City Council Meeting - 11.28.22

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Mountain Home City Council met in regular session on the 28th in the council chambers. It was another lengthy meeting as the council members deliberated over a variety of topics. The meeting began with news from Mayor Sykes that the city submitted a request to the state in order to be officially dubbed Idaho’s mural capital.

Following this announcement, the council heard from department heads. Director Hochstrasser of the Mountain Home Public Library listed a number of free events being provided by the library in the month of December. A calendar highlighting the events can be found on the library’s website. Fire Chief Moore spoke to the council about a fully-involved house fire that took place on November 19th; he noted that 24 firefighters, 3 engines, and the tower all responded to the fire. Police Chief Thompson was happy to note the success of the “Shop with a Cop” fundraising event that took place at Wingers. Following the other department head reports, Councilman Stokes made a motion to approve the consent agenda with a few small corrections; his motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Next up for the council was old business. This lead to a lengthy debate over the waiving of fiber hookup fees for the senior center. Many ideas were touched on, including an extended period to pay the fee, not waiving the fee at all, and reducing the fee. Ultimately, it was decided that the city would provide services now, and the senior center would be given until the end of the budget year (Sept. 2023) to pay the hookup fee in full; the decision was made unanimously.

Next, the council heard from Bruce Patterson regarding the projected fiber connection project that would provide fiber connections for citizens and businesses in Mountain Home. No actions were taken, but the council and those in attendance were given a thorough presentation of the logistics of the fiber project, as well as various cost projections.

A representative from Hayden Homes spoke to the council seeking approval of the findings of fact for a preliminary plat following a recommendation of approval from the city planning and zoning commission. Councilman Brennan raised concerns regarding a 1/2 acre portion of the developer’s property being donated to the city for future use. Brennan expressed concerns about the plausibility of the land’s future use for emergency services given the plot’s position on the property. The developer’s representative and others repudiated Brennan’s concern, one person even expressing, “beggars can’t be choosers”. Ultimately, all but councilman Brennan voted to follow the planning and zoning commission’s recommendation to approve the Fall Creek Development’s preliminary plat.

The council’s last task was to make a determination regarding a request by Elmore County to waive building permit fees for a 3,000 square foot facility. The facility was referred to at times as a storage facility, but at other times as an emergency vehicle storage/repair garage. There appeared to be a lack of definitiveness surrounding the facility’s actual use. According to a letter written to the council from Elmore County, the county asserts that the facility would have no real impact on the street department, fiber department, and Mountain Home Emergency Services, and as a result, should be excused from the city’s impact fees.

The council was skeptical of the claim that a 3,000 square foot facility would have no impact, especially on emergency services. Councilman Brennan asked Fire Chief Moore, Police Chief Thompson, and Public Works Director Uriquidi if they believed that their respective departments could be impacted by the proposed facility. Chief Moore asserted that a structure of 3,000 square feet has an inherent potential fire impact, though Chief Thompson and Mr. Uriquidi stated that the facility would likely have little to no impact on their departments. After significant discussion and the death of two previous identical motions, a motion was made and approved to waive all but fire impact fees for the county’s facility.

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