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County commission minutes, January 7-8

January 30, 2013

***Monday, January 07, 2013, Commissioners met in regular session with Chairman Ron Smith, Commissioner Dan Dinning, Commissioner Walt Kirby and Deputy Clerk Michelle Rohrwasser.


9:00 a.m., An appreciation open house for Chairman Ron Smith was held in the lobby of the Courthouse until 10:00 a.m.


10:00 a.m., Road and Bridge Superintendent Jeff Gutshall joined the meeting to give the departmental report. Mike Sheppard Sr. was also present for the meeting.


Mr. Gutshall presented a written report. Mr. Gutshall said most of his report consists of updates on winter work.


Mr. Gutshall discussed financed Road and Bridge equipment. Road and Bridge has taken delivery of the 320EL CAT Excavator with AFE Mulcher. One CAT 140M Grader has been paid for and it will be at the end of the government warranty in March 2013. Mr. Gutshall said he is going to let that grader go as it is not getting used as much.


Clerk Glenda Poston joined the meeting at 10:00 a.m.


Mr. Gutshall said there was a trade-in allowance of $100,000 for the CAT 140M Grader and a guaranteed buyback of $160,000. There will be one more payment of $17,000 and then the county will own this piece of equipment. Mr. Gutshall inquired if the buyback option of $160,000 would be considered unanticipated revenue. Clerk Poston nodded yes.


Mr. Gutshall said due to reduced Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payments, he budgeted on the low side for dust abatement and road oil. Mr. Gutshall said the County should have a good program on those items this year just in case the county gets bad news on SRS funding and there isn’t a levy established. Mr. Gutshall said it would be good to be ahead of the game so he would like to use the $160,000 in some of his line items and also reduce payment on the excavator. Mr. Gutshall said if he contributed $80,000 in down payments, he will have seven payments in arrears or he can pay $80,000 towards various programs and $80,000 on equipment.


Mr. Gutshall said CAT has a 3.2% fixed rate for a seven year term. Commissioner Dinning asked Mr. Gutshall if he has contacted a bank. Mr. Gutshall said no, but this is the time to go to them to see if they will provide the same deal or do better. The buyback figure remains in effect either way, according to Mr. Gutshall. Commissioner Dinning said for clarification that one machine would be paid off this fall and then will be owned outright. Mr. Gutshall said he would trade in that piece of equipment for a grader. There are two other financed pieces of equipment and it will be a long time before Road and Bridge has to worry about that. From a variety of standpoints, Road and Bridge is getting rid of the worst grader as it has been a more sensitive machine, according to Mr. Gutshall. Commissioner Dinning asked if it would be beneficial to keep it and Mr. Gutshall said this is the piece of equipment to get rid of.

Mr. Gutshall spoke of the importance of having these pieces of equipment under warranty.


Clerk Poston said she wants to run some of this information by the county outside auditor to see if he has any questions.


Mr. Gutshall said he received a letter from Damon Allen with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) in regards to project closeouts. ITD’s District 1 is working on closeout programs and Mr. Allen said ITD is waiting for specific information prior to closing out the Moyie Highway and Meadow Creek projects. Mr. Gutshall said there should be at least $30,000 coming back to Boundary County.


Commissioners and Mr. Gutshall discussed the issue of snowmobilers parking their trucks and trailers at the end of Gold Road when snowmobiling. The path people seem to prefer to reach Roman Nose is up Ruby Creek and if their trucks and snowmobile trailers are there, the grader cannot get in that area. In the past the Sheriff would be asked to make contact to have vehicles moved or be towed. Trucks have parked in front of residences. Mr. Gutshall said vehicles have been parked from the point of Mica Road to the very end of the main road. Commissioner Dinning suggested Mr. Gutshall check with the County’s Snowmobile Board as to what they think could be a remedy. Mr. Gutshall suggested also contacting the property owner of the land that used to be owned by Forest Capital as that is where people start off to go to Roman Rose.


Commissioner Dinning suggested making advisory signs for the people that leave their vehicles in that area. Those present suggested posting a sign that states snowmobiles can be dropped off, but to park the trucks and trailers at the snowmobile park.  


Mr. Sheppard said he would like to express his thanks to Chairman Smith for what he’s done for the county and the Porthill area in general. Mr. Sheppard said he would like to address a sanding issue in front of the Porthill Store. Mr. Sheppard said that road has only been plowed twice and the way the snow is coming it is slick coming up the hill from the border. The road is not getting plowed and there are up to 300 cars per day, according to Mr. Sheppard.


