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Election on November 8! Local Government Committee Report Oct. 24

Local Government Committee (LGC) Report

LGC Reports are a compilation of notes taken at LG meetings, and information shared with the LGC.

Reports do not reflect the official positions of the Bonneville County Republican Party. We encourage the reader to research information and consider all sides of any issue. The intent of the LGC is to inform citizens of Bonneville County and encourage them to become involved in all levels of their community.




DATE: October 24, 2022


COUNTY

Many people have asked about the ballot box located on the street at the new Bonneville County location (Capital and B).

I talked to Hannah at the office yesterday and she assured me it did have a camera on it and before the camera was set up the box was locked. We talked at length about the process if someone dumped several ballots in at once.

She went over the process of verifying votes, checking registrations, verifying signatures. They do have bar codes that match each requested mail in ballot. During business hours they empty the box at least 4 times a day. County Commissioner Jon Walker stated the same process.

I have volunteered at the polls for several years and elections and I have not witnessed anything that led me to question the process.

If you are the least bit concerned or witness something out of the ordinary CALL the office and ask for Helena or Hannah. They are good people.

I feel that Bonneville County has a pretty secure process that validates integrity in voting. We do need to encourage in person voting that is always best. Please vote (in person) on November 8, smartly and with research.

They are anticipating a BIG turnout and have added 2 extra people for monitoring in each polling location. The training class was the biggest I have attended.

I was encouraged!

Dawna Howard, Founder

Concerned Citizens of Idaho Falls


CITY

Parks in Idaho Falls are now closed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to promote public safety, reduce vandalism and ensure a better quality of life for residents.

Q: If property size is made smaller when roads are made wider, will the property taxes be less?

A: No. Property taxes will be based on the original size.

Land next to Home Depot was annexed. 41 townhomes and 91 condos are scheduled

for this area.


The City Council is not allowed to receive outside information if a topic will be a subject of a public hearing. If they were to meet in private with a source of extra information, they

would need to recuse themselves.


When approving a development, the council is not permitted to consider the impact on

the schools in the affected area.


Impact fees are collected to pay for roads, power, water, sewer, fire, parks and

recreation, and police.


There are currently 9 locations for police. The new law enforcement building will centralize the police department.


Appointees from IF City Council

(Following quotes are from the City newsletter.)

“Idaho Falls City Council President Michelle Ziel-Dingman received an appointment from the Idaho Transportation Department Board to the state Public Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC). Ziel-Dingman will serve alongside five others from across the state to advise the department on issues and policies regarding public transportation in Idaho. PTAC plans activities, identifies transportation needs and promotes coordinated transportation systems across Idaho.”

Questions to Ask

How is the Idaho Transportation Department Board formed?

When are elections/appointments?

What activities does PTAC plan?

How are transportation needs determined, what metric is used?

“Governor Brad Little appointed City Council member John Radford to the Idaho Economic Advisory Council (EAC). The EAC advises the Governor and the Idaho Department of Commerce on goals and objectives to promote economic development in the state. The council gives recommendations on applications for the Tax Reimbursement Incentive, the Community Development Block Grant and Rural Community Investment Fund funding.”

Questions to Ask

What do John Radford, and other members of the EAC, believe are the goals and objectives of economic development in the state?

What are the Tax Reimbursement Incentive, the Community Development Block Grant and the Rural Community Investment Fund?


SCHOOLS

Debate on the D91 Bond continues. All committee members agree there is a need for updates, and mostly all believe the historic IF High school is a solid structure worth saving. Given that the district believes it could be used as a tech school, it seems they agree on that point. Since the October Central Committee meeting, where both sides had a voice, some national construction figures have been offered (even though Idaho figures are generally lower.)

The district's plan is for 1,800 students, which seems to be too high given that Idaho Falls High School enrollment has bounced between 1,150 and 1,350 for the past 20 years.

The district appears to be using a factor of approximately 135 square foot per student, which is reasonable given the national averages (some are higher and some are lower.)

The district is trying to budget for $456 / square foot. A number nearly double the national average cost of new high school construction ($206 in 2018, $213 in 2020, and $254 in 2022.)

1,600 students X 135 SF/student X $270/SF = $58,320,000

Factor in that Idaho construction costs are lower than national average:

$58,320,000 X 90.9% = $53,012,880

Now, add the cost of the design work:

$53,012,880 + 6.5% = $56,458,717

Finally, add on ten million dollars for a healthy sitework budget and another two million for a furnishing budget:

$56,458,717 + $10,000,000 + $2,000,000 = $68,4548,717

That's roughly half what the district is trying to budget for a new high school.

The district has added a factor of 50% inflation over four years which seems unrealistic given that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is up about 15% over the last four years which is considered an unusually steep rise. A 50% inflation factor seems very unlikely.

While there is an existing need for students, and a definite need for a new elementary, some are having a challenge justifying the numbers. We do, however, look forward to more debate on the subject and encourage more study.


PLANNING & ZONING

Public hearing notification letters are sent out if a land owner is within 300 ft of an area

being affected. This is for a rezone or subdivision only not for a start of building because

by that point the rezone or subdivision has already been approved.

If you want to attend a hearing, you need to sign up.


The City of Idaho Falls is seeking applicants to serve their community by joining the Planning and Zoning Commission.

In addition to planning and zoning applications, the commission can suggest changes to the Zoning Code and other development standards and requirements. They also play a vital role in developing the city's comprehensive plan and smaller, neighborhood plans.


ARPA money will be used to develop a public engagement guidebook that will

help unify depts, have better communication and obtain public input. Under this will

also be: to address coordination with builders and developers and to identify barriers to

the construction of alternate housing types, adopt with the county a new area of impact

agreement, create a city action team to explore a complete strict policy and streetscape

standards, as well as a partnership with USU for walkable center and neighborhood

plans.


Growth continues. As of the end of September, there were 107 projects applied for, 1755 permits applied for, 1606 permits issued, and 10,246 inspections completed this year. They are seeing some slow down in projects applied for, but permits issued is the highest ever. More inspectors are needed due to the increase in building.


(The following are Dawna Howard’s, Founder CCIF, thoughts on the reconnector project.)

Neither plan was very good but will there be a perfect solution?


Do nothing is NOT an option as there is many times those onramps are backed up and I have to use Broadway to Skyline to get people to and from the airport (I am a part time Uber driver) and crossing over to the Riverside exit across the Lindsay onramp is difficult, merging with incoming traffic.


H2....49th crosses the hatch pit where contaminated materials have been dumped. Prevero (which is city annexed, I learned that last night) has very expensive custom homes built there, and a golf course. Having a busy highway as their backyard seems wrong. This is the plan that is favored by the city council and mayor.


E3...Olympia exchange connects by Roadhouse Saloon affecting the Snake River RV Park and the grain silos across the road. There seems to be less homes affected with this plan; however, its close proximity to the airport (will that really help congestion) and all those onramp improvements will be tore down. Why the expense to build all that?


FYI...It was mentioned about the area off Saturn and Scorpius being torn down. Did you know that Antares Park is a historical site and can not be touched in any way. That is good to know.


Here is the link to view these plans and also to leave comments. The next phase with public input will be in August 2023.


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