City Hall

12/11/06

7:00 pm

 

The regular meeting of the Riggins City Council was called to order by Mayor Crump.  Council present were Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  Councilor Harper was absent. Larry Barnard, Urban Renewal Agency Board member, was also present for the public hearing being held jointly by the City and the Urban Renewal Agency. There was a sizeable group of citizens present also, including Stan Autrey, Buck Fitch, Joyce Stapleton, John Austin, Susan Long, Brian O’Marrow, Frank Mignerey, Teresa Mignerey, Marvin Thach, Tim McGowan and Idaho County Deputies.

 

At this time the public hearing on the Riggins Urban Renewal District and Plan was held.  Mayor Crump gave a brief overview of the District and the proposed plan.  There was no public comment received from the citizenry present and no written comments were received concerning the proposal.

 

The public hearing for the proposed annexation was then opened.  Mayor Crump reported that the annexation included all areas currently being served by city utilities.  Some of the property owners had requested annexation, and other properties were being included since Idaho Code now allows annexation of those that are currently receiving water or sewer service from the city, regardless of the size of parcel.  Many of the citizens present offered public comment and questions about the proposed annexation.

 

Marvin Thach reported that he had 43 acres and did not wish to be annexed.  He feels that annexation will lessen his property value, he has hunting dogs that bark and an established shooting range.  He expressed concern about the restriction of shooting firearms in the City, and about the town deer problem, which he and the Fish & Game have been working on.  He also inquired about any City regulations concerning his propane storage tanks and inquired about the possibility of splitting off his residential property and de-annexing the other acreage.  It was reported that areas could be de-annexed if the parcels are split, but that the property owners are responsible for the costs associated with the de-annexation. The question concerning propane storage tanks will be researched in the Fire Code.

 

The group questioned what benefits or services they would receive as a result of the annexation.  It was reported that a new fire hydrant was being installed on Cemetery Hill for better fire protection, they would have curbside garbage pickup beginning in January, free use of the library and would be able to vote in city elections and run for city offices. 

 

Buck Fitch asked for explanation of area being annexed, and the annexation map was reviewed.  Theresa Mignerey expressed concern about Cemetery Road.  It has been a problem for those living in the area, as well as visitors to the Cemetery, and is especially dangerous when snow covered in the winter.  She suggested that the City try to take it over, at least to the Cemetery, to improve the safety hazard.  She reported that, in the past, Cemetery Hill residents had done all the maintenance with borrowed equipment.  The Mayor reported that the City could not expend funds on a private road, which it is now. It travels over private land without a public easement for right-of-way access.  If it were deeded to the City, or a public right-of-way were granted to the City, the Council could consider taking it on as a city street, but the Mayor cautioned that the City did not have equipment to grade the road or sand it in winter conditions. Any work done by the City would also have to be done by private contractors.   It was agreed that there were valid concerns about the roadway, and suggested that the group continue to pursue resolving the right-of-way issues.  Frank Mignerey had agreed previously to contact Harts about the road right-of-way, but he reported that he had not yet talked to them. Mignerey also expressed concern about the safety of the road for school children access and emergency travel by EMT’s living there.  School Board Member Joyce Stapleton agreed to check with the School Board about buses for the children residing in that area.  There were no further public comments concerning the annexation proposal.

 

At this time the Council was individually polled and all confirmed they had read the minutes of the previous meeting, with no corrections or alterations noted, and the minutes were approved as presented.

 

The financial statement was read detailing $14,424.98 bills paid after the November meeting, bringing the November 2006 bills to $35,756.04.  Bills in the amount of $24,320.97 were then presented for payment.  After review, motion was made by Underwood, seconded by Anderson, to approve the financial statement and allow the bills.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.  A complete copy of the financial statement is attached and hereby made a part of this record.

 

Tim McGowan visited with the Council concerning the recent change in commercial garbage assessment.  His new assessment is 3.1 EUs, which is now rounded up to 4.  This means a substantial increase in his monthly garbage bill ($14.75) and he requested the Council consider rounding up only .5 or above fractions, and not charging the extra EU for less than .5.  He indicated that he did not need four garbage cans and felt he should not have to pay for them.  The Council took his request under advisement.  It was reported that there were four or five commercial businesses that had a fraction of less than .5 that would be affected if the Council desired to change the ordinance.

 

At this time Idaho County Deputy Payton gave the monthly police report.  In November there were 74 calls for the Riggins office, with 22 being in the City, with 33 citations issued and 12 of those were City.  The citations were varied with the majority being for failure to display and speeding.

