Applications Now Open for Boise's Open Space and Clean Water Advisory Committee 

KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes


The city of Boise is calling for up to nine citizens to join a committee that will oversee how to spend $10 million dedicated to preserving open spaces.

Applicants to the Open Space and Clean Water Advisory Committee should represent "a diverse spectrum of users who enjoy the Boise Foothills, the Boise River and the open space areas [of the city]," according to a news release, and will be tasked with guiding the Boise City Council on how to spend funds allocated by the two-year override levy approved by voters in November 2015.

The measure passed with a stunning 74 percent margin, replenishing the original Boise Foothills levy from 2001. The new levy encompasses more than the foothills, funneling money into the protection of water quality, wildlife and native plant habitat throughout the Treasure Valley.

"The City Council and I look forward to working with this committee to ensure the community's continued investment in those values and their role in our city's livability," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. 

The city is looking for people who represent geographic diversity around the city, as well as expertise in fields like ecology, wildlife biology, conservation, environmental education and investment management. Committee members will serve three-year terms. The committee will be chaired by the vice president of Boise's Parks and Recreation Commission.

A potential timeline will involve calling for applicants in February, interviews with potential candidates conducted by the mayor in March, council approval of committee members in April and an inaugural committee meeting in June. In September, an all-day work session may take place, laying the groundwork for the first round of possible new acquisitions.

The levy funds do not become available until January 2017. For now, the city has $1.3 million left in the original levy fund with some negotiations in the works—though none far enough along to talk about publicly, according to foothills/open space senior manager Sara Arkle.

This isn't the first time the council has put together a citizen's advisory committee to oversee levy funds. The original foothills levy also included the Foothills Conservation Advisory Committee, but the sun set on the committee in fall 2012, despite more than $1 million remaining in the fund.

"The council decided that the funds came down far enough that they decided to assume the responsibility," Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway told Boise Weekly in November 2015. "In the end, they felt like the function of the committee had reached its conclusion and felt like they could make the decisions moving forward."

The dismantling of the committee left some feathers ruffled. Regardless, the ballot language of the levy that passed in November promised another advisory committee.

To apply for a seat on the committee, send a cover letter and a resume to the Office of the Mayor, P.O. Box 500; Boise, ID, 83701. Further questions can be directed to thall@cityofboise.org or by calling 208-384-4403.
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