Commissioner Dinning asked Mr. Gutshall if that is the tail end of a specific Road and Bridge employee’s route. Mr. Gutshall said his department tries to think the routes out in advance. If a storm is more active somewhere else, different routes are taken, according to Mr. Gutshall. A grader will come by once per shift as that is all they can do to cover the area. The other thing is that Road and Bridge employees are instructed not to plow an area until there is a good amount of snow built up. Mr. Sheppard said for the 10 years he’s owned the Porthill Mercantile and Bistro the road has not been sanded. Mr. Gutshall said he would like to argue that, but he would talk to his crew about sanding. Mr. Sheppard said he would appreciate it.


The meeting with Mr. Gutshall and Mr. Sheppard ended at 9:30 a.m.


Commissioner Dinning moved to approve the minutes of December 3 & 4, 2012, December 10 & 11, 2012 and December 17 & 18, 2012. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.


9:30 a.m., Courthouse Maintenance Jerry Kothe joined the meeting to give a department report. Mr. Kothe provided a written report.


Mr. Kothe said the City of Bonners Ferry pulled the bad water pump down at the fairgrounds. Some parts were unavailable so the lower end of the pump was repaired as best it could be. Mr. Kothe said he had to replace a window hinge in the Treasurer’s Office. There has been a rash of thermostats going bad and it’s thought that the plastic on the thermostat is getting fatigued over the years. The light in the stairway at the Courthouse entrance has been replaced so it is now brighter. The low water pressure switch has been replaced and otherwise snow is getting plowed and salted, according to Mr. Kothe. Mr. Kothe mentioned he is also tending to the snow at the Restorium. Mr. Kothe said the ceilings and entryway have been painted downstairs.


Mr. Kothe said the thermostat at Memorial Hall has been found left at 75 degrees and he thinks he knows which group has left the heat up. The thermostat needs to be turned down when the renters leave.  


Chairman Smith asked about the Clerk’s Office request for a shield to deflect air from the air conditioner. Mr. Kothe said he’s had one made and he just needs to pick it up.


The meeting with Mr. Kothe ended at 10:45 a.m.


Treasurer Jenny Fessler and Deputy Clerk Nancy Ryals joined the meeting at 10:50 a.m.


Treasurer Fessler said Dennis Garrett, property owner of Ace Elder Care paid $3,000 towards his delinquent property taxes last week missing the January 5th extension he had been given. Treasurer Fessler said Mr. Garrett mentioned he could have all of the property’s 2009 taxes paid in February 2013. Treasurer Fessler said if the extension is granted, she will not process the litigation guarantee and if he does not pay the 2009 taxes in full in February, she would have to start tax deed process on the specific parcel in question. Mr. Garrett is delinquent for the 2010, 2011 and the first half of the year 2012 taxes, but if he pays his year 2009 taxes in full, he would be caught up as far as the tax deed process. The amount of tax due for year 2010 is $6,193. Treasurer Fessler said Mr. Garrett needs to pay $20,555 to be totally caught up to date.


Commissioner Dinning moved to grant an extension of time to pay year 2009 taxes for parcel #RPB00000226633A until February 28, 2013. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.


Commissioner Dinning moved to grant an extension of time to pay year 2009 taxes for parcel #RP61N01E119461A until February 28, 2013. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.

Treasurer Fessler left the meeting at 10:55 a.m.


Commissioner Dinning moved to go into closed session under Idaho Code 31-874. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously. 10:58 a.m., Commissioner Dinning moved to go out of closed session. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.  


Commissioner Dinning moved to set monthly reimbursement for indigent account #2012-7 at $20 per month beginning February 2013. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.


Commissioner Dinning moved to approve the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) payment of $468 for indigent application #2013-5. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.


Commissioner Dinning moved to approve non-medical assistance for indigent application #2013-7 as per the Clerk’s recommendation. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.


Deputy Clerk Ryals left the meeting at 11:00 a.m.


11:00 a.m., Commissioners discussed the status of the City of Bonners Ferry annexation matter in relation to taxes paid. City of Bonners Ferry Clerk/Treasurer Kris Larson, County Appraiser Tom Mayo, City of Bonners Ferry Assistant Administrator Andrakay Pluid, County Treasurer Jenny Fessler, County Chief Deputy Treasurer Sue Larson, County Clerk Glenda Poston, and Assessor Dave Ryals were also present.