 

Buck Fitch visited with the Council about several issues:

 (1) He expressed concern about the parking adjacent to Ace’s Place intersection, blocking clear view of the highway for traffic exiting Ace’s Place.  Since that is one of the busiest streets in town, he requested that the curbs be painted and the signs be installed to restrict parking in this area.  He offered to change some of the confusing no parking arrows on existing signs. 

(2)    He inquired about the State’s street sweeping and cleaning schedule, and it was reported that it is normally done in the spring.

(3)    He inquired about various sections of sidewalk and asphalt that are being removed, citing examples of Ace’s Place and the area near the Back Eddy Grill.  He asked if permits were required for the removals and if they would be repaired.  Charlie Amell reported that the asphalt would be repaired in the spring when it is available, and several projects such as the patch repair at Salmon Street would all be done at the same time. It was reported that a section of the sidewalk on Ace’s Place had been removed by a private property owner.  Amell reported that the property survey indicated the sidewalk was 1 to 1 ½ feet on private property, and the property owner removed the sidewalk and curb to allow RV trailers easier access to the new trailer park.  Amell indicated that gravel had been installed in place of the sidewalk, and he was not aware of any plans that the property owner had for replacing the sidewalk.  It was reported that the sidewalk was constructed in the late 1960s to early 1970s by the School District to provide a safe walkway along the narrow street to the high school.  Joyce Stapleton agreed to research the School District records to see if easements were obtained for the sidewalk at the time of construction.  Amell reported that the entire sidewalk needed reconstruction, and additional easement obtained to widen the pedestrian walkway.  It was agreed that it was a safety issue, and the property owner removing the section of sidewalk will be contacted to meet with the Council about the issue.

(4)    He suggested that the City look into PERSI retirement for its employees.  He cited the many benefits the state retirement system offers. 

(5)    He reported on his efforts to get the local Boise channels in Riggins.  According to his information, FCC regulation has Riggins and Idaho County in the Spokane viewing area and this cannot be changed for three years.  However, individuals can contact Lewiston and Spokane television stations for personal waivers and can then be authorized to receive Boise stations.  Fitch will research the necessary contact information and report back to the Council.

 

At this time the Urban Renewal District Ordinance and Plan was brought up.  Since there was no input offered at the public hearing and no written comments received regarding the proposal, the Urban Renewal District Ordinance was read:

ORDINANCE NO. 172             

     AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RIGGINS, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF IDAHO, APPROVING THE RIGGINS URBAN RENEWAL PLAN; CONFIRMING THE DETERIORATED DECLARATION; ADOPTING A REVENUE ALLOCATION AREA; MAKING CERTAIN FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS IN SUPPORT THEREOF; PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE; AND PROVIDING FOR OTHER MATTERS PROPERLY RELATING THERETO, AND PROVIDING FOR THIS ORDINANCE TO BE EFFECTIVE UPON ITS PASSAGE, APPROVAL, AND PUBLICATION.

 

Since the ordinance states that the plan addresses its relationship with the present land use, motion was made by McClure, seconded by Underwood, to confirm that the City Council, acting as the Land Use Planning Commission, have reviewed the Plan and found it in agreement with present land use planning.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.

 

Motion was then made by Underwood, seconded by Anderson, to suspend with the rules requiring reading on three separate days.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.  Motion was then made by Underwood, seconded by Anderson, to adopt Ordinance #172 under suspension of the rules.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.

 

The Annexation Ordinance was brought up.  Written comment was read from Skip Shoemaker, opposing the annexation, which will restrict firing of guns on their property.  They indicate that guns are regularly used on the Aitken property in the course of livestock rearing and predator control.  The comments from the public hearing were also discussed.  The Council agreed that it would be possible to work with those landowners about the restrictions, and suggested that Aitken may want to consider de-annexation of the hillside property, similar to Thach.  It was suggested that if the two landowners partnered in the de-annexation, the costs of the process could be split between the two.

After discussion, the Annexation Ordinance #173 was read.

 

ORDINANCE NO.173

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RIGGINS, IDAHO COUNTY, IDAHO, EXTENDING THE BOUNDARIES THEREOF TO INCLUDE AREAS NORTH, EAST, SOUTH AND WEST OF THE PRESENT CITY LIMITS, REDEFINING THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OF RIGGINS, IDAHO, REPEALING ALL ORDINANCES AND PARTS IN CONFLICT HEREWITH, AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

 

Motion was made by McClure, seconded by Anderson, to suspend with the rules requiring reading on three separate days.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.  Motion was then made by Underwood, seconded by McClure, to adopt Ordinance #173 under suspension of the rules.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.

