About Town – Mutual Cooperation Pt 2

Last week I took the entire column in explaining the relationship the City has Notus – Parma Highway District. The Highway District is not the only business in town that the city has a mutual cooperation relationship with. I am quite sure that other smaller communities have similar relationships. It is a great benefit to the citizens and the city specifically to cultivate these mutual cooperation relationships.

When the city has domestic water issues with our wells, the first businesses we contact is either Agri-Lines Irrigation or Riverside Electric, Inc. More often than not, these companies will dispatch the needed men and equipment to the problem well and the necessary work gets done. Though the city is billed for the labor and materials, what is important is that the city can rely on these businesses to come to our aid very quickly. The down time of the well can often be measured in hours as opposed to days if it were necessary to call an out of town business.

There have been many times in the past where the city has taken advantage of the Sheriff’s Inmate Labor Department (SILD) for a wide variety of projects. The most recent projects included power washing the Library building, painting the swimming pool, and repainting park playground equipment.

Another group that has assisted the city on numerous occasions is the Lion’s Club. Recent projects included the purchase and installation of playground equipment at America’s Park on the south side and swimming pool park. Many hours have gone into upgrades at the swimming pool as well. The Lion’s Club will be installing a covered picnic area near the swimming pool probably next spring. Be sure and purchase your turkey raffle tickets from a member to help fund community projects.

Crop Production Services has assisted the city with their community service programs over the years. One of their projects was to supply the picnic tables at Old Fort Boise Park. The Senior Citizens Center is a wonderful asset for the entire community and surrounding area. Of course, the Rural Fire Department and Emergency Medical Technicians are without equal in our community and should be thanked and supported by everyone who lives in the area.

The men of the Co-op Ditch Company have saved the city many hours of work by assisting the city crew when it comes to cleaning the laterals on the south side of the railroad tracks. Hartman Farms have loaned the city equipment. Parma Post and Pole have donated material to projects the city wanted to undertake. JC Watson Company and Top Air have allowed the city to borrow hysters when the city needed a lifting machine.

Parma Company, True Value Hardware, Mike’s Automotive, Troxel’s Garage, and Bruce and Rod’s have all helped in their own unique ways.

The Parma School District has helped when the city has had projects that involve school property by lending manpower to the effort. The Canyon County Mosquito Abatement team has even made themselves available at unusual times to help the city in their effort to curb those pesky mosquitoes.

Idaho Power has done a superb job with the park below the electrical sub-station. This is their project and property. Congratulations on a job well done. It is a nice small park that was needed in the north end of the city. A pedestrian bridge will be built across the drain by Parma Post and Pole. Picnic tables will be added later in the spring.

I have no doubt left some business out and for that I apologize but I would very much like to thank the Parma business community on a cooperative job well done. It is with community minded folks like you that our Parma is a far better place in which we call home. Thank you all so very much.

About Town – Mutual Cooperation Pt 1

This week’s column concerns mutual aid and is in two parts. I am reminded of the barn raisings of over a century ago where neighbors got together to help a friend build a barn. Today, there are similar events in our communities across our great country. These are called house raisings (Habitat for Humanity, for example) and occur when people come together to build homes for the displaced, homeless, or where tragedy has struck. Even in Parma, mutual aid was clearly evident when, in May of 2011, the community came together to help the family of Gage Driscoll rebuild their family home. Many, many people came together to assist in building, painting, cleaning, and roofing the Driscoll home. The community was  stronger because of that collaboration for a common need.

The same can be said regarding the relationship the City of Parma has with Notus – Parma Highway District. Were it not for the assistance of the Highway District, the amount of work the City would get done on roads would be significantly less. For example, the City does not own a gravel spreader or a roller. These are essential pieces of equipment that are needed when roads are oiled. Furthermore, the city does not employ enough people to man the equipment. So, without the help of the Highway District, the city roads would not be in as good shape as they are.

This relationship of mutual aid is critical to the operation and maintenance of our city’s streets. The cost of purchasing or leasing the equipment necessary to maintain our streets would prevent the City from doing as much as we do, not to mention the fact that the equipment would sit unused for much of the year. The Highway District maintains over 200 running miles of roads, it has the equipment necessary to complete its job, and because of that, it has the equipment the City needs to take care of its roads as well.

When the Highway District gets ready to oils its roads, three of the City maintenance men work with the Highway District’s crew. The City also supplies a dump truck. Later on, when the City is ready to oil some of its 26.2 miles of road, the District will supply the man power and equipment the City needs to complete its own projects. In this way, both the City and the Highway District get their work completed on time and on budget.

At this time, as Mayor of the City of Parma, I would like to publically thank the men of the Notus – Parma Highway District for their continued help with equipment, operators, and material in support of the City’s streets. You are a treasure to Parma. Thank you so very much.

Next time, mutual cooperation and other business in Parma.

About Town – Christmas & New Year

As the year draws to a close and the holidays are upon everyone, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me in the short six months since I first sat in the seat of the Mayor of the City of Parma. Other than a small rise in blood pressure, my short tenure has gone quickly. Many great things are happening even as I write this article. Those will become apparent as the New Year moves along.

