The City Council met in regular session on February 17, 2009 at 7:30 P.M. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Mayor Walker presided:
Councilmember attendance by phone
City employees present were Chief Sedam, Public Works Director Gortsema, Attorney Green and Clerk Kennedy.
The meeting was called to order and the minutes of the February 2nd regular meeting were approved as presented by Councilman Houger, second by Councilman Peterson. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
VISITORS: Dave Cadwallader and Jim Roll of Idaho Fish and Game were present to provide an overview of the proposed 15% fee increase and ask for the City’s support for the fee increases. Most of the increase is to maintain the current programs and none of the increase is for salaries. They want to focus on youth activities and get more youth interested in hunting and fishing. The fee schedule varies as the 15% increase is not across the board but in different line items. They are asking for a letter of support for the 15% increase. The Council will discuss this at the next meeting.
HEARING APPEAL ON VICIOUS DOG: An appeal hearing was held on the vicious dog declaration issued by the Police Department to owner Brendon Ash. The declaration was issued February 9, 2009 after the dog was aggressive and tried to bite an officer. Officer Beene reported that he received the call when the neighbor attempted to put the dog back in the fence, but was afraid she was going to get bitten. After calling Officer Hoogland, they were able to get the dog back in the fenced area; however twenty minutes later the dog was out again. Once they did get the dog in, pepper spray was used since the dog wouldn’t back away from the fence. The dog was extremely aggressive the whole time that they were trying to get it in. Officer Hoogland reported that they were not able to approach the dog and catch him. The dog possessed aggressive behavior and barked. When eye contact was not kept, the dog would lunge about half the distance between them and continued barking and being aggressive. Officer Hoogland also had a similar encounter with the dog at Brendon’s house on South 7th. If your eyes weren’t on the dog or you turned your back, she would come at you barking and growling. The dog needs to be on chain at all times since she can maneuver over fences. Officer Hoogland has had a total of four encounters with this dog.
Brendon Ash stated that he does have a problem keeping the dog in the yard. This is the first time that he knew the dog was aggressive. He had a party in his house with strangers there and she didn’t have any problems with the people she didn’t know. She doesn’t act aggressive to anyone else. He would like to resolve the problem of the fence and be able to keep her in town. When asked the breed of dog, he responded that she is ½ wolf, ¼ Akita and ¼ Chow. He would like to build a kennel with a roof and a dog run. The dog is currently at Hells Canyon.
Vicky Ash explained that the first time the dog got out of yard was the weekend before the incident. Vicky didn’t know how, but she put her back in. Later girls on bikes were petting her through the fence. Finally they found out she got out by using tires piled by the shed. They thought they had it blocked but then she got out by the shrubs. When talking to the neighbor, the neighbor explained to Vicky that the dog was crouched and barking but wagging her tail. Vicky explained she doesn’t use pepper spray, but most of the time dogs don’t bite. She felt if they were vicious and aggressive they wouldn’t run away. Their dog tried to run away.
Councilman Houger asked Brandon what his plan was if the City would allow the dog to come back to town. Brandon explained that he planned to get the fence done before bringing her back to town. He was going to go out and shoot her but couldn’t do it.
Mayor Walker asked if he planned to leave the dog at his house and Vicky’s. Brandon stated he’d build a kennel at his house and dog run at Vicky’s house (the dog run is on a cable).
Vicky Ash submitted statements from other neighbors.
Neighbor Mike Meyers, 720 North C Street, felt it was his fault. He walks his dog and he’s put her in a couple times when she gets out. In the morning the dog would greet him by jumping on the fence and he’d feed her a dog bone. He doesn’t feel that this dog should be classified as a dangerous dog.
Ken Hoogland also explained that while trying to get the dog back in the fence at Vicky’s house, the Springer spaniel dog in the yard was jumping and knocked the handle of the gate causing the gate to come open. He secured the gate after that happened.
The hearing was closed.
On motion by Councilman Houger, second by Councilwoman Aiken to take the information under consideration and have decision made at the March 2nd council meeting. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
Vicky Ash then brought up that the dog needs to be spayed and the only way that could happen was if she stayed with Vicky so Vicky could get her to and from the vet. She asked if she could keep the dog in town for about a week until the decision is made. It was said, if the dog is in town, it needs to be contained by a leash and chain.
COMMITTEE REPORTS: On motion by Councilman Lorentz, second by Councilman Peterson to accept the Snowhaven Minutes of February 4, 2009. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
On motion by Councilman Lorentz, second by Councilman Peterson to accept the Library Board Minutes of January 22, 2009. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
TRUCK ROUTE STUDY – MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING: Mayor Walker explained that he was approached by a County Commissioner stating that their preference is that they don’t want to participate in the study for various reasons: mainly due to economic conditions and that they don’t support a truck route.