Commissioner Dinning, Clerk Poston and Assessor Ryals spoke with Idaho State Tax Commission County Support Division Administrator Steve Fiscus just before the holidays about the issue of tax payments made for the annexation prior to the annexation being deemed invalid in court. Mr. Fiscus was to go back in order to gather information in order to provide some instruction. Commissioner Dinning also contacted Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane, but he has asked to be contacted by the County Prosecutor’s Office as it is their proper protocol. Commissioner Dinning said at this point, the county doesn’t have any new information.


Chairman Smith asked if what was needed was someone to request of the courts to instruct how to handle the taxes that have been paid that were associated with the annexation. Chairman Smith said since that statement about the courts came up his question is if anything can be done about returning those taxes until the courts gives instruction on that.


Clerk Poston said the courts only invalidated the annexation so she had hoped the Attorney General’s Office will instruct the county on how to process the City of Bonners Ferry portion of tax that was paid in error. Commissioner Dinning said the county is not a part of any court action. Chairman Smith said he understands that, but his question pertains to the money. Chairman Smith said his understanding was that someone has to take this matter to the district judge or someone just to find out how to return taxes paid. Treasurer Fessler said she heard that as well. Chairman Smith said he had been told that no one has requested this step. Commissioner Kirby said that is possibly why the Attorney General’s Office wanted to talk to the county prosecutor. 


Mr. Mayo said the city would like to get this taken care of and has no issue with anything. The group in opposition of the annexation has to find a way to take care of their people. They will have to come up with a plan that will work for them. Mr. Mayo said the city is pretty much in favor of anything to fix this situation.


City Clerk Larson said she did believe the city’s attorney mentioned at the last meeting that this issue would have to go before the courts. Mr. Mayo said once an agreement is made, it probably has to be signed off on.


Commissioner Dinning said he thinks there is some confusion. The city has a case between two parties other than Boundary County, but the county has collected the taxes. Commissioner Dinning said what the county does with that money is separate from the court action as he would understand and that is why he had questions for the Tax Commission and Attorney General’s Office. Commissioner Dinning said the court case is settled and there is no annexation so it would take a new filing to address this if he understands correctly. Commissioner Dinning said to him the simplest way to do this is to have the Idaho State Tax Commission and the Attorney General’s Office give instruction on what to do.


Chairman Smith said his understanding was that the State Tax Commission did not want to do that and that is why he thought the matter had to go before the courts. The courts will instruct how to return the city’s portion of taxes that were paid in error.


Commissioner Dinning asked Ms. Pluid on her thoughts and she said that sounds correct to her, but she had not attended the initial meeting. Ms. Pluid said it sounded correct that the court would have to give instructions and there would have to be a request to the court for them to adjudicate. Chairman Smith said the question is who is going to request this of the court and he thought it was to be the attorney who is representing the city. Ms. Pluid said that sounds correct.  


Clerk Larson said she believes the city’s attorney Will Herrington has met with Fonda Jovick who is the attorney hired by the group of residents against the annexation. Clerk Poston said the two attorneys did meet at the courthouse as the county wasn’t sure what to do with the funds so she was available for that, but that meeting was prior to the city’s second public hearing on annexation. The two attorneys never really came to a resolution as to what to do. Clerk Poston said she doesn’t disagree with what’s being said as far as petitioning the court, but who is going to do it. Chairman Smith said that was the question from the initial meeting. Assessor Ryals said someone else would petition the court as the county is not a party to it. Clerk Poston said she would like to formally ask that the City of Bonners Ferry pursue this matter and get it taken care of so the county can return the money to the taxpayers. Clerk Poston said the county will issue checks to the property owners who have paid and those who continue to pay. Chairman Smith questioned if interest plays a part in this.  


Commissioner Kirby asked if he was wrong in understanding that the court issued an order to hold the taxes that were paid in an escrow account. Clerk Poston and Chairman Smith said no, that was the instruction from the State Tax Commission. Clerk Poston said the city and the group of property owners represented by Attorney Jovick at that time mutually agreed that the county would hold the funds. Clerk Poston said that is all the county is doing, no different than what Assessor Ryals said. Clerk Poston said the county is only receiving and holding the funds and she thinks someone else needs to pursue the courts.


Chairman Smith said going back a bit, discussion came up that it’s the obligation of the county to distribute those funds to the district, etc., and the funds could be held in trust by the county or by the city, but it had been decided the county should hold the funds in trust. Chairman Smith said someone has to address the courts to find out how to handle the funds and he asked if the city was prepared to do that.


