City Council 9/6
Representatives of the Mayor’s Youth Council on hand at Wednesday’s meeting
In order to accommodate the public hearing, the city council met at the Event Center for its scheduled regular monthly meeting.
The public hearing for Mike and Christopher Atkinson’s variance request was cancelled due to the applicant having withdrawn the request.
A public hearing was held for a variance requested by Bill Vanderwood. Mayor Joan Hawkins reviewed the public hearing procedure, which began with an overview of the request, followed by staff reports on the matter, then written comments and testimony.
The variance pertains to 231 North Main, and concerns a request for a variance for cement driveway and carport. The drive was listed as a 55 ft long cement driveway with a steel carport.
The matter was originally heard by Planning and Zoning on 8/10. Shelly Williams reported on the committee’s recommendations. The PZ Committee suggested a conditional recommend, pending the front of carport being moved back to 30 ft from road (25 was proposal). The proposed width of 16 feet was also discussed. There were no written comments. Vanderwood spoke to the council, saying: “I’m honored to be back here in Malad after 40 years being gone. One reason I loved coming back up here is the variety of homes.” Vanderwood explained that the variance was designed to make it easier for him to perform snow removal on the driveway, and for other accommodations. Shelly Williams mentioned that under the current code, accessory buildings can’t occupy a “required front yard area”, which is language that they are changing as it is unclear in its specific scope. An ordinance element does not permit a driveway to be over half the width of the frontage length. The variance was conditionally approved, with a 16 ft wide gutter approach and a 30 foot setback from the road. The motion passed.
Public Hearing on budget
The 2024 budget calls for $2,425,820. A public hearing was held on the final budget approval. This includes recently made changes to the city’s contract with the Sheriff’s office to accommodate the hiring of a Code Enforcement Officer. After a recap of the budget figures, the floor was opened to audience questions. The question “How has it changed over ten years?” was asked. While no one on the dais had immediate access to the exact figures, it was related that the budget had more than doubled over the last ten years, but that it was not up much more than last year’s allocated budget. Tyrell Neal expressed his belief that the budget is fiscally responsible, and motioned to accept general fund budget. The motion was seconded and approved.
Mayor’s Youth Council
As the new school year has now officially started, the Mayor’s Youth Council (which had contained a number of seniors who have since graduated) was introduced and ratified. The Youth Council works together with the city on a number of projects throughout the year, and serves as an advisory group on issues affecting young people in the community. This year’s council composed of new and returning members, includes: Mathilde Dickerson, Aubree Palmer, Abbie Cox, Kolton Cox, Aubrey Corbett, Emma Bird, Paisley Smith, Adi Schow, Zion McCullough, and Karlee Palmer. The members of the Youth Council were introduced to the City Council and officially welcomed to the position.
Mayor Hawkins mentioned that she has talked to various people about woodwork on the exterior of the co-op building. Having not heard back, she wondered about putting out an announcement for bids on the project. A recent bequest to the city from Ralph Hansen left $24,000 for the co-op fund. There are also reserve funds that might be used toward the preservation and restoration of the co-op in the near term, as grants are sought for some of the more extensive repairs/remodeling planned for the future.
Theatre Guild asked about using the co-op space for the temporary creation of a seasonal spook house. In November, the Iron Door Playhouse will be producing the Music Man, so they were looking for an alternative to the haunted theatre. It was mentioned that the window displays in the co-op are scheduled to be installed throughout the upcoming months for several holidaysand that the space was not necessarily ideal for simultaneous projects. Mayor Hawkins suggested having Ada do a walkthrough and provide a better sense of the space they need. Tyrell said he would ask. Susan Wittman suggested the basement of the senior center might be a good alternative location for the haunted attraction.
Brad and Wendy Hess expressed interest in turning the old hardware store section of the co-op building into a dance studio. They would like a 5 year lease, and for that duration Brad would put in work on the building, including installing a bathroom, plumbing, etc. They would be willing to let others use it if the location was under a lease arrangement. Hess was primarily feeling out the viability of the idea. Councilman Larry Thomas asked about heating. Brad Hess responded that he doesn’t know full details of the current status of the building as a whole. Whether the area could also be used for gymnastics was discussed. Councilman Tyrell Neal expressed support for the idea, and suggested that the council pursue it further. All members of the council agreed there was a need for a space of that size and for those sorts of purposes in town.
The city has been approached about a bench that a class would like to donate to the city. Currently there is no specific regulation standard covering benches in the park, or elsewhere, for that matter. The city decided that it would begin formalizing a set of standards with a few requirements of the bench in question. The city felt that benches should not be fashioned of wood, due to longevity issues. The benches by the splash pad are steel coated mesh. The other prominent bench in the Park is the Coca-Cola bench in the original playground area. The city council felt that those benches were good models, and Lance Tripp suggested keeping to those two styles. The other agreed to element of the standard was that the bench has to sit on a cement pad.
