City Government

Tuesday Hearing On Library Vote

Boise politicos have scheduled a public hearing Tuesday at 6 p.m. on the issue of adopting an ordinance to place the libray question on the November ballot.

Much has been written–and said–about a proposed ultra exotic structure on Capital Blvd. A citizens group, Boise Working Together, gathered enough signatures to require a vote, Team Dave made multiple attempts to preclude citizen approval and now a placebo hearing is set to “include citizens” in the process.

Meanwhile, Mayor Dave Bieter has proposed “paying cash” in the amount of $50 million to preclude a vote. Where the money will come from is an unanswered question, but we all know it will come from citizens.

It is budget time and the GUARDIAN fears (suspects?) city departments will over budget, hold back spending, and magically produce a “surplus” which will allow the city to spend without an election.

Here’s how it is SUPPOSED to work: Article VIII, sec. 3 of the Idaho constitution requires citizen approval for any expenses in excess of a single year’s revenues–a bond.

Local government leaders have spent millions of dollars to avoid citizen approval of debt. They come up with “lease-purchase” schemes, laundering through urban renewal and all sorts of excuses to get around the law. Citizens are obviously fed up and have forced the politicos to act. We fear even more end runs.

Our suggestion is to simply ask folks what they want in the way of a library and then seek permission to finance the request. After all, it has been the law for 130 years.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. If the council enacts the initiatives as city ordinances (laws), it would appear to disallow further spending on either a stadium/sports complex or a library/cultural center until voters approve actual plans and budgets for the projects.

    If they don’t enact the initiatives, they will be on the November ballot along with the candidates for mayor and council, who will have to explain their positions on both the projects themselves and whether voters should be allowed to approve or disapprove them.

    Hizzoner is on record saying that there shall be no vote on the library. Will the council have him eat his words, or does he have another scheme up his sleeve?

  2. Scamming us all
    Jun 24, 2019, 10:32 pm

    Tomorrow is a fraud on us all. Predict they will put the vote to vote on the November ballot then defeat it later with a stealth election. They will also make a big effort to reverse the law next legislative session. The only thing will stop these selfish liberal money wasting bozos is an economic crash.

  3. Last week on KBOI radio the “King” / Mayor stated that he had 8% of the city budget sitting in a reserve account. The account is typically used to ensure good bond ratings.

    He stated that he could take 3% ($50M) out of the reserve account and spend it down to 5% (about $85M) and not hurt the Cities rating. If $50 million is 3% then 8% means he has about $135 million stashed somewhere.

    There is no question that the City has more income than it has ever had! Rather than reducing what the City takes from the tax payers they keep taking and keep spending.

  4. Let’s hope that the infotainment media will be there to report the ENTIRE thing. It really says something when your own council president chooses to run against the incumbent mayor. Doesn’t sound like even those in his own party are taking this so well.

  5. Does that still leave money for the fire stations that were so important 5 years ago and were not build because of construction overruns?

    If I remember correctly to finish the job would cost another 17 million.

    EDITOR NOTE–MAyor went on record saying the fire bond “freed up” money for parks. Credibility gap is very wide.

  6. The Agenda Packet for the Council meeting indeed shows Bieter et al are planning some subsequent stealth move. It is included at the request of Elaine Clegg. “Due to concerns with the viability of the initiatives” Clegg has asked staff to draft alternative language. That Alternative language is not being considered tonight …

  7. “over budget, hold back spending, and magically produce a ‘surplus’”

    “Rather than reducing what [they] take from the tax payers”

    “selfish liberal money wasting bozos”.
    Interesting that these messages are directed ONLY at the City of Boise.
    I don’t see any of the “Bieter-Bashers” making similar comments about our CONTROLLED legislature & governor changing the way the state operates.

    Does anyone remember when our state sales tax was 5%? The ol’ Risch sales tax/property tax switch a-roo.

    There is a lot of “excess” sales tax that just pours into the cities’ and counties’ coffers. Extra sales= the cities benefit more than expected.

    YES, Idaho takes in more than it needs for the budget. No complaints?

    Last year, Idaho had over 60 MILLION dollars of EXCESS- for one year. Did any of y’all get any of that back?
    The current Idaho Budget Stabilization Fund (a slush fund) is over $413,000,000.
    Same concept could be detailed for Ada and other agencies.

    The City of Boise does it and some get their panties all in a wad.
    The State of Idaho does it and those voices are silent.
    Why is that?

    EDITOR NOTE–So what do you think? Do citizens have a right to be outraged or not?

  8. Selfish liberal money wasting bozos?
    Keep the name calling coming.

  9. @Easterner

    The difference should be clear between the city and state’s slush funds. Idaho’s 400 million in reserves goes to provide emergency funding for schools, roads, and other state run businesses. Boise City supports none of those entities and they at least have more than 1/4th of what the state has in reserves. See a problem with that? I do, and so do many others.