Clerk Larson said the city’s attorney couldn’t attend today’s meeting due to weather. Mr. Mayo said the city wants to get this fixed and whatever works for the opposition works for the city. Mr. Mayo said in his mind if the opposition knows what they want to do to handle the funds, the courts could be asked to instruct just that. Chairman Smith said this doesn’t involve the opposition at this point. All the county is looking for is for the judge to tell the county what to do with the money. Mr. Mayo said he thinks something has to be presented to the judge not just to say what do we do with this? Chairman Smith said one attorney agreed with asking a judge how to process funds and he is sure that was the advice coming from the Tax Commission. The courts have to tell the county how to disperse the taxes and there has been no authority for the county to do that.


Commissioner Dinning questioned if the county could receive a letter from the city that says they are in agreement for the county to return the city’s portion of taxes to the appropriate parties and to also receive a similar letter from the opposition party, a court action may not be necessary. Commissioner Dinning said if the county received a letter from Attorney Jovick with instructions to return the funds, then the Idaho State Tax Commission needs to tell the county how to process that. Commissioner Dinning said it’s his thinking the matter doesn’t have to go to court. Chairman Smith said the last thing the State Tax Commission wants to do is give county advice about the money. Assessor Ryals said Steve Fiscus with the Idaho State Tax Commission was going to talk with the Attorney General’s Office. Assessor Ryals said the Tax Commission didn’t really want to have to give an opinion on this, but they would at least talk to the Attorney General’s Office about it. Chairman Smith asked if the Tax Commission could be contacted and asked to participate in a phone call tomorrow.


Clerk Larson said she would see if the city attorney would be able to make it to that meeting once a time is determined. Clerk Larson said this sounds good, but the city needs to run this scenario by Attorney Herrington to see if this is possible because he had said this matter goes before the courts. Clerk Poston said Attorney Jovick should also be available as well. Chairman Smith said Attorney Jovick doesn’t really have anything to say about how the county gives the money back. Attorney Jovick represents some of the property owners, but there are other property owners that she doesn’t represent that paid taxes and the county is considering all of these people.      


Chairman Smith said if there was a legal way and an agreement to get a check back to the residents that were affected by the annexation, that would be the easiest way, but he understood the courts to be involved and he can’t remember where he heard that. Commissioner Dinning said that was probably mentioned prior to the last hearing.


Commissioners attempted to contact Mr. Fiscus with the Idaho State Tax Commission, but he was unavailable.


Clerk Poston asked if there had been discussion on the solid waste fees that were paid by the residents affected by the annexation. Commissioner Dinning said he thinks from his perspective, he thought those property owners had been charged less, but they had also received the service and to make this simple he doesn’t want to go back and reclaim that. Clerk Poston said she had just wanted a decision. Commissioner Dinning said the solid waste fee for city residents is less than it is for county residents. Commissioner Dinning said it could open up all kinds of situations.


Treasurer Fessler questioned if there are any adjustments for the Paradise Valley Fire District. Commissioner Dinning said this is another matter the State Tax Commission is supposed to advise on, but in earlier conversations with them it was said there may be some situations that just cannot be fixed. Assessor Ryals said that is exactly the problem. When the judge invalidated the annexation, in his mind it’s all done. It just goes back to the way it was, but due to timing that can’t happen.


Commissioner Dinning said Commissioners will let everyone know if a time to talk with the Idaho State Tax Commission has been set. Commissioner Dinning said he would also let Attorney Jovick know about the call.    


Commissioner Dinning asked how much tax has been collected. Chief Deputy Treasurer Larson said approximately $13,000 so far. Clerk Poston asked to be clear that the county is not pursuing anything on the solid waste fees. Chairman Smith said to wait and see about tomorrow’s conversation. Chairman Smith said the only two things to question are the solid waste fee and the Paradise Valley Fire District.


Commissioner Dinning asked if because some of Paradise Valley Fire District properties came into the city, valuation of land was increased on those properties. Assessor Ryals said valuation increased for some properties, but not all. Commissioner Dinning said they were assessed to the county portion a greater tax payment than they would’ve had had they not been in annexation. Chairman Smith said they would get that back. Chairman Smith said that’s just it, it’s county not city. Assessor Ryals said in simple form the city gained more taxable value and Paradise Valley Fire District lost, but we don’t know how much they lost and it would take some doing to recalculate what those values were. Chairman Smith asked what happens with what is trying to be done here.


City Clerk Larson said the one thing to keep in mind is that the city did provide services to all of those people for a year and if that holds any weight, she doesn’t know. Assessor Ryals said it changes their levy rate and everyone else that’s left in the district will pay a little bit more to accommodate that.


