County Commissioners Meet 3/27
Hospital Line of Credit
The hospital has a 150K line of credit through Ireland Bank. One of the stipulations is that the loan must be paid off once a quarter. John Williams explained that line of credit needed to be reauthorized, for 300K. The commission voted to do so.
Historical Preservation Committee
Jean Thomas spoke to the commission on behalf of the historical preservation committee. A grant from about a year and a half ago included naming the American Legion building as a historical building on the national historic registry, as well as hiring a consultant to help in the process. The funds come from the National Park Service, and will be reimbursed to the county upon completion. A motion to approve an agreement with the consultant selected by the committee was approved.
Deep Creek Flood Prevention
Jared Simpson spoke to the commission about plans for the upcoming flooding season. Deep Creek is planning to begin discharging small amounts of water to mitigate a large flooding situation. Simpson reported that this year a large amount of water has been observed above the damn, at 21.5 inches of snow/water. Simpson expressed his belief that the reservoir needs to be kept under 50% capacity as the thaw begins, in order to prevent any catastrophic flooding effects.
Simpson also requested that Road and Bridge open the road that runs across Deep Creek to the boat ramp. Dianna Dredge agreed to do so. The commission decided to research the situation further before making any final motions about the management of the access roads at the Deep Creek location. The damn will continue to be surveilled to stay alert for any changes to the flooding situation.
Grant modification with US Forest Service
A grant from the forest service to provide funding to services provided to local campgrounds for $5K was increased to $10K. A motion to approve the grant was approved.
Airport Fuel Credit Application
The Treasurer’s office spoke to the commission about an application for fuel credit received from the Airport Board.
Event Center Rental
Bryon Lyons of Exit 13 spoke to the commission about the condition of the parking lot in front of the Event Center. An antique show will be coming to the Event Center at the beginning of April, and Lyons was concerned about the muddy conditions that may be in effect for the people who attend the event. As the winter has progressed, much of the gravel from the earlier application to the lot has been scraped into snow piles, which results in an uneven, muddy parking situation. The commission did not have any specific remedies for the problem, though Chairman Lewis suggested that the parking lot would be graded before the antique show.
Event Center Flowers
In a recent meeting, the Commission approved $175 for flowers for the entryway flower beds. It had been reported that the amount needed was closer to $300. Commissioner Eliason asked for an increase to the amount of the Event Center budget available for flowers. Charles Nielsen and Leigh Love both volunteered to donate funds to account for the shortfall in funding for the flowers directly to the Fair board.
Event Center Improvements/Upgrades
Tory Richardson spoke to the commission about several improvements and upgrades needed for the Event Center. Fencing to surround the air conditioner and eventual generator units on the south side of the building will be installed soon. Discussion of reducing the number of mousetraps in the facility was also had. There have not been many mice caught in the traps over the last few years. The commission decided to meet with the pest control contractor to fully determine the building’s needs.
The need for additional gravel to support some of the exterior of the building against gravel loss was also discussed.
Development Code/Zoning Maps
Charles Nielson spoke to the commission about potential changes to the zoning map. He presented a plan regarding converting some of the Agricultural Zoning to RR1 and RR in order to allow for a greater diversity of development in the county. The commission suggested that it would be taking into account the current zoning map, and would be holding a public hearing within the next several months to allow for public input on some of the changes that the commission has been hearing about up to this point. Chairman Lewis suggested that some of the changes suggested by Mr. Nielson are indeed likely to put into effect after the PZ Commission has had a chance, along with the County Attorney, to revise the Development Code. Mr. Nielson would like to see a revision to the official zoning map to account for more zoning options.
Property Tax Exemption/Presbyterian Church
Toni Werk spoke to the commission about a letter for property tax exemption for the Presbyterian Church. Werk is requesting that the house attached to the church be exempt from property tax collection. According to Werk, the manse located on church grounds fulfills the requirements for tax exemption under the designation of charities. Werk presented eight points that supported her argument about the building’s status as a charitable structure. The commission felt that the rental property nature of the building raised an additional issue that it would be prudent to consult Cody Brower on before making a final determination.
