Cottonwood talks compliance; Ferdinand assesses overage bill

City Council news: Cottonwood, Ferdinand, Kooskia, Riggins

Area cities held regular meetings the second week of October. Since the budget season has cleared, council members have moved on to a myriad of other issues.

Cottonwood: Jan. 1 to meet compliance

The two most pressing issues to come before the City of Cottonwood at its Oct. 11 regular meeting were an ongoing discussion regarding a well at the airport and a notification of non-compliance from Voluntary Employee’s Beneficiary Association (VEBA).

“VEBA feels like we aren’t in compliance,” said Shelly Schumacher, mayor. “We have until Jan. 1 to meet compliance.”

When council member Pat Holthaus inquired why the city was no longer in compliance, Schumacher responded the city has to offer its employees medical insurance to be in compliance. However, she also noted the city is not required by law to insure its employees when it has less than five employees. The city has five paid employees.

Originally, the city had provided a dollar amount to each of its employees to go towards a medical policy they acquired themselves. When the city acquired VEBA, a medical spending account, it offered employees a dedicated account to be used for medical expenses. This was approved by VEBA and no mention of a policy requirement was made at the time.

“I’d like to know more about the employees’ needs and try to meet those,” said Ron Grant, council member.

In the end, the city opted to reach out to VEBA and establish a date for a special meeting for the issue to be discussed further.

Regarding the airport well issue, Holthaus said he received a response back from the Department of Environmental Quality. The inquiry was made several months ago after a concern was raised about potential for spillage contaminating the well.

“Essentially, they said we’re fine but if we want to make it safer we can increase that setback,” Holthaus said.

“I really don’t think we want to get into a setback issue and have to change our ordinance,” Grant said. He suggested the council contact other facilities in the area to find out what other standard practices are on this issue.

Ferdinand: Determine project overage bill

Ferdinand City Council also met Oct. 11 and discussed the 2016 Local Rural Highway Investment Program (LRHIP) grant. The grant was shared between the city and Ferdinand Highway District.

City Clerk and Treasurer Angie Riener said the city received $30,000 out of the $100,000 grant, but it also ended up paying $15,000 out of pocket.

“It ended up hurting the little town of Ferdinand,” she said.

Reiner said the grant was used to apply cement reinforced material and rehabilitate Railroad Avenue and Cottonwood Butte Road. A double chip seal coat was applied to provide a paved roadway.

“We are still trying to figure out why the overage was all billed to the city,” she said. A meeting is planned in the future with the highway district to discuss the issue.

Kooskia: Park receives new equipment

The Kooskia City Council met Oct. 12 and announced new equipment has been installed at the Kooskia City Park. The city received a grant from the Idaho Community Foundations along with donations from Freedom Northwest Credit Union and Cloninger’s Inc./Clearwater Valley Harvest Foods this past spring.

Monies were used to purchase a Maypole and a train set built by Dave Roberson of Kamiah. The train set includes four cars constructed to allow smaller children to climb into and imagine riding the rails.

Council members also discussed abandoned vehicles in the right of way and the East Kooskia Bridge.

Riggins: Church zone speed limit decreased

The Riggins City Council also met Oct. 12. Council members discussed a request for a decreased speed limit in a church zone.

City Clerk Brenda Tilley said the council made a motion, and passed it, to reduce the speed limit to 15 miles per hour on all side streets in the city limits. The issue was raised after a community member had expressed some concern about the previously posted limit.

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