Boise Mayor Bieter Disappointed In Bond Failures, But Says Another Try Is Possible

Nov 6, 2013

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and Fire Chief Dennis Doan wait together for election returns Tuesday night at the Basque Center in Boise.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise’s mayor says he’s disappointed that the two bond proposals failed in his city Tuesday, but he’s also encouraged by how many residents voted for the measures. 

Dave Bieter first floated the idea of a bond package to improve Fire Department facilities, build and upgrade parks, and acquire more open spaces, in his State of the City address this summer. Had they been approved, the owner of a $184,000 home in Boise would have had their property taxes increase by $12 a year for 20 years.

The fire facilities bonds received 64 percent of the 66.7 percent of the votes they needed to pass. The parks and open space bonds received 61.5 percent. More than 25,000 people voted on each issue.

“Obviously we’re disappointed, but 64 percent is such an incredible number, you’ve gotta feel good about that too,” he says. “It’s high enough that it will allow us to take another look and either try again in this way or certainly some other form.”

Bieter says he knew going into the vote that the required super majority would be a difficult threshold to reach. But, he says the vote was close enough that the city may put the bonds up for another vote.

“I think everything’s still possible with these kind of numbers,” he says. “There’s a number of possibilities and we’ll be exploring those.  It’s just a little too soon to map that out yet.”

Bieter says if the city puts the bonds up for another vote, educating more residents on what the bonds would buy, would be key. 

He says Tuesday's results - at a minimum - will serve as a barometer of how Boise voters are feeling. 

“There comes a point in the finances of the city where you have to go out and see where you are,” he says.  “And we were at that point. Without having done this, you just don’t know. And now we know an awful lot and it’s information that we can use. And we will find a way to move these important facilities and services forward.  That’s what it’s all about in the end.”

Bieter says he has no regrets about the way he handled the bonds and the lead-up to the election.  He says he and city council members will meet in the coming weeks to discuss their next move.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio