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Mon, Feb 24- Commissioner Town Hall Meeting

Monday, February 24th – County Commissioner Town Hall Meeting, 6:30-8:00pm

A Town Hall Meeting allows for respectful dialogue between the Board of County Commissioners and the public. Everyone is invited. Come prepared to ask questions or offer comment on any topic pertaining to Teton County business and the Board's responsibilities.

Here are 4 timely issues that are ripe for public comment at the Town Hall Meeting:

#1 We support the existing commissioner districts.
Last month, the County Commissioners voted 2:1 against redistricting. A little history: Commissioner Park had pushed for new commissioner districts whereby Driggs would be split in two, with half of the city now being in the Tetonia/rural district. The County Attorney advised that this was potential gerrymandering. Commissioner Rinaldi objected because it would prevent her from seeking re-election as she would now be in the Tetonia District even though she lives by the high school in Driggs! Commissioner Kunz was the swing vote in opposition, stating that he would not support new redistricting until after the November election.  We SUPPORT this decision by Commissioners Kunz and Rinaldi as protective of equal representation, and would encourage the Board not to redistrict again this fall.  

#2 We encourage the Commissioners to show consistent support for pathways, trail access, and recreation planning.
The County Commissioners’ 2013 legislative record shows this administration has consistently flip flopped on pathways, trails access, recreation planning, and the pursuit of grants to fund these improvements. Commissioner Rinaldi has been the only consistent voice of support for pathways and recreation planning.

For example, the County Commissioners voted 2:1 in support of the Pole Canyon trailhead improvement grants and Teton Creek greenbelt grants (Rinaldi and Park voted yes. Kunz voted no stating that grants waste tax money; but later that day, Kunz directed staff to pursue grants to establish legal public access along Edgewood Estates subdivision.) Last month, the Board voted unanimously in support of the contributing matching grant money to the Victor Stateline pathway, and then 2:1 on matching grant money for the Driggs-Tetonia rail trail pathway. (Rinaldi and Park voted yes. Kunz voted no stating the county should not fund recreation.) And two weeks ago, Kunz and Park offered commentary in opposition to a draft of the Teton County Recreation Master Plan while Rinaldi expressed support. The new Comprehensive Plan prioritizes pathways connectivity and public trails access as key steps for economic development.

#3 We encourage the Board to show consistent oversight of professional contractors.
One of the primary responsibilities of County Commissioners is oversight of public contracts and contractors. Similar to the hiring of Stephen Loosli to do code writing work, the recent conflicts with the hiring of Forsgren Engineering over the advice and professional recommendation of county staff, coupled with the ongoing stalemate between Forsgren  (paid $47,000 by Teton County to date) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, hi-lights why it is important that the board carefully consider their professional staff’s recommendations and also actively oversee public contracts.

#4 We support a professionally staffed roads committee.

Over the advice of their professional staff, the County Commissioners are contemplating forming a citizen road committee to supervise how road and bridge tax funds are spent. Commissioner Kunz is lobbying for this committee membership to be based on geographic representation in the county.  If the Board is intent on creating another layer of bureaucracy by forming a citizen committee to oversee the County Engineer, the committee should have pre-established goals, and committee members should have appropriate professional qualifications and experience.

*The Town Hall will be held from 6:30 – 8:00pm in the Commissioner Chambers room on the 1st floor of the Teton County Courthouse in Driggs.

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