News » Citydesk

Boise Budget 101: Are You Prepared to Weigh In On 2016 Spending Plan?


Boiseans will have their opportunity to weigh in on a proposed spending plan for Fiscal Year 2016 when the Boise City Council meets Tuesday, July 21 at 6 p.m. And there is plenty to consider.

The proposed budget comes in at $515 million, including general, capital, enterprise and other funds. General fund spending totals $196.7 million—a 3.1 percent, or $5.9 million, increase over 2015.

Among the biggest proposed changes is moving the city from a biennial budget to an annual budget, with greater focus on five-year financial models.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter is also recommending that the city change the way it budgets personnel, moving from position-based line items to lump sums. The new budget model would give departments greater flexibility by "maintaining accuracy," according to the mayor.

Bieter signaled a "deeper commitment" to the Boise City Department of Arts and History and called for an increase to the department's grant program by more than 100 percent, totaling $150,000 per year. Extra resources would also be allocated to Valley Regional Transit to help support increased frequency on high-use bus routes on State Street and Fairview Avenue.

The proposed budget calls for discretionary salary increases amounting to a 3 percent jump in base salary and a 1.25 percent one-time bump for general employees. The Boise Police Department already has a contractually obligated 1.5 percent salary increase and a 4 percent one-time disbursement. Salary negotiations with the Boise firefighters union are ongoing. Overall, salaries are approximately 4.6 percent higher than FY 2015. 

Property taxes are proposed to increase by 5.3 percent, or $6.6 million, over FY 2015. That's composed of a 3 percent base increase and a 2.3 percent increase associated with the value of new construction and annexation.

The budget includes a total of 1,646 full-time equivalent city employees, an increase of nearly 23 FTE's: 

- a new staff auditor for the office of City Council;
- a new collections officer for Finance and Administration;
-a new deputy fire marshal for the Fire Department;
-a new payroll administrator for human resources;
-a new systems analyst, programmer analyst and webmaster for the IT department;
-a new innovation fellow (to assist housing and homeless programs) and philanthropic position (to work on pre-kindergarten, library expansion and the second phase of Whitewater Park) for the mayor's office;
-two new officers for the Boise Police Department;
-a program tech, sustainability coordinator, solid waste environmental analyst, sewer rating technician, IT business analyst, wastewater operator, electrician, building and grounds maintenance worker, and two more employees for the Public Works department.

Among the large capital improvement projects being proposed include:

-$200,000 for the Percent for Art program;
-$110,00 for new T1 high-speed Internet lines to fire stations to stream live videos;
-$150,000 for new fire hydrants and $300,000 to replace old hydrants;
-$660,000 to replace a network server and storage hardware;
-$350,000 to convert nearly 500,000 books, CDs and DVDs into a radio-frequency identification (RFID) system in the Boise library system;
-$453,622 for repairs at existing library facilities;
-$755,000 to "green-up" the partially developed Boise Hills Park;
-$2.3 million to complete new Greenbelt section on the south side of the Boise River between Ann Morrison Park and Garden City;
-$1.4 million for open space acquisition through the Foothills levy;
-$1.7 million for repairs to existing parks, facilities and amenities throughout the park system;
-$400,000 for a new shooting range;
-$2.5 million to complete the City Hall renovation;
-$852,300 for major repair and maintenance to city buildings;
-$270,000 to renovate the roof and HVAC at the Boise Airport;
-$100,000 to upgrade fire sprinkler system at the Boise Airport;
-$110,000 to replace eight automatic doors at the Boise Airport;
-$8 million for additional work on the Dixie Drain project;
-$8.3 million for improvements to the West Boise wastewater treatment facility.

Among the multiple fee increases that being proposed in the FY 2016 spending plan include:

-fees associated with false fire alarms from $250 up to $500 for a fourth (and beyond) false fire alarm for commercial and $150 up to $300 for a fourth (and beyond) false fire alarm for residential;
-fees associated with false police alarms from $75 up to $100 for a third offense and $100 up to $200 for a fourth offense and beyond;
-permits for carnivals and fairs would jump from $90 to $205;
-fees for the sales of crypts at Boise cemeteries from $2,795 to a whopping $5,800.