Friday, February 21, 2014

Clearwater Basin Collaborative gains support of City Council

By Elizabeth Morgan

Jeff Halligan spoke before Orofino City Council members regarding the Clearwater Basin Collaborative (CBC) at the regular meeting held Feb. 11.

Halligan shared additional information about the CBC and asked for the council’s support.

The organization was formed by Senator Crapo in 2008, to bring two very oppositional groups which have long struggled to agree how the Clearwater Basin should be maintained, managed, utilized and preserved. The Wilderness Society has been part of this collaborative effort since it started.

The CBC hopes to discover solutions for everyone involved by designating areas to meet all interests. Their mission is focused on four areas which are often controversial and many times, rest at the center of so little being resolved. These goals include working to support a strong and sustainable timber industry, providing for better motorized and non-motorized recreation opportunities, increasing jobs and funding for rural communities, and conserving back country values.

Halligan believes that a solution to meet all needs can be found and stated that although many support one far side or the other that a middle ground can be decided and negotiated upon meeting the wants and needs for all involved.

After a few questions and considerable discussion, the council unanimously agreed to support the CBC. Watch for more articles regarding the CBC in future issues of the Clearwater Tribune or visit for additional information.

Also under Petitions, Applications, Appeals and Communications, City Clerk Janet Montambo was recognized by the board for her recent designation of Master Municipal Clerk (MMC), awarded by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC), Inc. Montambo stated that the achievement was an honor and a goal which she had worked toward for many years.

Stacie Lee, on behalf of 2014 Senior Class of Orofino High School, informed the council that this year’s graduation party is planned to take place at the Orofino Elementary School after graduation on Saturday, June 7.

The traditional event which may extend into the wee hours of the next morning is chaperoned and well organized with the intent of providing graduating seniors a fun, memorable, safe and sober function to celebrate an important milestone with classmates.

Lee requested permission for use of the field lights at Orofino Elementary School for the Senior Class party illuminating the field and basketball courts until 2 a.m. on the morning of June 8. The request was approved unanimously by the council.

Work session report

The council met on Feb. 4 for the first work session, as a means for members and staff to discuss and attend to topics which were formally addressed by council committees. Rather than have just a few council members discuss and recommend a solution for the council to vote on at the regular council meetings, a work session brings the entire governing body together providing a more open environment and the opportunity for all members to more freely discuss the topics amongst each other.

No decisions are made at the work sessions, which are open to the public and held the first Tuesday of the month in Council Chambers at City Hall. Items discussed at the work sessions, are voted on at the regular meetings, held the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month.

Of 10 items listed on the work session agenda, all were discussed but only three were reported at the regular meeting held Feb. 11. Other topics will be discussed further as additional information is collected.

One of the main items on last week’s work session agenda was whether or not to continue the annual Curb Appeal Contest. Due to a small number of participants in the past two years, it was decided to discontinue the contest. Council members however, felt it was still important to acknowledge those residents who worked to enhance the landscaping and beautify their homes and ultimately their neighborhood, with letters of recognition.

Another item on the agenda which received much attention was resolving the growing problem of cigarette butts littering the sidewalk and storefronts of certain businesses in town. One solution discussed was to provide locking cigarette receptacles in the areas which seem to have the worst problem. Unfortunately, the receptacles designed to be bolted down and easily emptied by the public works crew are not cheap; each was priced in the neighborhood of $160.

Presently, the Community Beautification Fund budget for such items would purchase one container. The question then, was where would it be placed to serve the most good? The council chose to explore other options for cigarette disposal before making a decision. In the meantime, perhaps smokers could use a little more discretion as to where they toss their butts. It’s only a matter of common courtesy and a little common sense.

Discussion has reopened about a suitable location to erect a community message board. Currently the power pole at the four-way stop seems to be the most popular location, but throughout the year, drivers will hold up traffic while writing addresses down for yard sales or other events before proceeding through the intersection.

