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The Bear Lake County Commissioners held their monthly meeting on Mar. 9, 2020. All members of the commission were present, and Attorney Adam McKenzie was also in attendance.

Chairman Vaughn Rasmussen called the meeting to order. The agenda was approved with no changes.

Trish Poulsen was not in attendance, so Cindy Garner, County Clerk, brought to the commissioner’s attention Parcel No. 1452 and the need for them to sign the tax cancellation of $508. A motion was made and passed to do so.

Commissioner Brad Jensen brought up the fact that regarding the new regional landfill, US Bank asked if they can do the long-term loan as well as the bridge loan. Timeframe for the bond going through is about 60 to 90 days.

Commissioner Rex Payne then mentioned that he attended the Eurasian Water Milfoil meeting. Utah has reported they have it on almost every small marina on the west side and the south end of the lake. It will be sprayed for in June when water reaches 50 degrees. Idaho doesn’t have it anywhere south of Twin Falls and plans to test and survey about 13,000 acres of Bear Lake.

Commissioner Payne also talked to the Extension office, and they are requesting to rent the Allred Center every week for karate. Adam told them they need a liability waiver, which he will create as a generic form because there are other entities that also rent the building.

Commissioner Payne also spoke with Beverly Petty from the University of Idaho, our county extension agent. The Bear Lake County Fair will be Aug. 11 through the 15. They want to put two concession stands out for bid, and Adam will work on a form to do that.

Commissioner Payne and Clerk Garner also spoke with Jared Ricks regarding a complaint. They need to have contracts with each of their conflict council representatives. Adam is working on this.

He also spoke of some of the ways he had been working on to use the $25,000 they had given towards work on the courthouse.

County Sheriff Bart Heslington spoke with the commissioners regarding the fact that they are in the process of hiring right now, and doing interviews that morning. They hoped to have an offer extended by the end of the week.

In general action items, a motion was made and passed to ratify the claims presented. Also, the minutes from the Feb. 10 meeting were approved. The Amendment to Ordinance #78-01, Prohibit Unauthorized Maintenance of County Roads, was discussed. Some revisions were made to the ordinance adding prohibition for snow removal. A sentence was added that says, “The prohibition shall not include necessary snow removal by persons, partners, corporations, of any part of a right-of-way between the end of a private drive or roadway to the surface of the county road or right-of-way.” After that was added, there was a conversation about the fact that some people have been given permission to plow those roads in the past. So, a section was added that requires the following: “Any snow removal or maintenance unless otherwise specified will have to be on a permit.” A permit was approved that will last one year. The idea would be that year to year they could monitor as they go. They wanted to add one thing to the permit that was in reference to the fences, so on No. 8, they added: “Fences, ditches, and culverts will be kept functional during or upon completion of snow removal or snow plowing operations. Any damage done to fences, ditches, or culverts or damage which would impair their proper use would be immediately repaired or replaced.” There is no cost to this. The permit can be revoked at any time, and they have to comply with any requirements. This deals mostly with people who are moving in up canyons and they just go ahead and start plowing and tear the road up. This way they will do it to the county’s requirements and repair anything they harm. It was decided they needed to add a width to the road, so on No. 10, it was added: “…..and provide 16 feet in width or the width of the road, whichever is greater.” Apr. 13 was picked for the date of the hearing, from 1 to 3 p.m., last on the agenda.

Regarding the Kunz/Dingle Road, Resolution 2020-03, Vacate Road in Dingle/Wardborough, since a hearing was held in the last meeting, a motion was made and passed in this meeting to adopt the resolution. They did not rename the other two roads. This will be done in the Apr. 16 meeting.

Regarding the Conflict Council Contracts, it was noted that there is a separate contract for every council hired. Adam thinks this is not necessary and has tried to get more information. He will keep trying.

Wayne Davidson gave a report on the new courthouse. He said the cabinets are in, most of the painting is done, the carpet layer was in that morning, bathroom toilets are set in place, and the tile is done. Also Twisted Technology, the company that does the phone lines and wiring, has been in. They also do the Supreme Court wiring. Molding has slowed down a bit because of some fiberglass moldings that are custom made for the building in Florida. They did not send enough corners. The bulletproof rostrum is up, and the flooring guys would be coming in. All the wires are pulled for the cameras, of which there will be 34. He did mention there will need to be a plan for custodial work as it is a bigger building than the old courthouse. He also reported as far as building inspection, there have been three new residences and a lot of plans and questions for garages.

Mitch Poulsen, the Planning and Zoning Administrator, spoke with the commissioners regarding a rezoning request. The location is the road that is the turn-off to Pegram. A gentleman wants to rebuild his house that was flooded and made unlivable. Planning and Zoning is asking that zoning be changed from agriculture to rural zoning. The commissioners said that it sounds reasonable and a motion was made and passed on the zoning recommendations.

Jeff Sorensen of Keller Engineers spoke about the County’s Road Standards. The county has been given a recommendation by Keller for new standards. With the exception of cattle guard turnaround widths, the commissioners were very accepting of the recommendations. It was put on the agenda for the April meeting with the addition, and a public hearing will be set up.

