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Posts tagged: City of Coeur d'Alene

School District Wants To 2X City Cost

The relationship betwen the Coeur d'Alene School District and the city of Coeur d'Alene was souring even before the decision by the school trustees to sell its part of Person Field last night. On Aug. 2, Superintendent Hazel Bauman, pictured, and finance officer Wendell Wardell informed the city by letter that the district was going to more than double the fee charged to the city for recreational use of school facilities, from $30,000 to $75,000. The letter said: “The district's maintenance director calculated the district's current costs for the jus-ended fiscal year on the total of 11 facilities used by city at over $65,000. You can read the entire letter here. In response, on Sept. 6, Recreation Director Steve Anthony wrote that the city has reimbursed the School District $923,000 since 1993 to enlarge gymnasiums and provide amenities (bleachers, scoreboards, volleyball equipment, restrooms and storage) for school district and city recreation activities. Also, Anthony said, the city allows the school district to use school district to use its facilities (i.e., McEuen Field, Famsey Park, Tubbs Hill) at little or no cost. You can read Steve Anthony's response here.

Question: Should the School District proceed with plans to more than double the cost to the city for using school facilities?

City Utility Billing Error Prompts Calls

From City Administrator Wendy Gabriel of Coeur d'Alene: “The telephone call volume to the Finance Department was at an exceptionally high level yesterday. There was an error made in one batch of utility bills that went out in the mail on Friday. The error caused the bill, received by the customer, to be double what it should have been. The customer’s electronic account history is accurate. The error has been corrected. We apologize for the energy created and can confirm that the City’s phone system works very well.”

Question: Did you get a utility bill that doubled the usual amount?

Graves: Edinger Seeking Sympathy

Coeur d’Alene City Council candidate Adam Graves said Thursday that his opponent’s claim that Graves is “out to get his family” is “pure political posturing in pursuit of the sympathy vote.” Graves is challenging 40-plus-year incumbent Ron Edinger, who said Wednesday that “individuals” were attacking his family because they had no issue with which to discredit him. City Attorney Mike Gridley said Wednesday that following Graves’ inquiry about Edinger’s daughter’s city employment, he investigated further and discovered three of Edinger’s grandsons had been hired by the city in violation of state nepotism laws. The grandsons’ employment subsequently was terminated last week. The daughter’s job is grandfathered in under the 1990 nepotism law/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

Question: Should there be an Idaho law that prevents family members of mayors and city councilmen from working for their cities?

Graves: Didn’t Know About Grandkids

In light of the recent press release issued by incumbent Ron Edinger, I feel it is only appropriate and fair for the news to fairly report the actual events. After reviewing a report Dan Gookin created and posted on his web site, which showed pay increase percentages for each city employee, I emailed the document to Troy Tymeson to confirm the numbers shown were accurate. My subsequent verbal question specifically to Mr. Tymeson was if Mr. Edinger had to recuse himself from voting on this portion of the budget, as it appeared to me a clear conflict of interest to vote on a wage increase to your own daughter. The answer I was told was no, he can and does per Idaho law. That was the end of it, or so I thought. What transpired beyond that initial inquiry, I was not aware of until reading the press release posted on newspaper websites yesterday. Let me be clear, the subsequent actions taken by the city happened without my involvement or knowledge.  As I stated above, I did not inquire about the law because I, like everyone else involved, did not know about it. I also had no idea Mr. Edinger’s grandchildren worked for the city/Adam Graves, Coeur d'Alene City Council candidate.   More here.

Question: Is this controversy hurting incumbent Ron Edinger or challenger Adam Graves? And/or: Will it affect other races?

Gabriel Challenges City Pay Figures

City Administrator Wendy Gabriel (pictured) offered this response to an earlier post today re: Coeur d'Alene city salaries: “Your blog has a link to a document titled “Some of Coeur d’Alene’s Highest Paid Employees*”.  The City did not prepare this report although it appears to be a compilation of data that the City has provided in the past. Attached to this email and titled 2009-2010 Actual Pay is a document that was sent to the Idaho Freedom Foundation on May 12, 2011.  It includes pay for the period 10/1/2009 through 9/30/2010.  The data in this document appears to be shown in the document on your blog under column 4 titled “2010 Salary.” Attached to this email and titled 2011-12 Budgeted Pay is a document that was provided to Sharon Culbreth on Sept. 13, 2011.  It is a list of projected pay for the upcoming fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2011 and ending Sept. 30, 2012.  It includes a 3% cost of living increase and any eligible service time/performance increases.  This data appears to be shown in the document on your blog under column 3 titled “2011 Salary”. I have several concerns regarding the document currently posted on your blog.  They are outlined below.” More here.

