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Would Tetonia Be Better Off Without An Impact Area?

After two hours of negotiations between Tetonia city officials and the Board of County Commissioners, it was determined that this conclusion was left hanging in the air. Previous negotiations over the impact area have broken down over the city’s reluctance to develop a system for law enforcement. This work meeting was set up as a compromise to encourage new solutions.

At the meeting, county attorney Kathy Spitzer emphasized to the city that they needed a mechanism to enforce their own laws.  Mayor Rex Jardine argued that as mayor, he had the authority to enforce city ordinances. Larry Young offered a compromise where Tetonia would pay annually $12 per resident for the county sheriff and prosecutor’s offices to patrol, enforce, and prosecute the city’s ordinances. In comparison, Victor pays $29 annually per resident, and Driggs pays $45 per resident. Mayor Jardine stated that he would rather contract with the prosecutor and sheriff by the hour.  Tetonia planner Jan Gallup stated the flat per resident rate the county was offering Tetonia was a much better deal than an hourly charge, which would quickly rise into the thousands of dollars.

Tetonia residents spoke up at this meeting, stating that although the Mayor did not want to pay for law enforcement, they saw the value in the county’s legal services and recognized that the county was offering a bargain deal. As residents, they were more than happy to pay $12 per person, but stated they have been routinely ignored and shut out by their city’s elected officials. 

At this point, the discussion shifted to whether Tetonia even needed an impact area since the mayor conceded that the city has no future plans to annex lands. The whole purpose of an impact area is to establish plans for lands the city could reasonably expect to annex in the near future.  As we have seen in the case of the Ford Garage property and the 1000E neighborhood of Driggs, the joint management of impact areas is often a burden on the landowners torn between two jurisdictions, as well as the city and county. With no plans for additional future annexations, what would be the utility to city or county of an impact area around Tetonia?

With this question in mind, the county and Tetonia planners will get together with the county prosecutor to determine if there is any benefit to an impact area for Tetonia. If so, they shall jointly propose a draft agreement for review by both Tetonia and the county. This system of joint cooperation recently worked very well for Victor and the county. Hopefully, the same positive results will be generated here.

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