Chairman Smith said he is a taxpayer in the county and the city so what did all this have to do with the value put on his property. Assessor Ryals said it didn’t change the value; it changed the tax paid to the city. There would’ve been a slightly smaller bill as a result of this. Mr. Mayo said it basically lowered the levy rate countywide.      


The meeting to discuss the annexation tax matter ended at 11:30 a.m.


11:30 a.m., Airport Manager Dave Parker joined the meeting.


Mr. Parker informed Commissioners he has spoken to Road and Bridge Superintendent Jeff Gutshall as well as met with John Deere AG, John Deere Industrial. Mr. Parker said he also spoke to Boundary Tractor and Western States/Caterpillar about snow removal equipment for the airport. Mr. Parker said he was loaned the smallest size CAT front end loader. This machine has a one to one and one-half bucket and it can be set up for a skidsteer mount so it is versatile. This machine is capable of snow equipment, bucket, sweepers and brooms, but it is a bit more money, according to Mr. Parker. Mr. Parker said the perfect scenario would cost approximately $300,000, but he is not going to do that with county money. This equipment will cost approximately $78,000 and Western States/CAT offered a pretty good deal. Mr. Parker said he had looked to find used machines.


Commissioner Dinning informed Mr. Parker the county has to seek formal bid proposals if the cost is $50,000 or higher. Mr. Parker said not in this case as it falls under a piggy back bid. The Airport Board has recommended this piece of equipment, according to Mr. Parker. The financing is available for a three, four or five year period and comes with a three year warranty. Commissioner Dinning mentioned concerns with a shorter warranty and suggested Mr. Parker contact Mr. Gutshall about that.


11:45 a.m., Commissioners contacted Mr. Gutshall via telephone.


Mr. Parker updated Mr. Gutshall on the lease options and mentioned only a three year warranty was offered. Mr. Gutshall said he thinks Mr. Parker should contact James Jordan at Western States/CAT about the warranty. Mr. Gutshall said it may be that smaller equipment may have a different warranty or there may be something he is not aware of. Mr. Parker said there would not be a lot of hours on the machine. Mr. Gutshall said he could call Western States/CAT and tell Commissioners what he learns.


The telephone call with Mr. Gutshall ended at 11:56 a.m.


Mr. Parker said he has $4,000 to buy equipment and had planned on payments of $4,800. There is also $2,100 of unanticipated funds. The airport already has rock removal equipment, but it is time consuming as it’s a blower that takes about one week, according to Mr. Parker. Mr. Parker said in aviation it’s the small particles including sand that erodes the propellers. Mr. Parker said this machine comes with a bucket. The airport already has a blade that they own.


The meeting with Mr. Parker ended at 11:55 a.m.


There being no further business, the meeting recessed until tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.  


***Tuesday, January 08, 2013, Commissioners met in regular session with Chairman Ron Smith, Commissioner Dan Dinning, Commissioner Walt Kirby and Deputy Clerk Michelle Rohrwasser.


9:00 a.m., Clerk Glenda Poston joined the meeting.


9:00 a.m., The meeting with Restorium Administrator Karlene Magee was cancelled as she was unable to attend. Those present discussed the purpose of the meeting as it pertained to record keeping.


Commissioners tended to administrative duties.


9:30 a.m., Boundary County Airport Manager Dave Parker joined the meeting to continue the discussion on financing options for snow removal equipment for the airport. Mr. Parker provided Commissioners with information he received from Western States/CAT showing a three year warranty and seven year financing. Commissioner Dinning suggested contacting the local bank to see if they will offer a seven year financing option. Mr. Parker said he checked on the warranty and he can only have a three year warranty as it is a smaller piece of equipment that should not have as many issues.


Commissioner Dinning said the process is to find out how to line up financing, make sure budget is there. Commissioner Dinning clarified that this is a piggy back bid scenario. Commissioner Dinning said at this point Commissioners can we make a motion to authorize this purchase subject to the process falling into place.


Clerk Poston suggested being mindful when setting the payment schedule as it relates to receiving levy dollars.


Commissioner Dinning moved to authorize Airport Manager Dave Parker to get the documents finalized for the purpose of a CAT 906H2 Compact Wheel Loader from Western States/CAT with the understanding the interest rate from Western States/CAT or another lending institution is 3.2% with a seven year financing period, a buyback of $52,000 and a balloon payment of $34,000 due in seven years. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.


