GRANGEVILLE — Progress on sheriff’s office and jail construction, vacating an unused right-of-way, and veteran services report were some highlights from the Board of Idaho County Commissioners’ Feb. 27 meeting.
“We are off to the races,” Brandt said after the commissioners approved the preconstruction contract for the sheriff’s office and detention complex.
Commissioner Denis Duman explained that Kenaston Corporation, the construction manager and contractor will develop guaranteed maximum costs within six months. In response to a question from Commissioner Ted Lindsley, Duman said the contract does not commit the county to construction. Once the county has the maximum cost, the board can move forward with a construction contract if they determine they have sufficient funds.
The board approved vacating an unnamed county road right of way west of Elk City (Idaho County Tax Lot 451). This responds to a petition filed by Hunter Edwards (Edwards Surveying) on Nov. 10, 2022, on behalf of the Estate of Mary A. York, George Thomas York and Ingrid J. Rinard Living Trust.
“This road has been abandoned, and never constructed, maintained or used as a public road and more than 37 years have elapsed since it was dedicated,” Edwards said in the petition of vacation.
The board approved vacating the right of way during their Jan. 3 meeting. The county’s civil attorney, Matt Jessup, explained that the timing of the newspaper legal notice led to the Feb. 20 hearing. The county also sent letters to adjoining property owners.
Elk City business owner Joshua Palken and landowner Tom York both testified at the Feb. 20 hearing. Palken said there could be a substantial public benefit even if the road was not built for trucks. Foot, livestock and ATV travel would be possible if the county develops the route. He noted that Grangeville has a bypass.
“I think it would be great if we could have that in Elk City,” Palken said.
York said there is a wetland issue in the property, with water running into mid-July. After discussion, Brandt recessed the hearing to allow for a review of a large packet of information submitted by Palken.
The hearing resumed during the Feb. 27 board meeting. When questioned by Jessup, Edwards explained that no property would be landlocked if the right of way is vacated. Edwards also said easements are already in place for water and sewer infrastructure.
Brandt said he did not see any public benefit for the county to keep a right of way they are not using. “Even if the road construction only cost $20,000, we have many places in the county that would be a better use of that money,” he said.
Brandt rebutted Palken’s concerns about any future logging truck traffic on Main Street. “Elk City is an old logging community. This is not anything new to have logging trucks go through town,” Brandt said. He concluded by saying that if Elk City incorporated and became a city, residents could deal with issues locally instead of the county.
Jessup will draft the finding of fact and conclusions of law for the board’s review prior to finalizing the order at a future commissioners’ meeting.
Lucky Gallego, Idaho County’s Veteran Service Officer, reported he has returned to meeting veterans in person. During the COVID pandemic, Gallego said he was seeing only a handful of clients by appointment only. Seeing six to seven veterans per day at the outreach center and as many as five per day at his office is the new normal.
Gallego met with 98 clients in the past month and 286 in the past three months. During the last two months, 109 claims have been filed.
“This office has the highest reporting and claims filed for North Central Idaho,” he said.