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JULY 29, 2010

Two public comment meetings held on proposed water system improvements

   The Mayor and City Council have conducted Special City Council meetings on the proposed city Water System Improvements on July 20 in the Orofino City Council Chambers and a second meeting in conjunction with the Orofino Chamber of Commerce.      

   City Administrator Rick Laam facilitated the meetings where individuals provided many good comments about the proposed improvements. Laam emphasized that the purpose of the meetings are to educate the public and to solicit input from as many individuals as possible within the available comment period of thirty (30) days. Comments can be made on sheets provided by the city or they can verbally express them in person or over the telephone.

   It is important that the citizens of Orofino understand what is being proposed, the impact that any improvements will have on them, and how their input can help influence the final decisions in this project. Although certain improvements have been identified in previous educational messages, it is important to remember that the City Council will make a final decision only after the public comment is over.

Alternatives

   Laam went on to emphasize that the city has identified several different alternatives available to the city. They are: we can do nothing; we can renovate the old water treatment plant; we can buy water from the Riverside Water District; or we can construct a new treatment plant in a new location where three different sites have been identified. Each of these alternatives has a different environmental impact and must be examined carefully.

   Laam, while holding he document up with one hand discussed the importance of the Master Water Plan, which is a planning document identifying different options and costs for improvements. The plan is available for review at City Hall for anyone interested in examining it.

    A third public meeting is scheduled for Aug. 11 in the City Council Chambers starting at 6 p.m. The next step in the process is to compile an Environmental Information Document (EID) where public comments will be incorporated. The 8.5 million award from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the environmental process is little more in-depth and detailed, which is a good thing.

   We need to make sure that all individuals and agencies have sufficient knowledge of our project and that we proceed appropriately. We also want to make sure that all citizens understand the project so they can cast an informed ballot during the Bond Election, said Laam.