Grant Money—Fair board/Horse Stalls
Sawyer Fonnesbeck spoke to the commission on a number of issues, beginning with an update on grant money from the Idaho Horse Board. The money for the grant comes from brand inspection fees, and is used for projects within the horse industry across the state. Fonnesbeck submitted a grant to begin construction on several new horse stalls for the Fairgraounds. The current stalls are in poor condition. In January, Fonnesbeck presented his case for funding to the Horse Board, and was awarded $2,000 as a result. Fonnesbeck inquired about the potential for county funds to be added to the amount in order to undertake a project to replace the current horse stalls. The project funds need to be used and reported by November of this year.
The stalls themselves are modular, and can be constructed one at a time. Each stall can hold one horse, at a cost of $2,500 each. The original proposal was for 5 stalls, and $11,000. The commission expressed the opinion that funds for horse stalls were not readily available in this year’s budget, especially with the necessary ADA compliance modifications to the courthouse relying on one-time expense funds from the general budget. The possibility of funds coming from the Racing Commission which need to be used for track improvements was discussed.
Update on sign for Event Center
The first payment for a sign to be placed outside the Event Center has been made, and the sign itself has been completed. The sign is located in Twin Falls, and once the ground thaws enough for it to be installed, it will be located on the road outside the entrance to the Event Center/Fairgrounds.
Extension Office Class Fees
The Extension Office is planning for additional classes, for which it plans to institute a fee. The first of these is a “freezer meal” class, which would provide 3 meals to be taken home by students for a total fee of $30. Fonnesbeck proposed to use the class fees directly to purchase supplies for the class itself. The commission approved a motion to allow Fonnesbeck to use the budget line for class projects to collect and spend the funds.
Fonnesbeck also spoke to the commission about reimbursement for his required attendance at the annual conference for extension agents. He requested approval for the travel expenses to exceed the budget line, with the understanding that additional funds will be added from the University of Idaho Extension Office program.
County Attorney Cody Brower had placed the item “Election Precincts” on the meeting agenda. However, Brower was not present to discuss the issue. The underlying issue is the populations of the individual voting precincts. The Curlew precinct has around 90 registered voters. The Holbrook has just over 100. The precincts nearer to town have numbers closer to 800 or 900 registered voters. Precincts on the west side of the county receive a mail-in ballot automatically, while those on the east side of the county must request one in order to receive it.
Larry Oja spoke to the commission about the precinct disparity. According to Mr. Oja, the board of county commissioners has full control over the allocation and composition of precincts. The precincts are also arranged such that they provide for one precinct chairman from each party to be elected to represent the precinct to the state. Oja’s concern is that the commission may potentially seek to reduce the number of precincts, or move to make them more numerically equal, which, in Oja’s opinion, would dilute the representation of rural farmers and ranchers within the local party structure.
County Clerk Lon Colton clarified the purpose of precincts with regard to voting, where they are designed to serve the purpose of facilitating election access. A maximum number of mail-in ballots can be allocated to any one precinct, and the boundaries are designed to allow for mail-in balloting in the western precincts in order to provide access accommodations to voters in those areas. It has been suggested by some in the community that the numbers favor representation of the two western precincts within the Republican Committee, though that issue is somewhat outside the scope of the purpose of the access issue and does not effect the final result of public votes outside party politics, according to Colton.
The Board expressed their intention to put the issue on the agenda for the next meeting, and look further into the precinct boundaries with the county attorney to determine if any action is warranted.
The County was asked by the city to support a proclamation declaring the month of April Kindness Month in conjunction with the city. The commission approved the proclamation and singed it into effect. The proclamation creates a specific calendar of themed weeks related to kindness for April.
The commission discussed specific changes to the rental agreement for the Event Center. It was determined to add to the policy that reservations must be paid for at the time they are made, or three months before the event if they are made more than six months ahead of time. Other language regarding the deposit arrangement for the rental was also discussed.
A number of other county policies were discussed, though no final decisions were voted on during the meeting.