Sunday, December 10, 2023

Busy agenda faces Sandpoint council

Staff Writer | April 19, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Tonight’s council meeting has a full agenda covering multiple issues and proposals from a rezoning request to an increase in police salary.

At the meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m., the council will discuss several proposals and issues, including the renewal of an agreement to maintain the control of noxious weeds in the Selkirk Cooperative Management Area.

Specifically, the proposal would renew the memo of understanding, a document that not only outlines the handling and control of noxious weeds but who is included in the agreement. The agreement has been reviewed by city staff and legal teams who recommended approval. If approved, it will be valid until Sept. 2028.

A big ticket item on the agenda is a public hearing on a rezoning request to convert three parcels located between Pine Street and Boyer from commercial to mixed-use residential. The request comes at the behest of the property owners, who own a church and would like to convert the building into a single-family dwelling. Due to the current zoning, a permit to do so cannot be approved with rezoning the property. The Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the request at its March 7 meeting.

Following the public hearing, the Divison Avenue Corridor improvement project could move forward with its first phase. Council will consider approving the “project scope,” which outlines the specific details of the project, and directs city staff to begin the process of finalizing documents to seek bids.

This project comes after a 2018 study that showed several areas of concern regarding user safety along Division from U.S. 2 to Spruce Street. The necessary improvements were then absorbed into the Multimodal Transportation Master Plan and classified as a pedestrian priority route. The priorities of the plan aimed to improve pedestrian safety identified in the 2018 study, with a heavy focus on students heading to and from school.

The city won a $250,000 grant from Local Highway Technical Assistance

Council to fund the construction which includes a traffic calming measure called a

“lateral shift,” a travel lane realignment that shifts traffic in one direction intended to reduce vehicular speed. Also included in the plan is a revitalization of the east side of Division Avenue, from Superior Street to approximately U.S. 2, among other items.

Another project will see progress with the council considering awarding a $523,235 bid for a paving maintenance project taking place on Ruth Avenue, Hickory Street, and Jefferson Avenue, to Wood’s Crushing and Hauling.

Finally, Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton and Finance Director Sarah Lynds will present a 2% salary increase for local law enforcement going into effect by May. Annually, the city performs an analysis of its positions by the City’s Salary Administration Policy adopted by the council.

Completed in the spring of each year timing with budget development for the following year, the analysis includes discussions with other local government administrations and looks at local government salary reports. According to the agenda request before the start of the current budget year, several local governments made more significant adjustments to their law enforcement salary scale, including Bonner County impacting the overall ability to retain and recruit for unfilled positions. The scale increase with eliminate the police officer recruit grade and the additional salaries/wages and associated benefits cost, approximately $23,250, are budget savings that come as a result of unfilled positions due to turnover.

Attending the meeting in person at Sandpoint City Hall, 1123 Lake St., or attend the meeting online via Zoom by visiting

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