The February 2, 2016 Post Falls City Council meeting focused on fire laws, public art, annexation, and sewer bond funding. I saw it on YouTube. This website is not part of the Post Falls city government. It is owned by a private citizen of Post Falls. I write about Post Falls because I live in this town, and take an interest in what’s going on here.
This website is not politically affiliated. I don’t belong to any political party and never have. I do observe politics and I especially enjoy learning about local government and local history.
One of my favorite YouTube channels is the one owned by the City of Post Falls where we can watch city council meetings, as well as meetings of the Urban Renewal Agency, Planning & Zoning Commission, and Parks and Recreation Commission. This is a great service to those of us who are unable to attend the meetings as interested members of the Post Falls community.
On this page I’ll recap and discuss a meeting of the Post Falls City Council. This meeting took place on Groundhog Day, February 2, 2016.
This is a 34-minute meeting. See my notes, below.
A. Approval of January 19 minutes
B. Payables January 12 through January 25, 2016
C. Chase Road and Grange Avenue Annexation Agreement
D. North Place planned unit development – findings of fact and conclusions
E. North Place subdivision – findings of fact and conclusions
F. Local professional services agreement with HMH LLC. for construction, engineering and inspectionn for the Seltice Way to Mullan bicycle and pedestrian trail project.
G. Local Professional Services Agreement with JUB Engineers, Inc for Engineer of Record Services for the Seltice Way to Mullan bicycle and pedestrian trail project.
H. New beer and wine on-premise consumption license for Post Falls Brewing Company LLC at 112 N Spokane St.
There was no public hearing at this meeting.
Unfinished Business: Post Falls, Idaho Fire Restrictions
There was a lengthy presentation about an ordinance called the Fire Protection Amendment. This started as an emergency ordinance that was issued for fire restrictions because of dry summer conditions. The city council wants to consider a permanent ordinance to regulate burning on public property.
The proposal includes the current fireworks ordinance, adding restrictions for burning in public parks, forbidding open burning except in designated areas, and no-smoking except in designated areas to prevent dry foliage from accidentally igniting. To all this is added a permanent prohibition against burning on private property whenever the state enacts “stage two” fire restrictions.
This doesn’t apply to backyard barbecues or fire pits so long as the area surrounding them is kept free from vegetation that could catch fire, and so long as the fire is monitored by an adult.
“We still want a lot of people to have fun in the summer doing the things they like to do, as long as they’re doing it in a safe fashion.”
There’s a new prohibition of fire lanterns which are paper lanterns people put lit candles into before allowing their lanterns to freely float away. Obviously those things can start fires. Not a good idea, especially during a dry summer.
There’s also a new prohibition of possessing fireworks on public spaces. Formerly it was prohibited for people to use fireworks in public spaces. The first violation is an infraction rather than a misdemeanor so as not to be heavy handed toward people who are obviously just trying to celebrate. This covers parks, public properties, and school district properties.
Issues discussed: Should someone be criminalized due to lighting a cigarette in the wrong place? Would it be better to let them smoke anywhere but make it a felony if a fire is started?
Who would enforce all this: The fire district. A fire department spokesman said he didn’t think anyone would walk through the parks telling people to extinguish their cigarettes or remove their fireworks. But then – why have an ordinance if you’re not going to enforce it? He said if the person causes a fire with cigarettes or fireworks, then they could take action based on violation of a city ordinance.
City ordinances are enforced with infractions and misdemeanors. It would be up to the discretion of a local law enforcement officer as to how each incident would be handled.
My opinion: they might not intend to be heavy-handed and controlling right now, but once the ordinance is on the books, at future times law enforcement officers could use it to be more heavy-handed than was originally intended.
Existing fireworks infractions are all misdemeanors.
A law enforcement officer stood up to say that there are a lot of city ordinances that are misdemeanors, but when they get to the scene of an incident, they try to resolve the situation and educate the people involved rather than punish them for a first offense by issuing a citation.
The issue was tabled for the next meeting.
No citizens asked for time to discuss their issues.
Public Art Proposal for Post Falls
Kristen [no last name given], the director of programming at the Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center (The JAAC), presented a public proposal for art. This project would be originally supported by a grant written by the arts center, with hopes of maintenance by the city.
The possible grant comes from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. They will find out by July 2016 if the funding will be approved. She said the grant must be matched with funds from service groups in the community, and community donations.
Those involved in the public art project would be The JACC, the City of Post Falls (hopefully), and the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce. She spoke to the Coeur d’Alene Arts and Culture Alliance (they are totally on board) and she’s seeking board approval from the Post Falls Historical Society.
