A special meeting of the Riggins City Council was called to order by Mayor Crump. Council present were Anderson, Harper and McClure. Councilor Underwood was absent. Guests present included Id Co Deputy Ray Payton, Brian O’Morrow, Charlie Amell, Robert Ader and Tim McGowan.
The purpose of the special meeting was to meet with Brown’s Industries officials about the proposed mill site development and review the information recently received from JUB. The agenda also included the miscellaneous business listed below, since a quorum will not be available for the regular February scheduled for Monday, February 12. The other business to address included the following: (1) Report on January 29th Id County Commissioners meeting concerning the Main Salmon Road & Bridge Project, (2) JUB Water Study , the need for and cost estimate. (3) Review proposed Vendor Ordinance, with recommendation for action. (4) Arbor Day Declaration and Grant Application. (5) Tim McGowan request for change in business use, (6) Pre-Approve payroll and monthly bills in absence of a quorum anticipated for the Monday Feb 12th Regular meeting, and (7) Discuss the Resort Tax/Sewer EU in regards to RVs, Long-term vs. Daily rental, and (8) Discuss City employee health insurance policy.
Charlie Amell reported that JUB had estimated the cost of the sewer plant to be $5,000,000. He stressed that this was an estimate only, that the addition of 200-300 units now proposed by developers would required the construction of an entire new plant. This estimate would be for a facility twice the size of our present system, capable of handling 200,000 gallons per day. JUB had indicated that it was more cost effective to re-construct the entire plant, rather than to upgrade the existing facility and add a package plant at the mill site. Amell reported that JUB was asking for a better estimate of the number of units planned. The span of 200-300 was too great, and they would prefer to see more exact numbers, if possible. He reported that construction costs averaged $25 per each gallon capacity, so overbuilding the system would be costly. Amell indicated that JUB thought the sewer lines may be adequate for the increase, but the Well Street Lift Station made need modification.
Amell also reported that the two city wells now pumped 13 hours per day in the summer. With the addition of 200-300 units on the mill site alone, the water demand will probably double, and an additional well made be needed. JUB has indicated that they can analyze the current system, doing a simple study of the well production, storage and lines, and should be able to determine if another well will be needed or a more in-depth study required. This simple, basic review of the system is estimated to cost $1,000. Since developers have to show no significant impact to the city system, he felt it should be done at their expense.
Amell stressed JUB’s urgent need and request for better estimation of the number of units planned for the mill site, and if the project would be done in phases. He reported that JUB has indicated that, if the system design began today, it would be next summer before the project would be ready for bid, with construction time estimated to be one year. So, considering the short term of the URD, time is of the greatest importance.
Bond financing was also discussed. It was reported that John Austin had indicated that either the total amount of funding could be bonded upfront, with Browns guaranteeing the bond, or Browns could obtain private financing, and funds borrowed as needed, similar to construction financing. If the developer obtained private financing, excess interest would be avoided as well as the cost of bond financing. Either way, written agreements and contracts between Browns, the City, URA, etc. would be necessary to provide the legal basis for the procedure. Amell also reported that JUB was recommending that the sewer fees be increased, with the hookup raised to $7500 per EU.
The increased fees and hookup would provide additional construction funding and would allow funds to be saved for future renovations and upgrade.
Amell reported that the type of plant being considered is the Membrane Bio-Reactor Plant with compressed filtration for sludge. Membrane Bio-Reactor is the newest technology in wastewater, and compress filtration would eliminate land application, which is becoming more difficult with increasing regulation. The Membrane Bio-Reactor plant proposed is reported to reduce operator time, but the more sophisticated operation requires the system operator to have a Class 4 License. Our present system requires only a Class 2 certification. The City would be required to have two Class 4 operators, and the EPA sewer discharge permit would have to be changed for the increase in effluent. Both of these would take some time. Charlie is now a Class 2 and would upgrade to Class 4, and Robert Ader is just now in the process of obtaining this first sewer certification. Amell reported that a certification is now also required for sludge land application, along with water system operation. He reported that the Idaho Licensing Board now administers the Water and Wastewater Certifications, so compliance is being better monitored.
