In its continuing adversary relationship with the public, Boise City Councilors Tuesday allowed a citizen-passed initiative to require a vote on a new library to proceed to the ballot and voted to include their own “alternative” non-binding ordinance on the same November ballot.
At issue is a measure to require public approval of a proposed new library and a possible sports stadium.
Councilors at the meeting cited “constitutional concerns” in their decision to not enact the citizen petition into law prior to an election. In essence they bad mouthed the petition language, calling it flawed and offered their own version. The council instructed city lawyers to refine a draft proposal that we see as a placebo so they can claim folks voted, but to no affect. It is very unclear if the council even has the legal authority to put an advisory vote on the ballot.
The GUARDIAN sees an advisory vote about as meaningful as a warning ticket for speeding. The proposed vote would;d be nothing more than a non-binding opinion survey.
While nearly everyone who testified at the hearing advocated a citizen vote on the library, Councilor Holi Woodings revealed why there is so much maneuvering by the City. She noted the Idaho Constitution provides for bond elections which simply seek permission from citizens to finance public projects, but it takes two-thirds majority to pass. Rather than follow the constitution they all claim an oath to uphold, councilors are working to make an end run to avoid the two-thirds hurdle.
The IDAHO PRESS reported on a budget meeting at city hall earlier saying the city planned to “pay cash” for the library. “The city plans to accomplish this through a combination of drawing down savings, changing up its strategy on a downtown fire station project, and cobbling together unallocated funds to get the project done possibly in time for a 2023 opening.”
Several of those who testified were critical of the City’s funding priorities, including former Mayor Brent Coles. Coles claimed the need for more police, an upgraded downtown fire station, and the use of a high priced out of town architect were reasons to support the initiative to be enacted as an ordinance.
The proposed ALTERNATIVE ORDINANCE can be found on pages 20-24 HERE.
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