PM: No Docks On Sanders Beach

“They hire us to do odd jobs,” said Sean Curran, caddy for The Coeur d'Alene Resort as he raked a private beach just East of the public access to Sanders Beach on Wednesday. No docks will be built on Sanders Beach. That's part of the resolution of six lawsuits dating back to 1998 between the city of Coeur d'Alene and the owners of eight homes on the beach. Alison Boggs' story here.  (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

City Settles w/Sanders Beach Owners

The City of Coeur d'Alene and the owners of eight homes along East Lakeshore have reached an amicable conclusion to six lawsuits arising from disputes regarding Sanders Beach. Orders dismissing the lawsuits, some of which date back to 1998, have been signed and entered. In addition to settling the six lawsuits, the city acquired the homeowners’ rights to build docks and also acquired over sixty feet of beach frontage. In exchange, the city paid a total of $278,500.00 to purchase the property and acquire the dock rights, and also amended the Shoreline Ordinance to allow fences between public and private property at 12th and 15th streets/Victoria Bruno, Coeur d'Alene Today. More here. (SR file photo)

Question: Are you happy with the way the long-running Sanders Beach dispute finally ended?

Vet’s Reference To Gun Falls Flat

Item: Veteran says gun comment was a joke: City officials not amused after Tucson incident/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: A Coeur d'Alene man's reference to bringing guns to a meeting with city officials shouldn't be taken seriously, he said Tuesday. The gun reference came during a meeting Monday between city officials and the American Legion on the proposed McEuen Field redevelopment plan. Sherman Randolph said Tuesday that his remarks were inappropriate in light of the shooting tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., but Coeur d'Alene city officials shouldn't take the comment as a literal threat. He refused to apologize.

Question: What do you make of Sherman Randolph's remark?

Kennedy Bill Busts Litigation Budget

Item: The rising cost of litigation: Like others, Cd’A splits city attorney duties from courtroom cases/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: The city of Coeur d’Alene will pay $108,434 in legal fees defending the 2009 general election challenge. That total more than quadruples the $24,770 the city’s legal department had budgeted for litigation in each of the last two years. That’s because the city agreed to pay the fees for two defendants, City Council seat 2 incumbent Mike Kennedy, who was sued personally for his then 5-vote victory, and the city of Coeur d’Alene, which was included in the yearlong suit as a potential remedy provider had the judge ruled for another election. While paying Kennedy’s tab was unique, hiring outside counsel to defend the city was not. Coeur d’Alene, as other Idaho cities do, separates its city attorney office duties from courtroom cases.

Question: Should Coeur d’Alene pay for outside counsel for courtroom cases involving the city?

Kennedy Asks City To Pay Legal Fees

Item: Kennedy asks Cd’A to pay for attorney/Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: Mike Kennedy is seeking attorney fees from the city of Coeur d’Alene. The total being sought is around $105,000, city attorney Mike Gridley said. Kennedy, City Council seat 2 incumbent, accumulated the fees defending his then 5-vote victory over challenger Jim Brannon in the November 2009 general election, a suit that lasted 11 months.

Question: Should the city of Coeur d’Alene pay Councilman Mike Kennedy’s legal fees?

Janna: Falling Leaves & Memories

On her Facebook page, Janna Rankin Scharf spotlights the city’s annual leaf pickup program that begins today. Sez Janna: “Some of my happiest childhood memories involve huge piles of leaves under the ancient poplar trees that framed our house at 9th & Sherman. They’re gone now, our home and those trees. But each fall as the leaves pile up around town they live on in my memories.” (Janna’s full comment here.) As my wife & I biked to the waterfront Saturday, we saw residents all along the route raking their leaves into bags or into the street. I applauded the city’s leaf pickup program before Adult Sunday School in church Sunday — only to get a rebuke by an individual who thought the program was an entitlement that drove up our taxes. What do you think? (SR file photo: Christopher Anderson)

Question: Would you rather have the city pick up our leaves every November? Or slightly lower taxes?

Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Recycling Cart

My notice came last week that I am getting a new recycling “cart” that replaces my old hand carried bin.  I don’t want a large cart.  I don’t have room for a second trash can sized cart in my garage.  I don’t want to make room for this monstrousity.  I called Waste Management to request to keep my old hand carried bin and they responded that they will no longer be emptying those bins into their trucks.  Waste Management will only be utilizing and emptying the larger carts.   So my response is that I will not be recycling.  It’s less convenient.  The lady at Waste Management said that she has received other calls like mine. I’ve put a call into my favorite city councilman to complain.   Judge me if you want but I don’t think I’m the only one in town that will be recycling less.

Question: Do you want a new recycling “cart” to replace the blue bin you carry to the sidewalk? Will you be recycling less as a result of the new recycling cart?

