City Library Vote Off, Project “On Hold”

Wiser heads have finally prevailed on the question of an advisory vote regarding the controversial Boise Library project.

Ada County Clerk and chief election officer Phil McGrane sent a strongly worded Letter to Mayor Bieter 8.16.19 to Mayor Dave Bieter Friday refusing to place a confusing advisory question on the November ballot along with a citizen-initiative requiring approval of financing for the project which was set to cost about $104 million, but now would likely cost much more.

In his letter, McGrane revealed that Boise’s own legal counsel had informed officials in February they did not have authority to place the advisory vote on the ballot. McGrane also was backed up by Idaho Secretary of State Lawrence Denny who advised him to refuse the city measure from the ballot.

Despite the seemingly unanimous legal advice, Boise Councilors continued spending millions of dollars on the library project, passing an ordinance supporting their position, all without pausing to catch their financial breath. BOISEDEV claimed “the city committed to spending $11 million on architecture services from Safdie Associates & CSHQ, leaving $74 million for all other costs. The city paid out $3 million to $4 million of that contract to date. If the project ultimately does not resume, the city will not have to pay the remaining $6 million to $7 million of the architecture contract.”

Boise City Council President Lauren McLean, who is running against Bieter, said today’s action should have “happened months ago.”

“I will always love and support public libraries: they are essential to our identity as Americans and Boiseans. And I know that so many Boiseans also support a downtown library, but they saw problems with the project, process, and budget.”

Even so, she voted in favor of the advisory ballot question which was sponsored by Councilor Elaine Clegg.

In a press release from the mayor’s Team Dave, the entire project has been “paused.” “Since the special election is unlikely to move forward, Mayor Bieter has cancelled Tuesday’s scheduled public hearing related to the vote, which had been planned for the city council’s regular 6 p.m. meeting. He also cancelled Tuesday’s planned 3 p.m. council briefing on the project to give the city more time to understand its options around project finances. Tuesday’s briefing was planned to cover the project’s next planning phase and cost estimates, among other topics. Much of the information planned for the presentation could change as a result of the new cost estimates.”

The GUARDIAN has repeatedly called for a simple bond election seeking permission of citizens to go into debt to finance the project as mandated in the Idaho Constitution. City officials have repeatedly attempted to cobble together money laundering schemes and urban renewal deals to skirt the constitution, much to the disdain of the citizenry and the Idaho Legislature.

We also strongly hinted the city non-binding advisory vote would be denied BALLOT SPACE.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I suggest someone with integrity and experience go inside this mess and find the kickbacks

  2. I request a bond election to fund the exile of all TeamDave players to Saint Helena Island in the south Atlantic.

  3. western guy
    Aug 16, 2019, 6:27 pm

    Well, let’s see what Tomfoolery The Team comes up with.

    Architectural services are normally 10% of the total cost of a project. $85 million project, $8.5 million architectural costs. But no, this elephant is $11.0 million for architectural costs.


  4. What a joke
    Aug 16, 2019, 6:29 pm

    All the mayor is trying to do is remove this from being an election day issue.

    The day after the election he will announce – the project is OFF of pause and full speed ahead!

    We still need to vote – and vote for a new mayor. Do not trust these untrustworthy politicians!

  5. So the mayor spends $3 million so far and has to honor a contract to spend another $8 million or so and now says …let’s pause……until after election day right?

  6. Perfect response from a friend today upon hearing this news: When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging. But Council kept digging.

    Tell everyone you know to vote this fall, and there is still time to request a mail-in ballot.

  7. Eamonn Harter
    Aug 16, 2019, 9:59 pm

    Boise needs to kick Team Dave to the curb, and wasting $4MM on architecture services should be the rally cry. Word on the street is that Rebecca Arnold may run. A Republican mayor might be a good change of pace.

  8. Someone mentioned Arnold. She is the lack of transparency, violate open meeting, and come fix my gated bridge person. Sounds as entitled as Bieter to me.

  9. I wonder will we need an initiative to stop the circulator too?? Or will the council take a hint?

  10. Boisean Since Forever
    Aug 17, 2019, 11:50 am

    His Mayorship will not take “no” for an answer. F-35 jets still being discussed and sought; Trolly re-branded “Circulator” and still being discussed; continued pouting over not having a local option tax; now putting the library on hold until after the election. Newsflash: Being re-elected is much different from being given a mandate to build your personal vision of Utopia. It IS a statement that the people trust you to listen to them.





  12. Lauren McLean is Dave Bieter in a dress

  13. There is an alternative
    Aug 17, 2019, 7:34 pm

    There is an alternative to Bieter. It is McLean. I would love for her to step out and define herself. People are dissing her before she has said much. You know, she loses here council seat because she is running for mayor. I think she has been a decent councilor. why not a decent mayor? It is not Bieter and that is a reason. Bieter is wanting to go into the real estate business. We should let him. McLean, will you enforce zoning laws? Will you follow long standing state and constitutional mandates? Will you stop raising my taxes?

  14. Foothills Rider
    Aug 17, 2019, 8:49 pm

    …thank you ‘alternative.’ I agree. I have met with McLean, and I feel she she can bridge a gap. She certainly is not Beiter on this, and (hillside) development issues. But if you are looking for a 180, you won’t otherwise find it in Boise. Consider an alternative that might work for all.

  15. Welcome news!
    Thanks as always Dave, a million times over, for The Guardian and the updates.


  16. Clegg and Bieter Begone
    Aug 19, 2019, 7:09 am

    Even if they were to pay out the full $11 million, the City still wouldn’t get the plans for a later date. I believe the idiot deal was the architect keeps them. I guess so he can change them a little and then peddle them to the next city council suckers.

    Clegg and Bieter need to go. McClean is off the Council and I fear she would be a Bieter in a skirt as mayor.

    If we can kick Clegg to the curb, at least the know it all nagging and pontificating would end.

  17. There is an alternative
    Aug 19, 2019, 1:05 pm

    Lauren McLean is an alternative. She is not Bieter in a skirt. You’re gaslighting her without reason.

  18. Western guy
    Aug 20, 2019, 8:08 am

    Latest on Library: Team Dave’s Mouthpiece blaming Trump tariffs, hot construction market (caused by City encouraging too much construction, maybe?).

    And why was architect going to manage construction? That’s the role a construction manager or general contractor plays. Idaho Press reporter (story today) only wrote what The Mouthpiece said.

    Mouthpiece: we will bring this project back! Kinda like Gen Douglas McArthur: “We shall return!”

    No one has mentioned if the Streetcar Named Desire will have a stop at Library? With a covered walkway to Library for ‘unhoused’ Residents to live in.

    How many different misguided projects can the City of Boise manage at the same time?.

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