Craig Schaar, Bear Lake West POA, requested that the county create a permanent fix on Mountain Way, which he outlined and the commissioners accepted.

Alan Eborn of Emergency Planning presented the board with his recommendations of what they should do in anticipation of the Coronavirus coming to the community. He noted the things he has ordered for emergency response teams, and talked about what the commissioners can do to protect the residents of Bear Lake County. He also mentioned that the courthouse is considered critical infrastructure and made a recommendation of how the staff can be protected by possibly working remotely using VOIP phones, even having video arraignments. He encouraged them to consider a very liberal sick leave policy and tell them that if they are sick, not to come to work. Chairman Rasmussen said, “That’s really hard because everyone could just say they are sick. Once they know that the policy is there, I could have everyone not show up for work tomorrow.” Mr. Eborn said, “That’s what you are going to be facing.” Clerk Garner said, “I would stay home anyway.” He also mentioned to the Sheriff that the Montpelier PD and the Georgetown PD are certainly critical staff and still need to do their jobs. They don’t want them sick. Some can connect remotely from their laptops, some can’t. These are the guidelines for them. He also recommended that the commissioners send out a public service announcement (which they have done as of publication of this newspaper). It was mentioned that people would like to know that there is a plan in place because we have so many visitors pass through here to the Trail Center, for example. “It’s not if, It’s when.” Real concern is for the emergency medical staff. Chairman Rasmussen said that the Health District already has a plan in place just like the Ebola plan. The 6th District has one. Mr. Eborn said that we do have a mass fatality plan in place.

After that, Scott Esquibel and Todd Transtrum showed that they had been working on the county road map. They have broken the big map down into 12 areas, creating a map for each of the 12 areas with numbered sections and a map enlargement key to help with particular areas. There is also detail of what roads are found on what map on Page 3, and Page 4 is each section blown up. There are also legends. The commissioners were exceptionally impressed. It was discussed that this will help with the public meetings and the fair when the public gets to look at them and help indicate if the roads are right or wrong.

The commissioners then went into executive session to discuss (a) to consider hiring a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent……, (b) To consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent, or public-school student, © To acquire an interest in real property not owned by a public agency, (d) To consider records that are exempt from disclosure as provided in chapter 1, title 74, Idaho Code, (e) To consider preliminary negotiations involving matters of trade or commerce……., (f) To communicate with legal counsel for the public agency to discuss the legal ramifications of any legal options for pending litigation, or controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely to be litigated……, (g) By the commission of pardons and parole, as provided by law, (h) By the custody review board of the Idaho Department of Juvenile corrections, as provided by law, (i) To engage in communications with a representative of the public agency’s risk manager or insurance provider to discuss the adjustment of a pending claim or prevention of a claim imminently likely to be filed……., (j) To consider labor contract matters authorized under Section 74-206A.

They then came back into regular session and discussed the lease again on the Allred Center, after which a motion was made to go back into Executive Session, at the request of Attorney Adam McKenzie, to discuss Item (f) once more.

After rejoining the regular session once again, no motions were made or passed as an outcome of either time in Executive Session.

At this time, Jared Norton was there from T-O Engineers for the bid opening for the Airport Rehab Project. Four bids were opened, with the bid from Jack Parsons being the lowest in the amount of $3,030,050. A motion was made to approve this bid based on Federal Approval.

Danny McClendon then spoke with them regarding airport snow removal. He mentioned that the main plow truck is inoperative because it put a rod through the case. He gave them the options that he recommended and the need to construct a new snow removal equipment building. After discussing all the options and the funds involved to do so, it was decided that the best thing would be to build the building first, then replace the equipment.

Amy Bishop of the Clerk’s Office spoke with the commissioners regarding an EMS Vehicle Grant Application. A motion was made and passed to sign the grant application.

Nate Bischoff talked about the fact that his family owns two acres and a cabin in the middle of land that his family sold to Dennis Hunzeker. Dennis is now leasing some of that land to a large family of over 100 siblings out of Davis County, Utah. They want to close off Sheep Creek Road and want to deny access even to Dennis during the winter months. Commissioner Rasmussen says he is pretty sure it is BLM property and Fish and Game takes care of that road. He will get hold of F&G.

Michael Murdock did not attend the meeting, so the Skinner Canyon Road Maintenance issue was not discussed.

Ed Lyon, Veteran’s Officer, spoke with the commissioners regarding an Idaho Gold Staff Family Memorial Monument that is being placed in the Portneuf Wellness Complex just off the Chubbuck exit near Pocatello. The benches are made of the same granite as the Vietnam War monument. It is national and each state is trying to get one. It is for all conflicts, not just the current one. If the county meets a $2,500 goal, they will get a star on the monument. Chairman Rasmussen also spoke with Mr. Lyon regarding the war memorial he wants to have next to the new courthouse. He will look into some things.

There were also no Board of Equalization or Road Standards items to discuss.

The meeting was then adjourned.

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