Brian O’Morrow inquired about the breaking point or the number of additional units that require the construction of the new system. It was reported that JUB had indicated that with the 45 originally planned, it may have been possible to upgrade the present facility, but with the increased number to 200-300, new construction would be required, and it would be more cost effective to construct on facility, rather than upgrade and add a package plant at the mill site.
Mayor Crump thanked O’Morrow for attending. The Council wants to make sure that Brown Industries is aware of the increased costs for the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the planned development. It was suggested that the City write a letter to Judd, documenting the information provided, with a list of the questions JUB needs to complete the study. O’Morrow agreed that they would try to provide the information necessary, as best they could.
Tim McGowan visited with the Council about a proposal to change his motel into four townhouses and inquired about the procedure and if there would be a problem with sewer hookup. He said he had 1.6 Sewer EU’s and wanted to change to 4. After review of the sewer hookup ordinance, it was determined that each motel unit is .25 EU, rather than .10 as in the monthly fee ordinance, so 16 motel rooms would be 4 EUs, rather than 1.6. Based on the present sewer hookup ordinance, the change would not be an increase. It was also agreed that four townhouse units would probably not produce anymore waste than 16 motel units. McGowan was advised that if the property was to be divided and the townhouses sold as separate parcels, each unit would require a separate water line and meter, and would be subject to new hookup fees of $1500 each for a 5/8-3/4 residential hookup plus the City’s cost of installation, which usually runs around $200 per hookup. The property division would also have to be done in accordance with the Subdivision Ordinance. McGowan will make out the application for the changed water and sewer hookup for presentation at the regular Council meeting, scheduled for Monday, February 12th.
Mayor Crump reported on the Idaho County Commissioners meeting held January 29th on the Salmon River Road project. URA Member Larry Barnard attended the meeting representing Riggins. The Federal Highway Administration officials were advised of the upcoming development being proposed for the mill site and the importance of the bridge construction being the first phase of the project. It is anticipated that increasing traffic on the present bridge, without a turn lane, will create very hazardous conditions in that area. Idaho County Commissioners agreed, and agreed to recommend that the bridge portion of the project be considered the highest priority. Commissioner Rehder agreed to set up a meeting including FHA officials, ITD, Idaho County, the City and the Developer to further discuss the project. Mayor reported that Idaho County indicated ITD had funds obligated for the project and that if the City, URA or the Developer could make some contribution, it might help move the process along a little faster. It was suggested that since the City, nor URA, have funds to contribute, other possible indirect contributions may be considered, such as removing the utility line construction from the new bridge to another location to reduce the bridge construction costs. However, since Idaho County has indicated they have purchased the right-of-way for the bridge, the plan for utility line installation (which was a condition being requested by Spickelmire), may not be included in the design. Brian O’Morrow will contact Spickelmire about status of that installation.
JUB’s proposal for a $1,000 water study was again brought up. Amell indicated that, at first look, it was thought that a new well would be needed, as well as a 10” water line from the main. The Council agreed to authorize the $1,000 study, and Brian O’Morrow agreed that Browns Industries would fund the study through a URA Reimbursement Agreement. The Clerk will prepare the agreement for the URA meeting on Monday, February 12.
At this time, the Vendor’s Licensing Ordinance Draft was reviewed. After review, the following changes and additions were requested: (1) To add a section to include local vendors who desire an annual license, to eliminate the requirement of a new license for each event. (2) To set the license fees at $25 for temporary, and $75 for the annual license, requiring both to post the $100 deposit for Resort Tax. It was felt that the license fees would offset costs associated with garbage, cleanup, etc. required after each event. Since there were material changes requested to the ordinance, a revision will be prepared and e-mailed to everyone for review before the meeting Monday. It is anticipated that there will not be quorum for the meeting, but Councilor Harper will have a copy of the ordinance and be available by phone for it’s formal adoption.