She showed a Power Point slide listing these hopeful outcomes for the Post Falls Public Art Project:
- Enjoyment by the community
- Exposure for the involved parties
- Citywide support of the arts and art-related events within the community
- Catalyst for a Post Falls Public Art program
- Raise awareness for public art
- Exposure for art and artists
Kristen continued: “My main objective was to really catalyst a partnership with the City of Post Falls and the Jacklyn Art and Cultural Center, to find a nice, fun project for us to all do, so that was kind of where that came from….to help awareness to fund future projects, partner with area service groups and build awareness, partner with area non-profits for guidance, and that, of course, would be the Historical Society and the Coeur d’Alene Arts and Culture Alliance.”
Another Power Point slide lists her “Tasks Summary” . . .
- Select sites for art
- Publish theme – “Water” (pending; this may change)
- Send out for submissions
- Gather selection committee
- Select (2 to 3) artists
- Give dates for art instalation
- Reveal artwork to public
Grant Cycle is July 2016 to July 2017 with Final Report of $ spent July 31, 2017. That’s their timeline.
Suggested places for public art in Post Falls
- City Hall Plaza
- Falls Park
- The medians in the center of Spokane Street
- Roundabouts such as the one at Poleline and Spokane Street
Next steps include:
1. Open issues
– City of Post Falls to continue Public Art projects
– City of Post Falls to maintain and preserve artwork once in place
2. Next phase
– Discussion of next project phase
– Date for next project status review
She says, “The JACC would be responsible for grant maintenance.”
Discussion of the public art project proposal… a city councilman says, “It seems to me that the only . . . there’s no dollar required on the city’s part upfront is the way I interpret this if you’re going out to the community, or the community service groups and private donations, so, where it would impact the city would be … costs of maintaining…”
A city employee interjected: “Staff time involved with the project itself, and then maintenance, and ownership of the projects once they’re donated to the city. The other thing I wanted to mention . . . the plan is to use local artists for this.”
Kristen added, “At least, Idaho artists. I think we should open it to at least the entire state. I’m very adamant about that as well.”
The city has an arts policy that will regulate how it will be handled.
An estimate of all maintenance costs was requested.
A MOTION was passed to support the public art project proposal grant. (at 27:09 in the video)
Ordinances… Chase Road and Grange Avenue Annexation Agreement
(at 27:30 in the video)
MOTION: “Move to place the ordinance Chase Road / Grange Avenue Annexation file number A-15-04 on its first and only reading, I title only, while under suspension of the rules.”
Motion seconded. There was no discussion, so apparently they all discussed this prior to the meeting.
(I’m thinking… what?? I don’t understand this motion. What’s happening here?)
They all vote in favor of that, whatever it was.
Mr. Wilson reads: “An ordinance of the city of Post Falls, municipal corporation of the state of Idaho, providing for annexation of property consisting of approximately eleven acres located at the southwest quarter of said section 27, township 51 north, range 5 west, Boise meridian, Kootenai County, Idaho. In zoning said annexed property, single family residential, R-1, providing for the amendment to the official zoning map, and providing for an effective date hereof.”
MOTION: “Move to approve the ordinance Chase Road and Grange, Annexation file number A-15-04, to direct the clerk to assign the appropriate number and that it be published by summary only.”
Motion seconded with no discussion. All the city council members voted for this.
Administrative Staff Reports: Wastewater Bond Refunding
In May 2015 the City of Post Falls entered into an agreement with Piper Jaffray for financial advising. The city currently has two wastewater bonds outstanding from 2005 and 2009.
The man speaking suggests considering direct placement through a bank. He received five very favorable quotes from banks. Current interest rates on the bonds are 4% tax free. The winning quote from Mountain West Bank was 1.84%. He says that at the next city council meeting he will seek approval of this.
Just a note … the man speaking is apparently from Piper Jaffray, or maybe he’s a city employee, I don’t know … I didn’t hear him being introduced and I don’t know his name.
Net savings: $245,000.
He said Piper Jaffray had never done anything like this before (direct placement with a bank for outstanding sewer bonds) and that the banks looked at the City of Post Falls credit rating which was very good, so it shows in the interest rates offered by the banks.
They are doing this financial restructuring so they won’t have to increase rates (water bills).
Mayor and Council Comments – none, so they adjourned the meeting. Considering that this meeting was only 34 minutes, a lot was said, and they all seemed very efficient. Sorry I don’t know the names, but if I keep writing about these meetings, eventually I probably will.
Public art image credit: Pixabay.com