City Council 4.24.23

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Monday the 24th was the latest meeting of the Mountain Home City Council. The meeting began with a request from Councilman Brennan to move Councilman McCain’s resignation before the appointment of a new council member, he cited concerns about having five council members at once.

Next, department heads updated the Mayor and Council on their respective departments. Library Director Shasta Hochstrasser was excited to announce that it was National Library Week. She shared a laundry list of upcoming library events, touched on the summer reading program, and spoke about upcoming youth outreach in local schools.

Betsy Hiddleston announced that Wednesday the 26th would be recognized as “Denim Day” to honor and support victims of sexual assault. She also announced the upcoming Mountainbound RV Park ground breaking that will take place on May 13th.

City staff reported the beginning of regular spring activities including pothole repair, watering, fertilizing, and more.

Fire Chief Mark Moore announced that entry into brush fire season had begun and that training is underway.

City staff also announced a new grant writer.

Before continuing to the consent agenda, Councilman Brennan highlighted a shout out that the county gave to the city for their help in the acquisition of grants to provide in-ground irrigation systems to fill water recharge sites in prior years. He also announced that city residents would be provided with an informational card in their water bill that will direct them to a survey released by the county that aims to assess residents’ water needs.

Next, a motion was made to approve the consent agenda; it was approved with unanimity.

Then, the Council moved to discussing new business on the agenda. First up was a deliberation and decision on a planning and zoning recommendation and findings of facts for the annexation of property on Airbase Road. The annexation proposed would provide the property owner annexation for only one of two properties they own. The findings of fact and recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission were upheld and the council approved the annexation.

Secondly, the council faced deliberation and decision on the findings of fact and recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission for providing a conditional use permit to a proposed new RV park behind the Mountain Home Auto Ranch. A representative for the developer was present and gave a presentation on the proposed RV park which would provide residents and visitors with dog parks, green space, and a large, modern clubhouse among other amenities. The representative shared that the proposed development would boast 175 stalls and explained that the project wouldn’t be a phase based one, but rather a “one and done”.

Councilwoman Garvey, alongside other council members, brought up traffic concerns in the rapidly developing area. City officials explained that some roads in the area were initially designed with higher traffic and larger loads in mind, while other areas are set up to have changes funded by a combination of new developers, impact fees from new developers, existing developments, and capital improvement plan funds.

After long deliberations, a vote was taken. All but councilman Brennan, who abstained from voting, voted for approval. Councilman Brennan explained his decision to abstain citing what he felt was lack of adequate time to review the development plan and proposed CUP.

Next, Community Development Director Brock Cherry addressed the council, introducing a representative from CBRE, to begin deliberations on deciding whether or not to pursue a gaming study for the Shoshone-Bannock tribe’s proposed casino. Cherry stated that CBRE has a gaming division. Mayor Sykes explained that the city began to consider having a study conducted in order to provide third party, unbiased information about the casino’s potential impacts as well as how and when to collect from the casino. Councilwoman Garvey stated that she felt as though, “...we are putting the cart in front of the horse”. She elaborated further, reminding that the final decision regarding if the casino will or won’t come to fruition rests in the hands of Governor Little. Likewise, she acknowledged that the tribe has yet to even reach that step. She asked the cost of the proposed study as well as the current professional services budget. The study would cost around $77,000 and the city has around $10,000 in their budget for professional services.

She also asserted that the results of the study would benefit the tribe more than the city, a tort with which Councilman McCain agreed. Councilman Brennan expressed that he agreed with Councilwoman Garvey in her belief that such a study would be putting the cart before the horse.

Ultimately, the council members voted unanimously to postpone any decision on the study, each of them stating that more information was necessary before making any decisions. Councilwoman Garvey noted that she, “...would like a little bit more information from the state, too”.

The council members were next faced with establishing a date and time for a council work session to discuss Brandon McCarthy’s proposal for a closed bid process to allow for vendor use in Legacy Park. Councilman Brennan expressed enthusiasm for moving forward, though city staff present logistical, staffing, and waste concerns. Ultimately the council decided to hold a work session one hour before their next meeting. One member of the public took the opportunity to address the council. He spoke of the proposal for Legacy Park, claiming, “It just keeps getting kicked down the road”.

Following public comment, Councilman McCain requested that the agenda return to its original order, as he also wanted to vote on the appointment of his replacement. The council elected to stick to the original agenda order, and Matthew Bundy was unanimously elected to fill Councilman McCain’s newly vacant position. McCain closed, “It’s been a pleasure working with everybody up here, all the department heads. I enjoyed trying to make a difference and help Mountain Home grow”.

Lastly, Matthew Bundy was sworn in as a member of the city council, stating that he was excited to, “...step back in for a few months”. He advised, “My goal here for the next few months is to support the current council, the current mayor, and the current staff so we can proceed through this interim time”.

Following this appointment, the meeting was adjourned.

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