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The local Air Quality Advisory Steering Committee has recommended that a digital sign be installed somewhere on Main Street to advise drivers of current air quality conditions. The exact location has yet to be decided.

At the October 18 meeting of the Salmon City Council Ryan Rossi, Regional Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Air Quality Monitoring Coordinator, said the current favorite site is at the west end of the Main Street Bridge where the Salmon Arts Council sign is located. Rossi added the sign can also be used to advertise community events and would be larger than the present Arts Council sign which could be incorporated into the new sign. Councilman Jim Bockelman is a member of the Air Quality committee and he agreed that is a good location since it accesses the Bar Hill population.

The previous idea of incorporating the new digital into the old Deluxe Motel sign has been discarded due to research done by City Clerk Mary Benton and acting City/County Planning and Zoning Administrator Teresa Morton. Benton told the council the old sign is in the state’s right-of-way and according to the state it is the owner’s responsibility to remove it. She also said it could be in the way of future Americans with Disabilities Act access. It was recommended if that is the location desired, the city contact the Idaho Transportation Department.

Councilman Neal James noticed that in the draft Memorandum of Agreement between the city and DEQ regarding the sign, it states the city will pay up to $5,000 for sign installation plus paying operating costs. He said it also states and that the DEQ can terminate the agreement at any time, take their sign and leave. Rossi said the agreement can be rewritten to include termination only after a certain number of years.

Councilman Russ Chinske does not see the effectiveness of a sign versus all other means of communication such as radio announcements, phone apps for instant notification and the internet. He said he can’t agree with the idea of having a sign that will take eyes off the road while driving, especially while going over the bridge. He said a sign at either one of the stop lights would make sense but he would still rather it be located at an existing sign location. He also asked if the sign will be turned on all night every night.

Bockelman said night time operation is a good point to consider. He said the city will need to talk with the Arts Council and is talking with Valley Wide about using their Main Street pole. Bockelman said the committee needs to draft a proposal to present to any property owner considering accommodating the sign.

James asked Rossi to develop a cost breakdown of installation, maintenance and operational expenses. Rossi said he will do that. He estimates the power bill would be from $20 to $50 a month. Other monthly bills would include internet connection and cellular modem costs.

Determination of the location will determine the size of the sign. Rossi said the goal is to be able to inform the most people possible when air quality reaches dangerous levels. He said the evening’s discussion was meant as just an update while input is being gathered.

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