This meeting was held in person and by zoom.
The three County Commissioners met in regular meeting on February 8th, assisted by Cindy Garner, County Clerk, and Joe Hayes, County Attorney. The published agenda was unanimously approved.
Attending via Zoom due to Covid exposure, Sheriff Heslington was thanked for his office’s assistance at Georgetown Summit on February 5th when a cattle truck overturned.
County Assessor Heber Dunford reported registration fees totaling $51,684.95, of which $4,899.70 is the County’s. Dunford’s office has approximately 790 records to review to reach its goal of 2700 for revaluation purposes. Recordings in the Clerk’s Office for 2019 exceeded 1,000 and, in 2020, there were more than 1300 such recordings, making Assessor’s processing more difficult.
County Clerk Cindy Garner mentioned the asbestos removal in the former courthouse was completed at a cost of $3,800. After an adjustment of $7,000 for a second floor found during investigation and additional incidentals, Commission Payne said the LeGrand Johnson demolition bid totals $199,959.53.
An impromptu discussion regarding the increase in garbage services during holidays was held with the Commissioners expecting the Regional Landfill will have to “see it to believe it.” The Commissioners suggested the landfill consider contracting outside services for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s due to the heavy volume.
Commissioner Payne remarked that the State Fair Board met virtually to review the year when the State Fair was cancelled. In 2021, the State Fair is expected to move ahead. The State Rodeo received a PRCA small market rodeo of the year award and is nominated for the same this year. A 4-county meeting is now scheduled on February 17th and can be attended via Zoom. The airport project is proceeding well and Commissioner Payne reported that an individual would like to add a building but the ground will remain under the County’s ownership. Chairman Rasmussen noted cybersecurity was a big item on Gem Plan’s agenda. Health insurance costs may go down when rates are set during April’s meeting. The Rich Building sold and the new owner takes possession February 12th.
Claims were unanimously ratified and an appreciative comment was made that the information was distributed early, decreasing the meeting time needed to approve. Minutes of the February 1st and January 11th meetings were approved unanimously. One certificate of residency was approved as well. The annual county vessel fund report was briefly discussed and it was again stated that snowmobile, boat and motorcycle registrations should be designated in Bear Lake County so that funds are correctly distributed. Paris City’s agreement for building inspection services by the County’s Building Inspector was reviewed by Attorney Hayes and unanimously approved then executed by the Commissioners.
It was agreed Commissioner Payne will work through requests for additional objects from the old courthouse and if something can be removed, it can be taken. The corner stone from the old courthouse will be housed in the vault until a decision is made on its new location. An offer was received by Chairman Rasmussen to provide grass, plants and installation to re-landscape the old
courthouse site post-demolition at no cost. Letters and calls opposing and supporting demolition were received.
The Board of Equalization remained open after the January meeting County Assessor Dunford explained. Letters were sent to those occupying newly constructed homes to advise of the assessment with a period for objections. Other than adjustment to an assessment for the unoccupied period, no protests were received. The Commissioners approved the roll as provided.
Chairman Rasmussen remarked he had authority to work with Montpelier City regarding a proposed land trade. He reported the City would like to trade “equal for equal” and approximately ten acres is under consideration, a strip of approximately 19’ wide will transfer to County ownership. In exchange, the City will receive the lot east of the auto parts store where a building currently stands but it will be removed to create parking. It is expected transfer documents will be reviewed by County Attorney Hayes and final County action will be taken in March.
The hay bid resulted in an adjustment clarifying rent is paid annually, rather than once during the five-year term. The lease was approved, subject such modification.
The Commissioners discussed several matters including Senate Bill 10-48 which Chairman Rasmussen felt did not really help homeowners and is not actually a tax reduction. The Governor has moved the state to Stage 2 with new Covid cases decreasing. Chairman Rasmussen stated the County previously averaged one new case per day and the hospital has one Covid patient.
