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Road equipment, spring parade focus of commissioner meeting

by ANNISA KEITH
Staff Writer | February 23, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — In a brief but productive weekly business meeting, commissioners allocated approximately $1,286,696.45 in routine spending, received $120,000 in grant funding from the Idaho Department of Lands, and approved Coolin's May 28 Spring Festival parade — amongst other items of business.

The commissioners approved the minutes from last week’s meeting before proceeding onto the main agenda.

The first item brought by the Clerk’s Office included county and Emergency Medical Services claims and demand batch spending totaling $1,187,996.45.

Claims and demand batch spending is any kind of cost or expense involving the county and third parties. This type of routine spending is essential to carrying out county maintenance and services.

Commissioners approved both action items.

Road & Bridge brought three items before the commission, the first seeking the board's approval to buy up to 10,000 cubic yards of sand from the Idaho Transportation Department. The purchase agreement would not exceed $9,800, and would allow the county to access and use the sand for two years.

‘In our efforts to keep the roads safe during winter, the county tends to put down a lot of sand for traction. That sand on the open market and getting it crushed in our rock crushing bids is pretty expensive,” said Matt Mulder, staff engineer for the department. “This is about 15- 20-times cheaper than if we were to buy and crush it ourselves, so it really is a good deal.”

The following item concerned summer’s upcoming asphalt projects. The county will begin advertising for asphalt bids on Camp Bay and Clagstone roads.

The final item from road and bridge secured five-year lease agreements with Papé Machinery in Ponderay for motor graders — at $88,900 per grader.

“These are a little bit different than how we normally purchase equipment,” Mulder said. “It’s a lease where there’s a price up front, and a guaranteed buy back price at the end of five years.”

Commissioner Jeff Connolly expressed support for the lease agreement.

“This is something that we do. We have now done for probably 10 years,” Connolly said. “We keep rotating those out and it keeps us in new graders that have really great prices.”

Commissioners approved all three action items.

The Treasurer’s Office brought two items before the commission, the first asking the commission to approve a Treasurer-auditor joint quarterly report.

The second asked the commission to allow the Solid Waste Department to accept credit cards at their office in the administrative building.

“It’s our credit card service that we use for many county departments. The Solid Waste Department would like to be able to accept credit cards at their counter downstairs, it’s not ready for use at the sites,” said Cheryl Piehl, county treasurer.

The agreement is between the county and Access Idaho, a private company owned by Tyler Technologies, and which focuses on digital government solutions and payments.

Commissioners approved both action items.

The Public Defender’s Office asked the commission to approve a contract change between personnel in the office.

“Our felony level conflict attorney is moving to California and can’t fulfill that contract anymore. There’s no additional money being allocated for this, it would just be a different provider,” Public Defender Susie Jensen said.

Jensen went on to describe the role of a conflict attorney.

“[A conflict attorney is for instances] where we get multiple defendants and we can’t represent both of them in the same office. Or if we get a case where we represent someone who is a witness in something else, or we have a conflict in representation — it is sent out to a conflict attorney, and they're paid at an hourly rate through our budget,” Jensen said.

Commissioners approved the contract.

Emergency Management brought one item before the commission asking to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Idaho Department of Lands to receive $120,000 in grant funding. The county will have to pay $12,000 of that sum in order to qualify for receiving the funds.

Funding will be used for hazardous fuel treatment in the Blanchard area in association with the bonfire program as a part of IDL’s Shared Stewardship Project. The item was approved by commissioners.

The Planning Department asked the commission to sign a resolution approving the vacation of a portion of North Thama Road in Priest River. The nearly three-quarter mile stretch of road is entirely within property owned by JD Lumber Inc. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the road vacation in December.

Commissioners decided to agree with the Planning and Zoning Commission, and signed the resolution vacating the road.

The main agenda ended with the commissioners approving a permit for a May 28 parade in Coolin in conjunction with the Priest Lake Spring Festival. The parade is expected to see an attendance of approximately 2,000 people.

Shortly after, McDonald recessed the meeting before reconvening for executive session with a four-item agenda.

Two items were brought by the Human Resources department, one regarding personnel, and another regarding hiring.

The Prosecutor’s Office brought an item before the commission regarding records exempt — meaning the subject matter is confidential.

The final item discussed litigation involving IDL about the Outlet Bay boat launch.

The board of county commissioners hold weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. Those interested in attending can find the meetings on the third floor of the administrative building at 1500 U.S. 2. Those interested in remotely attending meetings can do so via Zoom, or by watching a livestream of the meeting on Bonner County’s YouTube channel, where an archive of previous meetings can be viewed.

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