New hires and needs of Sheriff's Department; solid waste management update; GIS fee structure; Road and Bridge, various; moratorium injunction; BOCC and P&Z training; 2006 audit report
New Hires at Sheriff’s Office: Introductions and Responsibilities
Sheriff Cooke introduced Jason Hammond, new chief deputy, and Vallee Wells, new dispatch supervisor and technical person. Hammond spoke on the need for new equipment and will be writing grants to cover the costs. Vallee Wells’ job is to reduce liability in sheriff’s office. Some of the most significant liability issues are with dispatchers, (short staffed, not adequate training), liability in transporting prisoners and the training for bailiffs. Wells invited commissioners to visit dispatch office on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday to better understand the issues in dispatching.
The sheriff’s office also needs a records manager. There have been missing documents that have created problems for the judicial system. The board discussed budgeting for Sheriff’s department needs and that the proposed budget may have to be amended to better reflect the issues brought forth by Wells. Sheriff Cooke stated, “Funding is an issue in all departments in the county”.
a) Solid Waste Management Plan
Chairman Young presented a draft Solid Waste Management Plan addressing the short and long term plans to deal with the closing of the current landfill, building of the new and coping in the interim. Annual operating costs of new transfer station will be approximately $1 million. Young addressed the need to have an interim facility available that can then be used for recycling or another use when new transfer station on board. The new transfer station will not be ready by the time the old landfill is at capacity.
b) Contract with Terra Firma Organics moves forward.
The board agreed to pursue the contract with Terra Firma Organics to process the Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste. County attorney Birch will review draft, amendments will review draft contract and signed Amendments will be made to draft contract signed and ready to proceed no later than one month.
c) Request for proposals for transfer station
The BOCC is still waiting for the most recent report from the engineers on the transfer station. There was extensive discussion on setting open and close bid dates with adequate advertising keeping in mind that there could be a protest to the judicial confirmation and landfill plans. The Teton Valley Alliance has been openly opposed to the costs of the new transfer station. However, had the long-standing issues (for the last 10 years) been addressed earlier it’s arguable that costs could have been much lower for the transfer station.
Road and Bridge
The realignment of 400 North/Packsaddle was discussed as the state explores turn lanes and state money is dedicated to improving Packsaddle. P&Z Administrator Kurt Hibbert and Road and Bridge Director Ralph Egbert both support the realignment.
Patricia Nickell (also a county P&Z commissioner), represented a developer on two applications that requested county road improvements: 800 W. Vista Ridge Ranch Road and 100 E. Highland Ranch Road. On 800 W. Vista Ridge Ranch Road the developer proposed improving the road for better sight distances providing the county with a mile of paved road. On 100 E. Highland Ranch Road the developer, at the request of the fire district, wants to reduce the grade to below 10%. The road was built by Teton Ridge Ranch who does not support the road improvements since the current road accesses the Ranch and just two other private residences. The improvement request was based on the 14 lot proposed development by the developer. Nickell stated the improvements would require fill of a small wetland and requested the county be the applicant for the wetland fill permit. The cost of improvements for the development amount to approximately $100K for 11 feet of road and the developer has requested that the county contribute materials. The board took the request under advisement stating it was inconsistent with prior decisions. VARD questions why the public should pay for road improvements incurred by new developments.
Planning and Zoning
A new fee structure for GIS data modeling and data sharing was presented for three categories of user: private, public and intergovernmental. The new fee structure with various subscription fees (free to general public) would be more cost effective, efficient and fair. A presentation will be made to the private, government and public sectors on county GIS on May 24th from 12 – 4p. Contact the GIS or planning office (354-2593) for more information.
P&Z Administrator Hibbert suggested that the $20K Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor growth management grant (which VARD was instrumental in acquiring) go toward GIS costs. The board supported by motion this use of the IDCL grant.
Changes to final plats after approval
Georgie Stanley submitted a letter to the P&Z office with concerns about platted subdivisions being able to move, create and alter lots to their final plans. Administrator Hibbert stated that some things that were done administratively in the past are no longer being done. The issues pertained to what is deemed a “significant” amendment to a plat and “insignificant”. Hibbert stated that adding, moving and changing location of some lots is significant and would require a plat amendment. He also mentioned that Ms. Stanley is not the only resident he has heard from with these concerns.
Discussion on moratorium ruling
Commissioner Stevenson’s action plan
The board discussed how to proceed with the moratorium given that they chose not to pursue an appeal of Judge Shindurling’s ruling to grant an injunction to the moratorium. Commissioner Stevenson read a written statement (see email attachment) and proposed a six-point action plan. Commissioner Stevenson stated the BOCC needed to have a plan in place with deadlines to ensure that the many issues facing the county can and will be addressed before she would be willing to rescind the current moratorium, which is unenforceable with the injunction. After much debate, the BOCC approved by a 2 to 1 vote to pursue actions 2, 3, 5, and 6 of the list below and approved unanimously to pursue #4.
