TF council addresses parking, subdivisions
May 14, 2020
The Thompson Falls City Council met Monday night to discuss several issues facing the town and returning operations to normalcy. The first item discussed was the town water bills, which for some community members have not been paid for two months. Last month the bills’ deadlines were extended to give people of the community some relief from the financial strain caused by COVID-19 regulations. However, the city cannot perpetually carry the costs of providing water, especially in such a small community.
The council elected to allow Mayor Sheets the authority to deal with individual claims submitted by the public. For bills covering the last couple months, community members will be allowed to come into the office and request further extension, as well as to work out an agreement with the city on how they can pay their water bill.
The city officially accepted Officer Jason Thornton into the Thompson Falls Police Department. Officer Thornton just reached the end of his probation period and was accepted into a full-time position with a unanimous vote by the city council.
The city also met to discuss a new city ordinance that was submitted, requesting that the 100 block of Jefferson Street, between the courthouse and Clark Fork Title, be changed from a 2-hour parking zone to a 24-hour parking zone. This was submitted because many of the courthouse employees must park in that area.
“It is impractical for courthouse employees to come out and shift their cars every few hours,” as Mayor Sheets explained. The reason the 2-hour ordinance was there in the first place was because the adjacent building, Clark Fork Title, used to be a grocery store and parking limitations had to be implemented to control how many people could park in that area at any given time. The new 24-hour ordinance was presented as a first proposal and the draft will be read in June’s meeting to be voted on or edited. The possible ordinance would not likely go into effect until August as it may go through several drafts and votes.
Another issue the city met over was to create a new council vice-chair position. They did so unanimously and voted Lynne Kersten into the position. The position was created to help stem the flow of work created by the COVID-19 outbreak restrictions. The city council has more things than ever to process, as well as more difficulty communicating throughout their meetings; having to utilize video conferencing technology.
In addressing another new ordinance, the council looked at adopting a subdivision ordinance to comply with regulations set by the government, after the city adopted a new required growth policy. This ordinance will outline the way future annexations are handled and the process of possible growth of the town, as time progresses.
The final thing the council covered were plans that regard the new city pool. The project is nearly finished; however, the state does not allow use of a public pool due to the coronavirus. The city still needs to hire for the various positions, complete training and finalize opening procedures which will take some time. The city is hoping that the state will lift more restrictions allowing the pool to be opened. If the restrictions are lifted the pool may be able to open by the middle of June. However, if the restrictions are not lifted at latest by July 5 or 6, then the pool may not be able to open up at all this year.