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Idaho County Courthouse

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County considers participation in Stibnite mine advisory group

Midas Gold is working to establish an advisory council that would participate in the Forest Service process under which the company could gain the federal permit required for new production at the old Stibnite mine near Yellow Pine – a group that would write a comment letter regarding the project, and that would also participate in a new charitable foundation.

November 7, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

County to sell road, bridge equipment

With the county commission having recently approved leasing several pieces of new heavy equipment, several old Idaho County Road & Bridge Department vehicles are being put up for sale, with sealed bids due by 9 a.m. Sept. 4.

August 22, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

Commission takes up bridge concerned in gold haul route

Concern for a bridge – mainly, for who would be liable for injuries and repairs if it failed under freight weight – is expected to hold up new Orogrande-area gold digs for a month or more while Idaho County researches road history details and prepares to enter an agreement that may involve residents and the company now leasing the old Friday Mine.

August 15, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

County receives $1.7M in PILT, puts $100K treating noxious weeds

Last week, the federal Department of the Interior (DOI) announced local governments across Idaho will receive more than $36 million out of the $553 million President Trump approved for the PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) program this spring. Idaho County is set to receive $1,719,685.

June 30, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

Commission approves $4,200 for effort

Alongside neighboring counties, Idaho County earlier this month agreed to put up $4,200 to study how to make the regional fiber optic network ready for emergency communications. The amount, matched by the other counties across the district, will fund discovering the locations of existing fiber optic lines and estimating the costs of building new interconnections between the region’s dispatch centers.

June 13, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

Dixie Road chip seal planned to cost $1.4M

Federal funding will cover all but about $107,000 of the more than $1.4 million involved with an upcoming project for sealing cracks on the first 26 miles of the Dixie Road, under the early steps toward an agreement between the Federal Highway Administration and Idaho County which were taken last month.

June 13, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

Budget line overrun as men MacGregor once defended face prosecution in county

As part of a review of county spending midway through the current budget cycle, the Idaho County Commission recently had the prosecuting attorney account for a spending line that had over-topped the full-year amount the commission budgeted last summer. Commissioner Mark Frei asked prosecuting attorney Kirk MacGregor to account for the amount the county has spent on for “conflict” prosecution since the current budget year began last October.

May 16, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

State grant, federal SRS funds bankroll county’s fire mitigation

The Secure Rural Schools (SRS, a.k.a. federal forest funds) reauthorized by Congress earlier this year flows not only to highway districts and local schools. Some of it funds small forestry projects through Idaho County’s fire mitigation department. But the county’s fire mitigation arm also has put some state money to work: About $111,000 so far this year, fire mitigation manager Randy Doman told county commissioners Tuesday, May 1.

May 16, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

$152K bid at sheriff’s auction; Commissioners question SAR budget overage at meeting

The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office auction held April 28 drew bids totaling more than $152,000, according to public records – and not every big-ticket item was sold. “There were things we couldn’t sell because of the time requirements of the federal government,” Giddings told the Free Press May 7. Because state law requires money from the sale of county property to flow through the county’s general fund and be allocated by the county commissioners through the normal budget process, elected officials are moving to put their “horsetrading” over what to do with the auction proceeds in writing.

May 9, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

Vacancies cloud role to allocate SRS funds

When the county receives federal Secure Rural Schools (SRS) forest funds anticipated next month, it will deal with two longstanding types of money not addressed in previous Free Press reporting on the sudden reauthorization earlier this year. These funds are known as Title II and Title III funds, and are administered differently than the bulk of the money, which flows to local schools and highway districts.

May 9, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

County seeks bids for Woodland gravel stockpile

Idaho County’s informal solicitation to supply rock for the county’s Woodland-area stockpile resulted in one bid for $138,000 last month, so the county commissioners decided Tuesday, May 1, to advertise it formally in the newspaper. The “call for bid” legal notice is in the Idaho County Free Press this week.