1) Authorize the law firm of Moore, Smith, Buxton and Turcke to write an interim moratorium ordinance to be heard by the P&Z on June 12 and the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on July 12.
2) Authorize Moore, Smith, Buxton and Turcke to write a document to repeal the county PUD ordinance (Title 9, Chapter 7) to be heard by P & Z on June 12 and BOCC on July 12.
3) Place the Gateway PUD amendment, which is being sent to the BOCC by the P&Z, on the BOCC Public Hearing agenda for July 12 rather than June 14, so that all the proposals regarding the PUD can be considered at once.
4) Place an amendment to remove density definitions from the comp plan on the June 12 P & Z agenda.
5) Hire Moore, Smith, Buxton and Turcke to conduct a joint P&Z and BOCC training meeting as soon as possible.
6) Hire Moore, Smith, Buxton and Turcke to attend all BOCC meetings and public hearings, and all P&Z meetings and public hearings from now through July.
Debate on growth situation in Teton County
Much of the debate on the board dealt with various issues facing the county and how best to address them. Commissioner Stevenson said that an interim moratorium was the cleanest and most comprehensive tool to deal with the various issues facing the county from administrative (e.g. 120 day requirement) to planning (e.g. PUD ordinance). Commissioner Young was hesitant to pursue this action based on Shindurling’s ruling, even though he agreed the ruling was faulty. Commissioner Trupp was not supportive of any changes (either an interim moratorium or repealing the PUD ordinance) stating he didn’t see how any of the action items would accomplish anything. Trupp believed any changes would “create a landslide” of new developments and usurp the current “calm”. Commissioner Stevenson disagreed that the county has a calm situation stating that the applications filed since the injunction total approximately 7 subdivisions, equate to over 2,000 new lots that the county is not certain they can pay for the services required by the new growth. Trupp stated that either action, repealing the PUD or an interim moratorium is “pretty radical” and “will create running through the streets by July 12th”.
PUD as obvious problem to address
Chairman Young agreed with Stevenson that the PUD ordinance is a huge problem. He illuminated the discrepancy of the PUD ordinance with the underlying zoning with the example of an 800 acre parcel with Ag. 20 zoning in the Rural Reserve area of the county. The zoning would allow 40 units. The PUD ordinance would allow 480 units – a 12 fold increase! He stated that when the PUD was passed there were statements, particularly by the former Planning Administrator Larry Boothe, that no one would ever use the maximum allowable density. However, that has proven to not be the case. Young stated that without a Capital Improvements Plan the cost per lot for services is unknown, the county has to assume that all the lots will be built and that the county is in the position of not knowing how to pay for services to these new lots. He stated that scenario imperils the average taxpayer in the county. Chairman Young asked Commissioner Stevenson why she was proposing an interim moratorium and not just a repeal of the PUD. Commissioner Stevenson responded that there are many other issues the county has to deal with and that repealing the PUD would only address the PUD and nothing else.
Costs of growth
The commissioners had a lengthy debate related to the uncertainties of the community’s costs of growth. Trupp argued that new growth is paying for itself by new valuation in property taxes for the county (see comments below by auditor that caution the county on this belief).
Stevenson and Young brought up that experts agree that residential growth, which dominates the market in Teton County, rarely pays for itself. The earlier reports on law enforcement, solid waste and planning for budget shortfalls prove that growth is not paying its way. If residential growth did pay for itself, theoretically Teton County would be flush with money or immune to service issues, which it is not. Young stated that residential growth typically costs $1.20 to $1.40 for every dollar it bring in and far flung developments (i.e. in rural reserve, Ag. 20 zoning) add another 10-15%. Commissioner Young stated, “For us to think we are beating the cost, is preposterous.” The he used the example of having to borrow $3 million for landfill (judicial confirmation) and a new courthouse being paid for by a developer. He also mentioned the Fiscal Impact Analysis conducted by River Rim that showed it could pay for itself when valuation was at $1 million dollars per home.
Trupp stated that more bureaucracy reflects incompetence on the part of the board and that the added costs of bureaucracy will cost more to the taxpayer and is at odds with the goal of providing affordable housing. Commissioner Trupp seems to equate “planning” with “bureaucracy” although in our case not planning is costing the taxpayers money.
Seeking legal counsel
There was some discussion on seeking more legal counsel during meetings to ensure that actions and decisions taken are legally sound (part of the Action items). Trupp argued that county already used the $10,000 donated for legal defense. Stevenson reiterated a memo by the clerk stating new pledges of over $25,000.
BOCC and P&Z training
The BOCC and P&Z joint training on their respective roles will be held on May 31st from 4-6p. The tentative plan is for the training to be conducted by Dale Storrer, Esq. (preferred by the P&Z) and Moore, Smith, Buxton and Turcke (county’s hired special counsel).
2006 Draft Audit Report Rudd & Co
A representative from Rudd reported that county revenues are up but the county needs to be cautious with new growth because it also equated to new expenditures. All increases in expenditures in 2006 were for new growth.