Fundamental to Boise’s success and celebrated livability is public safety, said Mayor Bieter as he recounted this year’s announcement that crime in Boise is down to the lowest point in decades --17 percent over the last year and 45 percent since Mayor Bieter took office.
“This dramatic decline can be linked to community-based policing and our residents taking an active role in crime prevention,” Mayor Bieter said.
He also praised outgoing Boise Chief of Police William Bones, who will be retiring on October 24, and awarded Chief Bones with the city’s highest honor, the Key to the City, in honor of his 27-year career as an officer in the Boise Police Department.
In his speech, the mayor called for the Boise community to work toward ending family homelessness. The announcement comes on the heels of opening New Path Community Housing and starting construction on Valor Pointe – Idaho’s first two Housing First projects for those experiencing chronic homelessness and veterans experiencing homelessness, respectively. With approximately 166 known families experiencing homelessness and a cost of about $6,000 to end a family’s homelessness, Mayor Bieter said “that number is within our reach.”
“With robust partnership, leaning on the best practices of Housing First, and asking for your help, shouldn’t we work to be the first community in America to end family homelessness?” Mayor Bieter said. “The first one where every family is either in stable housing or is working with our team to find it.”
On climate change, the mayor pointed to a number of ways Boise is leading cities across the West on what he called “an existential challenge to our future.” Last year, the mayor committed city government to using 100 percent clean electricity by 2030, only to follow up this year with citywide commitment to use 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. During his time in office, Mayor Bieter signed the mayor’s climate agreement in 2006 and recommitted in 2014, worked with partners to deploy alternative fuel trash vehicles and buses, oversaw the construction of Idaho’s first net zero building and added zero emission electric vehicles to the city’s fleet.
“But we need to do more,” Mayor Bieter said. “Boise has the opportunity to set an example. As our state and national leaders continue to falter, our citizens want meaningful action. It will require us to be even more creative. Boise will deliver.”
To that end, Mayor Bieter unveiled Boise Climate Now, a program to frame the city’s efforts on climate and engage residents and businesses in partnering to develop local solutions. He also announced a proposed expansion of the mission of the Boise WaterShed as the Boise Climate and Water Science Center.
Following a successful individual waste reduction challenge that took place in July, the mayor announced a new challenge to get businesses involved in the fight to reduce the amount of trash our community generates. “From now through October, we’ll be asking businesses large and small to take on waste reduction,” Mayor Bieter said. “We’ll be asking citizens to tag and recognize businesses who are doing good work in our community. I encourage your company to commit to lead.” Additional details on the business waste reduction challenge will be announced in the coming days.
Mayor Bieter also unveiled that loneliness will be the focus of the next phase of Boise Kind, the community-wide initiative aimed at protecting and promoting our community’s core values and ensuring that Boise remains a kind and welcoming city.
Focusing on homelessness, climate change and waste reduction is possible, Mayor Bieter said, because the City of Boise’s investments in the fundamentals of livability during his tenure have paid off.