Solid waste update; Victor-Drigss Pathway repairs; progress on affordable housing
A lot happened in this meeting but here are the highlights we think are most pertinent to VARD members:
Monopoly in roll off containers
DJ Barney from Barney Towing asked to be on the agenda to complain about a cease and desist order that he received saying that his company could not provide roll off containers to customers in the valley because of an exclusive contract that Voorhees Sanitation has with the county for both construction and demolition material, and household garbage. Chairman Young said that this contract was negotiated before the new commissioners took office and that there was not much that could be done. It does raise an interesting question on the fair competition issue. As the valley continues to grow is it in the best interest of the citizens for the county to grant a long term exclusive contract to any service provider?
Temporary solid waste transfer building
Nelson Engineering presented their suggestions for the temporary solid waste transfer building. They received 4 bids from companies, two for a metal building, and two for a cloth building. After taking into consideration the cost and time needed for construction, Nelson recommended the cloth building option. Under the best case scenario such a building could be constructed in 6 to 8 weeks. Allowing for the inevitable delays in construction this would still be the fastest way to go. The building would measure 100ft by 100ft, and would sit on an asphalt pad. After its life as the interim transfer building it would become part of the recycling program at the transfer station. The total cost for this structure is in the neighborhood of $225,000.
Tim Adams from Teton Valley Trails and Pathways made a presentation to the commissioners asking for money to repair and protect the pathway between Victor and Driggs. The best plan would be to put down an overlay coat of asphalt and finish that with a seal coat to protect it. The cost for this would be approximately $70,000. All the commissioners commented on the value of the pathway to the valley and on how much use it receives. Again it comes down to a question of money and how the county prioritizes its projects. There was discussion on asking the cities to become partners with the county on the paths maintenance, fund raising by TVTAP, and pursuing other options to fund this project and more importantly, to make sure that regular maintenance was performed. It was pointed out that to replace the pathway would cost over $1.4 million dollars and that such an asset should be protected. This discussion was continued to the next meeting to see what details could be worked out on at least seal coating the pathway this season.
Progress on affordable housing
Commissioner Stevenson, the county's liaison on affordable housing, reported that she had met with officials from Driggs, Victor, and Tetonia, and was pleasantly surprised when the group urged her to push forward with the establishment of a Teton County Housing Authority as soon as possible. This would be a major step in starting to deal with the growing need for affordable housing in the valley. With housing becoming as expensive as it is it is becoming harder and harder to keep teachers, police officers, firemen, EMS personnel and other essential workers whose salaries are out of step with housing prices. The commissioners voted unanimously to ask the county attorney to draft up the appropriate resolution to allow for the creation of a housing authority. With a housing authority in place the county will be able to move forward in forming a housing board, and in actually getting funds to produce affordable housing. VARD applauds this step as it has been long overdue.