Bonners Ferry City Council minutes, December 19

MINUTES
CITY COUNCIL MEETING
December 19, 2023

Mayor Alonzo called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Council present were Ron Smith, Val Thompson, Brion Poston, Adam Arthur. Staff present were City Engineer Mike Klaus, City Attorney Andrakay Pluid, Clerk/Treasurer Deborah Garcia, Planner Tess Vogel, Planner Clare Marley via Zoom. Public present were Gerald Higgs, David Sims, Jessica Tingley, Emily Bonsant, David Vandervoort, Adrienne Norris, Lynn Feldman, Fay Almond, Gregory Lamberty, Joseph Knight, David Clark,

PUBLIC COMMENTS
Gerald Higgs- spoke about how the city discussed the Electric Department becoming union with the IBEW. The city decided not to do that. He had concerns with the last agenda item allowing employees to transfer PTO time to another employee. Gerald is against the interaction between employees and feels like no one knows what is going on with a leave bank. It allows employees to ask people to donate hours to the leave bank so that another employee can use them and there is no way of keeping anonymity and can be abused. Gerald does not think the council should consider this item.
Adrienne Norris- Stated that she had already sent the letter to the mayor and council regarding the hiring of the Golf Contractor Ben Staples who is the son of former mayor Dick staples. Adrienne stated that she understands that the council was in a stickler and that if they did not hire Ben then Dick would re-take his seat as mayor and by hiring Ben that creates leverage to keep Dick staples from taking his seat as mayor in January. Adrienne feels like the city chose the wrong person. Adrienne has a second issue to speak about and that is about a warning ticket she received on December 14th from an officer and when he was done giving the warning his camera light was blinking and she asked the officer if she could ask a question and the officer said yes, she could. The question was why he deleted the body camera recording of a person’s testimony. And the officer told her he was not going to get into what it is because it is private information about a minor and Adrienne stated before he answered he turned his chest camera off. Adrienne is very upset about this and feels that turning off the chest cameras needs to stop.

Lynn Feldman- Stated that the council has been discussing the Golf Course and it has not been an easy thing for the public to watch. During the past several months there have been significant errors, lapses in judgment have been made during the process of selecting the new golf course manager. Lynn stated that he had read the memo that was included in the packet and after reading his question to council is: did both applicants provide a business plan, financial plan, advertising plan, and growth plan. If so, were those documents provided to the interview committee. What criteria was used to make the determination. Lynn asked if the public would be given the information or would he have to do a public records request.

REPORTS
Police- Chief Brian Zimmerman reported that the 100-terabyte storage computer unit for the body and dash cameras is finally assembled and ready to install and will get put into service shortly.
Fire- No report

City Administrator- No report
City Engineer- Mike Klaus stated that he has provided a written report and if there are any questions Mike will be available to answer.

Urban Renewal District-No report SPOT-No report
Golf- No report

EDC-No report
CONSENT AGENDA – {action item}
1. Call to Order/Roll Call
2. Approval of Bills and Payroll
3. Approval of minutes from the 12/5/2023 Regular Metting,
4. Consider approval of Alcohol Beverage Licenses for FY2024, Heart Rock Wines, Nom Nom, Bonners Ferry Craft Brews LLC, Mi Pueblo.
Brion Poston made the motion to approve the consent agenda with the spelling error correction. Val Thompson seconded the motion.

Result: Approved
Moved by: Brion Poston
Seconded by Adam Arthur
Voted Yes Adam Arthur, Ron Smith, Brion Poston, Val Thompson
Voted No
Absent

NEW BUSINESS

5. PLANNING- (action item) [attachment]- DELIBERATION/DECISION ON P&Z RECOMMENDATION- Files #SUP012-23 & #S03-23 PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT & PRELIMINARY PLAT: Graubart-Gorshe Trust,
Timothy Gorshe & Judith Graubart Gorshe are requesting approval for a residential mixed housing planned unit development and preliminary plat to create five residential lots and private open space. The proposed Judy’s Subdivision on 2.18 acres is zoned Residential B and is located at and adjacent to 6613 Alderson Lane. The applicants propose to develop the five lots with one- and two-story duplexes on lots of about one- third acre each. They are seeking variations to development standards to allow reduced setbacks and a private access road. The property is in Section 34, Township 62 North, Range 1 East, B.M. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended unanimously to the City Council to approve these files with conditions, following their November 16, 2023, public hearing. No public testimony will be taken.

