A Different View Of Latest Library Scheme

Team Dave and its leader, Mayor Dave Bieter are trying to sell the idea of “saving interest fees” by simply inserting $50 million cash for the proposed mega-library project. This after several years of economic schemes, projections, and sales pitches.

If Boise has $50,000,000 stashed away in a slush fund, we the people have been overtaxed.

We really hesitate to be this harsh, but Team Dave cannot be trusted. They are touting a plan to eliminate confusion over “voting to vote” following the successful petition drive by citizens seeking a voice in their government. The “cash scheme” may save up to $15 million in interest on an $85 million edifice, but it will also ELIMINATE CITIZEN APPROVAL of the project at an election.

Citizens need to be careful of the wording in any ordinance. Sometimes insertion or deletion of a single word tips the authority away from the citizens. Team Dave has repeatedly used public money to manipulate public opinion on street cars, airport tax exemptions, the library, the F-35, and other issues. Trust in a “public dialogue” has evaporated. Bieter is still spending to attract noisy F-35 fighters to Boise.

A GUARDIAN reader offers up this chronology of events regarding the library.

To get to a vote we have seen:

–A price tag that blew up from a $40 million remodel to a $103 million monstrosity.

–Plans to issue bonds through CCDC before the majority of the public saw the architects rendering/model.

–The dismisal of history – The Cabin. But the library minutes (4/4/18) show they will be able to save 2 light fixtures from the existing building. Great trade-off.

–First class airfare and other extravagant charges for the overpriced architect.

–A 40-year lease on the Biomark building site that was originally purchased for library expansion.

–The Civic Center For Education & Culture was scrubbed from the record and renamed “a library project.” A consultant was hired to promote it.

–The price tag has been lowered to $85 million, although most realize this lower price simply means defering some of the components of this project.

–Impacts on the nearby Anne Frank Memorial.

–Consultant fees and branding campaigns paid for with public monies to sell this idea to the audience who paid most of the public monies in the first place.

–Boise leaders signed a contract with an architect not licensed in Idaho who was fined by the state.

–The City has dropped the idea of using CCDC as the lease financing conduit, as a result of citizen outrage leading to HB 217. Now they seek to avert an election by paying cash.

–Now we read that the City has piles of cash stashed away – yet we lag on hiring the police we need, build the fire stations, expand the existing library hours, etc.

–We are now being sold the idea that we will save money by not paying $15 million in financing fees and interest by not using lease financing. This is the hidden cost that has only been recently revealed.

–City economists are projecting a downturn in the economy in the coming months – shown in library meeting minutes and city budget docs/presentations, but the insanity continues.

Meanwhile: City of Boise, please stop this insanity! We are not fooled.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. How can we get this published in the Statesman and/or Idaho Press. I agree with every thing that is said in this view of the library project.

    EDITOR NOTE–You are welcome to use any or all of it under your own name.

  2. Las Vegas Rebel
    Jun 9, 2019, 10:57 am

    It’s pretty disgusting the length at which the Mayor is willing to go to fund his legacy library. Bypassing a citizen vote and now somehow he has pulled $50 million out of his back pocket. How wonderful that he is willing to sacrifice money that could have been spent on police and fire services for this pet project. Seems to me like maybe an audit is necessary to see how many more slush funds he is hiding.

  3. Yes an audit is an excellent idea. Where has this $50 million been squirreled away? While Bieter and City leadership are promoting the Safdie Palace, the Library is not even open every day. I’ve also heard that some Library workers make very low wages, or are kept on as part time so the City doesn’t have to pay benefits,. Perhaps the City should fix the existing system and see how much that would cost. An additional item that is not factored into the cost of a new library is how many more staff are likely to be hired for the new library? Or will a rumored “Book Robot” make workers obsolete?

  4. western guy
    Jun 9, 2019, 10:16 pm

    Find the most recent fiscal year audit on Boise City website. These audits are done by reputable outside firms. Look for ‘unrestricted cash on hand’, or similar.

    Or look in the Consolidated Annual Fiscal Report (CAFR) that many public entities publish.

    No new audit is needed. But make certain you look for all types of monies laying around.

  5. ah! More fun.
    This is not new. MANY cities and most states have a “slush fund”.