Chairman Smith said with Western States/CAT offering seven year financing Mr. Parker can approach Dave Walter at Panhandle State Bank to inquire if the bank can offer the same terms. Mr. Parker said initially Mr. Walter only wanted a six year term, but he will look into it. It was said this is a piggyback bid that will allow this purchase.


Mr. Parker left the meeting at 9:40 a.m.


Commissioners tended to administrative duties.


Clerk Poston left the meeting at 9:45 a.m.


Commissioner Dinning moved to adopt Resolution 2013-11. A resolution authorizing the disposition of records of Boundary County Commissioners’ Office. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously. Resolution 2013-11 reads as follows:







     WHEREAS, the Boundary County Commissioner’s Office is currently storing old Certificates of Residency/Affidavits for Boundary County residents who have applied to North Idaho College and the College of Southern Idaho; and


     WHEREAS, due to lack of storage space, the Boundary County Commissioner’s Office has requested permission to dispose of old records; and


     WHEREAS, the Boundary County Civil Attorney has advised the Board of Boundary County Commissioners regarding the classification of such records pursuant to Idaho Code 31-871; and


     NOW THEREFORE, upon motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried,


     IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the following records be classified and disposed of as follows:


The following records have been deemed temporary by the Boundary County Commissioners on the advice of the County’s Civil Attorney and temporary records must be kept for a minimum of two years.  The following records are to be shredded:


·        Certificates of Residency/Affidavits for North Idaho College and the College of Southern Idaho – Year 2010.


Regularly passed and approved on this 8th day of January, 2013.


                                                                                          COUNTY OF BOUNDARY COUNTY

                                                                                          BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS


                                                                                          RONALD R. SMITH, Chairman


                                                                                          DAN R. DINNING, Commissioner



                                                                                          WALT KIRBY, Commissioner


Reviewed by and on advice of the County’s Civil Attorney this 8th day of January, 2013.


                                                                                          JACK DOUGLAS

                                                                                          County Prosecutor




Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners

By:  Michelle Rohrwasser, Deputy

Recorded as instrument #256179


Darrell Kerby briefly stopped by Commissioners’ Office.


10:00 a.m., Commissioners held a meeting to continue the discussion of the City of Bonners Ferry annexation that had been deemed invalid. Prosecutor Jack Douglas, Clerk Glenda Poston, Treasurer Jenny Fessler, Assessor Dave Ryals, Appraiser Tom Mayo, Chief Deputy Clerk Tracie Isaac, City of Bonners Ferry Assistant Administrator Andrakay Pluid, and City of Bonners Ferry Clerk/Treasurer Kris Larson were also available. Steve Fiscus with the Idaho Tax Commission, and Carl Olsson and George Brown who are Deputy Attorney Generals with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office also participated in the discussion via telephone.


Mr. Fiscus said he understands there may be an agreement as to what to do with the funds collected on behalf of the city. Commissioner Dinning said for the benefit of Mr. Fiscus that the city’s attorney just shook his head “no.” For information it was said that Attorney Fonda Jovick who is representing some of the property owners opposed to the annexation wouldn’t be available for the discussion.


Commissioner Dinning said there is no active court case. The judge invalidated the prior annexation and the City of Bonners Ferry has chosen not to re-annex that area in the second process. Commissioner Dinning said because of timing the properties were taxed as if they were in the city and portions of that tax were paid. Commissioner Dinning said in essence this was an erroneous tax because it should’ve never been collected.   


Commissioner Dinning is looking at returning the funds and canceling the tax at this point and he asked if that could be done. Mr. Fiscus asked if that question is from a legal or technical standpoint. Commissioner Dinning said he’s asking from a legal standpoint initially followed by the technical if it can be done. Mr. Fiscus said he’s looking at the two attorneys with him and they’re nodding their head that it really is the county’s call as the county has the ability to cancel tax for any lawful reason and he would assume that this is a lawful reason. Mr. Fiscus briefly referred to Idaho Code Statute ending with 1302. Mr. Fiscus said that this reason is a lawful one as annexation never happened.


Commissioner Dinning said that being the case, Treasurer Fessler has concerns over the technical ability to cancel tax in that her computer system doesn’t allow her to refund a specific tax. Commissioner Dinning asked if the Tax Commission could help with that or was there a way that could be done. In the Treasurer’s computer program if the taxes are cancelled, it would affect each district.  


