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Idaho Enterprise

Oneida County Commission Meeting May 13

Welcome to Malad

Shelly Williams spoke to the Commissioners about the Welcome to Malad issue produced by the Enterprise, which is distributed at the rest area on the I-15 south of Malad, as well as throughout the county in locations such as the Oneida County Pioneer Museum.  Chairman Lewis suggested that the Assessor’s Office might be contacted in order to update the names of streets listed on the map.  Williams agreed to speak with county officials about any changes to the roads which would be relevant to the map.  The commission approved a motion to fund the map for $350.  


Leigh Love, County Treasurer, spoke to the County Commission about the investment funds managed by the Treasurer’s Office.  Investments have resulted in more than $150K which has come in to the county under the investment initiative undertaken by Love.  The funds will be used to supplement the general fund.  The interest in the account has continued to grow.  The funds are placed into interest bearing instruments that can be accessed quickly in order to make the funds fluid for funding needs within the county.  Examples of the funds which are being invested include things such as grants that are waiting to be spent, PILT funds, and other monies.  The funds are not held in risk-based accounts, but interest bearing fund repositories.


The Soil and Water Conservation District thanked the county for its contributions last year, and received a document asserting that a similar donation will be given to the District again during the next fiscal year.  An Ag Day was held in conjunction with the Extension Office recently at the Fairgrounds, which was attended by around 400 kids from around the area.  The boat check station has begun its operation, and managed to intercept a number of potential invasive species-bearing craft.

A letter of support for the SWCD for the 2025 budget was approved for $15K.  


Members of the RACOONS club spoke to the commission.  Danny Miller, BLM Realty Specialist, Bill Drury, Club President, and Brent Berg. Spoke to the commissioners.  At the BLM site under discussion, a number of agencies have locations for their radio equipment, including the Sheriff, BLM, School District, etc.  The facility is federally owned.  A compliance audit was conducted, which determined that it was no longer possible to house all of the entities in the building.  A state building which is no longer in use has been vacant, and Miller arranged to have it donated for use by the RACOON club.  A donation of the building was approved, on acceptance of the county.  The BLM would then enter into a communication use-lease agreement with the county who would not pay rent as a governmental agency.  A contact between the BLM and county would be in place, allowing the county to lease space to the RACOONs.  The transition involving the various agencies is hoped to be accomplished by the end of fall.  Requests for funding to address some of the issues involved in the transition will take some time.

The new location will be roughly twenty feet lower than the prior one, so the idea of having a guide tower to allow for a comparable height was discussed.  

Drury stated that the process would require clear agreement from everyone involved.  He explained that once power was available to the building, the essential operations could be quickly moved.  

Members explained that the benefit to the county included an example of Weber County Sheriff’s Office, which uses the repeaters located on Promontory for Search and Rescue.  The GMRS frequencies can be reached by people without HAM licenses.  

The Sheriff clarified that the building would need to be run like any county building, meaning that a lease would require a clear and full inventory of equipment contained within and actions to be performed within it.  County Attorney Fuller said he would look at drafting a lease agreement.  

The issue of how the RACOONs would be classified with regard to their tenancy was discussed, with the input of members of agencies and stakeholders from the county, state, RACOONs, and Utah organizations.  

The commission moved to support moving forward with accepting the building donated from the state, and begin the process of moving the radio club.  

A motion to move forward with accepting the state building, and directing the club to begin developing a site lease was passed.

Rhonda Neal from PZ suggested that down the road various permits would need the input of PZ in order to be official.

Event Center

Tory Richardson spoke to the commission about the Event Center.  Two gates were planned to be placed on a fence surrounding an HVAC stucture.  A first gate has already been approved, but a second one will be needed at a cost of $350.  Commissioner Jeppsen motioned to amend the existing plan for the project to reflect the cost increase, raising it to $2500 to Coatney Fence for placement around the HVAC and furnace systems.


Rhonda Neal spoke to the commission about several issues.  Future public hearing scheduling was discussed.  Neal stated that she felt there was a way to streamline public hearings that need to come before the BoCC.  PZ meets on Wednesdays, with hearings generally scheduled for 6:00 p.m. before the meetings when possible.  

