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Lemhi County and the county’s insurance provider are literally feeling the crunch caused by this winter’s severe weather. Ways to avoid further problems was one of the topics discussed at the January 23 meeting of the Lemhi County Commissioners.

Last Friday the heavy accumulation of snow and ice on the Brooklyn Annex roof broke loose, slid down the membrane roof’s incline and a 300 pound block of ice landed on one of the county vehicles below. Thankfully no one was in the vicinity when the avalanche occurred.

Monday the roof’s accumulation of snow and ice was a topic of discussion with County Building Maintenance Supervisor Russ Dalley as well as theories on how to prevent any future incidents. Dalley said there is a lot of water trapped under the snow and suggested possible modifications that can be made in the Spring to prevent accumulation problems. County Clerk of the Court Terri Morton was more concerned with the immediate future and suggested finding a way to break the snow and ice overload loose on a regular basis.

County Commissioner Rick Snyder cited ice dam arrangements he has seen on other buildings. Commissioner Brett Barsalou and Commissioner Chairman Ken Miner wondered about hiring a lift unit or something with a bucket extension that could reach the building’s roof from the ground. The ice is also causing problems with the building’s heat pump system and shelters will be built around the units to protect them from what comes off the roof.

Dalley said he would continue to search for solutions and Miner complimented Dalley’s diligent work on clearing sidewalks around all the county buildings.

Lemhi County is insured by the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, otherwise known as ICRMP. At Monday’s meeting the commissioners, Fair Board members Bob Loucks and Jay Wiley along with University of Idaho Ag Specialist Shannon Williams and County Prosecutor Bruce Withers met by telephone with George Blickenstaff of ICRMP’s Claims Team regarding this winter’s collapse of the exhibition building at the Fairgrounds. Robin Phillips, who is gathering cost quotes for rental tents to house the Salmon Select Horse Sale, was also in attendance. Tent rental estimates she has obtained so far amount to $19,800 from a company in Columbia Falls, Montana and $7,295.45 from a company in Jackson, Wyoming.

They heard that ICRMP is prepared to cover all operational disruption expenses. That will include whatever it takes to facilitate April’s 45th annual Horse Sale. The loss of use coverage extends from the day of loss until the building is rebuilt or replaced. Even though the Fair Board goal is to have a new building ready to house the Lemhi County Fair in late August, ICRMP would cover expenses in the event the Fair has to be held elsewhere

Blickenstaff said the immediate need is to get the building debris removed. He said debris removal is a public safety issue therefore no bidding process is required. Beyond that, even though ICRMP is not obligated by state laws concerning government entities obtaining bids for construction projects, the county is and will follow the proper legal procedures. The first construction project step will be to publish a Request For Qualifications. Once those replies are reviewed an invitation to submit construction bids will be published and a company will be selected from the responders.

Blickenstaff said once the debris is gone an independent insurance adjustor will be able to see the extent of what was lost in the collapse. He will take photos and do an actual cash valuation on the building. The county’s insurance coverage includes bleacher replacement if that is determined to be necessary.

After the debris has been removed the bidding process on construction of a new building can begin. He said the current scheduled value of the collapsed Fair Grounds building is $584,472 and ICRMP will pay up to 125 percent of that figure. Anything above that amount will not be paid by the insurance. Blickenstaff said the building doesn’t have to be a duplication of what was there prior to its collapse and that demolition costs are not included in the listed scheduled value. ICRMP will pay those separately at 25 percent of the value of damages.

Blickenstaff said proper documentation of all expenses will be expected.

Wiley said that estimates submitted for debris removal will be reviewed on January 31.

The group gathered for Blickenstaff’s call felt he had cleared up a lot of conflicting information the Fair Board had been given and it left the meeting with a much more definite step by step direction.

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