Mr. Fiscus said if a taxpayer had a $400 refund and the county went into the existing system, it would distribute that $400 back from each of the taxing districts where that individual is located rather than just the city’s portion. Mr. Fiscus said that is what the Tax Commission is working on and his understanding is that Janet, the Tax Commission’s IT Resource Manager, will be able work through the program so it will only reflect the City of Bonners Ferry’s portion of the refund.  


Commissioner Dinning asked if Prosecutor Douglas had any questions. Prosecutor Douglas said he thinks the taxes should be returned. Commissioner Dinning said at this point that’s what the county is looking at so the county has the ability to go ahead to return the funds and cancel the tax. Mr. Fiscus said yes, that is our understanding and he would verify that. Mr. Fiscus asked Treasurer Fessler if Janet has been in contact with her. Treasurer Fessler said she contacted the IT Resource Department, but hadn’t heard back yet. Mr. Fiscus said he will make sure the IT Resource Manager gets in touch with Treasurer Fessler so the refunds can be done programmatically. Mr. Fiscus said he thought this refund process could be done by hand, but he would prefer to do it programmatically so the process could be saved in the system for future reference.


Chairman Smith said Boundary County is now able to return to the taxpayer the amount of tax they paid and the rest will be cancelled. Mr. Fiscus said that is correct. Mr. Fiscus said there is still the second half of that tax and there are some people that haven’t paid at all.


Treasurer Fessler said another thing involved that was troublesome to the Tax Commission’s IT Resource Manager is that the circuit breaker exemption is included in some of the taxes. Mr. Fiscus said that is an issue, and when he met with Clerk Poston, Commissioner Dinning and Assessor Ryals, it was thought there would be approximately four to six accounts involving the circuit breaker. Assessor Ryals said that sounds about right, but he could be wrong. Mr. Fiscus said the hopefully he will find those accounts, but he hesitates because they’re in the same code area as anybody who is in the city so he may need some help to determine them. If there is an adjustment, it will be taken care of in the second half payment from the Tax Commission in June to the county.


Commissioner Dinning said with attorneys sitting in on the conference call, there had also been talk about the peripheral ripple affects to other taxing district. Commissioner Dinning said he doesn’t think the county will be able to fix everything so is it the attorneys’ and Mr. Fiscus’s opinion that this is about all the county can really do to correct what had happened. Mr. Fiscus said yes, the only district the county can affect is the city. The solid waste issue is the county’s to decide what to do with as it is not a tax issue. As far as taxes, it is under the bridge and there is really nothing the county can do at this point. Commissioner Dinning asked Mr. Fiscus if he could send a follow up email summarizing the discussion. Mr. Fiscus said he could do that.


City Attorney Will Herrington said he thinks the other district that is affected most is the Paradise Valley Fire District and it’s really the taxpayer who is in that district who is affected. Attorney Herrington said this is essentially what the petitioners in that case were asking for so he feels it satisfies their position, except as far as the garbage fees. Attorney Herrington said the county and city will probably both hear something down the road about that, but he guessed he’d take the position that the garbage fees are a wash more or less, but that can be discussed later. Mr. Fiscus said that would not be a Tax Commission issue, but an issue for the parties involved. Mr. Fiscus said the Fire District will get their money, but it’s just that certain individuals paid a little more than they would have otherwise. Mr. Fiscus thanked those present for resolving the issue and said he would prepare that email. Commissioner Dinning thanked Mr. Fiscus and the deputy attorneys for their help.


The telephone call to Mr. Fiscus and Attorney Olsson and Attorney Brown ended.


Commissioner Dinning said leaving the solid waste fees alone had been discussed yesterday.


Commissioner Dinning moved to not pursue the solid waste fees for the residents in the area that was to have been annexed by the City of Bonners Ferry. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.


Chairman Smith said whether someone paid too much in solid waste fees or too little, the county has chosen to let that go. Clerk Poston said those people should have technically paid $18 more and a bill would’ve had to be generated.  


Commissioner Dinning asked about making a motion to return all monies paid from property owners within the proposed annexation and cancel all of the 2012 tax on all of those parcels erroneously paid to the city. Prosecutor Douglas approved of the motion.


Commissioner Dinning moved to cancel the 2012 tax and to return the monies paid on those parcels within the proposed annexation that were erroneously taxed. Commissioner Kirby second.


Chairman Smith said he wants to add to that motion “as per discussion with Idaho State Tax Commission.”


Commissioner Dinning amended his prior motion as follows: Commissioner Dinning moved to cancel the 2012 tax and to return the taxes paid on those parcels within the proposed annexation that were erroneously taxed and as per the Idaho State Tax Commission and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously. 


