Rural Fire District Ad Hoc Committee Invites County Assessor and Tax Collector to Next Meeting | Top stories

An update on the February 25 Town Ad Hoc Committee meeting with the Orofino Rural Fire District (ORFD) was provided at the March 8 Orofino City Council meeting.

Town Administrator Ryan Smathers said he felt inclined to attend the committee meeting because members of the rural district had expressed concerns at the February 22 council meeting about earlier remarks made by Councilor Mark Swayne. Members of the ORFD committee questioned whether Swayne’s intentions were to sever ties with the district or to work together to seek a workable solution to continue fire protection services.

Swayne clarified that the city was “not interested in pushing for ORFD to be independent at this time, but at some point in the future. We have to start somewhere. The immediate objective is to find an agreement.

Smathers explained the need to review the current contract and come up with a fairer distribution of what ORFD pays to the Orofino Fire District (OFD). Currently, ORFD has the second lowest levy rate of the nine districts, although it is one of the largest and continues to grow.

Smathers also questioned why ORFD taxes property owners for both land and structure, when no other district in the state does. Further discussion led all committee members to agree that taxation for land fire protection could be waived when C-PTPA responds to wildland fires.

To do this, Smathers recommended removing the ORFD and reassembling it to set a new levy rate that will only tax structures.

Jerry Johnson, member of the ad hoc committee, raised the possibility of charging a flat rate instead of a percentage tax.

It was noted that the school district had also considered this option in the past. One of the main reasons the proposal was rejected was due to the huge discrepancy in structure values ​​across the county.

How do you ask the family living in a one-width mobile home to pay the same rate as their neighbors in the mansion next door for education? What about something as vital as fire protection?

The committee would like to ask Dawn Erlewine and Susan Spencer, County Collector and Assessor, respectively, to attend their next meeting to discuss this option further. The date of the next meeting of the ad hoc committee will depend on the availability of Erlewine and Spencer. The Clearwater Tribune will do its best to notify the public of the date and time in advance.

Statistical data on fire calls over the past three years will be studied to better understand the cost of fires. Having a better idea of ​​the actual amount the city is asking for will help consider raising rates not only to meet the new contract for ongoing operations, but also to start saving for an independent district.

Smathers provided the board with an update at each board meeting until an agreement was reached.

While approving minutes and paid bills, Councilor Doug Donner asked about several items, including $5,000 to retain the services of Thomas, Dean and Hoskins (TD&H) of Idaho, Inc.

Further discussion revealed that TD&H, working closely with the LEAP Foundation, will create the preliminary design to bring the roads and drainage situation of the Westgate Addition subdivision up to standard. County commissioners have placed a moratorium on building more homes in the immediate area until roads are brought up to code and annual flooding issues are alleviated.

The money will come from the Blue Cross Community Transformation Grant (BCCTG). It differs from all other funds distributed by the BCCTG in that it does not apply specifically to physical activity or better nutrition, but due to the dire need for housing, the impact team hoped to benefit all community by fixing these long overdue issues. to address. Smathers reported that the BCCTG Impact Team has approved up to $25,000 to the LEAP Foundation for this purpose.

The board approved a new 10-year agreement between Clearwater County Dispatch and Orofino Fire Department Rescue Services with changes focused on old areas of billing confusion. This contract includes dispatch services for the Orofino Fire Department, except for daily business related calls.

The county agreed to pay the city $10,000 a year for full 24/7 emergency service within the county and county ambulance district. The City will also provide a rescue truck with standard rescue tools and equipment with at least two fully trained rescue technicians.

The organizers of the Blue Grass Festival have received permission from the council to dry camp on the baseball diamond and the green zone, at the municipal park of Orofino. Set-up begins Thursday June 2, the festival will take place on Friday and Saturday June 3-4, with gospel music to conclude the event on Sunday June 5.

The final schedule for the Orofino Municipal Park was also accepted by the council.