    I agree, all agencies have mechanisms in their budgets to provide for these reserves, but is it reasonable that Boise City has a 764 million dollar budget since they only maintain emergency services and parks? I think that Boise is grossly wasting taxpayer money at a greater rate than any government agency in this state.

  10. DB, seems very comparable to me.

    The state fund is for emergency use state run “businesses” [I shouldn’t even respond to a message with such use of that word].
    And the city fund is for ’emergency’ use of city run “businesses”.
    No difference!

    “emergency” funding is a relative term considering the state’s fund was recently used to defend 2 losing legal battles.

    Your apparent ‘consent’ about Idaho using it for emergency school funding misses the point that Idaho schools currently also over 214 Million in their ‘reserve funds’.
    Some districts have more than 50% of their annual budget being held in ‘reserve’.

    Add those school funds to the state fund and all the other state related funds and the total state reserve value is more than your 1/4th comparison- soooo it is still apples and apples.

    The Idaho GOP tells the schools to pass a bond if they need money.
    Some schools won’t need to do that- simply tap their reserve funds. Just like the City of Boise is doing.

    Sorry, but you got nothing DB if you are not willing to point your finger at our state and local agencies for the same issue.

  11. @Editor Note-
    Do citizens have a right to be outraged?
    Outraged at what?

    Yes, they should be outraged that the Idaho Legislature crony majority actually passed bills to make citizens’ initiatives even MORE DIFFICULT to get on a ballot.
    Were there any rallies against the legislature on this? Was Boise Working Together pushing back at the legislature to insure the citizens’ voice in the future? I must have missed it…

    Yes, citizens should be outraged at the legislature’s crony (lack of) leadership that has effectively abused the successful citizens’ initiative of Medicaid expansion.

    Not to mention the outrage should be shouted against the current national politicos.

    Those things are outrageous!!!

    The City of Boise spending city money to expand and improve a library for the future?

    The way the mayor and councilors are going about? sure- that’s bad and politics as usual.

    So, if the citizens are not fighting against the anti-citizens efforts in the Idaho legislature, there is little principle when they want to fight against the same issue at city hall.

    But thankfully, ‘outraged’ citizens can take their outrage to the November ballot against the Mayor/Council’s approval of 66% of actual voters.

  12. I thought this was the Boise Guardian
    Jun 27, 2019, 8:17 am

    I disagree with the suggestion that Boise Guardian readers are angry with Bieter, but content with the state’s cronyism and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

  13. Scamming us all
    Jun 27, 2019, 9:11 am

    Eastie, the new library is not for books and such. TeamDave is building it as a new bigger toilet for the homeless to loiter and poop. It has no other function once built.

    The process of building it will of course enrich friends of TeamDave, and this is the prime reason for building it. Similar to building thousands of expensive military things which don’t work and never will. It’s about transferring the money from me to them.

    I do agree with you in there is outrageous government activities at all levels. Government expansion is a fatal cancer. So, Eastie, I’m puzzled by your outrage at people being outraged at this outrageous enrichment scheme. You are apparently outraged at people because they didn’t follow your list of priorities for their outrage?

  14. Misappropriated Spending
    Jun 27, 2019, 10:22 am

    The city of Boise spending money to expand and improve a library for the future, by skimping on safety services to the large acreages they have annexed, is not upholding the Local Land Use Planning Act; of which the purpose is to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of Idaho.

  15. Las Vegas Rebel
    Jun 29, 2019, 7:21 pm

    @misappropriated spending. I know for a fact that the police department is in desperate need of more police cars. With the annexation of more land and new officers being hired some are having to double up because there are not enough cars for officers on each shift. This also applies to the officers stationed at Boise State. Instead of purchasing more cars so that officers response times are minimal to citizens calls for police assistance the mayor is spending $50 million in slush money to have his legacy library built so the citizens don’t have a voice. I hope that everyone remembers this when it comes time to vote in November.

  16. Misappropriated Spending
    Jul 1, 2019, 9:40 am

    Las Vegas Rebel – You are correct about your facts regarding the police vehicles not keeping up with the explosive growth. Here are some facts and statistics for the City as reported in the 2018 Boise Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and other City records.

    * 280 police vehicles, whereas the City had 294 in 2014.

    * Police – 65% increase in “complex calls” over past 6 years, these are calls related to mental health, suicide, welfare checks, etc. 15,565 calls in 2011, 19,150 calls in 2018.

    * 90th percentile response time for the fire department is now at 7:11, when it was 6:12 in 2010.

    * Boise citizens now have 781 pieces of publicly owned art versus just 180 in 2010.

    The City has 16 regularly staffed active fire stations, as the airport station is restricted to the airport campus, Hidden Springs Station is unstaffed, and Station 18 on Chinden is only temporarily staffed while Station 9 is being rebuilt. Of cities with similar size populations as Boise, 44% have 10–19 stations and another 44% have 20–29 stations.

