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The largest lump sum of Local Option Tax funding to date has been awarded by the Salmon City Council to the proposed Whitewater Kayak Course. The $14,980 will be used towards the design, engineering and permitting process all of which has to be in place before further grant funding can be sought.

Local Option Tax (LOT) Commission President Jim Bockelman described the thought processes the commission went through in reaching its decision to recommend the large outlay of funds and said the money allows the project to go forward. He said, “The commission feels that it’s good for Salmon and we approved it to come to council for you guys to approve or dismiss.” He said the Kayak Course committee has already put $5,000 into the Kayak Course planning.

Many aspects were discussed by the council before the decision to approve the expenditure was made. The LOT commission had consulted with City Attorney John McKinney who said he was concerned over that amount of money and made the suggestion that the sum be divided into $10,000 from LOT and $5,000 from the project supporters. He told the council, “But, if you’re in favor of the project the only way you can do it is what they’re suggesting.”

Council members directed questions to project spokesman Chase Slavin. He explained professional engineering designs have to be produced before the official permitting process can begin however in speaking to the Army Corps of Engineers he has found support for the preliminary concept.

Council members stated concerns over high water seasons, ice jams and log jams and urged research into at least the past 50 years of river conditions and patterns…not just the past decade.

Bockelman said that once underway, the plan is to have as many local contractors as possible involved in the construction work. He used the history of Salmon Hockey as an example of how a sporting attraction has evolved into helping the city’s local businessmen. He said that from the LOT commission’s point of view the Whitewater Kayak Course project fits the purpose of the Local Option Tax ordinance perfectly.

When it came to a council vote, the LOT commission recommendation passed on a margin of four to two with Councilmen Ron Radford and Jim Kluesner casting the two votes against it.

Other commission recommendations approved by the council were for the swimming pool and for the Hockey Association. The City Swimming Pool will receive $8,181 to cover maintenance and repairs already completed and the Hockey Association will receive $3,000 to help towards a $6,000 project of upgrading the rink’s lighting to a more cost efficient system.

Bockelman reported the revenue for August was $10,140 and said the Local Option Tax has generated $51,315 so far this year. . A total of $23,712 has been expended leaving a balance of $27,603.

The LOT Commission’s last Tuesday of the month meetings are open to the public. The next one will be October 26th at 5:30PM in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room.

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