The regular bills for payment were reviewed by the Council. Motion was made by McClure, seconded by Harper, to approve the payroll and authorize the payment of the regular bills presented, as well as any received before Monday. Voting yea, Anderson, Harper and McClure. No nayes.
At this time the subject of the RV sewer rate (long term or daily) and the collection of Resort Tax was brought up. The sewer ordinance establishes the monthly sewer rate for long term (monthly) RV rental at $10, and the rate for daily RV rental is $2 per month, which takes the vacancy rate into consideration. Most RV park sewer rates are set as daily rentals and are paying the lower $2 per space monthly rate. RV spaces are being rented long term, but no formal monitoring has previously been done to determine individual RV park use. Since the Resort Tax ordinance allows for the deduction of the sales for monthly rental income, if the sales are deducted, it will provide a direct paper trail to indicate that the space is being rented by the month, rather than daily, as assessed for sewer fees. In order to comply with both ordinances, the following suggestions have been made:
(1) The RV court declares its operation to be long term and pay $10 per space sewer fee and not file a Resort Tax Return, which applies only to temporary rentals. OR
(2) The RV Court declares its operation to be daily, paying the $2 per month sewer fee and reporting all income as taxable on the Resort Tax Return with no deduction of rental income received for long-term use. OR
(3) Change the sewer ordinance and establish the monthly sewer fee for the long-term rental and the daily rental to be the same amount, setting the EU at .25 or so, to be more in compliance with JUB’s recommendations of .40 of .45 EUs.
One other possible solution presented was to provide a space on the Resort Tax Return to record the number of spaces or rooms included for any sales that are deducted as long-term. That entry would trigger an additional sewer billing of $8 per space, to comply with the present sewer ordinance. If the individual business chose not to deduct the long term rental income from the Resort Tax Return, and remitted the 2% tax, there would be no additional sewer billing necessary. A sample form, amended to include that information (Section A) was presented for the Council’s review. After review, it was agreed that this proposal would allow the those RV parks and Motels with mixed rental use, to continue to pay the lower $2 per space, if desired, for all rentals except those that are being reported as long-term, and would comply with both ordinances. It would also establish a standard policy for all mixed-use Motels and RV courts, and could be applied to everyone equitably. After discussion, motion was made by Harper, seconded by Anderson, to add “Section A” to the Municipal Tax Return form, to record the number of spaces, rooms or units being used as long-term rentals when a deduction from the taxable income is shown on the tax return. Voting yea, Anderson, Harper, and McClure. No nayes. A sample tax return form with instructions will be mailed with each Resort Tax Permit issued and the information about the additional sewer charges on the long term rentals will be included for each lodging rental business. The Council stressed the importance of notifying businesses of the additional sewer charges that will be due when long term rentals are reported..
The Clerk reported that due to changes in insurance laws, employers can no longer pay a portion of the premium for individual health insurance policies. Since the City now pays the employee’s premiums, deducting the employee’s portion from the payroll, this policy will have to change. It was suggested that the employee’s salary be increased by the amount normally applied to health insurance, as payment in lieu of insurance. The entire premium can then be deducted from the employee’s wages and remitted to Regence as a payroll deduction. This would require that payroll taxes be paid by both the employee and employer, but the Council agreed that this cost would be minimal. It would also require that the amount would have to be doubled the first month only to set the schedule on the new system, since the payroll is done after the close of the month, and the premiums are due by the first. After discussion, motion was made by Harper, seconded by Anderson, to increase wages for those qualified employees, in lieu of health insurance, and deduct the entire premium for remittance to Regence, doubling the first month to adjust the payment schedule. Voting yea, Anderson, Harper and McClure. No nayes.
The subject of the collection of garbage fees was brought up at this time. The Council agreed that if the garbage fees are not paid in a timely manner, as assessed, letters will be written advising the user that payment is required by ordinance, and that they must comply, or be in violation of the regulation and subject to water shut-off.
There being no further business, the special meeting was adjourned.