Boise City Hall
Boise City Hall. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Twenty-nineteen is a municipal election year – and local city governments have some of the biggest impacts on growth and development.

Often low-turnout, sleepy affairs, this year could provide some interesting races with growth very much on the minds of voters.

In Boise

In Boise, the mayor’s seat and three council seats are up for grabs. The seats occupied by Lauren McLean, Scot Ludwig and Elaine Clegg will all come up for voter review. Will all three run again? And will they draw challengers?

On the mayoral side, Dave Bieter already indicated in the middle of last year he would run for an unprecedented fifth term. Bieter is the longest-serving mayor in Boise’s history and hopes to extend that out another four years.

The mayoral race could be spicier in years past, depending on who if anyone Bieter draws as a challenger. The dynamics of the electorate are noteworthy after increasing involvement by residents in Boise’s North and East Ends promped by controversial decisions centering around growth. And earlier this month, a letter Bieter wrote in support of a Boise Catholic Priest convicted of hoarding child pornography came to light. Bieter defended the letter, but even the judge in the case wondered if those would have written letters would have done so if they knew the truth in the case, according to KTVB.

Growth policies centering on transit, affordable housing, urban renewal districts, density will be on center stage in the Boise election.

In Meridian

Much of the same holds true in Meridian. Mayor Tammy de Weerd is also set to go in front of voters. Earlier this year a spokesperson for de Weerd said she mentioned running again in 2019, but a formal announcement has not been made. Seats held by Genesis Milam, Ty Palmer, and Anne Little Roberts are also up for election.

Meridian has been seeing torrid growth and changes to land use. Scads of apartments are popping up throughout the city with its ideal location in the middle of the valley. City leaders here have taken different approaches to growth than in Boise, though the cities share an invisible border and in many ways operate as one large interconnected area.

Other municipal elections:

  • Nampa: city council seats held by Darl Bruner, Sandi Levi and Bruce Skaug.
  • Eagle: mayoral seat held by Stan Ridgeway; council seats held by Stan Bastian and Jill Mitchell.
  • Garden City: council seats held by Pam Beaumont, William Mitchell.
  • Star: unavailable at deadline.
  • Kuna: mayoral seat held by Joe Stear; council seats held by Briana Buban-Vonder Haar and Greg McPherson.

BoiseDev will be covering the elections throughout the cycle, particularly on issues concerning growth, development and business in Ada County. A special series kicks off later this month with an early look.

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  1. Financial stewardship will be the primary responsibility for local political leaders in the near future as recession, a surge in unemployment, and a collapse in property values and the related decline in tax receipts strain the budgets of state, city and county governments. Voters will need to judge if Team Dave with their $85MM library project, dishonesty and hostility towards the public and transparency, and obsequiousness to developer interests are the best candidates to lead the city.

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