RV PARKING DEBATE
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RV PARKING AT CENTER BRINGS DEBATE 8-5-15 LMS

An idea by Sacajawea Center Director Lin Gray stirred controversy at the August 3 meeting of the Salmon City Council.

Gray proposed installing four Recreational Vehicle (RV) pads at the center to be used by hosts and program participants. The proposed location is in the open space just west of the Police Department. She said the $10,000 expenditure for the installation would save the center and the city money in the long run because having such accommodations would encourage volunteers to make contributing visits to the center.

Some council members felt such a facility would constitute out and out competition with the three established RV parks in the city.

Councilman Jim Baker described himself as being passionately against the idea. He said the expenditure goes beyond what a municipality should expend especially since it would be in competition with private enterprise. He suggested instead developing some kind of program to cover costs of volunteers staying in commercial parks. Baker also said heíd like to see a public meeting on the subject.

Councilman Jim Bockelman found Bakerís cost-covering idea agreeable and Councilman Fred Waidely suggested working out some sort of per diem arrangement rather than investing $10,000 for pads plus future maintenance plus electricity bills.

Gray said the spaces would not be open to the public and that state parks provide such facilities to volunteers. She maintained the RV parking would not be a competition because it would not be making a profit. She said she will calculate the savings, to which Councilman Rob Jackson said it is not about savings itís about a 100 percent competition with private businesses. He also asked about insurance and liability issues if such a facility were to be built.

Councilman Russ Chinske said it is important for the center to get volunteers to come since they do help bring down center operational costs and therefore save the city money however, he would like to see more options and cost comparisons.

Councilman Ken Hill agreed with Gray that off-site lodging for volunteers would lose the center free labor since many people will not volunteer if there is no on-site facility.

Bockelman said he agreed with Chinskeís wanting cost comparisons and more numbers. He said otherwise he would not be in favor of the on-site RV spaces. Waidely suggested the issue be tabled until the Finance, Parks and Recreation and Sacajawea Center teams can study it. Gray said the Sacajawea Center Team has already discussed the idea. A vote to table the discussion was unanimous.

The Finance Team was directed to discuss whether or not RV pads should be constructed at the center during its August 12 meeting. The meeting was set for 11 AM in the cityís conference room. All team meetings are open to the public.
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