    Yes, Boise has that much and even more available. For example, collectively, Idaho cities and agencies participate in the Local Government Investment Pool. As a govt agency acquires too much tax dollars (it just falls from the sky M. Bieter) they can turn it over to the state treasurer to invest in safe investments (bonds) and then the city doesn’t have to worry about “investing” it on their own. Kind of like a brokerage account for government agencies. Last time I looked, there was over 2 Billion [B] of “cash” deposited with the Idaho treasurer on behalf of Idaho’s local government agencies. Is that all ‘extra’? A lot of it is!
    See the last link below-

    As of Sept 2018 Boise had 55 million in the LGIP. They ALSO held over 190 million in ‘investments’ — you know, like cash!
    No this is not monthly paychecks to the employees. Some of that ‘cash’ is restricted and saved for projects like the Foothills Levy, or to pay off known expenses, but about 109 Million (by my reading) is available to SPEND like a drunk college kid on spring break!

    If there is a certain political polar group here opposed to Bieter simply based on politics and believes we are overtaxed (yes!) as evidence of this ‘slush fund” and this is some how an evil thing to have a ‘reserve account’ /slush fund or ‘rainy day fund’ I invite you to read from the IDAHO GOP party how the ‘conservative party’ thinks this is a good thing:

    GOP chairman Jonathan Parker:
    “Good stewardship of taxpayer dollars means that, like any individual, family or business, our state [CITY] has set aside enough in savings to prepare for future emergencies or economic downturns. [R]epublicans understand the importance of fiscal responsibility.”

    Never mind how Idaho chose to waste rainy day funds on ridiculous lawsuits, but anyway.
    Political? No. Everyone is doing it.

    Anyone can read all about it, in the city’s already audited reports- they are available online at no cost, except some time and an aspirin afterwards.
    And they do it every year. No surprises here. 🙂

    A better question is, “Where is the city policy that allows use of these funds to pay for such expenses? And if it has been in place all along, why was there ever a question to use outside financing for a library project costing an additional 15m in interest?”
    Either Plan A (not using cash reserves) was irresponsible or Plan B (using the cash) is irresponsible… Or both options are irresponsible?

    Other cities do it:

  6. Plan Unmasked
    Jun 10, 2019, 11:21 am

    Easterner – plan B is no secret. The library board has floated it around for a few years. I suspect the whole thing is like an air balloon, floated to see what the public will react to. You could also look at the budgets of departments. There are open positions that aren’t filled in the bpd, zoning, and other necessary functions. The library has cut positions. Some facilities, eg parks and rec down at Ann Morrison, the pavilion, small cop stops around town, are sparse and in disrepair. Over-budgeting, but asking for austerity and taking the money back – look at that too.

    Scary to think to what means might be enacted. Aren’t people tired of it. Can we keep our money in our own pockets to prepare for our own “emergencies”.

  7. I have said this numerous times before and I will say it again.

    Libraries in their current form are going extinct.

    With so many resources and information available just a click (or phone screen tap) away, why bother wasting time and gas to drive down to a monstrosity. Especially when budgets for other city departments are slim, with positions being left unfilled.

    To the leader of Team Dave and the Council members whose terms are up this year: Remember, remember, the 5th of November!

  8. Not Just A Library
    Jun 10, 2019, 2:35 pm

    The City understands the traditional library is somewhat going extinct, that is why this library project was originally called the Civic Center For Education & Culture (CCEC) – you can find that whole planning document on the City/library website. This project includes more than just a library, as the design includes a performance event center, art gallery, cafe, larger office and archive and restoration type space space for City’s Arts & History Dept., as well as an office and space for homeless services. It is not just a library, but is being marketed to the public as just a library – in hopes that this is an easier pill for people to swallow?

  9. Paul Alldredge
    Jun 10, 2019, 3:40 pm

    I just do not understand why we need bigger and better libraries. Given the ability to access all manner of research documents and periodicals online why is it necessary to build more libraries. The Nampa Library is a shining example of this. There are more employees in the place than users of the facility on any given day. Add to this the massive parking garage that generates about $1,500/mo in revenue. A testament to the forward thinking of former Mayor Tom Dale.

  10. Equal is not equal
    Jun 10, 2019, 7:43 pm

    We should not have a “slush fund” at the tradeoff of skimping on equal core municipal services, in order to build up the fund to pay for a mega-library/civic center.

