Idaho Falls Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate News

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MONEY MATTERS 10-18-17 LMS

City Finance Director Amy Fealko presented the October 18 meeting of the Salmon City Council with a preliminary summary of the fourth quarter FY2017 report.

With the fiscal year one hundred percent complete General Fund revenues are at 91.3 percent of projections and expenditures are at 87.3 percent.

She said focusing on the city’s top four revenues is a way to get an excellent understanding of the revenue picture since they account for 90 percent of the total General Fund Revenues.

The top four are property taxes, sales taxes, revenue sharing and liquor revenue coming in at a total of $1.3 million which was just over the projected budget.

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SIGN OF THE TIMES 10-18-17 LMS

The local Air Quality Advisory Steering Committee has recommended that a digital sign be installed somewhere on Main Street to advise drivers of current air quality conditions. The exact location has yet to be decided.

At the October 18 meeting of the Salmon City Council Ryan Rossi, Regional Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Air Quality Monitoring Coordinator, said the current favorite site is at the west end of the Main Street Bridge where the Salmon Arts Council sign is located. Rossi added the sign can also be used to advertise community events and would be larger than the present Arts Council sign which could be incorporated into the new sign. Councilman Jim Bockelman is a member of the Air Quality committee and he agreed that is a good location since it accesses the Bar Hill population. 

The previous idea of incorporating the new digital into the old Deluxe Motel sign has been discarded due to research done by City Clerk Mary Benton and acting City/County Planning and Zoning Administrator Teresa Morton. Benton told the council the old sign is in the state’s right-of-way and according to the state it is the owner’s responsibility to remove it. She also said it could be in the way of future Americans with Disabilities Act access.

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ORDINANCES & RESOLUTIONS 9-20-17 LMS

The long awaited opportunity to sell purchased but no longer needed cemetery burial plots back to the city is now available due to passage of the Conveyance of Cemetery Plots Ordinance adopted at the Salmon City Council’s September 20 meeting. Due to the months of discussion preceding the vote, the three -reading rule applied to ordinances was waived and the ordinance was passed on its first reading.

Details of a transaction under Ordinance 17-826 include; the seller being able to establish proof of ownership and executing a deed giving rights to burial back to the city. The amount to be paid to the seller is set by Resolution 2017-5 which was also passed by the council.

The minimum amount paid for a right to burial plot will be $200 or a maximum of the amount paid at the time of the purchase, whichever is greater.

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IMPROVEMENT NEEDED 9-25-17 LMS

In its annual budget summary Steele Memorial Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Jim Peterson told the Lemhi County Commissioners the report is not as positive as hoped but 2019 will be better.

The Monday, September 25, commissioner’s meeting was also attended by Chief Executive Officer Jeanie Gentry, Hospital Board Secretary Treasurer Kristin Troy and all members of the Steele Memorial Medical Center Hospital Board.

Gentry said the hospital has accomplished a lot during the past year, is looking forward to accomplishing more this coming year and, to not having another building project for a while. She said the budget has been reviewed with the hospital board and that she recommends it be approved by the commissioners.

Peterson said the focus for the coming year will be to modify current operations so that 2019 will be a better year than what is projected. He said a lot of ‘fixes’ have had to be done and he wishes he’d known about some of them before the new building project.

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9-20-17 LMS

The City of Salmon has a code that calls for a 20 foot clear vision triangle at all street intersections and a clear vision triangle of 15 feet at all driveways. 

Larry and Laura Zuckerman were informed by the City of Salmon Planning and Zoning Department that their trees were in violation of that code. They, along with acting City/County P&Z Administrator Teresa Morton, discussed the situation with the Salmon City Council at its September 20 meeting.

Zuckerman explained the trees were planted14 years ago to protect their house after a near miss incident with an out-of- control, drunk driver. The trees have since grown into an unused portion of a city right-of-way and are causing a visual obstruction. Discovery of the encroachment on city property came from the investigation into the visual obstruction complaint. Larry Zuckerman proposed to the council that the city retain its right-of-way but allow the trees to remain where they are. The trees are not in the roadway but are two to three feet into the city’s right-of-way.

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9-20-17 LMS

The Salmon City Council signed on to a number of agreements and Memorandums of Understandings at its September 20 meeting.

A yearly Professional Services Agreement with Denyce Bigley and the Salmon Outdoor School was unanimously approved by the council. Sacajawea Center Director Lin Gray explained the one change in the agreement since last year was that overnight school event programs will be allowed at the center when they do not conflict with the regular Summer schedule. Fees collected by the Outdoor School for the overnights may be used to cover program costs and 30 percent of fees in excess of expenses will go to the city.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the county and city for Planning and Zoning Administration services was approved with praise for the services the city is receiving. Salmon City Clerk Mary Benton made the comment the $12,000 per year fee has been worth every cent.

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9-20-17 LMS

Following lengthy Salmon City Council discussion a motion was made that the city donate the land and adjoining property under the old library to the Salmon Library District.

The September 20 motion was made by Councilman Russ Chinske contingent upon a good faith agreement that construction costs related to closing off adjoining walls and shared utility systems used by City Hall will be paid by the Library District. The association has always owned the building and had a one dollar per year lease arrangement with the city for the property on which the library was built.

Marynel Malcom, Chair of the Lemhi County Library District, acted as spokesperson for the district’s recent request to purchase the city owned land underneath the old library building.

Ann Loucks represented the Salmon Public Library Association and she gave a brief resume of the city’s long association with the library and history of building negotiations.

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Washington, D.C. – In the wake of historic wildfires in Oregon, Idaho, California, Washington and across the West, U.S. Sens. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced an updated version of their bipartisan wildfire funding solution that would protect desperately needed funding for fire prevention and treat wildfires as the natural disasters they are.

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2017 would end the destructive cycle of borrowing from fire prevention accounts to put out fires and stop the erosion of the Forest Service’s budget by reforming the way the federal government funds wildfires.

“The West is on fire, and it’s burning faster than years prior,” Risch said. “We need every resource available to prevent and combat the devastation caused by wildfires. This legislation would ensure those of us in the West can count on much-needed disaster funding.”

“Oregonians and westerners are battling another record-breaking fire year.

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