SHELLEY – Two councilmen were sworn into office by Mayor Stacy Pascoe during the Shelley City Council meeting Tuesday evening at City Hall.

The councilmen are Adam French, who was reelected last November, and new councilman Leif Watson. Watson will fill the seat formerly occupied by retired councilman Jeff Kelley.

Two public hearings also took place during the meeting. The public hearings were conducted by city attorney BJ Driscoll.

Because it was proposed to increase water fees by more than 5 percent, a public meeting took place during the January council meeting. It was proposed beginning Feb. that water rates would increase from the current $21.03 per month to $26.03 per month, an increase of $5 per month. Metered water would increase approximately 23.77 percent each month for commercial water.

Pascoe explained, “The DEQ (the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality) said the pressure in the lines cannot be below 42 pounds.”

Patron Daniel Watson asked if the city has the means to fix the old pipes.

“That’s why we are waiting for summer to do (this project),” Pascoe said. “We are anticipating problems. We have reserve funds and if we raise the rates now, we will have enough to complete the project without having to bond.”

The rate increase for water usage was approved unanimously by the council members.

Metered water will increase approximately 23.77 percent each month for commercial water.

In a public hearing, Amanda Collins with the Southeast Idaho Council of Governments (SEICOG), proposed the city sponsor the grant for phase two of the continued remodeling at the Shelley Senior Citizens Center. The grant application will be submitted for a Community Development Block Grant.

If awarded, the grant money would be used to renovate the kitchen and cold storage areas of the Shelley Senior Citizens Center. It would also be used for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades. The Senior Citizens Center would also be designated as an emergency shelter if ever there was a natural disaster.”

The application is for a $150,000 grant.

“Having the Senior Citizens Center helps to make this a more competitive grant,” Collins said.

She continued, “The application needs to be submitted by March 2020. The funds would be disbursed in May or June. Construction would begin next winter, with completion estimated to be sometime in January 2021.”

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development disperses grant money to the Idaho Department of Commerce, which in turn supplies money for the approved grants.

“We receive funds from the state,” Collins said.

The council approved being the sponsor of this grant. SEICOG was designated as the grant administrator.

In other business, Earl Beattie was elected council president. He has served in this position for 12 years.

The mayor gave council members their assignments for 2020.

Beattie is the police commissioner and will oversee SEICOG, the city attorney and urban renewal.

Councilwoman Kim Westergard will oversee the city administration, the tree committee, REDI and the Mayor’s Youth Council.

Councilman French will head up public works, engineering and the building inspector.

Councilman Watson will head up Parks and Recreation. He will be the liaison with the schools and oversee Planning and Zoning (P&Z).

BJ Driscoll was appointed the city attorney.

Rod Mohler was appointed chief of the Shelley Police Department.

Justin Johnson was appointed the Public Works Director. Forsgren Associates Inc., was appointed the city engineer.

Mikel Anderson was appointed the city’s Parks and Rec director.

Jordan Johnson is the new city building inspector. Council members approved a pay increase for Johnson to $27.77 per hour, an increase of $5, because of his increased responsibilities. The pay increase will begin this pay period.

Johnson has been working with former Bingham County P&Z Director Allen Jensen to become the city’s building inspector and will receive schooling on residential properties in February. Schooling on commercial properties is scheduled during the fall.