The second shot of vaccine is reported to have more side effects than the first according to Assessor Dunford and others. Masks and social distancing are still recommended. Rasmussen wondered about continuing Zoom meetings and felt doing so would be advantageous. Inspector Wayne Davidson did not attend the meeting due to a slip on the ice which separated muscle from bone and he will recover at home for six to eight weeks but will continue answering calls and working. His report showed nine permit fees received totaling $1,345.48. Commissioner Payne is working through warranty issues on the new building such as heat and sound, and the handicapped door opener is installed. The County maintains a hold-back payment until resolution of after-construction problems.
Spencer Bailey displayed a map of Fish Haven Canyon property which abuts BLM land. He proposed moving the snowmobile trailhead to a one-acre area where a new trailhead with parking for approximately 14 trucks pulling 16’ trailers plus turn-around space will be installed. Simultaneously, the developer will improve the roadway along its southern edge to county standards and requested the County thereafter take over winter maintenance for that additional 1200’. He mentioned previous plans now discarded, due to the expense of connecting to the sewer district, so the project is reduced to two homes which will be built for rental purposes and will remain under the developer’s ownership. Mr. Bailey and his colleagues funded Christmas lighting in St. Charles and they plan similar supportive activities. Commissioner Jensen was assigned to visit Fish Haven Canyon and to return with a recommendation, possibly during a special meeting in two weeks, when a decision can be made.
With an introduction by Mitch Poulsen, County Planning Administrator, the Commissioners expressed support but opted to address fee schedule adjustments after the legislature adjourns. The Commissioners unanimously approved the Phase 4.1 Preliminary Plat for Aspen Creek Meadows.
Bill Rich proposed contracting with the County for hauling and delivery of trash from various locations, rather than using the County’s equipment for all locations. It was suggested he contact the Regional Landfill authority inasmuch as the County no longer conducts solid waste removal.
The Commissioners moved to the report by Scott Esquibel, County Superintendent. He cautioned that roads between Paris and Montpelier remain impacted by blowing snow. Plows had been working since 4 a.m. Saturday. He asked that residents identify road problems so that plows can be dispatched to areas of greatest need. He explained the plow drivers work four days of ten hours each and reiterated he relies on residents’ reports to assign routes. Mr. Esquibel noted that the timeframe for constructing the Jericho Loop bridge is June to November and he would like a closure notification issued. A search is underway for used equipment to replace worn-out vehicles, such as dump trucks, using previously-approved funding. Chairman Rasmussen reiterated his “soap-box” concerning the state buying new equipment every two years while counties utilize the state’s old equipment for another 5-10 years. Mr. Esquibel anticipates the East Shore road – not the Dingle Road – will be improved to the same standard as Utah’s eastern lakeside road. Commissioner Jensen had reservations about grants for such improvements if the money is first spent then reimbursed, creating a budget strain.
An executive session under Idaho Code 74-206(1) was held to discuss (b) county officers or employees, (d) records exempt from disclosure and (f) pending or imminently likely litigation. At the conclusion, approximately ten liens were unanimously released upon a motion and second. Attorney Hayes will follow up on planning and zoning matters.
Rocky Mountain Environmental Consultants enumerated their expertise in adjudication proceedings which will be relevant during Bear River Adjudication expected to commence this year and could continue ten years. The process inventories all water rights in the basin and it is imperative that water claims be thoroughly documented to prove the earliest date of use.
Gary Teuscher presented the audit and quickly explained several pages where questions may arise. In sum, he said, “Nothing major stood out.”
Jared Norton provided information concerning an equipment building at the airport with a grant application to cover costs. The grant application was e approved and signed.
Sherman Grandy requested the County hold a meeting at which residents may express their views on preserving or demolishing the former courthouse. He was advised three elections had been held on a new courthouse but a super majority had not been attained, even though a simple majority had voted affirmatively. In addition, many public input community meetings were held. Cheryl Searle, Julia Oxarango-Ingram and Laurie Rich read letters supporting preservation or gave their view that the courthouse’s historic nature and its’ potential for community betterment are paramount. Inasmuch as the item was not slated as an “action item,” Chairman Rasmussen explained no decision could be made regarding the meeting request.
Alan Eborn noted that Pfizer vaccines were administered over two days and he was impressed by the smooth operation at Jericho Gym where approximately 250 shots were given. The second shot is expected in three weeks. The County will thereafter await additional vaccine while other counties receive doses then available.