Skip Brandt

Skip Brandt is chairman of the Idaho County Commission.

GRANGEVILLE – Idaho County taxpayers will pay Cottonwood-based Valley Paving & Asphalt, Inc., nearly $1.2 million that was awarded in arbitration of a breach of contract lawsuit that stemmed from problems during construction of the new airport runway three years ago.

“There is some of that money that is already budgeted,” Idaho County Commission chairman Skip Brandt told the Free Press May 24. “Then there’s the other potential that we’ve got to apply for federal [FAA, or Federal Aviation Administration] funds. We withheld some money because they weren’t performing. … Now will the feds go ahead and pay those tabs as if it was all done on time and as if the pavement was good? We don’t know yet.”

The payout hasn’t been made; it will be covered, in part, out of the budget the county commissioners approved last September, which included $530,000 for airport construction. The county commissioners have also scheduled a budget hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 4, to add $677,080 in additional spending under the airport capital line. (See “Notices” on 3B for details.)

Idaho County’s insurance is unlikely to cover the arbitration award, though ICRMP (the Idaho County Risk Management Program) is to review whether reimbursement is in order.

The county has already several times modified the budget for spending in addition to what was approved last fall for the current fiscal year.

During the current fiscal year, the commissioners have reopened the budget to add: a $249,000 upgrade of an aging computer network, a $104,000 fingerprinting equipment grant to the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, a $17,000 equipment purchase for the airport, and an additional $50,000 toward a $68,000 auditor records scanning project.

The mid-year budget changes – including the arbitration award – won’t affect tax bills this year, as local property taxes are certified by the Idaho State Tax Commission based on the budget the commission sets each September.

County accounts hold enough tax collected in excess of spending during previous years to cover the unforeseen expenses, Brandt explained.

“Under normal circumstances, we’d just wait until the next budget cycle,” he said, “but between the sheriff’s need to update, the clerk scanning all those documents, and then just the issue of potential shutdown, we were saving about $25,000 by pulling the trigger then. So we did it.”

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