Another try at a bond for Boise Fire without a rise in property tax

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Tuesday night the Boise City Council had the first two readings of a measure to put another bond for the fire department on the November ballot. City leaders said they can do the upgrades without raising taxes.

$2-3 million a year would come from extra funds in the Firefighters Retirement Fund. Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan supports the plan and said it won't hurt firefighters' retirements.

That's because there are two retirement funds. One is known as the Firefighters Retirement Fund and is only for firefighters who started before 1980. The other is known as PERSI which is the retirement fund for all public employees.

The FRF is now fully funded and self sustaining so the city doesn't have to keep putting money into it, which is where the savings come from.

City leaders are asking for a $17 million bond so they can do upgrades and repairs to several fire stations around Boise. Chief Doan said by doing this as a bond it could save tax payers around a million dollars in the long run.

"If we were to save the money over time, and take 10,12,15 years to build these projects. The escalation of those building costs are much greater than the interest rate at two percent."

A similar bond failed last November, and even though it had 64 percent approval it needed a super majority to pass. Officials hope that not raising property taxes will give it a better chance of passing this time around.