Public Finance

In the case of a city library, it is the city that does the borrowing on behalf of its library. All cities may borrow money and pledge the credit, revenue, and public property of the corporation for the payment thereof, in the manner provided by law, and to evidence the same by issuance of bonds, notes, or warrants [see Idaho Code section 50-237]. This is separate from the property tax levied by a city to support the maintenance and operation of its library [see I.C. § 33-2603].

A library district is an independent unit of government, a subdivision of the state, that may issue bonds to acquire, purchase, or improve a library site or sites; to build a library or libraries, or other building or buildings; to demolish or remove buildings; to add to, remove, or repair any existing building; to furnish and equip any building or buildings, including all facilities and appliances necessary to maintain and operate the buildings of the library; and to purchase motor vehicles for use as bookmobiles [see I.C. § 33-2728].

A library district may issue bonds in an amount not to exceed one percent (1%) of the market value for assessment purposes of property within the district, less any aggregate outstanding indebtedness.

District library bond funds may not be used to purchase or expand a building for a contracting agency providing library services unless the district library gains an ownership share in the building proportional to the percentage of district bond funds used to purchase or expand the building.

A library district’s board of trustees is authorized to create a plant facilities reserve fund. District library facilities plant facilities reserve funds may not be used to purchase or expand a building for a contracting agency providing library services unless the district library gains an ownership share in the building proportional to the percentage of district bond funds used to purchase or expand the building [see I.C. § 33-2729].

Whenever a library is contemplating a bond or plant facilities levy, it is important to begin by contacting the library’s attorney. It is also a good idea to contact the directors of other libraries that have run a successful bond election or plant facilities election.

Kevin Tomlinson

Area Field Consultant -- Southwest and South Central Idaho -- Regions III & IV
Email / 208.334.2150
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ADDITIONAL LINKS

Overview of Financing Tools for Idaho Libraries (PDF)

Here’s a list of the full-time advisors, bond counsels, and underwriters in the Boise area:

Firm Role Contact E-mail Telephone
Zions Public Finance, Inc. Municipal Advisor/Purchaser Christian Anderson christian.anderson@zionsbancorp.com 208-501-7533
Piper Jaffray Companies Underwriter/Municipal Advisor Eric Heringer eric.a.heringer@pjc.com 208-344-8561
Hawley Troxell Attorneys and Counselors Bond Counsel Nick Miller nmiller@hawleytroxell.com 208-388-4849
Skinner Fawcett, LLP Bond Counsel Rick Skinner rskinner@skinnerfawcett.com 208-345-2663
MSBT Law Bond Counsel Stephanie Bonney sjb@msbtlaw.com 208-331-1968

Idaho borrowers are not limited to in-state firms, but fortunately Idaho does have a prodigious lineup of capable providers in public finance. Another role that could be added to this list is “purchaser,” which would include most of the local banks. However, there are numerous factors that must be evaluated in deciding how best to sell a district’s bonds, and only a municipal advisor is permitted under SEC regulations to provide this kind of advice.

If you have questions about bonds or plant facilities levies, please contact one of the professionals listed above or ask your library’s attorney to contact a professional in your area.

Our thanks to Christian Anderson at Zions Public Finance, Inc., for creating the Overview of Financing Tools for Idaho Libraries and the list of professionals for us to share with Idaho libraries.