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County does its business

by DANIEL RADFORD
Staff Writer | October 12, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Bonner County commissioners’ weekly business meeting began with the consent agenda.

After lengthy public comment regarding a minor land division in the Coolin Wetland, the commissioners voted to approve the consent agenda, which included another minor land division and several invoices over $5,000.

Doug Patterson asked about the invoices over $5,000 from the Sheriff’s Office, which were primarily for radios, snow tires, software, commercial dryers, and the Idaho State Police pilot’s access program.

Next, Spencer Ferguson presented a motion for the Solid Waste Department to reject all bids received for the construction of sign improvements at several refuse disposal sites. The bids exceeded the estimation by double, which led Solid Waste to recommend the rejection of all bids so they can reduce the scope of the project.

Then, Tom Suddle from the marine division of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office brought an item for a winter contract to moor a patrol boat with the Holiday Shores Marina for a cost of $600 from Oct. 15 to March 31.

Susie Jensen of the Public Defender’s Office brought two motions to approve new contracts for two conflict public defenders. The contracts saw no change in pay and were rewarded to the two current conflict attorneys for the office, Kristen Pearson and Dana Bowes.

Airport manager Dave Schuck followed with an item to lease another hanger at Priest River airport for $200 a month, to go up to $212 a month for the second year.

Cindy Binkerd of Human Resources then brought a request to recruit for four positions: two legal assistants for the Public Defender’s Office, a heavy equipment operator for Road and Bridge, a DMV clerk, and a planning and preparedness coordinator for Emergency Management.

Next, Jason Topp brought an item to pay $17,500 for negotiation services from the Selected Negotiation Service LLC to begin the process of a right of way acquisition for a bridge on Rapid Lightning Road.

Then, County Clerk Michael Rosedale introduced two items. The first was to adjust the budget for the self-insured medical fund. The fund had a balance of zero at the beginning of this fiscal year. Rosedale said claims to the fund had exceeded the employee-employer contributions by over $40,000. He recommended moving $150,000 of ARPA funds to hold over the fund until the end of Oct. Next, Rosedale introduced an item for the acceptance of over $1 million from the federal government to help the county meet its jurisdictional obligations.

Lastly, Bill Wilson brought an item from the Prosecutor’s Office to reinstate attorney Heather Lakely, who had left the office due to a disagreement with county officials. Wilson mentioned the need for her in the office, with regards to caseload. McDonald said she was an adversarial party to the county and that he was not comfortable hiring someone who had threatened the county. McDonald specifically cited her previous emails to the commissioners as unprofessional.

McDonald ultimately came around, recognizing her prior good work for the county as well as the taxpayer interest to hire someone who was already familiar with the office and the ongoing caseload.

All motions passed. Commissioner Jeff Connolly was not in attendance for this meeting. Bonner County’s next business meeting will be held Tuesday Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. at the County Administration Building at 1500 U.S. 2 in Sandpoint.