Lemhi County Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate's picture


When the Local Option Tax (LOT) Ordinance was established by voters in the November 2009 election it had a designated lifespan of ten years which means the current LOT program will end next year.

During the Salmon City Council’s January 17 meeting Robin Watkins of the LOT Commission briefed the council on the program’s end dates and accomplishments. She said she will be supplying council members with a summation of how the over $700,000 in LOT funds have been used during the last decade. She also said the commission would like to publish a history of what the LOT funding has done in the community and conduct a survey of what sort of future local residents would like to see for the program. This would be in advance of going through the process of placing the LOT issue on the November 2019 ballot. 

Watkins asked for the council’s blessings to go forward with the commission’s informational project. A motion to that effect passed unanimously and informational news articles will begin appearing in March.

Councilor Jim Bockelman is on the Salmon Clean Air committee and he explained that the Department of Environmental Quality’s “Turn off your Engine” campaign is not a mandatory order. He said some businesses have complained to him about the resident habit of leaving cars running as they shop, resulting in the shop being filled with fumes. He wondered if the city would like to handle disbursement and promotion of the DEQ signs or if the committee should do it. Councilor Robin Phillips opted for the Clean Air Committee however the council wound up favoring the signs being made available at City Hall. 

Bockelman reiterated that threatening stories about “…’all this is an attempt to take wood stoves away,’ are definitely not the issue.” He said, “The Forest Service doesn’t want the wood stoves taken away. The BLM doesn’t want them taken away.” Bockelman said that what no one wants is to get the “non-compliance” air quality designation due to community complacency. He said the committee is looking into the EPA approved wood stove funding program used in Seeley Lake, Montana as well as other funding sources available for replacement of old, non-approved wood stoves. 

Bockelman invited the community to attend the Clean Air Committee’s Open House on Wednesday, January 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at City Hall. He said the informational Open House is being sponsored by the local Clean Air Committee in co-operation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. Questions are encouraged and welcome.

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