Last week’s Plummer City Council meeting started with a public hearing regarding a special use permit to move county-owned dumpsters to a new location within city-limits.

Benewah County Commissioner Phil Lampert approached the council with plans for a new site on county owned land in the city. The proposed location is off of State 5 right before the Cedar Street Bridge.

The current location of the dump site is across the train tracks from State 5 on Pine Street.

Lampert and Plummer Public Works Superintendent, Wesley Rice, cited that vagrancy and excess trash have been an issue for the city and its residents.

Lampert had a mocked up drawing of the proposed site and said there would be taller fencing, a gravel base and recycling bins. He said over time he would like to install a guard station and have the dump site be manned.

Council members expressed some concerns over the move. Chris Dohrman asked if there was a way to put a barrier of trees on the west end of the property to make the new dump site less visible from the Plummer Community Center and playground.

Lampert said that could be something the county would be willing to do.

Council member Leticia Kennar asked about moving the speed limit sign coming into Plummer in order to give ample time to motorists to slow down. Lampert said he was sure the Idaho Department of Transportation would cooperate.

Residents of the city of Plummer attended the public hearing to express their concerns or support for the special permit request.

Residents Rick and Molly Schnebly commented in favor of the dumpster site move, citing that she lives across the street and sees issues occur at the current dump site all the time.

“The county has been pretty good at trying to fence in the dumps and as Chris has mentioned people cut the fence,” Molly said. “We have homeless that live behind the dumps that drag garbage down the street.”

“There is also garbage in the creek. That is an active waterway that is being contaminated by garbage that blows into it,” she added. “Fencing of a new dumpster site would be wonderful.”

Rick expressed concerns of the increase in traffic and theft in the area.

“We’ve lived there for over 20 years and when we moved in it was the quietest spot in town. Now it’s heavily trafficked,” he said. “You can’t leave a garden shovel or bicycle outside or it will be gone.”

“They need to be moved to a controlled environment,” he added.

Resident Tami Gauthier also expressed concern for the amount of activity in the residential area.

“We have dealt with those dumpsters for over 10 years and we are really tired of them,” Gauthier said. “The traffic that comes down Pine Street is insane.”

Plenty of residents were opposed to the idea of moving the dumpsters mainly because of the location of the new site.

Resident Tina Jordan said she did not agree with having the dumps be the first thing motorists see when coming into Plummer on State 5.

While coming off of Highway 5 you are going to see ‘Welcome to Plummer’ and then a dump site,” she said. “It’s going to put it up close and personal for everyone to see when they drive by.”

Jordan also said she is concerned that the vagrants causing issues at the current dump site will just find a way to cause trouble at the new site.

Resident Laura Laumatia also expressed that moving the dumpsters won’t fix the vagrant problem and will be an eyesore to visitors.

“I don’t see how moving the dumpsters addresses those concerns. Like Tina said, those people who cause problems will follow that trail,” Laumatia said. “By moving the dumpsters we are taking them out of some people’s backyards to our entire community’s front yard.”

The vote proved to be difficult for the city council members who were divided on the decisions. Both council members Kennar and Julie Miller asked Lampert whether there was another location the county could put the dumps. Lampert could not provide an example of another location.

The vote to approve the special use permit came down to a tie with Miller and Kennar voting against the permit and Dohrman and Ashley Gauthier voting for approval. Mayor Bill Weems broke the tie by voting in favor of moving the dumpsters.

Lampert mentioned he would like to see the dumpster moved by next year.

In other city news the city public works department was awarded a $350,000 grant to use for reuse water.

The grant will allow the city to set up a system that would allow reuse water to be transferred to Stimson Lumber for their non-potable water needs.

“This will help us conserve a tremendous amount of water to the tune of two million gallons of water a month,” Rice said. “So this is huge for us.”

The city has also been working with HMH Engineering to get a grant to improve I&I systems in the city. The city hopes to use the grant money to improve the city’s sewer and water systems and possibly use excess funds to fix roads.

The council tabled a discussion to sign a contract with a local union to provide linemen for the city in case of power failure. The contract will be further discussed at the December 9 meeting.

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