    With the projection of another 50,000 in population, the City will continue to be woefully behind in both police and fire capacity. You can’t be the most livable by skimping on safety, thus putting everyone at greater risk.

  17. More For Las Vegas Rebel's Comment
    Jul 1, 2019, 10:05 am

    Boise has an internal management plan referred to as the Strategic Framework: Playbook, with an Appendix that includes the following:

    “Pursuant to a plan discussed with Mayor and Council in FY18, Police is requesting five new police officer positions for FY20. The recent comprehensive staffing study supported a need for 54 additional officers to meet current patrol and traffic needs. Police received seven new FTEs for FY19 and will be requesting five FTEs for each of the next five fiscal years.”

    In five years, this plan will provide only 37 of the 54 needed, and this is solely to meet CURRENT patrol and traffic needs, not the future needs for the predicted population growth Boise is expecting, nor does this provide a replacement rate figure to cover those who retire, move away, quit, etc.

    With 50,000 more residents in the next 20 years (2018 statistic), we will be constantly behind. Yet the City says a Safe & Secure Community is one of its 8 strategic priorities to achieve its vision of being the most livable.

    Here is how the City will say it is addressing the issue of safety per the 2020 Budget:
    • 5 police officers plus 1 for the airport (paid for by airport enterprise fund)
    • 1 Legal Prosecutor
    • 1 Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
    • 1 Training Captain for the $12 million fire training facility
    • Maintenance & operation costs for the fire training facility
    • 1 time funding increase to the fire recruit academy due to a higher than anticipated number of fire retirements

    With the exception of the police hires, this does not put “boots on the ground” to expand capacity to meet increased demand. Just replacing fire retirees does not expand capacity to provide emergency response, and it is possible that the 5 police hires may be doing just the same.

    Here is additional content from recent Council Work Sessions and comments from City staff, which relates to where and how the City is prioritizing the use of public monies.
    • Emergency Preparedness – created the Office of Emergency Preparedness in April 2018, “we have a lot further to go.” (12/4/18)
    • Priority Based Budgeting – “sometimes the data is not good and we need to acknowledge this. The best metrics mean nothing if you don’t use them to solve problems.” (3/5/19)
    • Fire – Chief Doan commented that “we know wildfire is the highest risk and will do the most damage”, while also acknowledging an increase in structure fires. (3/5/19)

    We offer the following response from police chief Bill Bones.

    We did complete a PAM (patrol allocational model) study which showed 54 officers as the recommended number. However my request which was granted by the Council was for seven officers in the first year and the five per year for each of the following five years. They did not reduce any request I made.

    There were several considerations we looked at prior to making the request, here are the key ones;

    Fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers – what did we truly believe we needed vs nice to have in order to maintain the current high level of service.

    Additional positions we would receive from the Airport and Boise State University contracts which would be on top of those given us by the Council.

    Our ability to leverage the CSS (Community Service Specialist) positions. These are the civilian positions you see in uniform who have freed up a lot of Officer time.

    A belief we will be able to continue to leverage technology to free up time (things like auto population of fields on police reports, less duplication, more efficient data base sharing, etc…).

    The closing of the hiring gap. We had been running at an average of 12 open positions for years but have been able to completely close that to zero in the last couple years. This has effectively given us more Officers on the street.

    Coupled with the above was the ability granted to us at our request to allow us to over-hire when we have an academy. This has smoothed out the troughs on our staffing for patrol due to the 9 month training curve and makes a significant difference.

    Continued trend in downward crime rates. We are sitting at the lowest 5 year crime rate since we started having good records and are 50% under the mid nineties highs of crime rates.

    Ultimately the request was made using the study and then balancing it with the above thoughts to make what we believed was the right request. It was staggered over several years both from the reality of budgets and also as we do not believe we could hire that many officers in one or two years and still maintain the high level bar we set for candidates we choose to be BPD Officers. Hope all this helps, feel free to call.

    Bill Bones

  18. Thank You Chief Bones
    Jul 7, 2019, 1:31 pm

    Mr. Frazier – please pass a thank you on to Chief Bones. As the person who posted the content from the various City documents, I appreciate the extra explanation he has provided. This is good, solid info., that is needed.

    It would be really helpful if the City’s elected officials not only provided such detail behind decisions such as this, but behind all decisions, rather than hiding content from public view. The “new” City website is aprox. 90% less transparent than the prior site based on the type of research I use to be able to locate without having to submit a Public Records Request. Now one can find very little of substantive content for the plans and decisions that have been, or are being. made. A Public Records Request is usually now the only option, then one is quite frequently faced with a paywall due to the City saying confidential info. is included. How can the library project, being paid for with public money, have anything confidential that the public should not be able to see?

    And another media source recently printed the publicly owned art is valued around $6.6 million! Won’t find that on the City’s website.

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