 

At this time the Local-Option Non-Property (Resort) Tax Ordinance was discussed.  The tax was approved by 80% of the voters at the special election held November 7th, and the next step to implement the tax is passage of the authorizing ordinance. A petition has been received, signed by various members of the business community, requesting that the tax be collected by the State Tax Commission and remitted to the City, rather than the City receiving the tax directly from the businesses.  They indicated that this would provide privacy for the individual businesses declaring their income and collecting the tax.  The Clerk reported that the State Tax Commission had been contacted about doing this for Riggins, and the State reported that their system was not set up to collect small accounts, and it could cost $100,000 to make the necessary system changes. Tim McGowan had also suggested hiring an accounting firm to act as the collecting agent.  These options were discussed, and the Council agreed that City would act as the collecting agent, the same as many other Idaho cities collecting resort tax.  The ordinance, as prepared, sets up the procedure for city collection and has specific instruction for confidentially.  A letter explaining this will be sent to all those signing the petition.  After discussion, the Local-Option Non-Property Tax Ordinance #174 was read.

 

ORDINANCE NO. 174  LOCAL OPTION TAX

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RIGGINS, IDAHO COUNTY, IDAHO, FINDING THAT SAID CITY HAS SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE ON VISITORS AND TRAVELERS; PROVIDING FOR DEFINITIONS; PROVIDING FOR THE IMPOSITION OF CERTAIN NON-PROPERTY TAXES, TO-WIT: AN ADDITIONAL TWO PERCENT (2%) OCCUPANCY TAX ON LODGING RENTALS; A TWO PERCENT (2%) TAX ON LIQUOR BY THE DRINK, AND A TWO PERCENT (2%) TAX ON PREPARED MEALS; PROVIDING FOR A 10 TEN (10) YEAR DURATION OF SAID NON-PROPERTY TAXES; ESTABLISHING THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE REVENUES DERIVED FROM SAID NON-PROPERTY TAXES SHALL BE USED; AUTHORIZING THE CITY CLERK TO ADMINISTER, REGULATE, AND COLLECT SAID NON-PROPERTY TAXES; CREATING A PROPERTY TAX RELIEF FUND; PROVIDING FOR PERMITS AND ISSUANCE; PROVIDING METHOD FOR PAYMENT OF TAXES, AUDITS, DEFICIENCY DETERMINATIONS; RE-DETERMINATIONS OF DEFICIENCY, APPEALS, INTEREST ON DEFICIENCY, COLLECTIONS AND ENFORCEMENT; REFUNDS, LIMITATIONS AND INTEREST; PROVIDING FOR RESPONSIBILITY FOR PAYMENT OF TAXES; PROVIDING PERIOD OF LIMITATION ON ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION; ESTABLISHING SUCCESSOR'S LIABILITY; PROVIDING FOR GENERAL ADMINISTRATION BY CITY CLERK; PROVIDING PENALTIES AND PENALTY CHARGES; PROVIDING EXEMPTIONS; PROVIDING CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING A REPEALER CLAUSE; AND, PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ORDINANCE.

 

Motion was made by Anderson, seconded by McClure, to suspend with the rules requiring reading on three separate days.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.  Motion was then made by Anderson, seconded by McClure, to adopt Ordinance #174 under suspension of the rules.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.

 

At this time the Water Conservation Policy, establishing a $5 credit for the installation of water-saving showerheads was reviewed.  The $5 credit will be allowed for each showerhead installed, if a receipt for purchase can be provided, or the City can verify that the water-saving showerhead had previously been installed. The information will be sent out in the January city newsletter.

 

The subject of building height restrictions was brought up at this time.  Since the City has no building permit system in place, if the Council desired to restrict building heights, those restrictions could be addressed in the City’s land use comprehensive plan.  A specific defined zone, similar to the Central Business Zone, would have to be established to restrict use and building heights.  Copies of the Riggins Comprehensive Plan will be made for each Council member for review and their amendment suggestions at the next meeting.

 

It was reported that Susan Long had been hired as the Librarian/Deputy Clerk at $9 per hour.  She was in attendance at the meeting and was welcomed to the City.

 

 The $2500 EMT bonus was discussed.  The bonus, which was included in the current budget, is paid to the EMTS and drivers for their shifts spent on-call for ambulance duty. 

The $2500, split by the number of 12-hour shifts throughout the year, totals approximately $1.20 per shift.  The EMTs and drivers are then paid for each shift spent on-call.  After discussion, motion was made by McClure, seconded by Anderson, to authorize the payment of the $2500 Christmas Bonus.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.

