The St. Maries City Council made no decision on a proposal Monday night (Nov. 22) for Benewah County to assume complete control of the St. Maries Ambulance. 

The council was presented with a draft agreement for the city to terminate its involvement in the operation as well as for the transfer of assets. Much remains to be determined, however. 

Attorney Mariah Dunham, whose firm represents both the city and the county, said the ambulance service is currently owned and operated jointly by both entities. The city handles all the administrative duties and the finances for the ambulance are run through the city. The county, however, would like to establish a district-wide ambulance service and have both St. Maries and UpRiver under the same umbrella. 

“The ambulance would not be with the city anymore,” Dunham said. “I know this has been discussed some but I can’t remember if it’s been discussed at this level.”

She added there needs to be a discussion in regards to assets namely the building the St. Maries Ambulance currently uses. The building is owned by the city. She said the county would be interested in owning the building, leasing it or paying rent.

“But their request is to still be able to use it,” Dunham said. 

The council agreed they needed time to consider the proposal and ask questions of the county. Dunham suggested scheduling a meeting with the county or having someone from the council talk with the county about the matter. 

“I don’t think this is something we can move on tonight,” Mayor Tom Carver said. 

The council’s agenda included a list of housekeeping items in regards to the water and sewer projects being completed by DG&S. Three change orders were approved.

The first was for $2,754 for 60 yards of concrete along College Avenue, above the building, which housed The Milling Center. Cars will no longer be able to park in the area along the fence. 

The second was for $6,807. During construction, two unknown waterlines were located and had to be tied in. A manhole also had to be addressed.

Lastly, the city saved $485 as pipe originally thought to be 24 inches was only 18 inches. 

Jesse Herndon, of HMH Engineering, said the contractor finished sewer work along College Avenue except for the section between 1st and 2nd Streets. A considerable amount of paving was accomplished. DG&S is now working along Center Avenue and will continue sewer work there until they are forced to shut down for winter. Water will be completed next year. 

In connection with the project, the following pay requests were approved: $86,109 for sewer; $12,320 for water; $111,420 for paving; and $40,394 for sidewalks. 

The council received timber sale updates. Work is nearly completed on land owned near St. Joe City and is finished in Section 34. The bond paid for St. Joe City was partially released as some burning still needs to take place. The full bond was released for Section 34. The council approved a payment to the city’s forester Steve Bloedel for $30,557 for the work he did in connection with both sales. The city netted around $700,000, which is being used for sidewalks and paving along College Avenue.

An ordinance to officially set speed limits inside the city was tabled. The ordinance was brought forward as official documentation could not be located. Dunham said the city should have an ordinance in place for the purpose of prosecuting city tickets and making known what speed limits are inside the city. City Police Chief Scott Castles also requested additional signage in certain places. 

The city tabled an agreement to contract with the state for building inspector services as the contract was not ready. The city updated its ordinance to set the snow load for roofs at 80 pounds for new construction or remodels that change the structure of the roof. 

Beer, wine and liquor licenses for 2022, a total of 16, were also approved. 

Finally, Mayor Carver said the city is accepting bids again for the Cormana Building’s roof, heating/ AC, and painting. The last time the project was out to bid prices came back higher than expected. 

The council was also informed City Clerk Kriss Gibson is leaving her position for a new job. The city is accepting applications.

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