The Honorable Dave Anderson, Mayor

City of Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Dave Anerson with Wilma DeVore

Deferring to his inability to sleep much the night before an important meeting of nurserymen in Boise (Dave’s other job) because of an impending root canal and a scenario in which he left a very early wake up call for a hotel room that belonged to another guest, the Mayor settled into the topic of the hour, that being ‘what’s new’ in the city of Bonners Ferry.

Dave addressed six areas in his presentation: Annexation, Urban Renewal District, Recycling, Corps of Engineers, Forest Restoration, and the Chief of Police, the latter because of a question from the audience.

Annexation. Seventy-seven parcels of land just south of town currently using city services are being proposed for annexation into the city to reduce taxes and other benefits. The proposal is presently in court. 

Urban Renewal District. The city formed an urban renewal district to encourage development particularly in certain areas of the city that are in need of improvement – housing, roadways, light industry, etc. Allowing the city to establish a taxing district means that money can flow to the district for these improvements. Dave cited the Fodge Mill where the corner of Cow Creek Highway, practically on the railroad bed, could be improved, as could other areas along that roadway.  The Super 1 Market is another example of the URD in action.  Bonners Ferry was not a proven market place for them, but the fact that the city could help them in circumstances related to the URD declaration, the store decided to build in the community with a major effect on local employment (i.e., 90+ new hires). 

Recycling. The city is adhering to the program to keep the landfill below 20 tons of refuge each day.  Decentralized containers have been provided are various recycling sites in the community and contrary to earlier thought, these sites are being used precisely as they are intended.  However, in the city’s efforts to get people to recycle, the service has proven to be more expensive than earlier anticipated obviously presenting a dilemma for the city.  “Be careful what you wish for….”

Corp of Engineers.  This governmental organization is under pressure to improve dykes, Because of excessive costs to shore up banks, trees will need to be cut. In reality, FEMA is after the COE because they don’t want to rebuild areas devastated because of flooding, etc.

Forest Restoration.  The local Ranger District has received a 10-year $10 million grant to improve cutting, drainage, fire protection, and old growth protection for our forest land. If the project receives full funding over the next decade, it would result in more than $20 million in restoration work in the Kootenai River watershed.  Projects to improve water quality would benefit the river's struggling populations of white sturgeon and burbot, a freshwater cod. Replanting whitebark pine trees would help grizzly bears, who eat the trees' calorie-laden seeds. Reducing the risk of large wildfires in the watershed that provides Bonners Ferry's drinking water is also a priority.

Chief of Police.  With the resignation of the former chief of police, all appropriate steps were taken to post the position with the Department of Labor. Seven applications were received, a selection panel was formed, four candidates were interviewed, and one was selected unanimously.  However, a member of the council reported that the candidate selected did not meet the criteria established for the position (Lieutenant in the job description -- Sergeant was selected).  Potential lawsuit(s) were probable from the current police department applicant(s) and those who didn’t apply from outside the area because of the Lieutenant requirement.  Legal council advised resubmission of job description based on new criteria of Sergeant as opposed to Lieutenant.  That has been done.