What the watchdogs sniffed out this week

Lindsay Atkinson Articles

Every week, as I read through the news, attend county and city meetings, and hear comments from residents, I learn more about the complicated pool of local-government authority.

This week, in particular, included the start of the new fiscal year for local governments. Fiscal year 2019 runs from October 2018 through September 2019. The start of a new fiscal year is accompanied by a new budget, the sunsetting of some programs from the year before, and a whole year of new decisions to be made.

Below are recent noteworthy actions by local governments across the state.

BOISE. On October 1, Boise Planning and Zoning unanimously recommended approval of the creation of a new historic district along Main Street. The next step is for the matter to be heard and approved or denied by the city council. This recommendation came after a call from local historians to preserve historic homes in this area, beyond the honorary designation already granted to the homes from their status on the National Register of Historic Places.

However, the city does not seem to have a consistent perspective when it concerns properties of historic significance. While the city does not want these homes relocated or destroyed, it intends to relocate a different historic property. Moshe Safdie, an internationally recognized architect Boise hired to design the new Boise library failed to include The Cabin in his design. The Cabin is a historic log structure that was built during Idaho’s 50th year of statehood, and is now used as a writing academy beside the existing Boise library. In an interview with the Idaho Statesman, Safdie said that the best move would be to relocate The Cabin and that “nobody would know the difference after one year” in a new location.

CAPITAL CITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. The Central District, one of CCDC’s four urban renewal districts in the city of Boise, sunset on September 30. The urban renewal district’s 20-year existence has come to a close, but CCDC did not waste any time proposing two new urban renewal districts: Shoreline and Gateway East. For months, CCDC has been running open houses, seeking public input, and presenting project updates at its board meetings for these two proposed districts. The proposed districts could come before Boise Planning and Zoning and city council for discussion and approval as early as November.

NAMPA. On October 1, Nampa City Council authorized a lease and purchase agreement to first rent and then buy space for the city from First Interstate Bank. The city will rent the space for $12,548 a month and then buy the space for around $2.5 million by June 2019. The city believes the purchase of the building will cost less than construction of a new one. The city has included the cost of rent in its FY19 budget. The cost of purchase would need to be included in a budget amendment. The building is currently planned as office space for the city’s engineering and Geographic Information System workers, as well as more employees from other city departments after the building is purchased.

What is your local government doing that should be highlighted? Please comment below and let us know. Thank you!