The city of Kamiah agreed to spend upwards of $6,000 on temporary gazebos in lieu of constructing a permanent barbecue pit at Riverfront Park.
The former barbecue pit was removed to make way for a new structure, but city officials decided to rethink the project. Complications came to light when the concrete pad was examined and was found to have crumbling edges and was not level.
Councilor Dan Millward said his intention had been to build a new structure over the old cement pad. Additional complications of electrical and water lines buried on the east and west sides of the slab make it “impossible to dig any holes there and do it safely,” said Millward at a May 13 city council meeting.
He reported researching metal structures to place over the pad as well as 10×12 gazebos from a big box store, but worried about their durability.
“I would rather try to build something out of wood even though metal would last longer,” said Millward. He obtained a quote of $22,000 to have a 20×40 structure erected, which is beyond the city’s budget.
In retrospect, Millward felt there were many things the council should have considered when addressing the project. For example, the barbecue pit has some overlapping issues with camping at the park.
Councilor Stephen Rowe talked about purchasing two gazebos that could potentially make it through this and next season if maintained. “I think that would be the better way to go where we can budget and allocate funds later on to build a solid structure and a more permanent structure that would last the years we would need it to,” he added.
The gist was to place two gazebos on the pad and a third added in the corner of the park that could also be rented.
Millward said the gazebos could probably be unbolted and moved to Dupont Park if desired.
The council passed a motion to purchase up to three gazebos for $6,000 and have them installed by July 1.
In other business:
The council approved membership payment to Idaho Counties Risk Management Program for $39,151 for fiscal year 2020-21.
Lee Bird briefly spoke about continuing a car show along Main Street on July 11, asking if it could continue amidst the COVID-19 situation. He said it may not be as large as originally hoped but it will give the community the chance to unwind. Mayor Betty Heater said the event could be held.
Fire Chief Dan Musgrave presented information on less costly internet based phone service for the city. The city would first have to abandon its current phone lines at a cost of $300 per line for a total of $1,800.
According to Clerk Stephanie Dyche, the city is currently paying $650-680 per month in phone service.
By switching phone plans the city would have a monthly fee of about $321 after a $750 set up through ClearConnect.
“In less than a year it would pay for itself,” said Musgrave. He said the voice over internet system is used by the school, Simmons Sanitation, and the credit union.
Rowe inquired about having Musgrave check on a multi-year contract rate with ClearConnect so the city would not get hit with annual rate increases. A motion passed to accept the new phone option with possible locked in rates.
Amy Manning, executive director of Idaho Independent Intergovernmental Authority (III-A), presented information on health insurance options for the city. III-A was formed in 2011 by Idaho local governments in response to rising health care rates. The trust was created to allow agencies to pool resources and provide affordable health benefits for their employees. Each agency shares the cost associated with providing health benefits for employees.
The pool is governed by the III-A Board of Trustees.
“By pooling everyone together and sharing our claims we are able to have affordable renewals so our agency can afford benefits,” said Manning. She said without being able to provide benefits to good employees, cities end up losing workers.
There are presently 67 government entities around the state, including Grangeville and Kooskia locally, who participate in the program.
The council agreed to change its insurance from Blue Cross to III-A. The city is switching medical at the moment and when the contracts for dental and vision run out then the city will add those to III-A.
City Attorney Dan Chadwick gave an update on the governor’s Stage 2 reopening of businesses. Following Public Health’s recommendation, he advised it is strongly recommended to continue social distancing and use face masks in public.
Dyche felt it would be good to have the public wear masks into city hall. No more than two people will be allowed into city hall at one time to do business. Under these parameters the council agreed to reopen city hall May 18.
Millward asked how long the city will have to continue under such rules.
Chadwick replied that such an answer is not known, but that recommendations are an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus. He felt social distancing would likely stay around a long time even after Stage 4 of reopening later this summer.
The purchase of pump repairs at the waste water plant for $4,169 was approved.
A water bill write-off at 816 Nickel was approved.
The city held the first reading of animal ordinance 2020-01. The revised ordinance greatly increases the penalties for those who let their animals run free.
For example, the city is enacting a capture fee of $50 any time a dog is caught. Impound fees will be $25 a day under a first offense. A second offense will be $50 daily plus food costs. A third offense will be $75 daily.
If impounded dogs are not retrieved within five days, they may be placed in a suitable new home by adoption procedures or humanely euthanized by the city or the agency chosen by it.
Licensing fees are also increasing under the ordinance. License fees for all unspayed and unneutered animals will be $50. Seniors and veterans will be given a discount and will pay $5.
To encourage people to get licenses the fee will be $10 between January to February; March to April will be $15. Anything after April 1 will be a $20 fee.
Pending approval from insurance carrier ICRMP, the city hopes to open the old tennis courts to skateboard use and have that area managed by teens from the Youth Advisory Board.
“A group of kids came to me with a portable on wheels skate park ramp. They would like permission to take it to the park and use it and then take it home,” said Heater.
“What kind of liability could the city have with an injury?” asked Rowe.
Heater wondered about having the kids sign a waiver.
Chadwick said the city needed to talk to ICRMP about those questions.
Millward gave some brief history of the skate park saying there have been drug and alcohol and trash issues there. “We’ve always had issues down there. I’ve tried and tried to keep it open.” He felt it would be nice if it worked out well.
Rowe asked about having someone from the YAB take on the responsibility of managing the park.
“I’ve always had the parents say they would and they never follow through,” said Millward, adding the area does not get locked up and then problems arise.
Rowe felt a youth from the YAB could drive down to the park and open it and close it as needed.
Heater said she would be ecstatic if that could be worked out along with ICRMP’s approval.