Long time GUARDIAN readers will recall “we told you so!” when it comes to recent revelations about Boise Fire Dept. financial ineptitude disclosed by the Idaho STATESMAN.
In his Statesman Thursday piece, reporter Sven Berg said Boise officials spent twice as much as they promised four years ago in a bond proposal. The bon d passed, some of the projects were not built and the money is gone.
“The overruns are due partly to rising demand for construction crews and materials — factors that have driven up costs and slowed both private and government projects across the Treasure Valley the last few years.
But city leaders admit a bigger factor was their miscalculation of both money and time. They say they’ve learned their lesson. And they’re getting the projects — and others — built anyway, by tapping rising property-tax revenues.”
The GUARDIAN was CRITICAL of the proposal at the time. This analysis apparently fell on deaf ears.
Nearly FIVE YEARS AGO we went into great detail about the need for other departments to have “skin in the game” if they were going to use Boise’s then-proposed training facility.
The GUARDIAN also raised some important warning five years ago which have proven valid. We have included the warnings below.
–Why do we give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in free fire protection to Boise State while charging around $1 million for Boise police at the same institution? BSU and other state agencies have a huge exposure and every taxpayer in the state should pay a tiny bit to protect those assets and people. It shouldn’t rest on the shoulders of Boise taxpayers alone.
–The fire budget has been used for new construction to facilitate growth in South and East suburbs.
–All the departments in the area work together on “mutual aid” agreements (memorandums of understanding). That’s good, but they should also pony up some cash for mutual training facilities. Boise’s claim of allowing the other departments to use the proposed new training facility in exchange for use of their stuff simply falls short.
–Instead of buying new fire equipment, the department is planning to lease trucks. If the leases are true leases, that COULD be OK. However, if they try to disguise long term debt purchases as a “lease,” they could ignite a legal tinderbox.
Boise FD has a You Tube VIDEO showing construction with a Chief Dennis Doan voiceover talking about the merits of the fire training center which is called a “regional facility” to be used by the department and “its partners.” We don’t know who will actually pay to use the place, nor do we know who the “partners,” may be.