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Boise Pumps The Brakes On Building A New Library

City of Boise

Boise is pulling back the reins on its new library proposal and an advisory vote that was scheduled for later this year. 

Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane says he won’t include the nonbinding question on the ballot this November unless he’s told to do so by a court ruling.

McGrane, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden all say that Idaho law is clear: cities don’t have the power to ask nonbinding questions.

Cities can request that counties put such a question before voters, but that’s only possible during even-numbered years.

“Idaho Statute clearly outlines the election process and the authority granted to each entity within that process and does not make exception for a City to adopt practices outside of those laws,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane.

New budget problems are also surfacing for the library project.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter also says it will cost more than the $85 million the city has budgeted due to a hot construction market and volatile prices for building materials.

“The prudent option at this point is to pause the project so we can better understand our options going forward,” Bieter said in a statement.

A spokesman says the latest estimate is $104 million, but that could grow even higher depending on the price of steel and concrete.

City officials say they’ll look at other options to keep their share of the project at $85 million, like asking for more donations from philanthropists and possibly cutting out parts of the overall design.

Letter to Mayor Bieter 8.16.19 by James on Scribd

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!