In previous discussions regarding a message board, the Rotary club indicated that if the city would purchase the materials, they would construct and install it as one of their projects. One possible location for a message board is located on county property next to Dr. Lundgren’s optical office. The city would need to set up an appointment with Clearwater county commissioners to request if the property might be used for a community message board.

Departmental reports

City Administrator Rick Laam reported to the council on the city’s progress of the application to FAA for the construction of a new terminal at the Orofino airport. The application process should be finalized in the first part of May, and once completed the project will move quite quickly. It is feasible to believe that a new terminal will be in place by the end of this fiscal year. If not, the project would carry over into the first part of 2015.

Other news from the city’s administrator was the announcement board members of the Konkolville Water District to attend and meet with city council members at the next Council Work Session on March 4.

Laam also delivered an update to the council for Chief of Police Jeff Wilson, who was not able to attend the Feb. 11 meeting. The police department’s new drug tracking dog was acquired Feb. 14. The firm that trained the new dog for Orofino, kept her a little longer than usual to make sure she will be a good fit for the department. Casey will receive a more formal introduction in the near future.

Other news regarding the grant submitted through State Farm Insurance for funding for the city park’s surveillance camera was denied for this year. Wilson continues to seek other options for funding to acquire the equipment.

Last but not least in the department’s recent activities, Mayor Ryan Smathers commended the officers in their participation against the Orofino High School girls’ basketball team where in spite of their efforts and in front of a packed house, “got their butts kicked.”

The Treasurer’s report from Pam McGuffie was brief, which included payroll, bills and additional bills as well as a recap report of airport fuel purchased from Jan. 2010 to the present.

Building Official Todd Perry informed the council of a Public Hearing scheduled for the next Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 18, concerning the proposed amendment to the Comprehensive Plan of the Future Land Use Map.

Perry also mentioned that he had made contact with Warren Watts, the designer for the new 10,000 square foot AAA Precision Tools building to be constructed on Hwy. 7. Perry also had communication with the Idaho Transportation Department regarding the new business. At this time, it does not appear that the activity at the business will affect the traffic on Hwy. 7 or influence the proposal of a future turn lane for the hospital’s new clinic.

Lastly, the Building Official submitted January Building Permits.

Supervisor John Barton for Public Works announced that in addition to the department’s routine maintenance freezing weather required heat lamps to placed on the master tanks. Public Works crews had been out plowing snow all weekend of Feb. 8 and 9, and with rain predicted to follow, the crews would proceed with the clearing of storm drains to accommodate all the extra water. Ditches will need to be monitored as well, once the snow begins to melt.

Water/Wastewater supervisor Mike Martin reported that most of the work on the water plant was taking place on the interior of the plant. There was a rather unexpected predicament of the temporary intake pipes floated out of the water when the extreme cold caused the river to freeze. Workers had to pour concrete around the pipes in order to hold them in place.

Other news from Martin included a report from the Wastewater plant where workers had spent much of their time catering to the belt press. It appears that the aging piece of equipment is in worse shape than first believed. The facility may have to contemplate their replacement at a later date.

Fire Chief Mike Lee has not been present at the last few council meetings due to unexpected complications of his health. It was reported that he is home from the hospital, but is still in need of additional time to recover.

Ordinance revisions

The council was presented the third reading of Ordinances 777, 778 and 779, regarding Beer Regulations, Liquor by the Drink, and Wine Regulations, respectively. Mark Swayne had questioned the validity in several areas of the ordinances which seemed to be outdated. After consulting with the city’s attorney and state codes, the areas of concern were updated and adopted by the council. The specific changes made to the ordinances will be announced and legally posted by the city in the near future.

Council comments

Council member Swayne suggested that perhaps unanswered questions could be assigned to individuals at the city’s work sessions to assist in more efficient and timely resolutions of work session topics.

Public comments

Tristan Harvey commended John Barton and the Public Works crew for their excellent job of snow removal of the city‘s roads and close attention to the public’s safety during the extreme weather this past week.

Harvey also commended the staff and council members for their efforts at the Feb. 4 work session.

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