The City of Gooding held a public hearing to consider public input regarding the adoption of a resolution authorizing the City of Gooding to file a petition for judicial confirmation under the Idaho Judicial Confirmation Law, Title 7, Chapter 13, Idaho Code f
Present were Mayor Morton, Councilpersons Arkoosh, France and Houser. Councilman Magnelli was absent.
Present were Tana Arnold, Bill Novis, Enos Waddoups, Tom Lowman, JoAnn Doerr, Alan Nayman, Dave Kaneaster, Lois Minton, Katie Huber, Don Mays, Leroy Renner, Lonny Kulhanek, Melba Simmons, Mary Condie, Bill Harding, Mike Reed, Gail Lowman, Tom Lowman, Melinda Brown, Cheryl Stevens, George Dains, Tim Weaver, Hollye Lierman, Perry Wolfe, Sandra Turner, Kay Bonning, Barbara Bunn, Duane Clemmons, Kathy Lehr, Jack Rice, Dr. Henry Robinson, Claire Bryant and Bill Andrew.
Tana Arnold: Tana Arnold stated a good 40-60% of the citizen’s will not be able to afford to sprinkler their yards with the raised rates and cost of the new system. Mrs. Arnold feels the town will turn back into a desert because people can’t afford increased the rates to keep their lawns alive.
Bill Novis: Bill Novis stated he did not attend the other two (2) town meetings and only knows what he read in the paper this morning but feels $14 million sounds like a lot of money. Mr. Novis has a garden and does not like to water with chlorinated water. He likes to use ditch water for his garden. He feels the City should hire more guys and purchase addition equipment to do the work themselves for a lot less money. Mr. Novis feels people on a fixed income will not be able to afford a big water bill.
Enos Waddoups: Enos Waddoups would like to know why City employees do not pay water and why the current irrigation system was not maintained properly. He feels they have been paying money to have maintenance done that has not been done.
Tom Lowman: Tom Lowman would like to know how the City can drill more wells when the water table is going down and there are people whose wells are already going dry. He stated it will be very expenses to chlorinate water that is used to water yards and trees. Mr. Lowman would like to know why the City is taking the decision out of the citizen’s hands and instead petitioning for Judicial Confirmation. He would also like to know how the City plans to trade surface water rights for ground water rights.
Ken Huber: Ken Huber would like to know if there has been a study done to determine how much ground water is available long-term. Mr. Huber stated that there are dairy’s all around and feels there is not enough ground water available to switch the City’s irrigation system over to ground water. He is closed to retiring and will be on a fixed income. He understands that the system needs to be upgraded but doesn’t understand why the whole system needs to be changed. Mr. Huber questions whether our tax dollars are being spent wisely.
JoAnn Doerr: JoAnn Doerr is concerned about the City digging up existing water lines and destroying property and alley ways. Mrs. Doerr purchased property in Gooding because she liked the current system. She is concerned this project will devalue property.
Alan Nayman: Alan Nayman owns five (5) lots and has planted a lot of grass. He has also spent a lot of time and money to fix the ditches around his house so that he can use the irrigation ditches to water. He cannot afford to keep that much grass alive on metered water. Lawns will turn to weeds.
Dave Kaneaster: Dave Kaneaster feels the current irrigation system hasn’t been maintained for 17 years and that if the City drills wells they will eventually go dry or cause the wells of others around to go dry.
Lois Mintun: Lois Mintun’s husband was an irrigator and she remembers him talking about the irrigation causing basements to flood. However, she is afraid the City will lose their surface water rights if they stop irrigating. She’s concerned the City does not have the facilities, pipes and water pressure to maintain people’s shower and dishwashers etc if we change the whole system all at once.
Katie Huber: Katie Huber doesn’t like the fact that the City is telling the citizen what they are doing instead of giving them a vote. She doesn’t feel they have been given the right to ask questions. She was not able to attend to the last town hall meeting because she was having a grand baby. Mrs. Huber works in real estate and said the City of Gooding’s low water bills and irrigation system is a positive to prospective buyers.
Don Mays: Don Mays explained that he only knows what was printed in the paper as he didn’t make it to the other town meetings. However, he doesn’t believe we should trade old surface water rights for new ground water rights. Mr. Mays feels the City should keep using the same system and just maintain it better. He feels that all those opposed should file a law suit against the City.
Leroy Renner: Leroy Renner worked for the Canal Company for 18 years and a ditch rider for the City of Gooding after that. He feels the City has to replace the irrigation system because it was not maintained properly. He has not seen a ditch rider all summer and has not seen any maintenance done. Mr. Renner does not feel there is anything wrong with the current system. He feels the government will take the water rights away and the City will be left with nothing.
Lonny Kulhanek: Lonny Kulhanek stated he did not make it to the last two (2) town hall meetings because he had to work. Mr. Kulhanek can’t access the current irrigation system but is opposed to changing the system. He feels the Council has made up their mind and that it is a done deal.
Melba Simmons: Melba Simmons feels 14 million would go a long way in fixing the current system as opposed to putting in a new system.
Mary Condie: Mary Condie would like to know if the City sent out a questionnaire about this project for citizen input as she feels railroaded and had no input. Mrs. Condie currently irrigates the City’s right away in order to maintain it. However, once the water is metered, she can’t afford to maintain the right away.
Bill Harding: Bill Harding feels the City’s mind is already made-up. He feels the water bills will triple and he will have to use Round-up on the City right away instead of maintaining it. Mr. Harding currently uses the irrigation water and feels it is working well. It will cost a lot for citizen’s to put in their own sprinkler systems.
Mike Reed: Mike Reed feels the irrigation system has been a problem since early 70’s. He has owned several properties where the current irrigation system did not work; he wasn’t able to get water out of the ditch and into his yards. Mr. Reed said other Councils have tried to fix the irrigation problem but have always been shut down by the citizen’s. He feels these changes are necessary.
Mayor Morton addressed the public and confirmed that the City plans to petition for judicial review as these changes are “ordinary and necessary” to fix this water system. Mayor Morton explained the time table of this process to citizen’s. On October 15, 2012 there will be a Council meeting where the resolution for judicial confirmation will be on the agenda. Then on approximately October 22, 2012 the petition will be filed with the court. Third, various notices will be posted and approximately six (6) weeks after that there will be a hearing in front of a judge. The City of Gooding should have a final answer by the end of this year.
The public hearing closed at 8:00 pm.