A letter of support from the City of Orofino was requested of council members at their regular meeting March 23, to host an event which made a huge hit with a lot of folks the last time it was here. Of course, we’re referring to the jet boat races on the Clearwater River to be held the weekend of June 19 and 20!

Chris Barger, speaking on behalf of the Clearwater Jet Boat Club, said they would like to bring the Clearwater River Rush Jet Boat race back to Orofino this summer, Wth the City’s permission to close College Avenue the event begins with a Boat Show and Shine from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, June 18. Dale Barger, also in attendance, added they were hoping to extend this year’s races from Ahsahka to Kamiah and back, both Saturday and Sunday. Permits must be secured from Fish and Game, as well as the Nez Perce Tribe. The Idaho Department of Transportation also had requirements for the event. 

Assistance from the Orofino Police Department was requested to help with keeping the public a safe distance from the water’s edge, particularly near the stairs at the park going down to the river, and along the bridge, while the races are in progress.

Councilman Doug Donner thanked both Chris and Dale for all the work related to putting together such a spectacular show.

It will be a busy weekend at the park, as the Father’s Day softball tournament is also planned to take place. 

Other petitions, applications, and communications

Due to health reasons, a letter of resignation was received from Rita Kaufman who served on the Orofino Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission. Kaufman thanked the council for the privilege of sitting on the board the past few years. The City appreciated her service and wished her well in her recovery.

Upon reviewing an application presented to the council, Mayor Sean Simmons recommended the appointment of Trapper Stewart to fill the vacancy left by Ms. Kaufman on the P&Z Commission.

Departmental reports

Administrator Ryan Smathers provided an update concerning the Odd Fellow’s building. He said that the condition of the building continues to deteriorate, and becomes a greater liability to the city as it sits. Smathers said he referred the matter to the city’s attorney as the owner’s have not been cooperative regarding access to the building for further inspection.

Other news from Smathers included that he and Building Official Todd Perry were still working towards repair of sidewalks, it was just a matter of waiting for the concrete contractor’s availability.

Treasurer Donna Wilson noted that she had submitted the city’s new investment policy for the council’s approval as well as the Revenue vs. Expenditure by Fund Report ending in February.

Building Official Perry was reportedly in Boise on Tuesday and not in attendance.

Public Works Supervisor Shane Miller informed the council that the extremely challenging task of addressing the water line project at the Public Works shop was near completion. Miller said he was proud of his crew, “It was a lot of work and a big job.”

Crews also finished their portion of the ambulance tie-in for dormitory housing on Riverside Ave.

Lines at the lift station were blocked once again with rags and latex gloves. Craig Marvin continues street sweeping efforts on Thursday evenings. The inmate labor program will resume Monday through Thursdays this year in compliance with Covid protocols.

Park restrooms were opened and the portable restroom was relocated to Champion Park.

Police Chief Jeff Wilson shared that he had received quotes from two contractors for remodeling of the new police station and waiting on a third. He assured the council he would keep them informed as more information comes forth. Councilman Jon Isbelle asked Wilson to purchase the materials locally, whenever possible. The council agreed that our local businesses were exceptionally competitive and supportive when it came to pricing. 

Wilson also provided an update on Officer Mike Dietrich, who was injured several weeks ago in a bar fight, which fractured his wrist and hand. Surgery was scheduled for March 25, requiring two weeks of recovery. It was noted that prior to his injury, Dietrich had also requested his vacation to begin following his two week recovery time. Wilson said he will be working night shift for Dietrich and may not be quite as available during the days, for approximately six weeks, but he would still be in to take care of administrative duties as needed.

Water/Wastewater Supervisor Mike Martin notified the council that the recreation vehicle dump station on Hwy. 12 had been re-opened for the season, as well as the water pay station.

Martin said he had been notified by the Department of Environmental Quality had contacted him regarding the diesel spill from a semi-truck on Hwy. 12 above Kooskia. During efforts to clean the site, authorities were concerned of the spill potentially coming our way. Martin stated that our community could rest assured that the City’s water plants have a conductivity meter to monitor the river. Conductivity is the ability for water to pass an electrical current. The facility has an alarm to shut off the whole system when and if a spill should occur. 

Fire Chief Jon Hoyt announced that firefighters participated in a wildland fire class with the Clearwater - Potlatch Timber Protective Association last weekend, to include a “Pack test,” for certification, which is running three miles with a 45 pound pack in 45 minutes. Eleven firefighters are now Red Card Certified. Of the 11, six are Certified Wildland Firefighter I and Incident Command Type V certified for wildland fires. Hoyt said they will continue to focus on education and training in April to include training for Wildland/Urban Interface and structure fires with a National Firefighters Instructor. It will be extremely valuable training for firefighters in our area.

Hoyt was asked about the turnout for the Firemen’s Breakfast held March 13, to raise money for the Orofino Senior Meal Site. Hoyt was pleased to report that the breakfast went much better than he had anticipated, raising a total of $1,341.44. In the past, there has always been an event such as Lumberjack Days to bring the people into town. “These donations all came from our little community, it was just amazing,” he added.

The following day the department participated in the Guns and Hoses bowling tournament against Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office to raise funds for the new Clearwater Valley Firefighters Auxiliary. That event also attracted spectacular support from our community raising $1,600. Enough cannot be said for the kindness and generosity of our people.

Resolutions 

Council members approved Resolution No. 21-500, proclaiming Orofino as a Second Amendment Sanctuary City. Mayor Simmons said that he had been approached by several people asking about the City’s support, as Idaho is only one of four Sanctuary States in the nation to the Second Amendment. “It offers us an extra layer of protection and I think it’s a positive move particularly with the new administration.”

Also approved was Resolution No. 21-501, the City’s new Investment Policy. 

The policy applies to the investment of all funds including but not limited to General Funds, Capital Projects, Debt Service Funds, Enterprise Funds, Internal Service Funds and Special Revenue Funds. funds which fall outside the scope of this policy include retirement funds and certain bond issues.

With the exception of cash in certain restricted and special funds, the City will consolidate cash balances from all funds to maximize investment earnings. Investment income will be allocated to the various funds based on their respective participation and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

The primary objective of the City Treasury/Council is to safeguard government funds while providing for adequate liquidity to meet the City’s daily needs. The priorities for investment decisions in order of importance are safety, liquidity and yield.

Minutes, bills and claims

The council approved minutes of the regular Council meeting held March 19, regular bills plus additional bills and payroll ending March 13.    

Upcoming meetings

The annual VFW Easter Egg Hunt will be held at Orofino City Park on Saturday, April 3, beginning at noon sharp! A Council Work Session is scheduled for Tuesday, April 6, with the next regular City Council meeting to be held Tuesday, April 13. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m. and will be held in Council Chambers at 217 First St. in Orofino.

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