Residents have been asking for years to pave or chip seal 3.5 miles of Lakeshore Drive, connecting to Dufort. The commissioners and Road & Bridge Department say a minimum car count of 300 per day is required to be eligible. That’s a fair requirement, but it is not applied equally. Why not?
I attended the Bonner County Budget Meeting on July 18. Wrenco Loop was paved in 2017, even though it never met the minimum requirement (the most recent car count was in 2014, at 218). At the meeting, residents petitioned to pave Wooded Acres (2.4 miles) and offered up to $100,000. Wooded Acres car count in June 2018 was only 233 and it only serves residents of that community.
Lakeshore met the 300 car per day minimum in 2017 and in June 2018, car count was 320. Lakeshore is an arterial, a school bus route, alternate to Highway 95, to Dufort, etc.
However, at the budget meeting, Dan McDonald led prioritization of Wooded Acres over Lakeshore. Why? Private money. It didn’t matter that Lakeshore’s car count met the requirement or that Lakeshore serves a much broader user base; all that mattered was private money. And, Dan McDonald suggested the Lakeshore property owners pay if they want Lakeshore paved. Smells like pay to play, and, if it’s not illegal, it’s certainly unethical.
Attend budget meetings. Hold commissioners accountable to equitable treatment. Vote for new commissioners.
Note: All car counts are from Road & Bridge Department