The meeting to discuss the issue of annexation taxes collected ended at 10:15 a.m.


Commissioners, Treasurer Fessler and Clerk Poston briefly discussed processes to take to refund the taxes. Commissioners tended to administrative duties.


Clerk Poston and Treasurer Fessler left the meeting.  

11:00 a.m., Commissioners held a public hearing on the status of the Restorium Elevator Project. Also present were: Restorium Administrator Karlene Magee, Assistant Administrator Jeri Witt, Restorium Board Chairman Larry Dirks, Panhandle Area Council Contract Specialist Sherri Wastweet, Bonners Ferry Herald Reporter Laura Roady, and Clerk Glenda Poston. The public hearing was recorded.


Chairman Smith turned the public hearing over to Ms. Wastweet, who is the grant administrator for this project. Ms. Wastweet explained that a general overview is given when a community block grant is awarded and the grant administer holds a hearing for the public to have the chance to hear about the project.


An application for this Public Facility Project was submitted to the Idaho Department of Commerce November 18, 2011 by the County requesting funding to install an elevator at the Boundary County Community Restorium. The project scope included installation of the elevator, construction of a vestibule and ADA approved sidewalks, curb and gutter going from the elevator room on the south side of the Restorium toward the hospital.


The Idaho Department of Commerce had originally granted Boundary County $115,238 to be used for administration, engineering and construction expenses, but after bids came in higher than the project allowed the Idaho Department of Commerce granted more funds in the amount of $10,000. The Restorium Board agreed to pledge $8,900 from the Restorium Memorial Fund above the amount pledged by the county.


Ms. Wastweet said the state may provide additional funding so not all of the funds donated from Restorium Memorial Fund will have to be used. B.F. Builders were the apparent low bidder, but the county still had to negotiate with them in order to bring down the cost to within the construction budget and there have been change orders.


Ms. Wastweet said this project is nearing completion, but she is hearing the elevator has now passed completion and is operational. Ms. Wastweet said she will try to close the project without having the final painting done, but she will need a copy of the Certification of Completion.


Ms. Wastweet said all block grants have to meet a National Objective and this project qualified as a “low to moderate income” (LMI) project as the clientele are senior citizens and that automatically qualifies for “LMI.” That is how this project was able to be funded, according to Ms. Wastweet.


Chairman Smith asked if anyone had any questions.


Mr. Dirks mentioned the need for gutters and Ms. Wastweet said seeding for grass will still have to take place in the spring.


The public hearing for the status of the Restorium Elevator Project ended at 11:10 a.m.


Clerk Poston remained in the meeting.

Chairman Smith asked Ms. Magee if the she has updated the bookkeeping practices at the Restorium. It was explained that the county’s outside auditor, Leonard Schulte had been in the Clerk’s Office and he had questions if the Restorium reports were ready for him. Ms. Magee said the reports are not ready. Clerk Poston asked if the Quickbooks Program was installed and being used. Ms. Magee said the program is not being used, but it is installed. Ms. Magee said she does have the ledger that has been behind for some time. Ms. Magee said this ledger has not been caught up since she has been at the Restorium. Ms. Magee said Mr. Schulte had at one time told her to use her best judgment and that some of the accounts may have to be written off.


It was mentioned that Mr. Schulte had also at one time offered a member of his staff to assist the Restorium in learning the Quickbooks Program and Chairman Smith said Ms. Magee should see if she can work with that person. Chairman Smith asked when the ledger may be ready for Mr. Schulte and Ms. Magee said by the end of this week. Chairman Smith said it sounds like the county will have assistance from someone on the bookkeeping program and the information for Mr. Schulte will be received later this week.


The meeting with Ms. Magee, Ms. Witt, and Mr. Dirks ended at 11:12 a.m.


Commissioners updated Blue Sky Broadcasting Reporter Mike Brown on the day’s discussion with the Tax Commission and Attorney General’s Office about how to process taxes paid by property owners within the area of annexation that has since been declared invalid. The county will refund the city’s portion of taxes associated with the area that had been improperly annexed. Commissioners had also voted to not go back and seek the difference $18 for solid waste fees that those same residents would have paid. The Attorney General’s Office said as far as other taxing districts; that is just something that can’t be fixed. For those property owners affected by the annexation who have not paid their first half of tax, they would be considered in arrears for the county tax portion, but not the city.


Mr. Brown left the meeting at 11:25 a.m.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.





                                                RONALD R. SMITH, Chairman






By: Michelle Rohrwasser, Deputy

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