Gov. Phil Batt has formally asked federal officials to provide financial help to the beleaguered timber town of Council, making it the first Idaho community placed under an economic disaster declaration.
“This community is teetering on the brink,” Batt said after meeting with representatives of Council, where Boise Cascade Corp. closed its sawmill and eliminated 56 jobs last week.
While small on a statewide basis, the lost employment and the $2.7 million payroll that disappeared with those jobs has a major impact on the city and Adams County.
Mayor Roy Grossen, who was among the workers affected by the mill closure, asked Batt to use whatever authority and resources he might have to help the city and county diversify their economies and keep rural communities viable.
“If we lose these small communities, we’ve lost a lot,” Batt agreed, “and I am dedicated to keeping these loggers and miners and cattlemen going.”
If backed up by the federal government, the economic disaster declaration would make subsidized loans available through the Small Business Administration.”We don’t have a whole lot of time, governor,” Grossen said.