Brion Poston recused himself from this item as his property borders this property. Tessa Vogel is helping Clare with the presentation. Tessa read the legal into the record. Clare Marley is the contract Planner for the City of Bonners Ferry. Clare asked Mayor Alonzo if there were any other disclosures that he was aware of and he responded that there were no other disclosures that he is aware of. Clare explained that if the council does not accept the recommendation, then they would have to meet later and there would be a Public Hearing. Clare explained that they have the application for the Special Use Permit and the Preliminary Plat. They were filed in April and Planning heard the two files in November.

These are duplex lots that are to be developed with one duplex each. Clare showed the aerial photos of where the property is located at 6613 Alderson Lane. The zoning for the site is Residential B and joined to east by Residential A and south by Residential AA and A, and across the way is Commercial. It is quite an industrious intersection they have there.

Tessa went through the pics that she took.

Clare went back to Planned Unit Development. They meet the city’s requirements. They are requesting that several of the lots have setbacks that are less than standard. They offered amenities which will have an open

area park like area. Will provide buffering for the neighborhood. Allowed to consider both of those together. Final produced after approval. Also, the City will engage in a development agreement after approval is given. Conditions are in the staff report. Major changes must come back to the council. Draft conditions

Ron Smith made a motion to accept the recommendation of the Bonners Ferry Planning and Zoning Commission and approve these files, #SUP012-23 and #S03-23, for a residential mixed housing planned unit development and preliminary plat to create five residential lots and private open space, finding that it is in accord with the standards of Bonners Ferry City Code and the adopted comprehensive plan, as enumerated in the findings adopted by the Planning and Zoning Commission and based upon testimony received at the Commission hearing. I further move to adopt the conditions of approval as written. This action does not result in the taking of private property. Val Thompson seconded the motion.

Result: Approved
Moved by: Ron Smith
Seconded by Val Thompson
Voted Yes Adam Arthur, Ron Smith, Val Thompson
Voted No
Recused Brion Poston

 

6. POLICE- (action item) [attachment]- Consider approval to hire Police Officer.
Chief Brian Zimmerman supplied a memo explaining with the departure of Marty Ryan, Jeremy Garrett has been promoted to Assistant Chief and he is also currently the School Resource Officer. This is a heavy load as the Assistant Chief usually does all of the investigations and the schools are pretty busy as well. Chief Zimmerman would like to hire another officer that would start January 15th and would work until his departure. and be taking on the School Resource Officer position and they have a candidate that is experienced and trained and will be a good fit in the schools.

Brion Poston made the motion to allow Brian to hire the police officer on January 15, 2024, which will bring them up to eight officers until Brian’s retirement then it would bring them back down to seven. Val Thompson seconded the motion.

Result: Approved
Moved by: Brion Poston
Seconded by Val Thompson
Voted Yes Adam Arthur, Ron Smith, Brion Poston, Val Thompson
Voted No
Absent

7. ELECTRIC-(action item) [attachment]- Consider approval of Change Order #3 with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories for technical support up to $15,000.00.
Mike informed the council that this was to help with programming issues that may come up out at the hydro because of the new controls out there. It is typical to have follow up items that come up that need to be addressed. This is intended to cover questions, time, technical assistance, materials, and travel for onsite help. Councilman Poston asked Mike if we are going to have any ongoing support from the company through the years.

