City to consider several utility rate increases

by Tonia Brooks
Staff Writer | June 18, 2020 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — On Tuesday, June 16 the Bonners Ferry City Council met for their second meeting of the month. The meeting was attended by interested community members in person and via Zoom, an app that allows people to attend from outside the meeting chambers.

Agenda item No. 7, concerning the electric, water, and sewer rate increases, were discussed by the council and city officials. The discussion included a talk about raising rates to keep up with inflation. City Administrator Lisa Ailport indicated that rates are driven by capital spending by the city.

No decision was made on Tuesday regarding rate increases, but the matter will be brought up again at the council’s next meeting, on July 7.

City council member Valerie Thompson suggested that more information be gathered and presented to the council prior to any decision and to make sure that citizens who would like to know more and be a part of the discussion may be able to attend and speak to it during the next council meeting.

A number of other topics were discussed, including:

• Carolyn Testa spoke to the council about how weedy and unkempt the runaway truck ramp is on Highway 95.

“Everything looks so great, but the runaway truck ramp is so gnarly,” said Testa who continued on to inform council members that the weeds are high and the ramp is an eyesore for the city. Testa asked that it be cleaned up, to which the council members agreed.

• Steve Tanner spoke stating that he would like a sentence removed from the vision statement.

The recently added segment of the vision statement is, “We are an inclusive city that welcomes all people, regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity and encourages their participation in city government and city programs.”

“That statement was added specifically to promote something, and we should not be a part of that promotion,” said Tanner, who asked that the council, “return to the vision statement that was in place for years and remove that last part.”

• Under the “old business” agenda, the Fourth of July Parade was addressed. The council confirmed that this topic was placed on the agenda because it was requested to be on the agenda by Gary Leonard, who was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

The council discussed that for any event, a petitioner must have a $1 million insurance policy submitted with their application to hold an event or parade.

Val Thompson added, “As of today, we are not aware of whether or not a policy has been submitted.”

• The council discussed the purchase of a “Zero Turn Lawn Mower.” Ailport stated that the funds for this item are not earmarked. Thompson asked Ailport as to how items are kept track of if there are no earmarks for expenditures for items such as these. Thompson reiterated, “I would hate for us to not be able to keep track of [expenditures].”

Mayor Staples explained that the mower is a needed item due to the increase in city mowing needs. Thompson made a motion that the city purchase the mower from Boundary Tractor for $5200, and the motion was agreed upon and passed.

• The mayor signed a contract with General Pacific accepting their bid for an electric vehicle charging station with a total cost of $62,498. There is a fee charged to use the charging station and the funds received from the usage charges will go to the electric department. Thompson made a motion to accept the bid and the motion passed.

• A discussion was conducted as to authorizing the mayor to sign a Master Service Agreement with a company called Exbabylon for Internet Technology assistance. The council motioned and voted to approve this agreement.

• The final item was a consideration for the mayor to sign a contract with a company called Three Amigos Underground for electric line work. A motion was made, seconded and voted on to approve the contract with Three Amigos Underground.

The Bonners Ferry City Council meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of the month. The next Bonners Ferry City Council meeting is July 7; both in person and via the Zoom app. The app is free to download from your smartphone play store. For more Info: 208-267-3105 or visit for info on how to participate and for the meeting ID and password.