First, I want to wish all of the people that call Parma home, a very happy Christmas. This time of year can be stressful, but we must take time to appreciate those closest to us – our families and friends and our neighbors. Please take a few moments of your day this week and knock on the doors of your neighbors and wish them the very best of holidays.

I am not especially good at keeping New Year’s resolutions, but this year I want to be mindful of my responsibility toward you, the citizens of Parma. I want for our collective lives to be better this coming year than last year. I would want there to be less strife and more tolerance. I would want for everyone to have less need and more happiness. I want a town and community that supports change in a way that allows for growth. I want a community where people can voice concerns, where ears are made for listening, and minds are used for thoughtful consideration. I want a community that considers it more important to be US and not ME or I.

My wish is for everyone to pay their water and sewer bills on time and in full. My wish is for a healthier and happier populace. My wish is for community volunteerism to reach new heights and where compassion for our neighbor far out weighs our personal and individual needs. My wish for families who have lost loved ones is that they will find a sense of peace this season. I wish those who are suffering, moderation or lifting of that which causes them to be in pain and worry and fear.

The year 2015 can be better if we all join together to make it so. If you want something to be done, if you can do something to make something happen, then what you want to happen and what you can do to make it happen, will indeed happen. Perhaps that is the goal or motto that should be for the city, Parma – we want to, we can do, we will do. This is just a thought for you to think about.

And finally, I pray for our service men and women who are stationed in far away lands to be safe with the knowledge that we will support them in every way possible. I ask you to support them first in prayer and then in any other manner that you are able to – gift phone cards, letters of support, gift boxes or consider supporting the USO. Thank you.

May the joy of the season be with you through out the new year, and may the new year be better than the last one. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Nathan Leigh, Mayor

About Town – Business Forum

In an effort to be more responsive to our business community and to a larger degree, the city and surrounding community, the City has sponsored two public meetings over the last several months. These meetings were designed to help the City become more aware of the needs of our business community. The first meeting was held at Recalde Hall on May 19 and was attended by individuals representing 12 different local businesses. The second meeting was held June 30 at Bistro 2 Fifteen and represented 10 businesses.

The meetings were hosted by the City of Parma and moderated by the executive director of the Western Alliance for Economic Development (WAED), Ms. Tina Wilson. The City pays yearly dues to the WAED so it is appropriate the Ms. Wilson be involved in theses information gathering sessions.

Those in attendance were not shy about offering suggestions that would help the City be more responsive, not only to the business community but also to the citizens of Parma, the larger community of Parma, as well as travelers passing through the area. Many suggestions, thoughts, and needs were presented in the open, non-confrontational setting.

I will elaborate on a few of the more important points as space does not allow for an inclusive listing. An updated website was identified as a most important first step in getting information out. I am happy to report that work has begun on reorganizing the City web page. My vision is to have a dynamic and current site available where citizens and visitors will be able to go to find a host of information that will answer many questions. This will be a work in progress through the fall and winter.

Many needs were expressed such as having a late evening restaurant, a veterinarian, a self service laundry, a bed and breakfast, a current business directory, a hands free car wash, an airport upgrade, and find more parking within the downtown core.

Suggestions were also made to identify and streamline the various permitting processes including a check list with names and numbers of key personnel. Another suggestion was to identify and publish council and planning and zoning board members and indicate terms of office. Many of these thoughts will be found on the updated website eventually.

The next meeting will be held September 16 at Bistro 2 Fifteen beginning at 6:30 pm. Information about the date will be noted in the Western Canyon Chronicle. If you have questions concerning city business, please call me at 722-5138 or you may email me at nleigh@parmacityhall.net.

About Town – Budget

The city is in the process of developing a budget for the new fiscal year beginning October 1. This budget development process is sometimes thought of as playing checkers in a dark room. There can be many unknowns while trying to understand what monies need to assigned to the various categories. The City does not know how much carry over there is until the end of the current year, but the new budget (2014-2015) must be approved before the end of the current year ending on September 30.

Additionally, the income from property taxes is only an estimate at this early date. These estimates are given to the City from the County Auditor based on the accessed value of property within the City. Also, income from several county and state funds can vary from year to year and may not be accurate when the projections are initially developed.

The city generally relies on the previous year’s budget in developing a new budget. Input is sought from all department heads including police, streets, water and sewer, airport, administrative, parks and recreation (includes the swimming pool), and library. Great care is given to developing a budget that retains current spending patterns with an anticipated increase of several percent, while attempting to maintain a cushion or small savings for unforeseen expenses. Like home budgets, it is always a good management practice to hold back funds for the proverbial rainy day.

The new budget (2014-2015) in draft form was passed by action of the City Council on July 21. There will be a public hearing on August 25 at which time the community may offer testimony concerning the budget. If there is little or no comment, the Council will likely approve by resolution the budget which the city will operate under for the 2014-2015 budget year. The budgeting process is a public project. The community should be involved in helping the City Council make decisions concerning all aspects of
city government.

Copies of the tentative 2014-2015 budget are available at City Hall. Please remember the budget hearing on August 25. You may also call your council members to advise them of your opinions regarding the budgeting process.

As always, you may call me at 722-5138 or email me at nleigh@parmacityhall.net.