City Council approve of new systems to upgrade city infrastructure, troubles with BNSF

by VICTOR CORRAL MARTINEZ
Staff Writer | November 19, 2020 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — The Bonners Ferry City Council met on Tuesday, Nov. 17, and discussed improvements to better serve the community through finding new financial resources, designs and upgrading existing systems.

City Engineer Mike Klaus updated the City Council on the waterline on Dakota Street that connects through the railroad tracks’ south side. The waterline would allow for water to be pumped up to the tanks.

According to Klaus, there was a permitting process that the city applied for in August to cross through the tracks; the permit application now requires an additional process of requiring a third-party inspector to be on location.

“It was never advertised that this step of the project was required by BNSF until now,” Klaus said. “They didn’t tell me that there would be another process added to it.”

Klaus doesn’t yet know of the additional costs and the time delays caused by this extra step, but he is unsure if the project will be done this year.

“There is no use in having anybody on-site because there will be no equipment inside of the right away,” Klaus said to Council.

According to Klaus, this project’s actual work might only take an hour, but he voiced his concerns about the BNSF Railway Company.

“I think we were more than diplomatic in working with BNSF when there was a diesel spill right next to our river intake for the water plant,” Klaus said, “I’m not really seeing the same diplomacy in the other direction.”

The City’s contractor had to pull out of the project until the inspector is on-site and paid to start the work.

According to Klaus and Mayor Dick Staples, additional fees will have to be negotiated with the KG & T Septic Service contractor for their demobilization and remobilization for the project.

As the meeting proceeded, another agenda item was discussed that involved redesigning the city’s logo and circular seal.

The City hired Dan Seward, owner of Vigilante Studios, to design the new logo, and he presented three logo variants and two seal variants.

Many council members preferred the second and third designs presented with elk details and other designs that show Bonners Ferry.

“I knew it needed some kind of wildlife because that’s what North Idaho is,” Seward said, “Don’t let the elk get you because we can add an elk to all of them.”

Council member Valerie Thompson felt the elk should be represented on the left side of the logo design because, in reality, the elk are commonly found in the valley.

“The elk would be more likely to come possibly from the other side,” Thompson said, “I love the bridge columns the way that you have them, but I did consider that it might be nice to see the elk coming from the other direction because it’s closer to the valley where they all hang out.”

According to Seward, the initial designs were rough drafts that would be detailed further to accommodate the elements that the council wanted.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the council:

Discussed and approved the electrical vehicle charging station fees, ranging from $25 to $55 for a full charge.

Discussed potentially billing insurance companies for rolling out engines for vehicles that need to be pulled out of ditches or other situations and require the fire department’s help; the potential outlined fee table was chosen to be kept in.

Approved the secondary network-attached storage to protect the city’s content and system if the primary NAS system goes down.

Approved the contract with Tyler Technologies for a new software system.

The mayor approved a motion for advertising the patrol officer position.

Approved an adjustment to pay range for the water and sewer position to be competitive with other municipalities.

Approved the mayor to sign a contract with the inland forest management to update the tree farmland plan to be aligned and up to code with the agency governing the tree farm system.