Lemhi County Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate's picture


Based on recent reports of a City Hall renovation project, members of the Lemhi County Library District’s Board of Directors were getting nervous over disconnect expenses regarding separating the old library building from the City Hall Building. At the Salmon City Council’s February 7 meeting District Board member and Library Director Ramona Combs-Stauffer expressed the board’s concerns and was assured the district would be consulted as to any disconnect expenses as the process progresses.

Last year the city agreed to donate the city-owned property under the old library building to the Library District pending on-going legal negotiations which specify that in return for the land the district will pay for the building disconnection costs. The District owns the building. A portion of the library building existed as part of City Hall before the library was built and with the city’s permission it was used as office space for the library. By previous agreement, that original portion was returned to the city when the library vacated the building and will now accommodate the new City Hall office space being planned. 

Severing the two buildings will involve removal of shared electrical, plumbing and mechanical installations and filling in two openings between the buildings. Until it is determined what plumbing goes where and the cost to remove those pipes only a preliminary disconnection cost estimate of $26,542.64 has been delivered. City Attorney Fred Snook told Stauffer and the other district representatives in attendance that getting the preliminary estimates was only a step towards preparation of a document which will include an itemized list all the expenses and provide details as to payment responsibilities.

It was comments about city remodel plans that sparked the evening’s confusion and district request for a line-item summary of expenses to make sure the Library District was not being charged for city renovations.

It was further explained the $47,085 figure released that evening applies only to the renovations on the city side of the connecting wall and only to the city’s building needs, not the district. The council and district were asked to consider the City Hall remodeling and the connecting wall as basically two separate projects. 

City Clerk Mary Benton said a difference between the first and second remodeling bids received by the city was due to shelving not being part of the first bid. She said she couldn’t see the point of extra storage room without shelving therefore; shelving was added to the estimate. The remodeling costs are under the amount at which the state requires a bidding process.

As to financing the City Hall offices remodel, City Finance Director Amy Fealko reminded the council the current budget already contains $20,000 specifically designated for that project. Another $30,000 is needed to cover the remodeling cost plus architectural fees which, if approved, could be taken from the city’s Contingency Fund. Councilor Jim Baker made a motion to approve the $30,000 expenditure and to make the necessary transfer of funds. The council approved unanimously.

Details of line-item costs related to disconnection of the shared services will be outlined in the document that will be prepared by Snook when all the disconnection cost estimates are completed.

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