City Plans 2 More Exits For NIC

Students and faculty will have more ways to come and go at the growing college campus northwest of downtown Coeur d’Alene if a new traffic plan is approved. Designs show two new intersections with traffic signals connecting to Northwest Boulevard. The engineering plan developed by J-U-B Engineers and Landmark Architects also suggests adding four roundabouts within and near the North Idaho College campus to ease traffic flow, and reducing four-lane Mullan Road to two lanes with a center turn lane between Northwest Boulevard and the college entrance. An open house will be held Wednesday to gather public input on the proposed changes/Alison Boggs, SR. More here (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: Do you support construction of additional entrances & exits to North Idaho College and the Fortground area?

DanG: ‘People Will Die’ In Attack

At the Coeur d’Alene Press online site, Dan Gookin of OpenCDA.com and a poster pseudonymed RadRevD are discussing the city’s decision to buy insurance against terrorist attack. RadRevD wonders if the insurance will make Coeur d’Alene whole, if there’s some sort of attack against a chemical source that could pollute the Spokane River and Rathdrum aquifer. Gookin responds by returning to an old complaint that the city has refused to show a disaster plan for meltdown of some sort at the wastewater treatment plan on national security grounds. Continues Gookin: “My guess is that they don’t show the plan because FEMA gave them a D or an F on it. That’s most likely because PEOPLE WILL DIE (his caps not mine).” (SR 2007 file photo: Then Coeur d’Alene wastewater superintendent Sid Frederickson points out how dead bacteria settle in treatment tank.)

Question: Are you concerned re: a terrorist attack that would target the wastewater treatment plant in Coeur d’Alene?

CdA seeks legal costs after claim dismissed

The city of Coeur d’Alene is seeking recovery of legal fees after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed police assaulted her. Shannon Kanda had a blood alcohol level of .28 when she had a neighbor call police to report she’d been assaulted, according to court documents. Police responded to an apartment in the 1800 block of Legends Parkway around 9:20 p.m. May 7, 2009, where they say Kanda was uncooperative and hit an officer’s hands, then swung at an officer. /Sirens & Gavels. More here

Do you think Kanda should reimburse the city?

A Woman Who Stares At Goats

Here, dear reader, is where I exercise my research abilities - can anyone say “Poli Sci Major” - and google me some goat milk factoids. Read it here, if you dare. But, never the less, I haven’t been able to convince Hubs to change our ways and the Lovely Family remains on a strictly cow’s milk only diet. Needless to say, my affinity toward the little creatures has grown in the past few months and I went gaga when the City of Coeur d’Alene announced they were going to use goats to clear the weeds around the city wells (where the use of chemicals is strictly prohibited)/ilovecda.com. More here. (Photo: ilovecda.com)

Question: ilovecda.com is trying to talk her husband into switching a family liquid staple from cow’s milk to goat’s milk. I spent a whole night during my formative years helping my cousin milk goats. Have you ever milked a goat?

Goats Tackle City Property Weeds

Item: City of Cd’A gets its goats: Animals clearing weeds around city well sites where mechanical, chemical methods can’t be used/Alecia Warren, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: So they were open to Suzanne Forte’s business proposition: She would clear one of the well sites her way for free, and if the city was satisfied, it could pay her to do the others. What the city got was immaculately cleared acreage around the well, and Forte was quickly hired to take care of more sites. Her great landscaping secret: Goats. “They eat everything down to within an inch of the rock. Every type of weed that was in there,” Pickel said.

Question: Have you ever owned a goat?

CdA Promotes Bike To Work

May is Bike 2 Work Month. And the city of Coeur d’Alene has produced a video promoting corporate and individual participation in encouraging workers to ride their bikes. More information here, and: here.

City Seeks Bids For McEuen Design

Item: McEuen Field bids sought: Coeur d’Alene expects to spend up to $125,000 for design of waterfront play field/Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: The new company will be comprised of landscape architects and engineers to design a plan using information on the park from previous meetings and studies and to ensure the blueprint can be implemented from an engineering standpoint. The design could include roughly seven lots of properties Lake City Development Corp. owns south of City Hall and will incorporate reconstruction plans for Front Avenue. Councilman Ron Edinger was the lone vote against sending the project out to bid, suggesting instead to draw the park’s new design from previous community ideas and use city engineers for the engineering side.

Question: What do you think of Councilman Ron Edinger’s idea that the city could save money by piecing together designs from past studies that the city has spent about $228,000 on?

City Of Coeur d’Alene’s Hiring

The City of Coeur d’Alene is currently accepting applications for the following Temporary Seasonal positions:

  • Parks Grounds Maintenance Worker
  • Street Maintenance Worker

For applications and job information,  please visit our website at http://www.cdaid.org/ or call the human resources department at 769-2205.

Question: If you had a chance to work in local government — city, county, schools, road districts, etc. — which job would you most like to have?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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