County gears up for summer spending


SANDPOINT — The commissioners have allocated $656,148.65 for various summer events and expenses, with the majority going toward boat inspections and gravel road treatment.

Commissioners began by approving the consent agenda containing three minor land divisions and the minutes of last week’s meeting.

Justice Services submitted an action item requesting approval from the commission to spend $6,415.25 on heating and air conditioning repairs for the department. The commissioners approved the request.

Emergency Management presented three items to the commission, the first of which was a resolution ending the local emergency regarding the Arrowhead Ranch water district in Cocolalla.

The local disaster was declared by the commission at the district’s request in January in order for the district to pursue opportunities to receive funding from state agencies. The neighborhood, serving 27 residents of Cocolalla, has been experiencing a water shortage since March 2020.

Arrowhead Ranch Water Association Inc. should not be confused with the well-known California-based brand Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality awarded a $15,000 drinking water planning grant to the district in June 2021.

Despite multiple unsuccessful attempts to seek input from district officials, emergency services officials advised the commission that there was “no longer a threat to life and property regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.” .

Note that there was no mention of the pandemic when the disaster was declared in January. It is unclear if the district was able to secure funding from state agencies or if the district is still experiencing a water shortage.

“Every time you make a statement, when it comes to an end, you have to end [the emergency,]said commissioner chair Dan McDonald.

Commissioners approved the end of the declaration of emergency.

The other two elements sought commission signatures for an agreement with the Idaho Department of Lands’ BONfire program.

Howard described hazmat as “anything six inches and under that would be a fire hazard, so the fire doesn’t climb trees and ignite fuels on the ground.”

“The BONfire program is a hazardous fuels treatment program so private landowners can request hazardous fuels treatment on their property – to help protect their property from wildfires and make it more sustainable,” said Bob Howard, director of emergency services. “All of this is funded by grants from the Ministry of Lands.”

“The private landowner comes to us,” Howard continued. “We are doing an appraisal on the property. Properties within the concession area, and if the land meets the guidelines, we draw up a project and all contractors will review the project and make offers to us. And then we will choose the right bidder for the project.

The agreements are between the county and Cobalt Land Management, and Echo Construction LLC for Wild Land Hazardous Fuels. Funding for the projects is covered by state agency grant funds.

In total, the grants will not exceed $100,000 for the two projects. The county does not have to contribute to the financing of the projects.

“I want to thank [staff] for working hard to do more of these projects and doing more field work,” Commissioner Jeff Connolly said. “I would say we are one of the most smug [counties] in the state to do work on the land. This is a good thing.”

Connolly provided examples for those involved in the project, including fairgrounds and private landowners in District 2 – the district he represents.

“The BONfire program is still there, and they’re doing public awareness.” said Connolly. “Yes [a landowner] has any issues, then we can come and look at it and work with it [the landowners] to get things going. »

The commissioners unanimously approved both points.

Road & Bridge proposed action to award a bid of nearly half a million dollars to EnviroTech Services for a contract that would supply 3,720 tons of magnesium chloride to the county.

Magnesium is an element of the periodic table that is abundant in nature. Magnesium is commonly used in the form of salt, called magnesium chloride, and is commonly used to treat gravel roads.

“It’s something we get every year,” Matt Mulder, for Road & Bridge, said on March 8. “We use magnesium chloride on our gravel roads to stabilize the material to prevent material loss and help control dust.”

Funding for this project will come from the ministry, which has been specifically earmarked for this expense. The Commissioners approved the award of the contract.

The airport presented two elements to the commission.

The first was an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration grant application. The application will request an additional $8,079, for an additional taxiway and apron design at Priest River Airport, bringing the total grant application to $105,977.

Airport manager Dave Schuck explained that the additional funds are due to unforeseen expenses for the project.

The county will need to contribute an additional $400 to meet grant matching requirements, bringing the county’s total to $7,675.

The second item presented to the commission was a work order for the project mentioned above.

“What we have is a master engineering contract with the engineering consultants at both airports,” Schuck explained.

The contracts will last for five years.

“Every time we have a project that comes up during that five-year period, there’s a specific scope of work and a work order for that specific project.” Schuck said. “It defines what they’re going to do and what it’s likely to cost. … It will be primarily funded by the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program.

The project is expected to cost $100,000, project engineers are to submit county-specific estimates in due course.

The commissioners approved both items, allowing the improvement project to move forward.

The Recreation Department has sought approval from the commission to move the Timber Days event to the West Bonner Park boat launch on Railroad Avenue in Priest River.

The commissioners approved the request. Closing will be July 30 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The final item on the public agenda came from the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office requesting a memorandum of understanding to inspect watercraft for invasive species.

“The Sheriff’s Office will provide all necessary personnel, equipment, and supplies in order to provide law enforcement services related to Idaho’s Invasive Species Inspection Protocol,” Deputy Sheriff Ror said. Lakeworld.

$154,779 will be allocated by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture for inspections.

According to information provided by Lakewold, people inspecting watercraft will be paid $50 per hour from April 15 through September 30 at the three checkpoints in Bonner County.

“Fifty dollars is a base rate that they pay to all counties for services. Our actual cost to deputy ministers is time and a half, which is well below $50 an hour. The rest is for administrative costs,” Lakewold said.

Commissioners approved the Memorandum of Understanding.

Shortly after, McDonald suspended the meeting before reconvening for an executive session where four items were discussed.

Two elements came from the human resources department, one concerning hiring and the other concerning personnel. The urban planning department brought an element concerning software. And finally, the district attorney’s office provided an item regarding ongoing litigation in which the county is involved.

The Board of County Commissioners holds public meetings every Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the Administration Building at 1500 US 2. Those interested in attending virtually can do so via Zoom. A live stream of the meeting can be viewed on the Bonner County YouTube page, where an archive of past meetings can be viewed.


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