An Annual Report to the Citizens of Boise
I wanted to offer a report on the issues I’ve worked on with my colleagues on the Council to each of you – my employers. Below are some of the highlights, broken into topic areas.
I love hearing from you and know that there is much more to be done to ensure that we keep Boise Boise. I value your feedback on your neighborhoods, priorities and hopes for our City. Thanks for all that each of you do to make this a great city to live in.
Throughout the year, we worked on creating better transit in our city, with the few tools that we have. We increased bus service on State Street and looked at other ways to increase service on other major streets too. In the fall, I met with federal officials to discuss opportunities for grants to fund bus rapid transit, our hope to see Amtrak return to Boise and the potential to try new technology such as trackless trains in the future.
This Fall we opened New Path Housing, a permanent support housing community that provides homes and services to formerly homeless Boiseans. We approved a Veterans Supporting Housing development in December and also approved funding to study the feasibility of creating a Community Housing Trust as a tool to provide more affordability options in our city. We’re also working on changes to our housing incentive policy to target affordable housing and looking at changes to ordinances to encourage ADUs and small house options. Click here for more information on our Housing strategy.
Early in 2018, I began working on the establishment of an Opportunity Zone in Boise. This zone on the Bench will make available federal tax incentives to those who are involved in investing in businesses, developing housing and other economic opportunity in the Zone. This has the potential to be a great tool for economic development.
Back in 2016 and 2017, I sponsored investment in Boise’s Central Addition to create the LIV District. Throughout 2018 we broke ground or celebrated the opening of new housing, hotels and businesses in the Central Addition LIV District and in February we’ll be honoring The Fowler Apartments with a Green Building award. We will continue to work with property owners in the LIV District to create more opportunities for a walkable, livable and vibrant district downtown.
I continued to advocate for responsible energy and water policies for our city throughout the year. We are working on a citywide renewable electricity goal after spending a lot of 2018 gathering information, benchmarking our energy use, and looking at responsible paths to save our residents money in the longterm by ensuring we have renewable energy for Boise. On behalf of the City Council, I accepted thousands of post cards from our high school students urging us to do more, and our City Council took their request to heart – we’ll have a council meeting soon to make a plan!
We also released renewed water from our water treatment facility (now called water renewal facility) that became cider and beer thanks to local brewers! Here’s a picture of the Mayor and City Council drinking the water. It was delicious!
In June, the City Council unveiled #iamboise flags that we flew downtown during the Boise Pride Festival. I worked with the festival to bring these to Boise because it’s so important that everyone know they’re welcomed and to remember that we are all Boise.
Later that month, I wrote a resolution expressing concern about the forced separation of families at our Border. City Council and the Mayor passed this because Boise’s story is like our country’s story – we were all immigrants at one point, seeking a better home for our families and a better future for our children. Here’s a link to the resolution.
In February we approved the first two projects with the funds from the new Open Space and Clean Water Levy. In March and then in September, we approved, with some changes, a bike skills park. In April, we broke ground on the new Gorongosa Park exhibit at the Zoo (and it’ll open this summer!). And in December, we accepted the donation of a new park – Sue Howell Park – in the Barber Valley.
And because neighborhoods are so important to our city – the City Council approved over $800,000 in neighborhood investment grants and nearly $50,000 in mini grants that will fund 21 capital projects throughout Boise. Neighborhoods can apply for these funds through the Energize our Neighborhood Program. Click here to apply.
Of course much more happened in an incredibly busy 2018 for Boise, but these are some of the highlights I wanted to share with you. As always, I value your feedback. Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 208-972-8513.
Thanks for the honor and opportunity of serving Boise in 2018. We have a lot of work ahead, and I look forward to working hard with you and for you in 2019.
City Council President