by Daniel Moore
Press staff writer
Two new American Falls City Council members, Kurtis Workman and Gilbert Hofmeister, were sworn in during the city council meeting on Thursday, Jan. 2. Mayor Marc Beitia and Council Member Dan Hammond were also reinstated.
Before the swearing in, Beitia warmly thanked outgoing council member Kathy Robertson.
“Thank you so much for the four years you’ve given this community. You’ve made it a better place for all of us,” Beitia said to her.
“I’ve learned so much more than I ever thought was out there about city government,” Robertson said. Robertson did not run for reelection. Council member Maria Rangel ran for reelection, but did not gain the votes necessary to keep her seat.
The council reelected Dan Hammond as council president. Beitia once again appointed Robyn Herndon as city clerk, Brandon Wilkinson as police chief, and the law offices of Racine, Olson, Nye, Budge, and Bailey as the city attorney.
He did not appoint a city fire chief or assistant fire chief, saying additional paperwork was needed for the position, and said he would appoint someone to the position next January. He also did not assign council members to oversee departments; Beitia felt he could make better decisions about the assignments after the council members take part in several planning meetings that will take place over the next couple of weeks.
Parks and Rec grants
Parks Superintendent Jeremy Peirsol addressed the council about additional sidewalk installations as part of the Safe Routes to School grants the city has received. A sidewalk will be installed along Bannock Avenue on the William Thomas Middle School property, and along Falls Avenue near the tennis courts by the Intermediate School. The council approved the project going to bid.
The council gave Peirsol authority to apply for grant funds to replace the boat docks at Willow Bay. The current boat docks were ruined when they were not removed from the water before an early freeze. The new boat docks, if the grant is received, will be lighter and can be moved with a pickup instead of a backhoe, making it less likely that they will be ruined again, Peirsol said.
They also gave him the go ahead to apply for a grant for the Willow Bay campground. The grant would make several improvements to the RV parking spaces. It would upgrade the electricity to 50 amps, allowing more electrical devices to be used inside the RVs, and also frost free hydrants that will allow the older portion of the campground to be open later in the season. If the grant is funded, it will also put heaters in the bathrooms.
Silver Horseshoe Bar
Several companies are donating their services to help with the demolition of the Silver Horseshoe Bar, which the city acquired as part of a seizure following a drug bust.
Blaze Sign of Pocatello volunteered to take down the historic sign for free and store it at their facility. The sign was removed the same day as the city council meeting.
Because the sign company is at its slow time, Blaze Sign is already starting the restoration of the sign. Mayor Beitia and Power County Commissioner Delane Andersen are confident they can find the funds to pay for the sign’s restoration, which will be about $16,000. Different groups interested in historic preservation will most likely donate to the project, Beitia said.
Currently, the plan is to donate the sign to the Power County Historical Museum.
Also, RSCI, the company working on the American Falls wastewater treatment plant, will pay its subcontractor to demolish the building at the same time it demolishes another old building as part of the treatment plant upgrade. The city will still need to haul the pieces to the county transfer station, but will not need to pay for the demolition of the building.
“That’s not an insignificant donation,” Beitia said.
The city will also have the money to pay the county for the dumping at the transfer station. The building permit the county gained from the city to remodel county health offices roughly equals the fees the city will pay the county for the dumping.
The city is still discussing how the parking lot envisioned for the space will be, and if it will include a grass strip. Beitia plans on contacting local business in the area to discuss the lot and how it will look, he said.