County Commissioners Meeting - November 4
The Elmore County Board of Commissioners met Friday, November 4th in regular session. All but Commissioner Rogers were present for the meeting. They opened their meeting in the basement of the courthouse by approving a new agreement with the University of Idaho regarding the Elmore County extension office.
Afterwards, Commissioner Hofer made a motion to authorize updating architectural plans for the Forest Service building, and the motion was passed.
Sheriff Hollinshead then spoke to the Commissioners seeking the reclassification of a position within his office. A recently vacated position has left needs unfulfilled, and the Sheriff felt that those needs could be taken on by someone already employed within the office rather than hiring a new employee to fill the vacated position. His proposition included increased pay to the person who would take on the duties of the vacated position as well as continue to conduct their prior duties. Ultimately, the reclassification was approved.
Mitra Mehta-Cooper then spoke to the Commissioners about the landfill and its progress with working towards complying with Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and Elmore County’s standards. She noted a site visit that was seen as largely successful. She also noted that the number of tires on-site seemed to have been reduced to a more appropriate level. Commissioner Hofer described the current conditions of the landfill, which is privately owned and operated, as “an environmental disaster waiting to happen”.
After the landfill discussion, the Commissioners further entertained their idea of hiring a grant writer for the county. After some discussion, they decided that it would be more appropriate to contract for the position rather than create a new county position.
After a break for lunch, the meeting turned to water updates from Terry Scanlan, Keri Hill, and Dylan Lawrence. The Commissioners were informed that a moratorium was introduced on the Snake River from King Hill to Swan Falls Dam, effectively putting the county’s project on hold. The moratorium was introduced in order to prevent new water rights from impeding on existing water rights and to prevent a breach of minimum streamflow levels.
The Commissioners were also informed that 30% of the cost of a seepage study was approved to be covered by a grant.
Following this, there a lengthy discussion regarding public education and the release of a survey to the public to draw attention to, and educate on, existing and future water issues that Elmore County faces ensued. Commissioner Hofer and those present felt that allowing the taxpayers to be aware of, and make decisions regarding water issues and solutions, was preferred, since the taxpayers will ultimately be the ones footing a large part of the bill for water protection, restoration, and other projects.
Following a slew of additional water updates, the meeting was adjourned.