 

It was reported that the community Christmas snowflake lights were installed and turned on December 11.  As agreed upon previously, the annual power charge for the lights will be billed monthly to the City, and the Chamber will pay half of the annual costs to the City.  It had been agreed that the lights would be left on for only two months to save on the power bill.

 

At this time the Council discussed the commercial garbage rate assessments.  It has been requested to change the ordinance to round only the fraction of .5 or higher EU’s up to the next whole number, and drop fractions of less than .5.  It was also reported that the Seven Devils RV court had been closed off was no longer in use, so that garbage assessment change was requested.  Travis Hollon also wrote a letter to indicate that his trailer court was not in full operation, and requested adjustment on his garbage and sewer also. There was considerable discussion on these issues.  After discussion, it was agreed that if the RV or Trailer Court was not in use, and producing no garbage, the garbage charges could be reduced.  It was suggested that commercial users being assessed an EU fraction of less than .5 be given the choice of rounding up to the next whole number and receiving the extra cart (for example 4.3 EUs rounded up to 5 EUs, with the user paying for and receiving 5 green carts) or paying the garbage rate of 4.3 EUs and receiving only 4 carts.  After discussion, the Council agreed not to change the ordinance regarding the rounding up of UE fractions at this time.  If the assessment total includes a fraction of an EU, it will continue to be rounded up to the next whole number.

 

The subject of the RV and Trailer Court sewer assessment was brought up.  The Clerk reported that current ordinances assess an RV space, for overnight rentals, at .10 EU.  The ordinance assesses a long-term space (those rented by the month, rather than overnight) for trailers less than 8’ wide, at .5EUs.  There are several RV-Trailer Parks that rent the spaces either by the day, or month, at any given time based on customer needs.  With the upcoming Resort Tax, which is required to be collected on temporary rentals, this issue will have to be addressed.  If the Resort Tax is not applicable because the trailers are long-term rentals, then the long-term, higher sewer assessment should apply.   It was suggested that the trailer court owners declare and designate spaces as long-term or temporary, with appropriate sewer charges and tax collection made for the space.  Or it was suggested that the sewer rate be changed to be the same for temporary and long-term use, and the rent from the long-term rentals deducted from the taxable income on the new City Tax Return.  After discussion, no decision was made, and the subject will be more thoroughly researched, but it must be addressed before the Resort Tax collection begins April 1st.

 

Mayor Crump reported that he had drafted a letter to Nelson Manufacturing encouraging them to move their operation to Riggins.  The Council agreed, and the letter will be typed for his signature and sent.

 

Charlie Amell brought up several items for the Council’s consideration in regards to the Chuck Wunsch property development in Hart Gulch:

(1)   Wunsch is planning on building in the gulch, where the effluent from the street storm drains and the excess irrigation water drains back to the river.  He would like to keep the water above ground and make a decorative pond on the property.  Amell suggested that, if there is no formal easement for the irrigation or street run-off, the Council should consider it to protect the access across the property  (and to allow the pond construction if they choose).  He recommended that the easement also include a no-liability clause since the gulch also drains a large volume of water during heavy rainstorms.  This would protect the City, Wunsch and future property owners.

(2)   Wunsch is also requesting water service to the property, and Amell sees three options.  One is to push water pipe under the highway, since the line is on the west side of the street in that area.  If that method is done, he would request that it be done only by certified, insured contractors since it is a difficult undertaking and there are many underground utility lines located there.  The second option is to install the waterline along the east side US #95 right-of-way hooking in to the line servicing North Riggins, which would require removal and replacement of RiverView Motel asphalt and landscaping.  The installation of the line in ITD right-of-way would also require that the City do the construction, and it will be considered a City line, similar to the line to Blimka’s on the south end of town.  ITD will not issue utility right-of-way permits to private individuals.  The permit must in the name of the utility company, who will then be responsible for all line maintenance, repair and replacement. The third option is to waive the City’s restriction against private wells within the City, and allow Wunsch to drill a private well for his personal use.

(3)   Wunsch’s sewer service will require a lift pump, but should be easier since the sewer line is on the east side of the highway.  Amell did not recommend the septic tank system, like the ones installed for Chukar Point subdivision, due to the odor created when it is not in constant use.

(4)   Wunsch also requested a variance from the 20’ private driveway required by the Idaho Fire Code for emergency vehicle access.  He cited the code section allowing the waiver if the width of construction is impracticable and with the understanding that it would not be accessible for the fire truck and other emergency vehicles.  Fire Chief Dan Catherman had reviewed the request, and recommended approval of the waiver, indicating that, in the event of a fire, the fire truck would not be positioned down the driveway anyway.  After discussion, motion was made by Anderson, seconded by Underwood, to approve the request for waiver of the 20’ private driveway, with the property owner’s understanding that it would not be accessible for emergency service vehicle travel.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.

