keep up and you need even more – so you do bonds.

    Then you spend and spend and spend and promote more growth so you can get even more money.

    Unfortunately Boise has elected people that have no ability to control spending – or asking for more money – or expanding the control they have with the CCDC.

  12. western guy
    Sep 9, 2018, 2:11 pm

    Remember, Chief Doan was Mayor Dave’s reelection committee finance chair one or two or four elections back.

    Then Da Mayor elevated him from a mere Captain over several Deputy Chiefs to the #1 chair.

    Scratch my back, I scratch yours…

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