The City Council met in regular session on April 6, 2009 at 7:30 P.M. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Mayor Walker presided:
City employees present were Public Works Director Gortsema, Chief Sedam, Attorney Green and Clerk Kennedy.
The meeting was called to order and the minutes of the March 17th regular meeting were approved as presented by Councilman Lester, second by Councilwoman Aiken. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
PUBLIC HEARING: The public hearing was opened at 7:32 p.m. to hear comments on the vacation of a portion of the alley in Block B of the South Addition and a portion of East South 9th Street at the request of various involved neighbors in conjunction with the signed conditional agreement. Public Works Director Gortsema explained that it is basically a lot line adjustment so everyone owns the property they are occupying. Kathy Parsells stated that she is in support of the application as signed by all neighbors in the conditional agreement. The hearing was closed at 7:37 p.m.
On motion by Councilman Lorentz, second by Councilman Lester to approve the vacation of a portion of East South 9th Street and the portion of alley in Block B of the South Addition contingent upon the approval of the variance application submitted by Linda Fisher. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
VISITORS: Justin Wilson was present from the Lewiston office of TD&H Engineering to let the Council know they are experienced with grant writing and they would like to offer their services for any City project.
Steven Maconnell was present to voice his concerns about a party that occurred at the Tamarack Apartments on March 20th where four minors were cited for possession of alcohol but they were not sent to juvenile detention. He would like to see that something is done in town to keep minors from getting away with breaking the law. His understanding is that unless it’s an assault, then they don’t get sent to juvenile detention. Mr. Maconnell stated that when he was a kid, he and his brother were sought out on private property, arrested and sent to juvenile detention. He understands it is the choice of the district attorney whether they get sent home or sent on to the detention center. Attorney Green stated that yes it is his call. The officer calls him if they have a juvenile and he can say whether to release the minor to the parent or send them to the detention center. It costs $190/day to house a juvenile. It becomes a cost analysis since it comes directly out of the budget to send someone and sometimes it is needed for more serious cases. Green stated he can review the file when he receives the information.
COMMITTEE REPORTS: Chief of Police Sedam summarized the monthly report, reporting that the department responded to 129 calls for service. There were 95 cases written, 38 misdemeanor arrests, 1 felony arrests, 52 citations, 23 written warnings issued, 12 dogs and 2 cats handled. The Police and Animal Control Report for March 2009 was accepted on motion by Councilman Lester, second by Councilman Houger. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
Chief Sedam explained that a curfew ordinance at another Idaho City was recently struck down for not addressing certain items. Our ordinance meets all the requirements and it is sound. Chief Sedam informed the council that the Kyle Petty “Ride Across America” will stop on May 9th at Zip Trip for a catered lunch on their way to Sun Valley. He will be providing an extra officer to get them on and off the highway. Officer Hewson attended hostage negotiation training and is now certified. The caprice was sold for $300.00.
On motion by Councilwoman DeHaas, second by Councilwoman Aiken to accept the Library Board Minutes of March 26, 2009. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present. The library has applied for three grants locally. They are looking at hiring a replacement for Linda since she retires in mid October. Councilman Peterson questioned how the interview process would work. Mayor Walker’s recommendation is that it would be nice to have two representatives from the Council and a couple from library board.
UTILITY 300% BOND AND CUTOFF PROCEDURES FOR NONPAYMENT: Clerk Kennedy provided draft language for a new ordinance to address deleting the 300% bond and to amend the process for nonpayment collections. Kennedy left a section on “Will Pay” agreements and asked the Council if they would like it in the ordinance. Councilman Lorentz and Mayor Walker liked the Will Pay agreement and it was determined to leave it in the draft. An ordinance will be prepared for the next meeting.
RETURN CHECK FEE: Discussion occurred on a return check fee proposed at $25.00. Clerk Kennedy explained that right now the City does not charge anything for a return check although the City is charged about $7.50 by the bank. The City staff then tries to collect on the check which takes time to call, track down the writer and possible collect. Councilwoman Aiken felt $15.00 was a better amount then $25.00 as most banks already charge $39.00. Mayor Walker agreed with the $15.00. Councilwoman DeHaas thinks $25.00 is appropriate because it covers the direct costs from the bank, but it would also cover labor costs. Councilman Lester agrees with Councilwoman DeHaas and doesn’t feel the rest of the citizens that are paying their bills should have to subsidize those that aren’t paying. On motion by Councilman Lester, second by Councilwoman DeHaas to have a return check fee of $25.00. Motion carried, Councilwoman Aiken voting no.
BUDGET HEARING DATE: On motion by Councilman Lorentz, second by Councilman Lester to set the budget hearing for 2009-2010 for September 8, 2009. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
GARBAGE UPDATE: Mayor Walker and Councilman Lester attended a meeting with the County and other Cities to discuss countywide garbage issues. Commissioner Brandt went over three scenarios: 1. leave as is with the city contracting for their own garbage, 2. to have a five county landfill (maybe only four) which would also require a commitment from all Cities to be able to move forward in order to generate enough garbage for the landfill to even be considered, or 3. for the county to take over all garbage so county charges all residents for county and city garbage and then for pickup door to door the city would need to contract separate. They are talking about cameras on new sites and around a $1,000.00 fine for any misuse of dumping. They are trying to separate city from county garbage and are trying to determine whether city residents should be allowed to dump in the county dumpsters. The private landfill option needs the Cities to commit to a ten year contract.
Last year the county passed that the city residents pay around $13.00 per year and it was justified by saying the city residents could dump in the county dumpsters. One discussion item was that the county has intentions of reversing that and not allowing city residents to dump in county dumpsters and possibly increase the $13.00 fee to between $50.00 and $60.00. Mayor Walker and Councilman Lester felt the City should stay just the way it is. Councilman Houger felt if the county goes to $50.00 then the City should challenge them. Mayor Walker stated that no one seems to know tonnage figures countywide. The City has tonnage reports for the City, but we don’t know how much City garbage gets dumped in dumpsters or at the landfill. No one stated they were in favor of committing to a 10 year commitment with this unknown company for a landfill.
RODEO GROUNDS LEASE: On motion by Councilman Lester, second by Councilman Houger to authorize the City to sign the rodeo grounds lease between Border Days Inc. and the City for a new 10 year lease. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
ITEMS TO NOTE: Public Works Director Gortsema has been working with Attorney Gary Allen and providing the information he needs. He hopes to have some information in the next two weeks in order to talk to DEQ. There is a federal statue that if your efforts to mitigate a nutrient actually harm the stream more than help it then you can apply for a variance. Three mile creek is an effluent stream and there are times of the year there may not be a stream if the City implements our plan to remove the city’s effluent, store and then release when city doesn’t have to meet phosphorus limit. The City believes the fish and wildlife biodome would prefer the stream instead of puddles or nothing.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 P.M.
Bruce Walker – Mayor
Tonya Kennedy – City Clerk