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LIBRARY ACQUISITION AND DISPATCH PAYMENTS TO BE STUDIED 7-2-14 LMS

The city of Salmon owns the land under the Salmon Public Library and the Lemhi County Library Association owns the building. The Salmon City Council has decided it is time to begin a formal study as to whether the city should buy the building when the library moves to a new location.

At the July 2 City Council meeting Councilman Jim Bockelman said the Library Association has approached the city Finance Team with an informal inquiry as to the city’s interest. The official agreement between the city and Library Association states that if the association decides to vacate the building the city will have the right-of-first-refusal as to a purchase. Bockelman said there has been no formal request from the Library Board however the inquiry indicates it is time to start researching and evaluating the purchase option.

Councilman Fred Waidely suggested formation of an ad hoc committee for the purpose of gathering the information needed to make a decision. Councilman Russ Chinske concurred saying it is a topic that definitely needs to be discussed.

In a choice between the council considering the issue during a work session or appointing a committee, the ad hoc approach was favored. Mayor Leo Marshall then appointed Councilman Ken Hill, Police Chief KV Felker and city Finance Director Amy Fealko to the committee. He said he would like to add representatives from the Eagles Lodge and the Lemhi County Historical Society.

Another issue that Chinske feels demands attention is Sheriff Bowerman’s request for a written agreement pertaining to city financial contributions towards Dispatch services. Councilman Bockelman said it is time to move beyond the old hand shake level of agreement and Chinske said city officials need to get together with the county, open the lines of communication and work things out. Councilman Rob Jackson urged keeping discussions even tempered to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes. Chinske’s response was he is tired of hearing about stomping on toes. “I want to talk to people.” Jackson suggested Chief Felker meet with the city’s Safety Team and start working out a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement.

City Attorney Fred Snook reminded the council it is not just about the $10,000 the city pays for Dispatch services plus the additional $4,000 for Dispatch related expenses. He said the public needs to understand the city is providing over $600,000 annually for law enforcement in this community. He went on to say City Police Department officers assist the County Sheriff’s Department directly and indirectly in arrests, investigations and in covering various middle-of-the-night shifts. The city’s attorney said that when deliberating over an agreement, the city’s contribution of $657,000 for law enforcement plus the $14,000 related to Dispatch services has to be included in the equation. Snook said, “When you look at the big picture we’re going to be spending $670,000 for law enforcement and the people need to know that.”

Snook said any formal agreement would be between the Lemhi County Commissioners and the City of Salmon.

The job of writing a draft MOU was given to the city’s Safety Team.


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