 

The Clerk reported that the Forest Service and Idaho County are considering placement of a joint FS/County/City dumpster site on the east side of the Little Salmon on property purchased for the new bridge planned for the Salmon River Road project.  It was being considered as a potential site since the road project is on hold, and the property is not being used.  In conversations with both the Forest Service and the County, the Clerk reported she had questioned the use of property located adjacent to private property planned for high-end development, and suggested that rather the NRA site be considered.

After discussion, the Council agreed that the NRA property, which is a rather large unused parcel with easy access, would be a much better site, and Idaho County and the Forest Service will be encouraged to use it instead.

 

Charlie Amell visited with the Council about a City policy concerning the disposal of storm water run-off from large paved parking areas.  The Pine Tree Credit Union will have 6000 square feet of asphalt, and run off from the roof, with 1-2% slope draining across the sidewalk and driveway to drain into the drop inlet.  ITD has no restrictions for this type of construction, but have concerns about the safety if water flows in the traffic lanes, and Amell suggested that the City develop a policy to require collection basins and drop inlets to the storm drains.  Charlie was planning to visit with Pine Tree Credit Union officials, with a plan for a collection basin and drop inlet into the storm drain, which is located nearby, but stated that a policy is needed to address future construction. The Council agreed.

 

The City’s well water rights were brought up at this time.  Charlie Amell reported that the Snake River Adjudication process was underway, with all water rights within the basin being sorted out and rights established.  All the City’s historical information concerning water rights has been gathered and is being presented to Water Resources for recommendation to the judicial system.  The City Well #1 water right is .87 cfs, which would provide 563,760 gallons maximum per day, but Dept of Water Resources recommends reducing it to the maximum established in 1954 of .67 cfs, which is 434,160 per day. The maximum peak use in recent times is 315,000 gallons per day, so even at the .67 cfs, our present use would be protected.  Amell reported that there has been no water right application filed for Well #2, and he would recommend beginning that process with the $200 filing fee, which takes 6-12 months to complete.  He recommended that we apply for our maximum present use, in compliance with the 1963 laws, which would be 633,000 gallons per day total of both wells, and request additional increased volumes as the water system is upgraded. In regards to the ditch water rights, the City originally was thought to have 8 cfs on the Little Salmon, and 4 cfs on Squaw Creek.  With the recent modification of Squaw Creek, the Council had agreed to apply for the transfer of 4 cfs from Squaw Creek to the Little Salmon, using the full 12 cfs water right there.  Amell reported that recent research indicated that the original Little Salmon water right was 14.4 cfs, and he recommended that the City file for the full historical value of 14.4 cfs, which would also require a new filing fee of $440.  The Council agreed, and Amell will prepare the application for 14.4 cfs on the Little Salmon, and the maximum present use on Well #2.

 

The Council reviewed the planning area for the Sewer Facility Plan and agreed that the area south of Brown Industries, including Spickelmire and the flat south, should be included as service area when planning for upgrade and expansion of the sewer system.

 

A request has been received from Donald Een for adjustment on their water bill, due to a possible malfunction of their water meter.  It appears that it was recording more water than was actually used, because when it was replaced, water consumption was shown at more realistic levels. Eens reported that they had never used city well water for irrigation, and would normally never use over the minimum 8,000 gallons each month.   After discussion, motion was made by Anderson, seconded by McClure to adjust the May-September 2006 water bill back to the minimum use.  Voting yea, Anderson, McClure and Underwood.  No nays.

 

A letter has been received that Elk River Cable Company has purchased the TV cable system from Rapid Communications, however there has been no request for transfer of the city franchise.  There have also been several phone calls received inquiring about the franchise fee now appearing on the cable bills.  Since the Riggins franchise does not authorize fees, Elk River Cable Company officials will be called and requested to attend the next City Council meeting to visit about the franchise transfer and fees charged.

 

A request from Brian Wolff has been received to consider a cash payoff on his ambulance bill, which totals $515 after a $20 payment.  He indicated that he was trying to avoid bankruptcy and offered a $350-$400 cash settlement of the account.  After discussion, the Council agreed to accept a $400 cash payoff, if made within 90 days, to avoid the entire balance lost to bankruptcy.

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:15!

 

 

 

 

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                                    Mayor                                                                          Clerk