CITY BUSINESS 11-4-15 LMS
A question of whether or not stiffer penalties need to be imposed for lodging facilities not paying their legal share of the Local Option Tax was resolved at the November 4 meeting of the Salmon City Council.
Councilman Jim Bockelman said Ordinance 09-742 pertains to the LOT and does not carry any specified penalties for not paying the tax. The ordinance as written and approved by voters would not be affected if his proposed changes were to be made. His suggestion was to revoke a business license if the tax is collected but not paid.
City Attorney Fred Snook said in view of the amount of authority the city already has under current law it is not necessary to go further. He said in addition to several penalties that can be imposed the city has the power to place a lean equal to the amount of the unpaid tax on the offender’s property. Snook said that has never happened but the power to do so is in place. He said the city already has the authority it needs. The council members agreed and went on to consider a list of changes to Ordinance 15-811 amending Title 8 of the Salmon City Code.
City Clerk Mary Benton explained most of the references are cleaning up permits and agreements that have been changed over the years. She said the company that codifies documents for the city told her the changes had to be made by way of ordinance. Title 8 contains the list of the ordinance changes and has eliminated such things as reference to 1992 rules which were put in place at the beginning of the water meter system. Since then other procedures have taken effect such as residential sewer and water hook ups now being mandatory.
The council unanimously voted to approve the first reading of Ordinance 15-811 which amends Title 8 Chapter 1 section 811. Reference to the 1992 water meter system has been removed and the Salmon City Code document has been updated to reflect current policies. An ordinance change legally needs three readings unless the three reading rule is waived. It was decided the rule would not be waived to give time for the rate updates currently in progress to catch up with the changes being made.
Earlier in the evening a Change Order from Northwest Engineering of Salmon was reviewed. The change order involved having the company create detailed plans requested by Councilman Jim Baker for the Island Park Bridge ramps leading on and off the designed bridge. City Engineer William R. Gibbs, P.E submitted a letter referring to a plan and profile already in existence which details that information. Even though Gibbs said he saw no reason a change order is warranted the council, on a four to two vote, passed a motion to approve the Northwest change order. Councilmen Russ Chinske and Rob Jackson cast the ‘no’ votes.
The council also discussed what the city should do with the city owned portion of the Library Building. No firm decisions were made however Clerk Benton made it clear city records need to be moved from their current location to a more environmentally friendly room, such as the windowless office now occupied by the mayor.
A decision is pending confirmation on the amount of space available and other suggestions.
During the last public comment opportunity of the evening city resident Dave Gusky said he is observing three issues. One has to do with the safety of the proposed Whitewater Park in-the-water design. Another had to do with the legal premise that people allowing their property to be used for recreational purposes are not liable. He said he doesn’t believe that to be true because a good lawyer could work around the statute. The third issue/question concerning the park is whether it is a private project and if it is, would it be eligible for grants or for LOT monies. He said he would like to see signatures on the promise that members of the Whitewater Park Association will faithfully fulfill their obligations to the park and community after the park is built. He said he also thinks that if the project goes sour and the city has to pick up the expense, the people who voted to criminalize putting the park on city land should be excused from paying taxes related to its cost.
Gusky ended his remarks with a thank you to Fred Waidely for all the work he has done on the City Council.
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