Local government

NAMPA — It wasn't his first choice, Nampa Library Director Mark Rose told the City Council Tuesday, but the library may have to dip into its fund balance to ensure it's fully furnished and equipped when it opens its doors.

During the new facility's construction, crews discovered contaminated soil and almost-forgotten water tower foundations on the Library Square block. Dealing with those obstacles quickly sapped the project's contingency budget and began to eat away at funds earmarked for furniture, fixtures and equipment.

The library board and Friends of the Nampa Public Library began a fundraising campaign to make up the difference, but Rose said he wasn't sure it would be enough.

“I am not interested in spending that fund balance,” Rose told the City Council at Tuesday's budget workshop meeting. “I am interested in getting the library equipped, and if that's the way we have to do it, that's the way we have to do it.”

Rose said he and his fellow supporters of the library still hope to raise money from members of the community though donations and sales of wooden books, engraved with the names of donors. Those would be put on permanent display in the new library, but at this point, Rose said he can't count on it.

“If we can receive those kinds of donations and not expend fund balance, we would like to do that,” Rose told the council. “Because I can't guarantee that, and we need to be able to open the library, I'm committing fund balance for that purpose.”

In total, the library requested about $652,500 in capital funds for its fiscal year 2015 budget. The facility is expecting to raise a little more than $2 million in revenue during the same period.

Police Chief Craig Kingsbury, meanwhile, told the council his department needs funds for new vehicles, including 12 new patrol vehicles, one animal control vehicle and several other support vehicles.

The Ford Taurus-based Police Interceptor vehicles Nampa has purchased over the last two years, Kingsbury said, aren't popular with many of the department's officers — they're cramped and uncomfortable for long patrols.

Moving forward, the department would like to purchase larger sport utility vehicle-style interceptors based on the Ford Explorer design, Kingsbury said. The price tag for 12 such vehicles is about $441,700.

There's also the ongoing cost of training, Kingsbury told the council. Every officer is required to undergo 40 hours of training every two years, and that costs money. The city's new public safety building has the facilities to host trainers and draw officers from throughout the region, which allows Nampa officers to attend at a reduced cost or even free, but it's still an expense that never goes away.

The police department's total budget in fiscal year 2014 was more than $18,475,800. The proposed 2015 budget, Kingsbury told the council, is $18,310,378.

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