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Discussions on possible changes in fees and the success of the Department of Energy/City of Salmon wood stove change-out, $1000 rebate program were topics during the January 11 meeting of the city’s Finance Team.

Team Chairman, Councilman Jim Bockelman, told the January 18 meeting of the Salmon City Council that 32 local wood stoves have been replaced with more energy efficient stoves which reduce the amount of particulates produced from burning wood. The original rebate offer ended December 31st with only three stoves left from the 35 stoves allotted.

Bockelman said that even though the city’s Public Works crews have been working almost nonstop on snow removal very little overtime has been recorded. He also commented that the yearly audit, now performed by Searle Hart and Associates, has not begun due to weather and road conditions between Salmon and Idaho Falls.

Bockelman said that City finance Director Amy Fealko has checked with the Association of Idaho Cities regarding rumors about imminent storm water regulations and she found nothing. She has also checked with the city of Rigby as to any storm water system fees and learned they have none. That city does have a $42 charge per 500 gallons for sewage dumping. For the past 30 years Salmon has charged $50 per 1000 gallons. Bockelman said the team feels the sewage dump fee should be increased to $100 per 1000 gallons.

Fealko feels a fee related to water meter size needs to be included in the city’s fee schedule. According to Public Works Supervisor Harry Shanafelt the fee charged for thawing frozen water pipes needs to be increased due to the amount of labor involved and the team discussed the process involved in a fee increase. Discussion on fee increases will continue after all city departments have reviewed any suggested changes.

Bockelman said the Finance Team talked about costs related to the requested vacation of Copper Street. Expenses include advertising and conducting a public hearing, an official legal description of the land to be vacated, and re-platting the properties involved. The cost of the process is to be paid by the vacation applicant. The team also discussed the possibility of a buy-back option on unused cemetery plots currently being researched and how best to implement the program.

Bockelman said whether or not a cost sharing plan between the city and property owners for sidewalk repair and replacement should be implemented was continued and City Clerk Mary Benton was asked to check with cost share programs in other cities. The bidding process for the scheduled, grant funded downtown sidewalk project is on hold until arrangements with Keller and Associates have been finalized. A presentation from Keller outlining their fee for taking over the sidewalk project was made at the council’s January 18 meeting. Bockelman said the team also discussed the formation of a Local Improvement District (LID) as another way of funding sidewalk repairs. Since the city is not legally allowed to initiate an LID its formation would have to be citizen driven,

Renewal of the Local Option Tax program is a couple of years away and Bockelman said the team recommended looking at including city infrastructure in the list of qualified funding recipients.

During the team’s January 11 roundtable discussion Shanafelt expressed his opposition to a request from the Lemhi County Fire Protection District that property owned by the city and occupied by the Fire Department be turned over to the district. The request was settled with a majority “no” vote at the January 18 City Council meeting.

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