News » Citydesk

Foothills Levy Part Two?

City leaders mull another levy


It's been five years since Boise voters approved a $10 million tax levy to preserve space in the Boise Foothills, and with $5.4 million spent so far, is it time to consider another one? City leaders aren't saying, but they're not denying it, either.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter raised the question back in May, when organizers of the historic levy met to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the election.

"It may be a little early, but maybe we need to start looking at doing it again," Bieter told a small group of former organizers. "I've had dozens and dozens of people ask me about that."

The levy has protected 3,198 acres from development to date, and a bill is pending before the U.S. Senate to protect 5,000 more through a land swap between the state and federal government.

However, Paul Woods, foothills and open space manager for the city, said there's a limit to what $10 million can do.

"There's so much private land in the foothills, there's no way 10 million could buy all of it," Woods said.

Woods said the city looked into acquiring land at Hammer Flat, and a spot north of Hill Road, both now proposed sites for development. But the land was out of reach, partly due to skyrocketing land values.

"The reality is we only had so many opportunities with willing sellers where we were willing buyers," Woods said.

The value of the property north of Hill Road, which has been selected for proposed development by Kastera, is assessed at $2 million, a significant chunk of the remaining $4.6 million in the levy funds.