Resolution sought on infrastructure - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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Resolution sought on infrastructure

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Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — City officials are working to ensure they get all the agreed-upon improvements from the county in connection with the sheriff’s office and new juvenile detention facility.

Bonner County Commissioners Mike Nielsen and Cornel Rasor visited the City Council’s regular meeting Wednesday to discuss a timetable for the completion of final improvements — including sidewalks, trees, and curbs. According to Nielsen, the costs of these improvements exceeded expectations, and with escalating courthouse costs leaving the county strapped for cash, the project likely couldn’t go forward until commissioners start a new budgeting process.

“I’m sorry this issue has protracted itself over three or four boards, but I’ll do my best to ensure it ends on my watch,” Nielsen said.

An issue that city officials have wanted to see completed for many years, the projects will provide infrastructure for a developing area of the region.

However, the costs associated with renovations and asbestos cleanup in the courthouse have spiraled far beyond expectations, with Nielsen predicted a final price tag of more than $6 million. That leaves precious little money available for other projects.

“We’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Nielsen said.

However, city officials replied that the county had already been granted extensions on the improvements and wanted some guarantee that the items would be included in the 2014 budget planning. That provided complications for Nielsen, who will have two new colleagues in Joyce Broadsword and Cary Kelly next year. Nielsen told council members he could promise to push the matter hard and impress the incoming commissioners of its importance but couldn’t guarantee anything else.

“All I can give you is my word, and my word is my bond,” he said.

Cornel Rasor also attended the meeting in support of Nielsen. He offered his commitment to seeing the improvements on the books as well.

“Even though I’m a lame duck, I’ll do everything I can to facilitate this,” he said.

Council members ultimately decided to table the matter after City Attorney Scot Campbell suggested they could use a local improvement district — or LID — as a means to obligate the county’s cooperation. City and county staff will examine this and other possible solutions before local officials make a final decision.

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  • Luv83864 posted at 9:51 am on Sat, Nov 10, 2012.

    Luv83864 Posts: 702

    Trees are nice but not necessary. After all going to such place shouldn't really be a beautiful experience. It's not like the court house even though what has happened with the court house is nothing short of ridiculous. Trees also can be replanted, brought in from property, and/or donated. I personally don't approve of brining contractors in from Spokane when the own city/county could have put money back into our economy. I see it all the time. The court is another perfect example. Sidewalks are in place where they seem necessary to me. If most people in today's economy build a house and end up short on money, it's tough luck. The house sits and waits till they earn some money. Money isn't growing on trees these days. The sidewalk by Hydra on Second Ave has a gaping 2"-4" gap in it, no warnings and I see a real issue with a posing dangers before we put new sidewalks anywhere. It also appears the curb is in place where needed. How did the bids change? Good thing the tax didn't go up in Sandpoint or Ponderay because businesses were going to pay which then comes down on us. Imagine just what a local business would pay in say concrete a year?

  • wilson posted at 8:57 am on Sat, Nov 10, 2012.

    wilson Posts: 1133

    What are the agreed upon improvements? If they are curbs, gutters and sidewalks to nowhere, some common sense should be used, if that is even possible for the City people. Costs for these dubious features out there should not be a priority. Why is it that the City can put in street improvements right in town where people actually walk and not put in their mandated curbs, and sidewalks? (Short Street). Is anyone at the City using their heads?