Boise approves draft budget with $69M in library funding
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Boise City Council approved a draft of the fiscal year 2019 budget, which includes tax and rate increases and $69 million for a new downtown library project.
Architect Moshe Safdie’s renderings and a three-dimensional model of the library were unveiled Tuesday.
“You’ve really outdone yourself,” Councilman T.J. Thomson told Safdie and his design team. “It’s really beautiful and unique and really signature of Boise and the direction we want to go with our buildings.”
The library’s design features a possible event center, an 18,000-square-foot (1,672.2-square-meter) theater and the headquarters for the city’s Arts and History Department.
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said he’s filled with “relief and excitement” after seeing the design.
The current design would cost roughly $103 million. In order to meet the city’s proposed project budget of $80 million to $85 million, staff and the architects will consider a variety of options to either alter materials or possibly phase construction.
The project is proposed to be funded with donations, debt and urban renewal revenue, in addition to city funding.
One concern is parking. Library Director Kevin Booe said the library would have 40 to 50 surface parking spaces. The current library has 102 spaces and is often full.
The city is discussing buying a lot near the library where a parking garage with 250 to 300 spaces would be built, said Mike Journee, a spokesman for Bieter and the council.
Overall, the council did not take issue with any major aspects of the city’s proposed $752.8 million budget for next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
The council did not discuss the possibility of rolling back the recommendation of increasing property tax collections by 3 percent, the maximum increase allowed by state code. Even if City Council ultimately does not implement the 3 percent increase, the city estimates the average property tax bill will go up $119 for the next year because of increased property values.
City Council also signaled its support for increases in fees for trash and recycling collection as well as water renewal rates. Under the proposal, water renewal fees will increase 9 percent and increase the average water bill $2.82 per month up to $34.11.
Trash collection fees, recycling and compost would increase 12 percent and see an average increase of $2.23 per month up to an average monthly bill of $20.87.
The public will be able to weigh in on the budget at a City Council town hall meeting on July 11, and at a formal budget public hearing on July 17.
Information from: Idaho Press, http://www.idahopress.com