Councilwoman Jennifer Dunaway stepped up to serve as Mayor ProTem as Mayor Sean Simmons was unable to attend the Orofino City Council meeting held Sept. 8.
An Orofino Vendor request was received from Pam Emigh in conjunction with Allison Dorland for Clearwater County Fair Sept. 18 and 19,
In the attempt to help the Orofino economy by promoting an event during the Fair weekend, they hope to encourage vendors and non-profit fundraisers for this Friday and Saturday.
Permission was granted to close Johnson and College avenues to car traffic, allowing space for vendors and leave Main Street open for through traffic.
It was noted that Sheriff Chris Goetz had confirmed that the Sheriff Posse will be doing security for the 4-H Auction Committee and stated it would be possible to also patrol the vendor locations.
Emigh emphasized it would be a non-profit event. Fees are $50 per 10x10 booth and all profits will go back to the kids, possibly for ribbon and award money or scholarship fund. (See ad on page 1B for more activity details for this weekend.)
A Senior Project request from Cassidy Leidheiser was approved following a thorough and well organized presentation to the council. She asked for the city’s permission to hold a race Sept. 26, similar to the Mud Race of 2016, senior project of alumni Bryton Anderson.
Cassidy’s goal was to help raise money to install a defibrillator in the county’s ambulance, which she stated cost $25,000. That was her goal. Even if she wasn’t able to make that amount, she was happy to bring in as much as she could and even had other fundraisers planned as well. Every little donation certainly helps to make it possible at some point.
In her proposal, she explained she would like to use the same 2.5 mile route through town with 13 different obstacles for participants to maneuver along the way. She had included all the precautions and safety measures which were carefully put into place, as well as enlisting Orofino Fire Department for their support throughout the race.
The board was impressed, thanked her for her presentation, granted approval, and wished her well on her project.
The council tabled the potential replacement of Orofino’s Fire Department’s brush truck which was listed on the agenda as an Action item, for additional information. The brush truck is presently out of commission. It was believed a replacement had been located, but it didn’t work out. The department continues to search for replacement without having to purchase a new truck.
Administrator Ryan Smathers reported the signing and sealing of the new firefighters’ contract recently renegotiated with the Corps of Engineers. The new contract will be $5,000/year for five years
Orofino Airport is closed to facilitate firefighting flight activity only, as of Sept. 8.
Treasurer Donna Wilson submitted the Revenue vs Expenditure report by fund ending July 2020, and deferred the remainder of her report to Unfinished Business.
Building Official Todd Perry announced Hugh Miller would be beginning on the stair replacement project at the park on Sept. 9, and continue with pouring a sidewalk at the airport, as well as one at the wastewater plant.
Public Works Supervisor Shane Miller reported completion of painting the fuel tank with the installation of flashers at the airport.
In other news pertaining to the airport, Miller said that the drainage ditch recommended to be created by the Federal Aviation Administration last year, will be underway beginning Sept. 13. Miller had discussed with Crea Construction about using some of the soil displaced by the new ditch to fill in the ground lost with the tree stump removal on the west side of the airport. The purpose of this task is to eventually be able to mow the far property as opposed to the current use of a weed-eater. The task could then be done more efficiently and would be less time consuming.
Miller told the council that jet-rodding of the entire sewer system had begun and several members of the department would focus on that operation, hoping to complete it before the annual leaf pick-up effort “fell” into full swing.
“One of the vehicles is down as well, and we’re running into the problem of locating parts.” Miller continued to explain. “We haven’t listed it as a vehicle needing replacement, but it won’t be long, as the cost to repair the 1986 pickup continues to grow.
Police Chief Jeff Wilson and Fire Chief Jon Hoyt were not in attendance, as each were on duty.
Hoyt had asked City Administrator Ryan Smathers to express his appreciation to his crew as well as the neighboring communities of Troy, Potlatch, Moscow, Lewiston, and Clarkston all responding to the Sunnyside Complex fire.
“It was crazy,” said Smathers, “they all rolled in here to help us protect the structures. Three Fire Marshals also arrived in Orofino around 11 p.m. and were ushered up to the fires, They were amazed at the fire, the terrain, the wind, and as much destruction as there was that there was no loss of life.”
Wrapping up departmental reports, Water/Wastewater Supervisor Mike Martin expounded on the news that the water reservoir project on Canada Hill had been postponed to begin after Labor Day. Martin has been notified since that work will begin Sept. 16. He expressed his disappointment as the city had drained one million gallons of water in preparation of the work to be done, which has occurred at a critical time when the city is surrounded by fires.
City Clerk Janet Montambo asked the council to make a motion to take the topic regarding Forgone Property Taxes off the table for discussion.
Resolution No. 20-404 was added to the evening’s agenda for review and discussion. Approval of the resolution reserves the forgone amount for fiscal year 2020 for potential use in subsequent years.
The City’s initial intentions in waiving the annual three percent increase in city taxes for this year was to provide some relief to the many residents who have strived to make ends meet in financially challenging and unprecedented circumstances.
The council unanimously opposed this resolution with little further discussion. The 2020 forgone taxes for Orofino residents will not be collected this year or any year following.
Minutes, bills and claims
The council approved minutes of the regular Council meeting held Aug. 25, minutes of the Special Council meeting held Sept. 1, regular bills plus additional bills and payroll ending Aug. 29.
Pursuant to Idaho Code 74-206 an Executive Session is called under section 1 (i) to engage in communications with a representative of the public agency›s risk manager or insurance provider to discuss the adjustment of a pending claim or prevention of a claim imminently likely to be filed.
The next City Council meeting will meet Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at 217 First Street in Orofino.