The Ada County Clerk confirms two petitions to put two projects on the November ballot reached the number of signatures needed.
“For the Stadium petition we validated 5,610 signatures and for the Library petition we validated 5,698 signatures,” Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane told BoiseDev. “We’ve passed that information on to the city and they will handle the process from here.”
The vote doesn’t put the projects themselves on the ballot. Instead, voters can decide whether to put the projects on the ballot later. In essence, it’s a vote — to hold a future vote.
BoiseDev collected reaction to the decision.
Chris Schoen, Greenstone Properties: “With the community being asked to weigh in on the sports park this November, it is our hope that voters can have a factual conversation about the merits of this project, including what it means for downtown and the revitalization of the West End, the new amenities it will bring to Boise, and how these amenities can bring our community together.”
Boise Working Together board: “Boise Working Together is gratified that the citizens of Boise have achieved the one thing we promised we would seek for them — an opportunity to be heard, in the form of a vote in November 2019 on two city-altering civic projects, the proposed downtown sports park and the proposed downtown events center/library. The many citizens who signed our petitions now have a better opportunity to more fully inform themselves about the benefits and the drawbacks, the costs and the impacts of these two projects, and then to vote any way they choose. A vote is their right. We’re honored to have gotten it for them. Now, over the next five months, our fellow citizens must do their part, by fully educating themselves about the implications of the stadium and library projects before they vote this fall. Boise Working Together will be participating in this open analysis, but — as we have said all along — it is the right of Boise citizens to vote their conscience on the future of their city. Now, they have that right affirmed.”
Dave Bieter, Boise mayor: “What we see here is the democratic process at work. I respect the citizen engagement behind it and the passion for our community it represents. Now we will continue the conversation with Boise voters about the Main Library Campus, a project I strongly support as a tremendous asset for economic equality and prosperity for Boise’s future and people.”
Lauren McLean, Boise city council president and mayoral candidate: “Public libraries are an essential part of our identity as Americans and Boiseans, and I look forward to personally making that case to Boise voters all summer and fall. I also believe that we must respect the initiative process and the will of the voters. We need to listen to our community. The fact that citizens — who care deeply about Boise, just like we all do — were successful in getting the Library on the ballot tells me that elected officials need to listen more and listen better. Many signers of the petition do support the library, but take exception with the public process so far. I hear that. I value deeply the constitutional right we have, as citizens, to direct democracy through the ballot. I hope that the voters of Boise will agree that a downtown library is important to our future. But if they don’t, I’ll respect their decision. “
Bill Ilett, Concerned Boise Taxpayers: “Concerned Boise Taxpayers, which is Chaired by Gary Michael and me are thrilled that the votes have been confirmed. The groups that have been opposed to the stadium and library have always said “Let the taxpayers vote. If they approve it, we will step back and let democracy rule”. We are opposed to elected officials building vanity projects without voter approval. “
Each petition was gathered separately.
For the library: “An initiative requiring voter approval of the cost, financing, location, design and size of certain Boise city library facility projects.” Read the full petition language.
Election day in Boise is Tuesday November 5, 2019.
How are public dollars involved in a Boise stadium project?
Though there is currently no proposal on the table for a new stadium, in Downtown Boise, a previous version of the project planned for Shoreline and Americana had public dollars earmarked.
The City of Boise budgeted $3 million in tax dollars for the project. It also said it “expected” $5 million in contributions via the Greater Boise Auditorium District. That entity collects taxes through its levy on hotel room rates. GBAD said repeatedly it has not been approached to use its funds, however, in recent weeks members of the board have met with Mayor Dave Bieter.
The new stadium is expected to be located within an urban renewal district from the Capital City Development Corp. – though how that agency may or may not be involved is not clear. CCDC takes in property tax dollars earned in its urban renewal areas via “tax increment financing.:”