Those for and against Boise fire safety bond agree on major issue

Credit: Troy Colson / KTVB

Those for and against Boise fire safety bond agree on major issue

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 9:42 PM

BOISE – We're down to the final days before the November election, and there's a push from the candidates and those fighting for and against the issues.

One of the two bond issues on the ballot for people in Boise is the fire safety bond.

Those KTVB spoke to, both for and against, agree that some of the facilities firefighters are currently using are outdated and at times can create safety issues. What they disagree on is the money.

If you were to build on common ground, Mike Tracy, who is against the bond, and Brice Sloan, who is for it, agree that these firefighters are not working in an ideal situation.

"The only way we can have live fire training safely now, is in a structure like this that somebody has donated," said Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan.

Doan says his current training facility off W Shoreline Drive is around 50 years old and can't provide realistic training for new recruits. That's why he trained Friday at a donated home in south Boise.

The bond would pay for a new facility.

If approved, the money from the fire safety bond would also go towards improvements at four fire stations.

Tracy opposes the bond, not the need to improve facilities, but doesn’t like the city asking tax payers for more money. Even though he lives in Meridian, he owns a business and a rental home in Boise.

"For the simple reason that the money is not needed,” said Tracy. “Shame on the mayor and shame on the city council for not taking care of the fire station and the firemen and the police department already."

Tracy paid $2,000 to print up and mail fliers to 8,700 Boise Republicans telling them to vote no.

"They're wasting the money. It's not that it's a dollar a month per household. That's not the issue,” Tracy said. “It's the cumulative effect of one tax increase after another."

But Brice Sloan, Co-chair of Yes Yes for Boise, a group urging voters to vote yes on the bond, sees things differently.

"I know there's a lot of urgency in the training and facilities standpoint, that really we need to address this quickly and the bond is the best way to address the long-term asset," said Sloan.

The bond asks tax payers to pay more than $26 million in principal and interest over the next 20 years.

Without a specific budget for firefighting capital expenses, Sloan believes the bond is the way to get it done.

"Right now we need to get their back and invest in additional training and facilities," said Sloan.

For this to pass a super majority, or 66 and two thirds, of voters need to vote yes.

The other bond on the ballot Tuesday in Boise is the open space and parks bond.
 

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