Neal proposed that if possible, she would arrange the materials so that anything that needed to come before the BoCC could do so as quickly as possible in order to reduce the amount of time the process takes before a construction or other project could begin.  

A method for maximizing the efficiency of working various development issues through the PZ pipeline was discussed by Neal, the Commission, and the County Clerk’s Office, which is responsible for noticing public hearings.

Neal updated the commissioners on the range of various building and conditional use permits as well as rezones and potential zoning violations that were currently in the office waiting for scheduled discussion and/or hearing.   

House Bill 608 was discussed by PZ.  The Bill has to do with the protection of Ag land in the state.  The county is obligated to establish a standing committee of 3-5 people involved in land use to oversee homeowners who place their land within the protections of the committee.  The protection was designed to prevent rezoning to go over the head of individuals in order to favor residential development.  A resolution or ordinance establishing the board is required by the end of the year.  A model ordinance will be ready by June or July.

The commission discussed a water study needed in county.  The cost would be around 

$7500K.  This was seen as a valuable tool for making zoning decisions down the road, as water availability is a constant issue with regard to county development.

Event Center Greenery

Commissioner Lewis reported on a status report about the landscaping issues at the Event Center.  Lewis recommended moving forward with granting funds to maintain and upkeep the green areas at the exterior of the Event Center.  

Bennet Landscaping and tree care was authorized to maintain the trees for a total of $370.

Property Tax Exemption Applications

The Crisis Center was among the organizations which were granted property tax exemptions by the county.  This is a status that is available to not for profit public service and religious entities.

Churches which had applied for the exemption were all granted them, including 5 LDS church buildings.

The American Legion Post 65 was also granted an exemption.

Malad Lodge 51 Freemasons of Idaho was granted an exemption.

Oneida County Relic Preservation and Historical Society Museum was granted an exemption.

Malad Valley Heritage Square was also granted an exemption.

The St Paul Mission was also exempted.

The Theatre Guild was exempted as well.

The Presbyterian Church building was exempted, though the separate apartment structure, which is rented out, was not.

Comp Time

The Sheriff’s Department requested that a deputy who had recently joined the department not have his comp time paid out, as he planned to use the CT while participating in scheduled service with the National Guard later in the year.

A second batch of comp time was being paid out.

Vehicle Policy

The Commission discussed potential changes or clarification to the county’s vehicle policy governing liability.  The main issue related to those who were “agents” of the county rather than employees.  It was determined by the commission that the language suggested that anyone who was authorized by the county to drive its vehicles was de facto in the pursuit of official business for the county.  Specifically at issue in this case was Sawyer Fonnesbeck, who is technically an employee of the University of Idaho, rather than Oneida County, but nonetheless works on behalf of the county’s interests on a regular basis.

Issues such as adding a safety and vehicle inspection to the official policy were discussed, as well as the extent of any required training, especially for those driving emergency vehicles.  The commissioners planned to speak further on the topic with Doug Williams.

Sawyer Fonnesbeck

Fonnesbeck spoke to the commission about the subject of vehicle use policy, specifically the issue of carpooling with agents of other counties and extension offices throughout the region to and from University of Idaho Extension program events.  While a vehicle is provided for through the U of I, as well as insurance under an MOU with the county, there is no language clarifying whether that arrangement is equally applicable to other extension agents working in other counties but representing the University of Idaho.  Employees of the various Extension Offices are employed by the county, rather than the U of I, which creates a somewhat nebulous situation. 

Chairman Lewis motioned to allow Extension Office agents to provide carpooling services to agents of other counties using Oneida County vehicles.  The motion was approved.

The separate issue of whether a similar arrangement could be made to allow for the transportation of kids by the Extension agent was also raised.  The 4-H travel policy allows for public vehicles to be used for 4-H events, provided that the county rules governing the vehicles were covered.  

2023 Counseling—Katie Leavitt

As a result of a change in the county’s contracting for counseling services, there was a discrepancy in the amount remaining either to or from the county to Katie Leavitt for contracting those services.  A difference of $350 in the total bill was highlighted, which the commission agreed to waive and declare the issue of payments made or received even.  It was passed unanimously.

Public Defender Appearance

It was noted that anyone who was cited in court for the first time should have a public defender available to them, provided by the county.  

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