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This year’s second cycle of Local Option Tax (LOT) funding awards was debated at length September 7 during the Salmon City Council meeting. The council reviewed the six recommended appropriations separately by using the process of first making an official motion followed by a discussion.

Robin Watkins and Helen Bertram of the LOT Commission answered questions about each funding application that had been submitted to the council for final approval.

Item one was a request from the Sacajawea Center for the amount of $2,250 for the printing of brochures. The council unanimously passed a motion in favor.

Item two was a funding request from Whitewater/Salmon Marathon organizers for $3,760 to help cover costs associated with hosting the event. A motion to approve was made and the council passed it on a five to one vote with Councilman Neal James casting the ‘no’ vote.

Item three was a request from the Eagles Organization for $500 to help fund an upcoming convention in Salmon. Councilman Rob Jackson moved to not approve the request based on the conference being “for members only.” He said according to the LOT Ordinance funds are not allowed to be distributed to organizations hosting events not open to the public. Bertram pointed out the funding would be to help cover the expenses related to the event not the event itself. Jackson made a motion to rescind the previous motion and approve the funding contingent on finding out if the convention is open to the public. It passed unanimously.

Item four was about money for the swimming pool. Jackson moved to approve the $31,500 requested by the swimming pool for the first phase of a three phase repair to the tile work and decking. His motion was defeated on a five to one vote. The reason behind the defeat was the fact only one unofficial estimate had been submitted for the repairs. By state law any city/county associated project exceeding the amount of $25,000 is required to go through the bidding process. It was agreed that repairs to the pool are needed before next May and there will be time to get bids and resubmit the request before the next LOT funding cycle. A second motion was made by Jackson to approve $20,000 towards pool repairs which was the initial recommendation from the LOT Commission. Bockelman suggested getting professional quotes on the tile repair project then using those quotes in the next LOT funding request. He said the $20,000 could be carried over to the next funding cycle.

That motion passed four to two with Councilmen Bockelman and Baker opposed and Jackson, Russ Chinski, Neal James and Ken Hill in favor.

Item five was a request of $3,964 from the City Parks Department for playground equipment to replace the current merry go round. Mayor Leo Marshal said that according to City Parks Foreman Gordon Stephenson the current equipment can be fixed by replacing the bearings. A motion by Jackson to ‘not approve’ the Parks Department request was phrased in a way that meant a yes vote was a vote against approving the request. The vote was four ‘no’ and two ‘yes’. Due to the confusion another motion was made to approve the Parks Department request. It passed with Chinski, James, Baker and Hill voting ‘yes,’ Bockelman and Jackson voting ‘no.’

The final item was a request from the Salmon Golf Association for $8,016 to replace club house flooring. Bockelman sits on that board therefore he claimed a conflict of interest and did not vote on the motion to approve the funding which the rest of the council passed unanimously.

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