SHELLEY — The Shelley city council met for an hour and a half on Tuesday evening where they approved a memorandum of understanding with Bingham County on the Copper Meadows development, approved an Eagle Scout project proposal, and tabled the West Fir Street improvements and a proposal for sanitation services.
Memorandum of Understanding
The council council voted 4-0 to approve the MOU over the Copper Meadows development with the changes suggested by Bingham County.
City Attorney B. J. Driscoll stated that the county had recently returned the MOU to the city with some additions. The MOU was originally presented to the city council by Sandy Gaydusek, city clerk, at its April 25, 2017, meeting. The county recently returned the document to the city with its proposed changes.
The changes as described by Driscoll included a mutual indemnification clause between the city and the county. It also stipulated that maintenance of roads and utilities would be the city’s responsibility. The subdivision will be hooked up to city water and sewer. The city will also provide snow removal and lighting.
“I am concerned about the enforcement of our (city road and utility) standards,” remarked Mayor Stacy Pascoe.
“The county doesn’t know our infrastructure standards,” added Gaydusek.
Driscoll said that enforcing the city’s infrastructure standards “should be goverend by our impact area agreement ... under the impact agreement, they (the county) should be doing that anyway.”
According to Idaho code §50-222-1, an impact area is a zone near and around a municipality which will likely be annexed in the future “to allow efficient and economically viable provision of tax-supported and fee-supported municipal services” and to “equitably allocate the costs of public services in management of development on the urban fringe.”
Councilman Jeff Kelley said, “Yes, we are doing something weird in that we’re taking on infrastructure in an area not in city limits because of (eventual) annexation.”
Kelley added that “as long as it doesn’t cost us any money, I don’t see why we shouldn’t do this. Road and snow removal and lighting don’t have any revenue generation (for us) but it’s still to the advantage to the city because it removes barriers to annexing (the subdivision) and it further opens up the city.”
The Copper Meadows subdivision is within Shelley’s impact area for eventually annexation. The process for moving forward on the development has been in train for several years already.
The Bingham County Chronicle asked County Commissioner Whitney Manwaring on Wednesday about differences between enforcement for county and Shelley standards. “As far as compaction tests and such for roads, we should be the same,” he stated.
Concerning other standards for infrastructure, Manwaring said he didn’t know off the top of his head what the exact standards were that the county enforced and that he would have to consult with the county’s public works department to answer knowledgeably.
Sanitation services proposal
Jeremy Harris of PSI Environmental spoke to the city council about its submitted proposal to provide the city with sanitation services to replace the city’s current waste disposal service provided in-house.
PSI said they could provide garbage pickup for $3.20 less than the $14.95 that the city currently charges residential customers. The firm also quoted a cost for spring and fall clean-up of $22,000. In return, the city would see cost savings due to lower labor and liability insurance needs along with not having to own and maintain its garbage truck.
PSI had already given their proposal to the city prior to Tuesday’s meeting along with contacts in four other eastern Idaho cities for references.
“PSI has been in the area now for 15 years. It’s wonderful for me to be here to talk about what we can offer to do for the city,” Harris said. “We feel we’ve been able to successfully service the cities we have contracts with because of the level of services we can provide.”
Gaydusek said that Shelley contacted the four cities, Menan, Sugar City, St. Anthony and Ashton regarding PSI services. She reported that all had good things to say about PSI though Menan felt they should have shopped around further because they felt they might have been about to get a better price from a different vendor.
Gaydusek is also Shelley’s city treasurer. From the perspective as the person who watches over the city’s finances, she remarked that there was a hurdle for a service contract with PSI or any other company instead of doing sanitation pick up in-house.
“Garbage is the best enterprise account we have,” she explained. The city has two other enterprise accounts, water and sewer, that bring in revenue through fees. Out of the three accounts, sanitation has the most robust revenue versus expenses and it usually smooths out the city’s cash flow through revenue sharing when necessary between accounts.
By switching to an outside provider, Gaydusek said that “it will be hard to convert a good enterprise account and replace it with two that have large expenses.” She added: “The $3.20 difference will not even pay the administration costs we have now,”
After a short discussion with the city council members and the mayor, Pascoe recommended that “we look at this further and then decide what we’re going to do.” He stated further that the city had queried another sanitation services firm to submit a competing quotation.
“I want to do our homework on this and then make a decision when we’ve figured out what the best thing is to do for the city,” Pascoe said.
“Please contact us for whatever questions and comment you may have,” Harris told the council. “(At PSI) we love talking trash, since afterall, it’s what we do.”
Invasion by Boy Scouts
Eight Scouts and two troop leaders from Troop 31 attended the meeting. The scouts were there to fulfill one of the requirements for gaining their citizenship and community merit badge.
The mayor remarked on the decorum and attentiveness of the boys who took up the entire front row of public seating in council chambers.
One of the scouts replied that, “They (the troop leaders) said they’d give us ice cream if we’re good and quiet.”
On a more serious note, Brandon Christensen from Shelley Troop 194 gave a presentation to the council on his proposed Eagle Scout project. He proposes to install plexiglass trash bag dispensers along the greenbelt after seeing a need for such a service. He observed that providing trash bags would encourage people to pick-up and dispose of their trash and messes. The greenbelt currently lacks such a provision.
Council member Kim Westergard said, “I’m tickled pink that you saw a problem and came up with this solution.”
The council unanimously gave Christensen their approval to go ahead with his project.
Kyle Jones from Harper-Leavitt Engineering reported on the status of the LTACH grant for West Fir Street improvements. The grant proposal for this project was not funded by Idaho.
“The Idaho Senate passed the state surplus funding,” Jones reported, “but the House quashed it, so it’s up in the air that the funding will be available.”
Jones discussed what the state said needed to be improved in their grant proposal. “We need to get a better (section on) commercial aspects. We also need to put together more outlines and plans and pictures (of the proposed work). This is for the pedestrian crossing (portion of the proposal) in response to the (state’s) comments on our previous submittal.”
Kelley remarked that they should include comments in support from businesses up to the north border and the county and south into Firth since: “We service a larger area than just Shelley. This project (along Highway 91) is for the major access route for all of northern Bingham County.”
The council discussed the problem that funding is currently not available until the legislature approves more funds, which can’t happen until they reconvene for their next session. There are other state moneys available but those have availability time frames of three to as much as sever years, depending on the source, and all of those require the city to match funds.
“It’s pointless to do a lot of work without funding,” Pascoe said. “We still want to move forward on this project but not until the funding is there.”
The design work for the West Fir Street project, including a second high-visibility pedestrian crossing, has already been paid for through a state transportation grant.
The council voted to table the project for now until such time that funding became available.