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The Salmon City Council’s Finance Team has recommended that rather than stating a given amount in the Service Agreement between the city and the Lemhi County Humane Society, the agreement should contain a condition that the amount of city funding to the organization will be negotiated during the city’s annual budget process. It further recommended that payment of city funds to the Humane Society needs to correspond with reimbursement bills from the organization for the services rendered. That method would be similar to what is required of the Hockey Association.

Finance Team Chairman Jim Bockelman told the November 20 meeting of the Salmon City Council that the Humane Society provides a valuable service to the city and should be reimbursed for that service however; the payment for service needs to be better defined.

The Finance Team also discussed the bill the county has presented to the city for Dispatch services. Bockelman said team members agree the city should pay its fair share. The question is how to calculate an amount that is justifiable. He said city residents already pay county taxes which go for services the county is supposed to provide and at the same time, the city provides amenities that both county and city residents use but for which only city residents are taxed. Bockelman said two $1,500 quarterly payments from the City Police Department budget have been paid to the county for Dispatch related software and two more payments are pending. In answer to helping with ever increasing County Dispatch personnel expenses the team brought up the possibility of City Police personnel helping to man the Dispatch Center.

The Finance Team invited Douglas Clore to a November 20 meeting with the full council so he could discuss a bill he has sent the city. Bockelman said Clore has requested that he be reimbursed for ice removal from a portion of Courthouse Drive adjacent to the Episcopal Church. Clore explained to the team that there was not enough time to ask the city to clear the ice before an upcoming event so he contracted the work and purchased the needed ice melt. He is asking for a reimbursement of $262.94.

When brought before the City Council, although sympathetic to safety concerns the Council felt the city should have been called and given an opportunity to do something about the icy conditions even though the time frame was tight. It was felt that if the reimbursement was paid it would open the door to paying contractors called by city residents for any number of jobs from icy conditions to potholes. Bockelman remembered last year’s downtown ice problems which city crews had to handle. He recommended that when such conditions occur downtown perhaps the city could use that as a gauge and look further into other areas that might be having the same problem.

The council vote on a motion to not approve the reimbursement was five in favor of not approving the request and one, Jim Kluesner, in favor of paying the bill.

City Finance Director Amy Fealko told the team meeting she has conferred with City Accountant Bob Baker about redirecting capital project monies to the specific department that will be using it. She said Baker sees no problem with doing that. The process will avoid having to open the budget as often which will save the approximate $200 cost of the associated public hearing. The monies will now be clearly listed in the departmental budgets under which the specific capital projects will take place. The goal will be to do a better job of planning during the yearly budget process so that capital projects can be included in departmental budgets. The purpose of the new way of listing the monies is to make the process more transparent and show exactly where the capital project money is being spent.

The budget will still be opened for unexpected capital projects not foreseen during the budget process which still gives the public an opportunity to be involved and comment on expenses. Opening the budget allows for public comments just as public hearings on the annual budget invite public input.

Recreation Director Judy Barkly will retire soon and the Finance Team discussed the idea that perhaps the fitness program she instructs at Fitness 7 should be handled totally by Fitness 7 thereby retiring the city from having to collect class fees and pay rent. It was suggested that if the program continues under Barkley’s direction she could contract directly with Fitness 7. The team recommended a discussion by the full council.

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