Sheriff Jones spoke with officials in Pocatello about the Code Enforcement position, and reported that the mayor has the authority to give the power to write citations, infractions, but not arresting powers to such officers, who will be sworn in by the city clerk. The Sheriff suggested that a tracking system for reports would also need to be established to keep records. The Sheriff mentioned that there were a few additional details that would still need to be sorted out. Jones sent a complete list of city codes which are being enforced by sheriff.
Code Enforcement Officer hired
John Christopherson has officially been hired by the city to serve as the Code Enforcement Officer. He will be tasked with enforcing many of the city ordinances that the sheriff’s office often had to deprioritize in order to respond to criminal infractions and other duties.
Christophersen is a familiar face in Malad, as he worked for the sheriff’s office for a number of years. As a result, he is familiar with people in town, as well as the city ordinances in question. Most pressing to begin with are issues related to animal control. Stray animals, as well as dangerous and aggressive ones are responsible for a large number of calls into the dispatch system. The new position will allow those to be handled more thoroughly. Other enforcement issues are related to parking, nuisance complaints, view obstructions on roadways, and many other things. Christophersen and the Council expressed interest in highlighting selected ordinance issues in the paper as a means of raising public awareness of them in the community.
The council discussed possibilities for vehicles for the position. Councilman Tyrell Neal suggested finding something that fits the needs of the position. The dog containment function of the office was a crucial consideration of the vehicle selection. In addition, a number of preliminary issues and ideas were discussed by Christophersen and the council including the potential for adopting out dogs, a possible clinic with the cooperation of Bear River for licensing and shots, and other topics. The ordinance about where city citations are paid was raised. City Attorney Dustin Smith advised that the process could be changed to be more convenient and efficient if needed. Christophersen said he would like to build a spreadsheet and keep track of offenses for increased information access. The issue of a cell phone was raised. Susan Wittman stated that the city would provide a cell so that Christophersen would not need to use his personal number. The dispatchers will forward calls to the number. Christophersen also needs a city email for contacts
Engineer agreement amendment
JUB Engineering met with Tyler Webster and Mayor Hawkins last week. Fees are adjusted every year for wastewater contract, to be paid out of the project loan. The engineers themselves are being paid by the army corps. The City is covered for the increase, but the agreement does need to be approved. Part of the increase is more testing, and the gap last year where rates were not raised, as well as the added length of the construction period. A motion to allow the mayor to sign the JUB amendment passed. The project is planned to be completed between middle of Oct and Nov.
A business license for Earthly Clean, LLC, under the ownership of Cassie Hobbes was approved. The business offers cleaning services, using only non-toxic products.
Tyler Webster reported that he had recently been in contact with a resident who wants to build a house, but can’t find anyone to bore the sewer line based on the city’s ordinance regualtions. The contractors feel that meeting the city code makes it too difficult. He is asking to be able to trench the sewer line, rather than bore it. Webster recommended allowing boring.
Webster reported on a problem with booster pumps in the water system. The main booster is down, but the older one has kicked on to pick up the load, though it needs to be repaired/rebuilt. There is a 100hp backup.
Webster reported that the city needs a subscription for water/data mapping of utilities.
The roof on the cemetery bathroom needs new shingles or a replacement. The ideal solution was suggested as a metal roof.
The door closers on the bathroom near the splash pad should be in soon.
Webster requested Out of Service placards for fire hydrants, as part of an ongoing inventory of them in the city. Webster is looking at fire hydrants on North Main.
The company contracted to resurface North Main street recently finished redoing their original job. The company is doing everything over again, and fixing the seams, uneven surfaces, and other issues reported with the original job. The company is redoing it at no cost.
The city is investigating the leak in the water line at Hess Pumice. Webster and crew are planning to excavate to see if they can find the source.
Councilman Larry Thomas reported a number of positive comments he had received on the pickleball court.
The pickleball courts should be completely done by the end of this week, including the lights on the court, and the fencing. A ribbon cutting is planned for September 28 at 6:00 p.m. The painters who have been preparing the court are also qualified professionals, who offered to come up and play against locals at event at the end of the month.
Neal mentioned some streets in town that need swept. Bannock, Main, 100 W. Walking event next Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The next day at 5:30 September 13, a “walking inventory” of Malad streets will be made.
Rec league soccer games are all at city park this year. Neal suggested that the council start laying out permanent soccer fields on some of the unused space in the park.
Lance Tripp agreed in principle, but explained that the land needed to be leveled first. Various discussions of different options for the sprinkler system, ways to expand facilities, and how to support the soccer program were held. Tripp also mentioned that the plans for the development of the city park had been generated as a result of public input, so any major plans should also be brought before the public before being instituted. The council was in favor of pursuing the creation of more soccer fields.
Tripp asked Tyrell Neal about cleaning off the pickleball court. During the painting and construction process, a small film of concrete had accumulated on the play surface after heavy rains and needs to be removed. Neal was not sure the best way to proceed without examining the surface. Dotty Evanson and others are currently was removing the film by hand with vinegar.