BOISE, Idaho — The city of Boise is spending up to $80,000 on a new kindness initiative they’re calling "Boise Kind."
The city hired a Boise-based public relations firm to help promote the campaign, which aims to spread the value of being kind to everyone.
But the cost is raising some questions.
The city said the contract was signed back in December and it's good for a full year. A spokesperson for the city defended the cost by saying it is an investment in our future and the money is worth it to spread positive values. The Boise Kind initiative is in its early phases. Mayor Dave Beiter officially launched it last week at the Treefort Music Festival.
"He wanted to put this program together in order to help define that, help sustain that and to help advance it even more,” city spokesman Mike Journee said.
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Once the cost of this whole campaign is broken down, the city is paying Spark Solutions up to $80,000 for a one-year contract on the Boise Kind initiative. As of 2017, the city had a little more than 226,000 residents. This means the taxpayers are paying around 35 cents a year for the program. The contract lasts for a year, so it'll cost the city up to $6,600 a month.
Journee said the campaign is worth it.
"We want to make sure that there is something of substance behind Boise Kind that at the end of the day the residents are going to say 'that is worth it,'” he said.
Boise native Andrew Black likes the idea of spreading kindness.
"I'd love to see the promotion of this within the city," he said. "Definitely doesn't leave a sour taste in my mouth when the city is spending money on its citizens being kind to one another."
Black said he thinks it's ingrained in the locals already.
"I don’t think you need to spend any money for me to be any nicer,” he said. "It's a moral and ethical thing I think us Boiseans and locals have here."
It's an idea that at least one visitor to Boise likes and thinks the money is well worth it.
"It sounds like an investment in our future and how to teach our kids on how to be kind is worth more than anything in gold,” said Amy Schlotter, a visitor from the Sun Valley area.
The money will be spent to have Spark Solutions run steering committee meetings.
"They're running those meetings and making sure the ideas that are being generated are coming back to the committee, and they're being furthered and worked on as we go forward,” Journee said.
One of those ideas that is in the works right now is a Boise Kind Day. That event, which could happen this summer, would be an opportunity for the community to come together and volunteer to help each other out.