Rep. Gibbs visits Dayton

Rep. Marc Gibbs provided an update on various issues pertaining to the state legislative session during the Dayton City May council meeting. He noted that it was the third longest in the state’s history, because the Medicaid expansion voted for in the last election, had to be codified into law. 

Rep. Gibbs also reported that a dam on Trout Creek is under discussion as a way of keeping water levels on the Bear River and in Bear Lake. Since the lake spans the border between Idaho and Utah water permits had to be filed jointly with the two governments. That said, one of Rep. Gibbs final remarks on the subject was that increased demand for water is predicted to cause a shortage by the year 2040  in the entire Bear River Basin: i.e. Bear Lake, Caribou and Franklin Counties.

The last thing he had to report on was Idaho’s rapid expansion rate. At present Idaho is the fastest growing state in the union. Rep. Gibbs attributed that to retirees coming from states like California and Alaska where the cost of living is higher, to Idaho since the housing market is far cheaper. He pointed out that the hundreds of thousands of dollars a person has locked up in their tiny California house can build their dream house in Idaho.

Before leaving Rep. Gibbs asked if there were any questions or comments. Dayton’s water manager Aaron Beutler took this moment to remark on the dysfunctions of the current grant application process. 

Under the current system those communities with the greatest needs get the most money, which is good until some of those communities game the process and just let their systems wear down, thereby artificially inflating their need over communities that are responsible with their equipment. 

Rep. Gibbs agreed with Beutler saying that the grant process is in need of an overhaul because it tends to hemorrhage funds. Rep. Gibbs said fellow legislator, and one time pharmacist, Alex Adams has seemingly made it his life’s mission to rework and streamline Idaho’s various rule books. He has already done so in Idaho’s State Board of Pharmacy and as the new Budget Chief for the entire state he will be as he said “deleting two rules and adding one.”

With his business concluded Rep. Gibbs bid the council good night and left, allowing the council to move onto Michael Hansen’s request for a residential water hook-up conversion, not an application. At present the property Mr. Hansen owns has a perpetual stock water hook-up, which he wants changed over to a residential hook-up. When questioned if he was planning on moving up to the property he said that he had no concrete plans as of yet. The council will review the issue and give Hansen their response in June.

On Mr. Hansen’s way out he bumped into a number of new arrivals, the County Commissioners. They presented information on a new addition to the county courthouse. The county’s building inspector, Randy Henrie will be the general contractor for the project, for which they are seeking a bond to raise the $2.9 million needed to build the addition. They said a grant would double the price of the addition. By bonding for the project the county will have greater control over the construction and budget.For example, said Henrie, the new health building on First South in Preston, cost just over a $250,0000 dollars. The City of Soda Springs borrowed the blue prints for the building but their health department is going to cost them just under $750,000 because they contracted out what Franklin County will do itself. 

Henrie also emphasized that the main focus of the project is safety. He recounted Dayton City’s long-time secretary Elva Atkinson’s experience, with her sister, of attempting to use the county elevator. When the doors opened, they were greeted by an empty shaft because the elevator car was not there. 

Furthermore, the only handicap accessible bathrooms in the building are in the basement. The building will be turning 80 this year, and the commissioners are hoping for the city’s support.

Dayton’s City Council reviewed their trip to Weston’s new water tank and Aaron Beutler had some criticism of the system saying that it would require more supervision than would be needed with different equipment. The council has begun soliciting engineers for their Water Facilities Planning Study. Applications for the position are due by May 30. A full formal announcement will be in printed in The Preston Citizen.

With the Legislative session now closed the city has its budget for the year. It’s good that they now have funds to work with; it’s bad that they don’t have much to work with. Dayton city’s coffers have around $97,000 for the year. The council found it funny that in the breakdown of where the money is coming from the major contributor was liquor.

The meeting dates for the council from now to the end of the year have been tentatively set. Those dates are, June 13, July 11 (budget hearing prep.), Aug. 8 (budget hearing), Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14, and Dec. 12. All meetings as planned will take place at 7 p.m.

On a final note the grand master for Dayton’s Fourth of July Celebration is… still a secret. Although asked nicely, city officials wouldn’t reveal the name.