City staff received candy bars and a thank you card from the OJSHS College and Career Team on behalf of students who visited City Hall, Police and Fire, with the opportunity to do job shadowing and learn more about municipal government.

Administrator Smathers met with JUB regarding the scope of work for airport aprons and taxiways to be submitted for an independent cost estimate which will ultimately be forwarded to the FAA for approval.

Smathers told the board there was a good chance a helicopter crew would be based in Orofino this summer. They worked with C-PTPA and the Department of Lands, for a place to park the helicopter, fuel truck, mechanic’s truck and an office trailer with access to electricity. C-PTPA said Hillcrest will deploy two helicopters to fight wildfires this season.

Space for these agencies at the airport will be provided free of charge. Smathers said the city appreciates the added protection of having them here to fight fires around us.

A grandmother’s request for permission to paint a four-square block (for her grandsons) on the basketball courts above the primary school has not only been approved by council but also by school.

Orofino Elementary School principal Denise Pomponio said another four-square pitch would be helpful, as one of the school’s two four-square pitches is submerged in water for much of the time and it is often necessary to split the groups. Smathers added that the school has already offered to paint the additional four-square court on the basketball court.

Treasurer Donna Wilson submitted the Clearwater County Tax Summary Report, with nothing else to report at this time.

Building official Todd Perry informed council that he would be meeting with attorney Becky Vaage to do a final review of the draft accepted recreational vehicle (RV) uses within the city limits. Perry said the project will resubmit to the Orofino Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on March 15.

Last in his report, Perry confirmed that the trees have been ordered for the UFO committee to begin planting in town this spring.

Public Works Supervisor Shane Miller reported breaking snowplow trucks now that the worst of winter is behind us. It’s the time of year to think about reopening the restrooms in the park, as we watch the weather begin to warm up.

Miller was eager to get the “walk-behind concrete grinder” recently acquired with last year’s budget to help smooth out uneven sidewalk surfaces. Public works crews removed unhealthy trees on Michigan Ave.

In closing, Miller updated the board on the mitigation of security issues with the business center phone lines.

Smathers noted that Police Chief Jeff Wilson’s absence that evening was related to working two consecutive night shifts, interspersed with a day of hearing in between.

In addition to routine maintenance and operations, Water and Wastewater Department Supervisor Mike Martin spoke to the council about the possibility of re-opening the water at the RV dump station, as they met customers who bought water from the plant’s filling station all winter long.

Martin said the lines under the current system will need to be replaced as the unit was hit by a vehicle last year and appears to be leaking. He discussed the possibility of building a year-round water system for larger purchases at the resort as well.

Deputy Fire Chief Bart Jones informed the council that he had called the new rescue platform on February 28 for a single-vehicle accident with minor injuries on the highway. 12, and that really helped with accessibility. Jones thinks this will be a very valuable upgrade for the department.

Orofino Fire Academy starts March 18, Jones said he’s in the process of securing as many cars as possible for extrication training purposes. He pointed out that it was a very valuable part of the training, especially because training opportunities were extremely limited last year due to the pandemic. He predicts and looks forward to a very busy Fire Academy weekend.

Jones also wished to publicly thank Holly Hardin for her years of professionalism and integrity, for her commitment and service to the fire department since 2007, while taking time off for health issues.

There was no working session on March 1.

Minutes, invoices and complaints

Council approved the minutes of the regular council meeting held on February 22, the minutes of the ad hoc committee meeting held on February 25, the minutes of the special council meeting held on February 28 , the minutes of the meeting of the urban forests of Orofino on March 1st. regular invoices plus additional invoices and payroll.

Note: The public can comment or ask a question during this time, but is limited to a three-minute time frame. If the individual has multiple questions, it is necessary to submit questions in writing to the City Clerk, in order to be placed on the next agenda for review and response.

The next regular meeting of city council will be Tuesday, March 22 in the council chambers at 217 First Street, beginning at 6 p.m.

Esther L. Steinbach