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.State law assigns responsibility for sidewalk repair to the property owner adjacent to the sidewalk. The idea of the city creating a cooperative agreement with property owners for sidewalk replacement costs was discussed at the council’s February 15 meeting.

It was decided the first place to start is a determination of which sidewalks need to be replaced for public safety and where they are located. It was suggested that separate replacement plans be made for the downtown area and for the residential areas.

City Clerk Mary Benton has canvassed 26 Idaho cities of similar size with letters of inquiry as to what sidewalk policies they have in place. The 15 responses she received revealed that very few of the cities have any established process.

One option for property owners is to create a Local Improvement District (LID) as a way to fund sidewalk projects over an extended time period. According to City Public Works Superintendent Harry Shanafelt the average cost of a sidewalk the length of a city block is around $30,000 per side of the street.

Upon final approval of details, grant funds will be used this Summer to redo sidewalks in the 500 block of downtown Salmon.

Two weeks ago representatives from the Forest Service explained the agency’s plans for fuel reduction in the Salmon Municipal Watershed and recommended a 1939 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and its 1975 revision be revisited for relevancy to today’s needs. They said that today the old MOU would actually restrict the Forest Service from effectively treating the hazardous fuels in the watershed.

City Attorney Fred Snook and Council President Jim Baker cautioned the council to look carefully at the MOU language. Baker wondered if the city really wants an MOU. Snook said most of the 1939 MOU is actually beneficial to the city such as the agency having to consult with the city before putting in roads and consult the city before cutting timber. In Councilman Rob Jackson’s opinion the Forest Service wants to do away with having to ask permission so it can do whatever it wants to do. He is concerned about controlled burns getting out of control and the use of pesticides and herbicides. He said he will hold his judgement until he sees more of the plan.

The discussion ended with a decision to continue listening to what the agency has to say.

The Salmon City Council has approved Mayor Leo Marshall’s recommendation that Robin Phillips be appointed to fill a vacancy on the City Planning and Zoning Commission and that Area of Impact Representative Steve Harris be reappointed.

A public hearing has been scheduled for March 15 at 6:15PM on the Beers Annexation Request.

The next meeting of the Salmon City Council will be March 1st at 6PM in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room.
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