As of Tuesday, September 11, 2018
KOOSKIA Pending city approval, policing services for Kooskia will continue by the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO), and at a cost that fits within the municipality’s budget.
At an Aug. 29 meeting, according to Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk MacGregor, an agreement was reached for the city to pay the county $25,000 a year for ICSO deputies to respond to calls within Kooskia. As part of this, Kooskia will continue to provide ICSO an upstairs office at city hall at no rental charge, along with free office utilities and Internet service. This is an annual contract, to be renewed on Oct. 1.
“The major change this year is that the county will be able to keep a portion of fines and fees for tickets and arrests within the city that the city used to keep,” clarified MacGregor.
Quantifying that, Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings said last year those fines totaled $1,070. With this contract change, those funds collected by deputies within the city will go into the county’s general fund.
The city council is expected to discuss the contract for possible approval at its regular meeting tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 12.
“It was a very pleasant meeting,” said Sheriff Giddings, a sentiment shared by MacGregor, in which they met at the prosecutor’s office in Grangeville with Kooskia Mayor Charlotte Schilling, councilor Don Coffman and city clerk Teresa Lytle. Giddings said they’ve had a good relationship with the city in the past and he plans on that continuing from here. With the city’s $25,000 offer for ICSO services — apart from the fines — the service remains the same as before, he said, and ICSO was OK on accepting that amount that the municipality can afford.
“The contract is agreed upon, and all is well,” Giddings said.
Resolution of ICSO’s policing services for the city comes following an issue earlier this summer involving miscommunication concerning Kooskia’s efforts to empower two of its employees to start enforcing municipal codes.
Idaho POST was notified in July by mayor Schilling of the city’s establishment of a Kooskia Police Department (KPD), which was later explained as a process to allow public works superintendent Carlos Martinez and employee Tim Sokolowski – who both have law enforcement certification – to enforce code violations and maintain their POST certifications. That notification was shortly after followed by a second letter to POST from Schilling that the department was being terminated. During this, ICSO was notified by POST of the KPD establishment and communicated to the city it would be ending its policing service contract with the city effective Aug. 31.
At its Aug. 8 meeting, the Kooskia City Council discussed the contract issue and its intent to arrange a meeting with its representatives and ICSO. Consensus by the council was its concern that ICSO was wanting a contract renewal at $46,000 when the city was not in a financial position to support that amount. Quoted at the meeting, councilor Marty Stettler said, “To me, it’s nothing against the sheriff. We just don’t have the money to raise it.”