City Council 3/8
Molly Beseris—Gem Grant
Molly Beseris spoke to the City Council about a GEM grant application for infrastructure to help expand BC Timbers. Anton Burbage, who moved in about 8 months ago, was seeking to expand the power to his facility. BC Timbers produces lumber from raw material. The business primarily does beam work for commercial buildings. The company has been providing custom woodworking to many builders around the area. BC Timbers is seeking to grow and expand, and is specifically seeking a grant to increase power to their facility. The grant would cover the installation of new transformers to adequately power a new shop. The business itself is in Oneida County, but last year the county applied for a GEM grant on behalf of Ace Hardware, which is in the city. As the city’s GEM grant for its water project will be closing soon but it still in effect, Molly Beseris asked the city to request the grant on the county’s behalf. The council approved a motion to give Beseris permission to write a GEM grant application for BC Timbers.
Beseris also spoke about the AARP “Age Friendly Community” report. At the last meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, the county agreed to approve an application to also be named an “Age Friendly Community”. A committee to work on “Age Friendly Community” issues will be formed within the next few months. Beseris suggested that council members begin searching for members for the committee.
Camille Miller from Forsgren Engineering presented a slideshow on the ongoing roadway and sidewalk projects in Malad. These include the Bannock Street Project, involving the reconstruction of roadways, storm drains, curb and gutter and sewer line replacement. The TAP Project has been combined, as it deals with the same basic issues. Both components will be managed by the same contractor. The primary project will span from 3rd W to 100 W, and outflow to the city park. The TAP project is scheduled to go from 3rd W to the Railroad tracks. The city’s obligation is 7.34% of the total cost. Malad’s total cost should end up being around $470K. Construction is scheduled for 2025, with the potential of being moved up to 2024.
Sheriff Jones spoke to the council about a number of issues. Jones presented statistics relevant to prosecution in Oneida County. Last year, 950 cases were filed to the prosecutor. 193 did not plead guilty. 757 cases pled guilty. 193 were dismissed. The court dismissed 17 cases. 77 cases were dismissed by the prosecutor at his discretion. Some of these involve ordinance violation cases.
The Sheriff reported that Thursday is the busiest day for his office, coinciding with the time when school lets out. Sunday morning is also a busy day, based on arrests. Crimes against people sexual assault/rape totaled 13-20. Simple assault totaled 52. Crimes against property totaled 56. Crimes against society—drugs, pornography, etc—were responsible for the balance, outside of 32 juvenile cases.
The mayor asked the sheriff about the current state of the dog pound. Jones explained that his dept had stopped taking dogs to the pound in the extreme cold. He further suggested that the city needs a clearer policy about stray animals. City Attorney Dustin Smith suggested that he agreed that the ordinance needed to be re-examined. The Sheriff advised that picking up a dog and taking it to the Sheriff’s Office is technically a crime. The council discussed various ideas for spreading more information about dog issues.
Winter has created a high call volume as a result of slideoffs and accidents. The Sheriff reported that so far there have not been any fatalities.
LID for Bannock Street
An LID (Low Impact Development) is created by bonding. The process involves adopting a resolution and notification, as well as a hearing process. The LID would create a taxing district that would apply to homes whose property would be improved by the construction projects. This would apply to the sidewalks, curb and gutter, etc. The council felt they needed an estimate on the sidewalk element of the construction before working on any LID proposals. The argument is that the improvements on the property create a large added value. LID would be based on front footage.
The potential for using funds for light poles was also discussed.
Wastewater Interim Financing
City Treasurer Terrill Schwartz updated the council on the status of the interim financing for the wastewater project. Due to the increase in interest rates, the cost of the project has increased, which requires the signing of a new note. A resolution to authorize the mayor to sign the new note for an additional loan amount was approved by unanimous voice vote.
Co-op Parking Lot
A grant from the Idaho League of Cities for the beautification of the Co-op parking lot was discussed. LaMonte John created a design for a parking lot/beautification plan that will be taken under consideration. Parking areas, planter boxes, potentially trees, etc. were discussed.
Comprehensive Plan Review
The council began its discussion of the City’s Comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan lays out the city’s large-scale vision for its growth and management. The council focused on the population and growth section of the plan as a starting point. One of the issues before the council was to determine a figure for the city’s growth rate. A number of factors play into the rate itself, including population, utility usage, and others. Over the last several years, the city has averaged a .5% growth rate, though 2020 saw a rate of over 2%, and 2021 fell back to .6%. The council provisionally agreed that the growth rate of .75% was a reasonable average figure.
The plan lays out guiding principles for the city, such as “protecting rural atmosphere” and so on. Tyrell Neal suggesting reviewing those overall goals to make sure they still reflected values held by the city.
The Impact Zone, the area defined by members of both the city and the county as that most likely to experience growth in the near term, needs to be finalized and converted into a resolution before it can be adopted.
The addition of the AARP’s “age-friendly community” language was noted as important to the comprehensive plan under the city’s new designation as such. The other existing major goals listed out in the comprehensive plan were deemed to be appropriate and worthy of retaining.
Some of the figures were noted as out of date, and some were missing, such as the number of building permits issued last year.
Ways in which the “Age Friendly Community” status might affect various goals currently in the plan were also discussed.
While there were some changes that the council recommended making to the document, it largely agreed that the first three goals remained the same as the last time the comprehensive plan was revised. The council will look at additional goals in the future.
Two business licenses were presented to the council. One was for Samaria Lane Grooming and the other was for a new cleaning company. Both licenses were approved.
It was reported that the company inspecting chlorine tanks had determined that they could not be removed by the originally contracted company.
It was reported that a number of community member’s had expressed dismay at the loss of skate park, which has recently been replaced by a shed building. Some of these comments had been presented by high school students on the youth council. Plans for the construction of a new skate park were provisionally discussed.
Tyrell Neal reported on a meeting of the Theater Guild. A mother’s day production is coming up, where the Guild will be asking for people to sing Disney or Broadway songs. The traditional melodrama is scheduled for the Fourth of July weekend. The play “The Music Man” is scheduled for the fall. Cowboy poetry will be held at the IronDoor Theater on March 24 and 25.
Neal also discussed the potential for a large flagpole on the corner of 50 S by the welcome to Malad sign. Estimates at present are for a cost of about 16k$ or so for a seventy foot flagpole and corresponding flag.
The council advised that several of the current legislative bills for this session may potentially affect City management and administration throughout Idaho, including Malad.
Some concern was expressed about the snow on the top of the Co-op building, especially after recent collapse in Lava. The council is calling experts about best way to remove the snow and ensure the safety of the building.
Bags of pumice will be available at the fire station (pick up a bag at the city building) for eventual spring flooding.
Alternate places to put snow from roadways (other than the library parking lot) were discussed.
The Mayor’s Youth Council has requested to attend the Council Convention at Boise State University. The League of Idaho Cities will be bringing in a “tandem tour” in April, designed to provide leadership training. The mayor reported that the youth council had met and was busy planning activities.
Amy Manning, executive director of IIIA, which is the city’s insurance provider, spoke to the council. The company is not an insurance company, but a health trust. There are 95 agencies across Idaho that provide independent insurance to a number of agencies. Many of the agencies are first responder groups, as well as cities. Manning gave a report from the agency about its finances and activity over the last year, as well as the services which the trust makes available. Manning specifically mentioned the success of a range of mental health programs offered by the IIIA.