Idaho Falls Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate News


The Salmon City Council has tentatively approved the city’s proposed 2017-18 budget and a public hearing on that budget will be conducted at the July 19 City Council meeting.

City Finance Director Amy Fealko gave the council a brief overview of the tentative budget at its July 5 meeting. She said the budget total for next year is $4,952,237 which included a significant increase due to the council-approved sewer lift station upgrade. Engineering fees for the project will be $185,135 and actual construction costs will be around $1 million bringing the total to $1,185,135. Fealko said that as a result the sewer utility fund increased from this fiscal year’s $702,000 to almost $1.9 million.

She said estimated revenues will be $4,952,237. A summary of all state revenue funds shows funds have shifted somewhat since previous council budget meetings however, Fealko explained the overall total did not change.

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The series of sawhorses running parallel to State Highway 28 next to City Park were placed there to prevent drivers from peeling off the highway onto the frontage apron and heading for the park entrance at highway speed. .

Alternative barriers were discussed by the Salmon City Council during its June 21 meeting.

Councilman Jim Bockelman said the goal is to try and control traffic and traffic speed. He said the state wants to limit apron access by using posts planted at intervals along the highway. The posts would be spaced so that there would still be parking opportunities. Councilman Rob Jackson said he would rather see a fence erected along the highway. Council President Jim Baker said the ultimate solution would be curb and gutter all the way to the Sacajawea Center. Second to that he would prefer a fence. Councilmen Ken Hill would like to see a fence along with posts to prevent four-wheelers from using the bicycle path and Bockelman said he would rather see a guard rail or curb and gutter.

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A discussion item listed on the June 21 agenda of the Salmon City Council meeting was “Kid’s Creek Action Plan.” It was not specifically about the Kids Creek which flows through town, it was about what is feeding that creek and according to Council President Jim Baker the main source comes from the drainage ditch, better known as “Borrow Pit,” along US Highway 93 South. 

He told fellow council members he has driven south and found agricultural irrigation water from fields overflowing into the ditch as well as water from ditch companies located along the route. Baker said that in essence there is a four mile long ditch delivering water to Kids Creek and ultimately the city takes the brunt of the excess. . He said recent rain storms have been a reminder that there is the potential for a lot of water and he would like to know who is using the highway borrow pit for run off. He said the fact there is no diversion or relief ditch, for the water that flows north to the city, has never been addressed and he would like to see an engineering study done on that area.

Councilman Rob Jackson suggested the state be asked to look into the problem.

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In answer to resident questions about this year’s “Spray Days” County Weed Manager Jeremey Varley told the Lemhi County Commissioners, there won’t be any.

At the Monday June 26 meeting of the commissioners he said that as it stands now no spray days are scheduled, only Work Days which concentrate on specifically targeted noxious weed species. Varley told the board the Weed Department is picking one species of concern in specific areas and everyone in that area is welcome to participate in the work day.

He said many areas of work belong to absentee owners, and the county ordinance requiring property owners to eliminate any noxious weeds on their land, will be enforced. If the county has to do it the property owner will be billed for the work. Varley said that over the years local property owners have come to expect the county to supply the spray free of charge as well as to do the work.

As to why the Spray Days program was eliminated by the state it is because it was abused.

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The Salmon Challis National Forest has awarded a contract to complete the Corn Creek Ramp Improvement Project during the fall of 2017 with a proposed starting date of August 20. Work priorities associated with this project include parking lot improvements, ramp extensions and widening of a portion of the top of the boat ramp. 

During the project period, the Corn Creek Boat Ramp and Campground area will become a construction site and will be closed to the public.

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Acting City Planning and Zoning Administrator Teresa Morton informed the Salmon City Council at its June 21 meeting there were some errors in the technicalities pertaining to the vacation of Cooper Street. She said that in reviewing the Plats and Record of Survey, issues were found in the legal description and that no Amended Subdivision Plat had been filed indicating changes in the Benjamin Addition and the Highland Addition subdivisions.

Morton said she has spoken with Steve Frazee who originally requested the vacation and that he is happy to provide the legal documentation needed.

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Salmon Valley Hospice representative Cindy Clark has requested a Special Use Permit for property located at 120 State Street. Clark is proposing that the property, now known as the Salmon River Apartments, be granted a Special Use Permit so it can be used as a Hospice Care Unit. The Building Department sent her to the Public Works Team to check on the availability of city utility lines. 

According to Public Works Team Chairman and City Council President Jim Baker the team provided Clark with information on the existing city utilities. He said Public Works Superintendent Harry Shanafelt will check into the size of the existing water main on State Street and its present static main-line pressure. Baker said the location and size of the existing sewer line will also be checked. Building code requirements for the intended services will dictate the size requirements of sewer and water line service.

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By the year 2021 the Environmental Protection Agency and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality will be mandating that waters collected in city storm drains be treated before being released.

The city’s Public Works Team has been discussing ramifications related to the pending regulations as well as a growing list of downtown requests to hook into the city’s storm drain system. 

At the June 21 meeting of the Salmon City Council Public Works Team Chairman and Council President Jim Baker reported on topics the team has discussed so far which include creation of a graduated fee structure based on the amount of water discharged into the system from heating and cooling units and how to measure it. According to Councilman Ken Hill, a ten ton heat pump will discharge two tons of water. The amount of discharge is directly related to the size of pump which is why a graduated fee seems appropriate.

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