Shelley city sign

A colorful sign welcomes people mto the city of Shelley.

SHELLEY – Near the end of a short two-hour meeting on Tuesday, the Shelley City Council had a rare split vote on whether to reinstate the noon siren. As per city ordinance, the tie was broken by Shelley Mayor Stacy Pascoe, who voted in favor of restoring the siren.

The council also voted to approve the independent financial audit of the city’s books, the amendment of the city’s water study contract, a new policy on water connection and meter replacements costs, and a lease agreement with the Safelink communications company for a new tower on Shelley Butte.

AUDIT

Louise Street from Searle, Hart & Associates of Idaho Falls presented the results of the independent financial audit of the city’s 2017-18 finances, which the council voted to accept. The mayor asked that Street give the council “the Reader’s Digest version” of her report. The council members had already received the hard copy version of the report which was many pages long.

Street reported that the city’s 2017-18 finances were in overall good shape. She did note some deviations compared to previous years. These were mainly due to the construction of the water tank, the installation of the HAWK pedestrian crossing lights on Highway 91, and a transfer of urban renewal funds.

“The city’s cash was up by over $700,000,” Street said. “The transfer (from urban renewal funds) brought it up dramatically. … The general fund had consistent expenditures. In the street fund, the HAWK signal grant was not yet completely dispersed, with $94,000 of $139,000 not all spent at the end of the year.” This is not unusual since bills for a municipal project are not received during the time frame being audited.

Street noted that the sanitation and sewer funds were in good shape, and that “revenues for the city were steady … expenditures went up a little compared to reserves. These effects will normalize (over time) when the effects of the water tank and HAWK signal smooth out.”

At the end of the presentation, Pascoe stated, “I am excited that we are doing as well as we are.”

NOON SIREN

The issue of the old Shelley fire horn was breached at the Sept. 10 council meeting. Councilman Jeff Kelley reported that a group of Shelley residents had found the old fire horn and wanted to remount so that the noon siren could be revived. This kicked off a lively give-and-take last month over the merits and detractions of the noon siren. The matter was tabled until this week’s meeting.

The noon siren was last heard around town back in the summer of 1994. It was taken down from off the roof on one of the public works buildings and stored when the roof under it began to sag from the weight. Though the fire chief at the time approached the council about remounting the horn, the matter was never followed up on. The horn was stored and then forgotten.

During the discussion on Tuesday evening, council member Kim Westergard remarked, “Yes, you can bring the fire horn back but not next to my house.”

Kelley responded jokingly, “We don’t want to put the horn up where it’s going to wake up folks who live at the Gables. I think the city should put it next to Kim’s house.”

Westergard made a motion that the city restore and remount the fire horn “so long as the city doesn’t spend any money on this.”

The vote was tied 2–2, with Kelley and councilman Adam French in favor, and Westergard and councilman Earl Beattie in opposition. Pascoe broke the tie by voting in favor of the motion.

After the meeting, City Clerk and Treasurer Sandy Gaydusek commented, “I’ve worked for the city for 29 years now and I can count the number of times the mayor has had to break a tie vote on the fingers of two hands.”

NEW ZONING

While discussing a new subdivision within the city’s annexation impact zone, the subject of a new large-lot-size residential zone was aired by the council. The context of the new zone discussion was a proposed subdivision with large lot sizes.

Representing Searle Properties, Derrick Dye approached the council to request a letter which the developer needs as a condition for further work with the Bingham County Planning and Zoning department. This is the consequence of Searle’s plans for a new subdivision inside the city’s impact zone which has a high certainty of being annexed in the future.

“We need a discussion of our tentative plans with the city so we can go back to the county on this because the subdivision is inside Shelley’s impact zone, we know this area will be annexed.”

Searle is working with the county on the development plans for its new subdivision and has already been through one hearing with the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission in Sept. 11.

The proposed 72-home Crystal Lakes subdivision would be on a 63-acre parcel approximately a half-mile east of Shelley, near 1300 N 900 E. Lots would be between a half and three-quarters of an acre. “We want to hook into the city water main and will be installing water meters and septic tanks,” Dye describing the development plans. “We want to vary from the city’s 40-foot streets and have 32-foot streets, two-foot roll-up curbs, five-foot sidewalks and seven and a half feet behind the curb.”

The larger lots and narrower street is meant to preserve a more rural feel for the subdivision.

The county desires a letter from the city as evidence that Searle is consulting with the city over building plans. The letter would state that the city and Searle had agreed or were actively working on details for proposed Crystal Lakes subdivision. Such a letter is necessary because of the certainty of annexation for the area.

Under Idaho law, impact zones are areas surrounding cities where the likelihood of annexation is high. These zones are always the result of a negotiated agreement between a municipality and a county, like that which exists between Shelley and Bingham County.

Since impact zones will become part of a city in the future, the law provides the means by which counties and cities work together on the zoning which is allowed for new development. Though county zoning rules apply, Shelley is involved with the development process since the subdivision will be part of the city in the future and its infrastructure must mesh with city services and utilities.

“If a new zone is created, (subdivisions like this one) won’t need to to use a (zoning) variance,” city attorney BJ Driscoll commented during the discussion, which started a 10-minute digression on a potential new zone for the city.

Gaydusek had a copy of the “RP” residential park zoning ordinance from Idaho Falls on hand as an example of what Shelley may want to consider. Lot sizes and set backs were comparable with those proposed for Crystal Lakes.

“We do need to look at doing something like this,” Kelley remarked during the discussion that followed. “For example, you want all your set backs to be about the same. You don’t want one house being next to the street with a large residence next door that’s set so far back that it looks like it’s behind the first.”

The zone proposals are part of the duties of the planning and zoning commission. The creation of a new large-lot residential zone would first need to be proposed by P&Z before the council could take any action on creating a new ordinance to include this kind of zoning in Shelley.

The council approved giving Searle Properties a letter for the county. The letter will state that the city has no problems with the plans so far for the proposed subdivision; and that the city was willing to work with Searle to ensure Crystal Lakes would be in sync with the city’s zoning, services and utilities.

OTHER BUSINESS

The city voted to approve the financial terms of a lease with Safelink Communications for a tower on Shelley Butte. The lease would be locked in at $3,500 a year with an increase of three percent after three years. The tower will cost Safelink $60,000 to build.

After the tower is completed, Safelink representative Chad Shanks said, the company plans next to bring fiber into Shelley.

The city approved and the mayor signed the amendment to the water study contract with Forsgren Associates, which is the city’s engineering contractor. Last month, the council approved asking the firm for a quote to update the study, along with start and end dates for the work.

The city approved a new regulation for the installation and replacement of city water meters. The city would cover the cost of meters on connections of one inch or less. Meters on lines greater than one inch would be the responsibility and property of the residence or commercial property owner.

For example, a one-inch meter on a residence would be the property of the city and its replacement would be the city’s responsibility if it broke. In contrast, if a landlord needed a meter to fit a four inch line supplying an apartment complex, the property owner would buy and own that meter and would be responsible for the costs of replacing it in excess of what it would have cost the city if it were a one-inch meter.