Council hears Willow Bay complaints, plan to bail out federal government

by Kurtis Workman
Press Staff Writer

New questions from an old debate captivated the American Falls City Council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

In front of an unusually large crowd former Willow Bay Marina manager LaRay Correll presented several questions of concern about the current management of the recreation area.

Correll made a presentation to the council outlining several areas of concern including late payments, failure to meet lease terms and modifications to the existing lease.

“In 17 years I never missed a lease payment. I had low water years, but made the payment and most of the time I paid the higher rate based on percentages rather than the flat rate in the lease. Why have the current mangers been allowed to modify their lease when I was not given the option,” said Correll.

Correll also asked about other violations of the current lease.

“The Carolls have not maintained the grounds or the docks. There are no more flowers in the flower beds. They have been left to wither and die. The boat docks are to be removed at the end of the season. At the end of the 2012 season the docks were not removed causing damage to the docks. I would like to know: did the city assure itself that the successful bidder woul provide the public with service of the highest caliber? Did the city investigate the financial status, experience and performance of each applicant,” Correll said.

Several others spoke on behalf of Correll during the 20 minute discussion period including long-time Correll employee Carl Mauch.

“There is a lot of pride that went into that place that has gone away because of neglect,” said Mauch.

Mayor Marc Beitia responded to the comments with praise for Correll’s efforts.

“I cannot speak to the conversations and arraignments you had with Mayor Wynn. I was not privy to those discussions. What I can say from my experience is, LaRay you did an awesome job out there. The people who worked for you did an awesome job. The council will take the comments made here today under advisement,” Beitia said.

During the meeting the council also passed a motion to pay request 19 from RSCI. The request for a $385,439 payment for work that was competed on the wastewater treatment plant has been approved by the council once money from the grant funding the project was received. However the shutdown of the federal government put all distribution of grant funds on hold.

“We could choose to put the project on hold until the federal government gets back to work, but I don’t see that as a very good option. If RSCI has to pack up and leave then come back that will add expense to the project the grant does not cover. We have the money in the water department capital improvement budget to pay the bill and then hopefully we can replace that money once the government is running again,” said Beitia.

The council approved the motion to pay RSCI out of the water department’s capital improvement budget if the grant money was not received by Monday, Oct. 21.

According to American Falls City Clerk Robyn Herndon the motion will not take effect.

“We received an email today, Friday, Oct. 18, from the USDA informing us the money has been released and we will be able to pay RSCI directly out of the grant money for the project,” said Herndon

The council approved motions accepting the treasurers report for September, the quarterly report for July, August and September as well as setting two public hearings for the Wednesday, Nov. 6, council meeting.

The public hearings will be a time for public comment on two ordinance proposal. The first will allow for the designation of buildings in American Falls as historical. The second proposed ordinance would restrict overnight parking on sections of Harrison Street and Fort Hall Avenue.

The council also approved pick up of recyclable material by the city sanitation department from American Falls High School and a usage agreement with St. John’s Lutheran Church for the youth basketball program.

 

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