City Council meets to discuss Blackfoot Happenings

A New Planning and Zoning map adopted by City Council
Staff Writer

In the first council meeting of the new year, all members were in attendance: Mayor Carroll, Councilman Jensen, Gardener, Brown, and Councilwoman Simpson.
The meeting kicked off with Treasurer Holly Powell giving a presentation about expenses, where the city is currently in a spending freeze, and running at 22 percent spending for the first 25 percent of the year. Further in her presentation, the discussion of grave plots was brought up, and that the number of plots being sold has drastically decreased and that the numbers of cremations has gone up from 30 percent to 50 percent. With grave plots sales down 31 percent, the idea has been brought up of doing columnbariums, which is grave sites for cremation. Other key points of the presentation included the breakdown of financials for the cemetery, which only leaves room for 10 percent capital, which covers the purchasing of new equipment. The newest piece that was purchased was a mower that had been pushed back in the budget for over three years. The cemetery employees one full time employee and two seasonal employees, who take care of the entirety of the day to day happenings.
The columnbariums have become quite popular and are in cemeteries in Rupert and Nampa already.
In response to the budget discussion, Mayor Carroll acknowledged, "[in past we have] been too long focused on the expense side of the budget," to add to the presentation held by Treasurer Powell.
Councilman Brown made a point to acknowledge that these projections can change at anytime, in reference to the slow sale of grave plots in the cemetery.
Blackfoot currently charges $350 for a grave plot in the Grove City Cemetery.
Following this presentation, Club Pro Mike Dayley and Parks and Recreation Superintendent Scott Hays presented to the Council a proposal to redo the bunkers at the Blackfoot Golf Course. The proposal is to continue to do a Capital Improvement fund, just as was done last year. Last year's fund generated $8000 which was put directly back into the golf course, to which tee boxes were redone. This year's Capital Improvement fund will go to fixing the bunkers, some of which are the original bunkers put in over 50 years ago. After being asked questions by the council about any negative feedback, only one statement was made, and that was asking the question as to why there was a 50 cent increase on 18 holes of golf. According to Hays, the most common comments were positive, saying how the changes and upgrades were very noticeable. The Capital Improvement fund is aiming to generate $16,000 to give the bunkers some overdo restoration.
For those curious, Dayley posts a tally of where the total is currently at in the clubhouse, and has explained what the project plans entail.
To round out the session, Kurt Hibbert took to the podium. The first order of business for the Planning and Zoning section of the agenda, was to adopt an updated zoning map of the area, which passed without much conversation.
Next from Planning and Zoning was to adopt the Tiny Home ordinance so that ground can be broke in the building of these new subdivisions. According to Hibbert, there has been contractors who have contacted him in relation to the new tiny home regulations. Despite a humorous comment about not being sure what it would be like living in a tiny home, the new zoning ordinance has been passed by the City Council. The tiny home subdivisions are still held to the same standards as normal subdivisions. Kurt Hibbert stated that, "[the tiny homes] should stimulate housing shortages that Blackfoot has."
Finalizing his time at the podium, Hibbert explained to the Council members that the current Planning and Zoning tables are too restrictive, and that there should be some changes to the tables so that special use permits that are requested are for special use. The motion carried with the council and some of the potentially overbearing rules have been lifted.
After this last item on the agenda, the council broke for an executive session.
Amongst those who were in attendance, were a few Boy Scouts working towards merit badges.