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The three Bear Lake County commissioners met on November 8, 2021, in regular session and following the agenda as published. Reports were provided by elected officials concerning their departments. General business items were ratified and approved concerning claims, minutes, canvassing the election, personnel policy and other routine matters.

Wayne Davidson provided the building report to the commissioners. New permits have slowed but building continues with many structures currently in process.

In Planning and Zoning, Mitch Poulsen presented recommendations by the Planning and Zoning Commission regarding The Reserve’s Final Plat of Phase 7 which was unanimously approved. The combined preliminary and final plat for Cabin Hollow Subdivision which is located on Mountain Way in Fish Haven was approved with conditions which included extension of the interior road to connect through neighboring lots and another subdivision to offer an alternate egress from Mountain Way. Poulsen also offered information regarding Aeonai software which has been found helpful in other jurisdictions. The commissioners opted to investigate the program and make a determination at a later time.

Ron Harper shared his annual probation report to the commissioners, pointing out the number of cases handled during the prior year and detailing the services provided by his office.

County Road and Bridge Superintendent Scott Esquibel discussed his department’s activities which included trading in an older grader and obtaining a newer vehicle under a lease arrangement.

The 2021 budget was opened during a public hearing and decisions made to adjust the budget to include federal grant revenue that had been received by the county subsequent to the original budget approval. In addition, modifications were made to adjust fund categories to more properly reflect how the monies were used.

An executive session to discuss 74-206(1)(b) matters involving public officers or employees and (f) pending or imminently likely litigation were approved unanimously by roll call vote. At the conclusion of the executive session, the public was advised that a personnel issue had been discussed but more information was needed before action would be taken.

Alan Eborn, Emergency Manager, brought in specialists from Day Wireless to discuss the type of radio signals their business could provide. Information regarding costs were submitted. In response to questions and concerns, the specialists will obtain additional information for the commissioners and return to discuss those details. Their proposal was to put in a trunk repeater site and options were discussed for coverage of Hell Hole, Bern Hill, Paris Peak and Fish Haven. Various combinations of signals were considered to cover the western side of the valley and provide connectivity throughout the area.

The Fair Board had been requested to discuss lost revenue due to the pandemic and the fact the fair had not been held during the summer of 2020. Their report showed ticket sales during 2018 of $13,580, 2019 at $13,905 and $22,422 in 2021 which averages $12,476 annually during those periods. Similarly, the average for vendor revenue was $6,453, Donation/fund at $1,118 and ATM at $583. Inasmuch as camping and food booth sales continued during 2020, the four-year averages in those categories was $11,274 and $9,460, respectively, with no losses due to the pandemic. Significantly, the 2021 fair revenue was higher in all but one category than during any prior reported year.

With respect to the Extension Office, it is anticipated that Cindy Teuscher, currently a full-time employee, will become part time in the next year to 18 months in an effort to train Jennifer Matthews. Ms. Matthews is currently a part-time employee and, as Ms. Teuscher transitions to part-time, Teuscher would become full-time. In addition, the University of Idaho expects a full-time extension agent will be hired for Bear Lake County.

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