May 9, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

Idaho County Commission backs Alt3 in USFS Hungry Ridge restoration

The Idaho County Commission’s latest letter to Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests supervisor Cheryl Probert put the board’s weight behind Alternative 3, which Hungry Ridge Restoration Project documents indicate would “maximize potential 25 percent return to Idaho County.” The Forest Service is working toward making a final decision on the project by January 2019.

April 25, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

Board weighs permanent commitment of adding 25 cents a month to phones to fund 911 infrastructure grants

The county commission’s April 3 discussion involved the board weighing whether committing now to a 25 cents per line per month grant fee would be a permanent commitment. “If we do the 25-cent fee, can we get back out of it?” commissioner Mark Frei asked Zumalt. Idaho County emergency manager Jerry Zumalt said the county commissioners would still be the county’s 911 board, and thus such a decision would still be within their power.

April 11, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

Fiber upgrade may prove decisive for private industry

As the Idaho County Commission grappled with the question whether or not to commit public money to studying a plan for upgrading Internet infrastructure for the county’s own emergency services, the board kept returning to a more basic question last Tuesday, April 3. Where is the fiber that is already in the county?

April 11, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

County undecided on upgrade for regional Internet

Idaho County Commissioners heard a plan out of the Idaho Office of Emergency Management last week that calls for a massive interconnection of the fiber optic network in North Central Idaho – a pricey infrastructure project that would “meet the needs of emergency communications along with the advent of Next Generation 911” service.

April 4, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

County comment on Lolo Insect & Disease Project highlights 41 miles of road decommissioning

“Idaho County commends the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests for continuing efforts to address forest health issues,” the Idaho County Commission wrote in a comment letter approved last week regarding the Lolo Insect & Disease project. The project proposal, which was subject of a March 7 public meeting in Kooskia, calls for timber harvest, soil rehabilitation, road improvements and other work in a 78,000-acre project area located approximately 16 miles northeast of Kamiah.

April 4, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

County officials say they ‘have not seen’ coordination in Forest Plan Revision

Idaho County Commission chairman Skip Brandt has been the board’s ambassador to the Forest Service, having attended more than 20 meetings during the past year on topics related to the ongoing Forest Plan Revision – a process that also involves evaluation of potential for new wilderness and Wild & Scenic River designations. Lately – participating in this month’s open comment period before Forest Plan Revision alternatives are announced – the board has sent Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests supervisor Cheryl Probert several letters

February 28, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

County approves new split within Lewis & Clark Resort

The Idaho County Commission approved Kamiah Valley Company agent Craig Sloat’s request to draw new property lines by which the Lewis & Clark Resort will separate its water system from the rest of its operation for insurance purposes.

January 31, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

Idaho County still pursuing funding for last winter’s emergency repairs

When Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter delivered his final “State of the State” address Monday, Jan. 8, he mentioned that one set of disasters – “one of the worst hurricane seasons on record,” he said – took federal disaster managers away from the mountain of road work last winter left behind across Idaho. Locally, Idaho County still has not received firm word about whether FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) will be able to send money for projects to address last winter’s damage, which the Free Press first reported Sept. 12.

January 10, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

County to exit landfill group as plan found not ‘cost-effective’

Among the Idaho County Commission’s top priorities, solid waste system reform has long loomed large, but plans for a five-county joint landfill aren’t moving forward, and Idaho County is withdrawing from the group that has spent more than 19 months planning for a regional dump southwest of Council.

January 3, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

New county ordinance outlines business property tax exemption

Aiming to boost economic development, the Idaho County Commission has adopted a new ordinance under which the county may provide property tax breaks to new businesses. A 2017 state law allows counties to establish criteria, and the ordinance – No. 62, published in full on the website – states how the local board has drawn the lines. The law on which the ordinance is founded – state code 63-602NN – says the exemption is allowed for “plant or building facilities…for nonretail purposes that are either commercial or industrial.”

December 20, 2017 6 a.m. read more..


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