  11. This is the kind of finance scheming that I have become so livid over. Borrowing money from parties that know how to scam local governments was revealed in spades after the 2008 fraud crimes took their tolls. Notice how the price of shiny things that fiefdoms want to buy are always massive, when a big borrowing scheme is involved. This is another poison feature of fiat money systems. “Easy” credit is always spread out for taxpayers to pay and hopefully we will not notice.

    It is interesting that the pushback from the public has forced the option of a cash purchase, that now reveals a sudden cache of cash to the tune of $50 million. We need to know where this has been hiding?

    It’s becoming more apparent that massive finance fraud is alive and well in government agencies. When Prof. Mark Skidmore and former HUD Chair Catherine Austin Fitts exposed the DoD/HUD mystery acquisition of $22 TRILLION from 1998 to 2015! This fact was revealed on DoD accounting websites, but have been disappeared when inquiries were made. Fortunately, Skidmore and Fitts got screenshots of the whole mess.

    Corruption is the currency that really powers government these days. Can’t wait for the big reset coming.

  12. I think I just heard that the mayor and council are going to discuss the two ballet measures and “accept them”.

    What a joke!

    The mayor and council take every twist and turn they can to avoid the taxpayers and now they want to “appear” like they are pro-voter and pro vote. These folks have no shame – or morals.

    What a joke!

  13. Dear KTVB and other local rag media. The Boise Guardian is doing more public service than you are. In fact, you are basically servicing the Mayor (Sore Knees?).

  14. Been wondering about these
    Jun 14, 2019, 8:02 pm

    74-604 . PUBLIC FUNDS PROHTBITED. (I) Unless specifically required by law. and except as
    provided in this chapter, neither a public entity nor its employees shall make, nor shall a public official make or
    authorize, an expenditure from public funds to advocate for or against a candidate or a ballot measure .
    (2) Neither a public entity nor any of its employees shall use, nor shall a public official authorize or
    use, public property or resources to advocate for or against a candidate or a ballot measure.
    Idaho Code 74-603 defines the following terms relevant to this case:
    74-603 . DEFINITIONS. As used in this chapter:
    (I )(a) “Advocate” means to campaign for or against a candidate or the outcome of a ballot measure .
    (b) “Advocate” does not mean providing factual information about a ballot measure and the public entity ‘s reason
    for the ballot measure stated in a factually neutral manner. Factual information includes, but is not limited to, the
    cost of indebtedness, intended purpose. condition of property to be addressed, date and location of election,
    qualifications of candidates or other applicable information necessary to provide transparency to electors.
    (2) “Ballot measure” means constitutional amendments, bond measures or levy measures.
    (4) “Expenditure” means:
    (a) A purchase. payment, donation. distribution, loan , advance. deposit, gift of money, or anything of value; or
    (b) A legally enforceable contract, promise or agreement to make any purchase, payment, donation, distribution,
    loan, advance, deposit, gift of money, or anything of value.
    (5) “Property or resources” means goods, services, equipment, computer software and hardware, other items of
    intangible property, or facilities provided to or for the benefit of a candidate, a candidate’s personal campaign
    committee, a political issues committee for political purposes. or advocacy for or against a ballot measure or
    candidate. Public property or resources that are available to the general public are exempt from this exclusion.
    (6) “Public entity” means the state, each state agency, county, municipality, school district or other
    taxing district or public corporation empowered to submit ballot measures to its electors.
    (7) “Public funds” means any money received by a public entity from appropriations, taxes, fees,
    interest or other returns on investment.
    (8) “Public official” means an elected or appointed member of a public entity who has:
    (a) Authority to make or determine public policy;
    (b) Supervisory authority over the personnel and affairs of a public entity; or
    (c) Authority to approve the expenditure of funds for the public entity.
    (9) “State agency” means each department. commission, board, council, agency, institution. officer,
    corporation, fund, division, office, committee, authority or other administrative unit of the state.

  15. Miss Scarlett
    Jun 16, 2019, 9:33 pm

    The time has come for a formal criminal investigation into the misdeeds of (POLITICO).

    Does the City even have an Ombudsman anymore?

    Demand a request that (THEY) release tax returns, and I bet we’ll find large stashes of cash in (THEIR) personal account — kickbacks under the table from the developers (THEY HAVE) served more, and to the disadvantage of than the people of Boise whom (THEY) were elected to serve.

    EDITOR NOTE–Specific names were edited out. The reader obviously doesn’t trust local government.

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