Bieter, City Hit Pause on Controversial Library Project


The City of Boise’s controversial library project may slow down, as Mayor Dave Bieter recommended the city take a step back from the planning process and not hold a special election in the fall.

This is the result of two changes in the planning for the library. Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane declined to put the library on the ballot, saying only legal action can reverse his decision. Additionally, the planning team for the library said costs for the project were estimated at higher rates than initially thought.

“I believe a new Main Library is vital to the future of our city and I will remain dedicated to making sure we have one,” Bieter said in a news release. “However, with little time before ballots must be printed, and to avoid further confusion among residents, a court action simply isn’t viable at this time.”

McGrane sent a letter to the city questioning the legality of the city holding the elections.

"I chose to exercise caution in refusing to place such a special city question on a ballot," McGrane wrote.

McGrane stated in his letter that he also consulted with Secretary of State Lawrence Denney in deciding not to place the election on the November ballot. According to a release from McGrane's office, the city will explore other options going forward, including soliciting philanthropic donations.

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

As a result, Bieter has cancelled the upcoming public hearing and briefing that had previously been set for Tuesday, Aug. 20.

“I continue to be committed to a new main library that meets the needs of our community with a fiscally responsible plan,” Bieter wrote.