Oct 30 2017

The Mayor’s Corner 10/25/2017

Each quarter, I receive a newsletter from the Idaho Office of Emergency Management (IOEM). This is the agency we worked with along with the County during the snow event. The IOEM is the agency tasked with overseeing the expenditure of the Emergency Relief Fund (ERF) that was established by our legislature early in the 2017 session. $50 million was set aside to help communities recover from the damage done primarily due to flooding. I have had the opportunity to sit on the panel to establish a process and matrix to evaluate the applications. Three engineers from the Idaho Military Division then did the actual scoring of each application. There were only a few applications that did not qualify for funding under the guidelines.
A total of $42,378,641.65 was awarded on a conditional basis due to the possibility that some of the project would also quality for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) money. The payment of the money is based on reimbursement so the entity would have to begin or finish the project and then seek reimbursement from the ERF. The process has slowed down considerably due to the disasters in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. FEMA and FHWA money is now tied up while the federal government tries to balance money and need.
We, as a panel, are try to find ways to expedite the work on local highways without having to wait the years it may take to get reimbursement from the federal level. Washington County was awarded money to repair and replaced areas of major damage but is working through the process before beginning. IOEM is working closely with the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) to find a way to get the financing to the locals as quickly as possible.
Another item in the current newsletter is an article regarding the launch of the Star Card Real ID. “Beginning in early 2018, Idaho will begin issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or identification cards, called Star Cards. Citizens statewide will have the ability to renew their license before new identification standards are enforced, which are set to begin October 1, 2020.”
Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 but the Idaho Legislature placed a moratorium on Idaho Transportation Department(ITD) from taking action to comply with the federal law. That moratorium was dropped in 2016. Since that time ITD has worked to come up with a license the complies with the REAL ID standards.
“Some of the new restrictions will affect an Idahoan’s ability to board a commercial flight or to enter a federal facility if they have not updated to the Star Card. The new standards will secure licensing and identification in the state of Idaho.”
This new ID is a direct result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks mandating stricter security standards for identity documents. For more information watch the local and state news media or visit the ITD website at https:// itd.idaho.gov/starcard.
The City sends our sympathy and prayers to Naomi Field and family on the passing of long-time City employee, Rick Field. Rick worked in many capacities for the City over the years including working in the Vendome and Parks. He loved helping prepare the football field for the season. Rick’s service to his community extended to the many years he served on the Weiser Rural Fire Department. His family, the fire department and his job with the City were his focus. His smile and kidding ways will be missed by us all.