Darrell Mullinex explained that this came about through a study with a consulting firm. In 2007 federal money was available and the state and LHTAC reviewed different areas and discovered that the truck route was something they would like to study. Multi agency agreements were favored, so the County, City and Highway District joined together. The project has moved up in priority, although the State won’t know for sure until June if it is funded. The grant is $185,000.00 with a total match of $7,500.00 per agency instead of the $9,500.00 budgeted. Public Works Director Gortsema explained that the good news is the amount is less than the amount budgeted; the bad news is that when revenues decreased, he cut the truck route study from his street budget. Mayor Walker felt this came about through the corridor study and the State came up with the idea that Grangeville didn’t want trucks on Main Street. Mayor Walker doesn’t feel that is the case for the citizens and business owners of Grangeville and his opinion is that the City doesn’t have the money and he doesn’t feel it’s a good idea.
Jeff Kutner was present to represent the Chamber of Commerce informally and without a vote. Those that responded were unfavorable to the study, although the whole Chamber wasn’t represented. Those that responded felt once a study is completed, it’s then on the table for future funding. The State ITC does everything they can to get people to come to Grangeville and then others are trying to get a truck route.
Public Works Director Gortsema sat in a lot of the meetings and he disagrees a bit. There were a lot of comments on trying to get the trucks off Main Street and that was the main reason to move forward. Mac McBoyle, of the Grangeville Highway District, reported that the District also has concerns on safety areas. They want to move forward but with the two legs consisting of the City and County.
Councilman Houger didn’t see it as an absolute to have a truck route bypass. He felt the City has the opportunity to back out and he felt the City should just wait and see what happens. Councilwoman Aiken didn’t feel it was a good time to spend money on something that is unnecessary. Councilman Peterson stated the City didn’t have the money for it this year so it’s a mute point. Councilwoman DeHaas didn’t feel the City needed to spend the money, although she was concerned about the City’s image of backing out of a commitment.
On motion by Councilman Houger, second by Councilwoman Aiken to dissolve the memorandum of understanding with Idaho County and Grangeville Highway District and put it on the back burner for a few years. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
INTERSECTION AT HILL STREET AND NORTH IDAHO AVENUE: Chief Sedam did a traffic count on other streets in the City as a comparison for the recommendation on North Idaho. His recommendation is to make Idaho Avenue a thoroughfare street from the truck route to Main Street with signage as follows:
West North 3rd – yield sign at intersection, this road dead ends at Idaho
West North 4th – stop signs each side of intersection
West North 5th – stop signs each side of intersection
West North 6th – one way street east bound, nothing needed
Cunningham – has two yield signs in place
Hill – yield sign each side of intersection
Middle – yield sign for north bound traffic
Councilman Lorentz made a motion, second by Councilman Peterson to accept the chief’s recommendation on signage for North Idaho. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
BILLS: The bills in the amount of $268,170.95 were approved and ordered paid out of their respective funds, on motion by Councilman Lorentz, second by Councilman Houger. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
FOREST SERVICE TRAVEL PLAN: Councilman Houger went to a meeting by the Forest Service in January and wasn’t real impressed with the briefing. They have been working on the plan for 4 or 5 years and according to the act of 1960, the Forest Service has an obligation to work with local governments and communities. Houger didn’t feel they have done that. They have asked the County sheriff’s department and Idaho County, but he didn’t recall them asking the City. Houger felt there was an economic problem or concern for people now and in the future and he felt the City should send a letter to the Forest Service saying the City disagrees with their plan and isn’t happy with not being invited to a meeting. Houger also mentioned a Senator in New York who is proposing more wilderness areas. She is proposing a bill stating if there are roads in the national forest marked non-motorized use that hasn’t been used in “x” number of years, then it goes to wilderness and doesn’t even have to be voted on. Houger felt the City owed it to the people, to take care of citizens and business owners.
Councilman Lorentz felt the whole plan would have an economic effect on Grangeville. A lot of income comes into town based upon snowmobiling, hunting, fishing and other recreational activities. He felt Councilman Houger should draft a letter.
Shelly Dumas felt the City could have participated all along and could have invited the Forest Service to a meeting. She also stated the letter needed to specifically address areas and not just state that it would be economically adverse to the area.
On motion by Councilman Houger, second by Councilman Lorentz to send a letter to the Forest Service, working with Attorney Green before having Mayor Walker sign. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
HANDBOOK CHANGE: Clerk Kennedy explained that the State and IRS mileage reimbursement rate decreased from $.585 to $.55 per mile and requested the same for the City. On motion by Councilman Lorentz, second by Councilman Peterson to adopt $.55 per mile for mileage reimbursement. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
PLANNING AND ZONING: Mayor Walker asked for confirmation to appoint Mike Sturdevant to Planning and Zoning. On motion by Councilman Lorentz, second by Councilman Houger to accept the Mayor’s appointment of Mike Sturdevant to P&Z for a 3 year term expiring February 17, 2012. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: On motion by Councilman Houger, second by Councilman Peterson to go into Executive Session according to Section 67-2345 (c). ROLL CALL VOTE: YES: DeHaas, Houger, Aiken, Peterson. NO: none. The motion passed.
A motion was made by Councilman Houger, second by Councilman Peterson to go out of Executive Session. ROLL CALL VOTE: YES: DeHaas, Houger, Aiken, Peterson. NO: none. The motion passed.
No action taken.
The meeting adjourned at 9:40 P.M.
Bruce Walker – Mayor
Tonya Kennedy – City Clerk