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Commissioners allocate over $1 million, apply for $319K in WIF grants

by ANNISA KEITH
Staff Writer | January 27, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Bonner County commissioners saw a grant application-filled agenda, along with routine expenditures and records destruction.

The county applied for $319,413 in grant funding from the Waterways Improvement Project, $261,913 sum coming from outside the county. The meeting began with commissioners approving the consent agenda consisting of two minor land divisions, $9,200 for a trailer for the Road & Bridge Department, and $187,741 for remounting a Ford F-450 4x4 to be used as an ambulance.

“We were able to re-use our box so we saved the taxpayers about $30 to $40 grand,” Commissioner Dan McDonald said.

The Clerk’s Office introduced the first item of the meeting asking the commission to approve $1,043,267.31 of routine expenditures spent by the county and Emergency Services. Expenditures allow for the county to provide basic, standard services to people in the county.

The commission unanimously approved.

Waterways brought two action items before the commission, both seeking permission to apply for grant funding. The first is an application for $130,000 from the Waterways Improvement Fund to be used for Lakeview breakwater repair. In order to qualify for the grant money, the county will need to match 5% of the funds, a total of $6,500.

“The breakwater is vital to public safety on Lake Pend Oreille,” said Pete Hughes for the Waterways Department.

The second application for grant funds will also be submitted to the Waterways Improvement Fund, this time for $70,000. Funds are intended to be used for a crew pick-up truck for the department. The Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation would provide $50,000 of funds, and the county will provide the remaining $20,000 in order to qualify for receiving the funds. County dollars will come from the Waterways budget. This was not an unanticipated acquisition.

“This is boater registration fees that pay for this. This is yearly grant funds we put in for every year,” Commissioner Jeff Connolly said.

The commissioners unanimously approved both grant applications.

The Sheriff’s Office marine division brought two grant funding applications before the commission, seeking approval.

The first for $47,250 from the Waterways Improvement Fund to replace two aging motors on one of the department's marine vessels. In order to qualify to receive funding, the county will need to contribute $15,000.

The second grant application will be sent to the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation, and the Waterways Improvement Fund requesting $72,163 for a towable sonar device.

“This is equipment that is used to locate people or objects in water. It is essential to our dive team to process timely recovery and rescue operations.”

The county will need to contribute $16,000 in order to qualify for receiving funding.

Commissioners approved both items.

The Assistance Department asked the commission’s approval to destroy indigent office records. The records have been kept for the statutory five years. Commissioners approved the document destruction.

The Road & Bridge department brought two items before commissioners. The first was a request to advertise for bids to replace three motor graders. The second was a resolution asking for the commission’s approval allowing the department to implement road restrictions when necessary.

“This is procedural as per state standard,” McDonald said.

Commissioners approved both items.

The Facilities Department requested approval for fixing the elevator in the county administration building costing $9,515. The equipment will be purchased from Schindler Elevator Corporation. Commissioners unanimously approved the request.

The Board of County Commissioners brought two items before the commission. The first declared a state of emergency in the Arrowhead Ranch Water Association district where 27 residents have been experiencing a water shortage since March 2020.

The second item presented to the commission was hiring Hayden Ross, a professional limited liability company, to conduct an audit of all of the county’s departments. Third-party audits are crucial to maintaining government accountability and transparency regarding financial transactions. The audit will cost $51,000.

Commissioners approved the engagement letter.

Shortly after, McDonald recessed the meeting before reconvening for executive session. Five items were discussed. Two action items were brought by the Human Resources department. The first was a discussion-decision regarding hiring, the second was a discussion-decision regarding personnel.

Technology brought two action items before the commission. The first was an annual maintenance renewal of $15,060.54. The second was to purchase laptops for $17,072.45

Commissioners went on the record to approve both technology contracts. According to information from Webster, the contracts were discussed in executive session because it would be a security risk to the office if the information was made public.

The final item discussed in executive session was a discussion-decision regarding litigation that the county is involved in.

The board of county commissioners hold meetings every Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the administration building at 1500 U.S. 2. Those interested in remotely attending can do so via Zoom, or by watching the livestream on Bonner County’s YouTube page where a record of previous meetings can also be viewed.