The Idaho Falls City Council will vote Tuesday night on a plan to take out up to $30 million in financing for a new police station.
The Council will vote on a resolution to pay for the station with "certificates of participation," a method of financing that the Council can approve on its own, unlike a bond which requires two-thirds approval from voters. The certificates would be paid off over 22 years; if the city were to default, the investors could seize the property. This year's city budget also contains $2 million the Council plans to put toward the police station.
Police operations are scattered across the city now, with the main station in a building on North Capital Avenue that is owned by Bonneville County. City officials have been considering the idea of building a new, consolidated police station for years and the Council has been seriously pursuing it since 2019, when a citizens' committee recommended building a new station. The city has bought the former Idaho Livestock Auction Company property on Northgate Mile and plans to build there.
Several council members said paying for it with certificates of participation instead of asking for voter approval will let them get started sooner, saving on construction costs.
"I don't see any benefit to delaying this, which you know is going to increase our construction costs, period, end of story," said Council President Michelle Ziel-Dingman.
Mayor Rebecca Casper said it is an advantage that the certificates will have to be paid for as part of city budgets moving forward.
"It's a kindness in my mind, a great kindness to city residents, because we're not saddling them both with city taxes that we use for all sorts of purposes plus the obligation of the bond itself," she said.
The Council meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.