Mike stated that the product that we purchased through SEL is their equipment and all upgrades to the software are included for ten years. The other brand was about $10,000.00 per year. Technical support through SEL will probably require a small contract each year.

Val Thompson made the motion to approve the proposed change order #3 with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories including fees up to $15,000.00 for technical support at the hydro. Adam Arthur seconded the motion.

Result: Approved
Moved by: Val Thompson
Seconded by Adam Arthur
Voted Yes Adam Arthur, Ron Smith, Brion Poston, Val Thompson
Voted No
Absent

8. GOLF- (action item) [attachment]- Consider recommendation by golf selection group for a new contractor for the Mirror Lake Golf Contract and authorize staff to negotiate a contract.
Rick read a narrative that he wrote: When we first started the process of finding a new Golf Course Manager, we formed a steering committee who put out a Request for Proposals not realizing there were state guidelines that had to be followed. We had to halt the process and start over because those guidelines were not met. After meeting with our City Attorney, we put out a Request for Applicants which is a simpler process. A selection group was formed to restart the process and conduct interviews.

After reviewing the applications, resumes and proposed business plans of both applicants, the selection group felt Ben Staples had a good vision and plan on how to operate the golf course and maintain the physical infrastructure of the city. He understands that this position is a multi-task one. Not only does the manager operate the pro shop. They need to help care for the grounds and keep the equipment running. He has made arrangements with a Golf Pro to provide lessons to golf course patrons who request them. He also has a commitment from current golf course employees to return in the spring when the golf course reopens. We selected five individuals to interview two applicants for the contracted Golf Course Manager position. On December 11, 2023, the selection group interviewed both applicants and unanimously recommends Ben Staples and Jennifer Baulne for the position.

Below is a list of those who served on the interview committee: John Youngwirth, Mike Klaus, Rick Alonzo, Jimmy Dorhofer, and Ron Smith. The selection group understands that the City Council makes the final decision on this contracted position. It is the recommendation of the selection group that the city council authorize the staff to negotiate a contract with Ben Staples and Jennifer Baulne to bring forward to city council for final approval in January 2024. If the city council chooses to approve the recommendation of the selection group to hire Ben Staples, then a meeting will be held with Ben to go over the contract and make sure that everybody is satisfied with what is in that contract.
Mayor Alonzo asked if there were any questions or comments.

Brion Poston made the motion to hire Ben Staples for the position of Golf Course Manager and authorize staff to negotiate a contract and a decision to be made on the contract and his employment at the first meeting in January. Val Thompson seconded the Motion.

Result: Approved
Moved by: Brion Poston
Seconded by Val Thompson
Voted Yes Adam Arthur, Ron Smith, Brion Poston, Val Thompson
Voted No
Absent
9. CITY- [attachment]- DISCUSSION ONLY Discuss directing staff to draft a policy allowing employees to donate PTO hours to another employee.
Mike gave a summary of what staff is asking for council to discuss and consider a policy addition to allow staff to donate leave time to another employee if the employee or a family member of the employee has a long-term illness and has exhausted all leave. This would allow the employee to still have the means to make a living. The CPA that we are currently working with has recommended that you make this financially equitable for example you have a staff member who makes $20.00 per hour and is donating to a staff member who makes $30.00 per hour, you would do the math to make it equitable. Staff looked at policies from other municipalities.

Staff are looking for directions if they want to move forward with something like this. Brion Poston talked about what the county has in place. They have a sick bank that employees can donate a certain amount of time to each year and is only for the employee, not to care for a family member. There is a board that decides who gets to access the hours. Brion suggested we go to the courthouse and ask how they do it. Mike stated that we did reach out to the county and the difference in what we are thinking is to consider the wage differences and the county does not. Adam Arthur asked if Mike could go over our PTO policy because he thought there was something about employees who were going to be out for a period needed to make other arrangements. After discussion the council agreed they would like staff to develop a policy and bring it forward later to the council.
ADJOURNMENT

Mayor Alonzo adjourned the meeting at 6:51 pm.

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