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  • Writer's pictureErin B.

CDA City Council Approves $50,000 to NGO

The Coeur d’Alene City Council voted on Tuesday night to give $50,000 to a brand-new area non-profit, a non-government organization, focused on connecting homeowners and room renters in a house sharing arrangement. Home Share Kootenai County, a new program stemming out of Kiki Miller’s Regional Housing and Growth Issues Partnership, asked the Coeur d’Alene City Council for $50,000 in earmarked ARPA funds to get their program off the ground.

Home Share Kootenai County is the first of its kind in Idaho; Boise is slated to get a Home Sharing branch soon. Although Home Share Kootenai County is a non-profit, the board of directors has hired an executive director and marketing coordinator for the organization. Carrie Ward, executive director, informed the city council that this organization is not sustainable in its current form and they are “hoping” to raise funds through donations and convincing the other cities in Kootenai County to give them money. This program is not necessarily for low-income people, Ms. Ward confirmed, just people who need a room to rent.

Home sharing seems to be the next generation of couch surfing or Craigslist, allowing a person who has a spare bedroom be able to rent to someone who is not looking for a full residence, like traveling nurses, college students, and “teachers/professors who don’t live in the area full time.” There was no discussion about how finding roommates has never been a problem and has historically been solved through Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Home Share Kootenai County will provide background checks and home checks for potential home providers and home seekers; they will also have “match ambassadors” who help the homeowner write leases to include financial obligations and terms. They could also help write in opportunities for the home seeker to deliver agreed upon services to the home provider for a lower rent.

After hearing that $35,000 will be used towards community outreach marketing like print ads and social media and the other $15,000 is for administrative support, the city council voted unanimously to give this brand-new non-profit NGO $50,000 with the request that Ms. Ward comes back in June 2024 to give them a status update on where the money was spent.

In Other News

Mayor Hammond proclaims June as LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

This comes on the back of Hammond’s announcement that they conveniently “didn’t have anyone sign up for the invocation this meeting.” Mind you, the city is the one that assigns the invocations now after they decided to open the opportunities to those of “all faiths,” not just Christians.

FY22 Financial Assessment Complete

An independent auditor has finished their financial assessment for FY22. Revenues and expenses are still higher than pre-C0vid but this is the first time in many years that there are more revenues than expenses. (C0vid year 2020 is an outlier due to all the “state of emergency” funds.)

The city has at least 90 days’ worth of unassigned money in the bank; it is suggested by the Government Finance Officers Association that each municipality keep at least 60 days’ worth of unassigned funds to cover regular operating revenues or expenditures in case of a rainy day.

KCEMSS Capital Improvement Plan and Impact Fees Approved

Public hearing for the Kootenai County Emergency Medical Services System (KCEMSS) to adopt a Capital Improvement Plan and Impact Fees. No one was in the audience to give testimony for the public hearing so the council approved the KCEMSSS plan outright. The plan allows the city to collect impact fees for KCEMSS with the intent of purchasing 4 more ambulances and equipment to operate those vehicles over the next 10 years.

Kootenai County Emergency Medical Services owns the ambulances and supplies but has partnerships with all fire departments within Kootenai County to supply city fire employees to operate vehicles. This partnership allows the entire county to be covered by the ambulances instead of those areas outside the city limits. These impact fees directly align with population growth over the next 10 years and allows the growth to pay for the growth.

Full presentation below.

City Purchases More Art

The city council approved the purchase of art piece “Timeline Theory Reflections” by Ken Turner in the amount of $1,000.00. Seattleite Ken Turner has had his art structure installed at 3rd and Sherman for the past 2 years through the city’s ArtCurrents program. In the program, each art piece is rotated out after the 2-year stint and, if no private party has purchased the art at the end of the period, the city has the opportunity to purchase the piece or send it back to the artist.

This Timeline art is no different; it has been available to purchase for $7,000 but no offers have come in. If a private party had chosen to purchase, the city would take a 25% commission and the rest would go back to the Seattle-area artist. This artist is retiring and in bad health so he is willing to sell it to the city for a discounted rate instead of having the art piece go back to him.

Although this sounds like a good deal on the surface, the city has already lost money due to this piece, as well as most art pieces around town. In the ArtCurrents program, the artist gets a $1,000 stipend each year for the 2 years his art is showcased in Coeur d’Alene. This does not include the cost for installation or removal of the piece. The city then buys the piece for $1,000 bringing the expenditures up to $3,000 (not including installation/removal costs). Even if this piece had sold for $7,000 to a private party, the city would get 25% of the sale ($1,750) subsequently losing taxpayers’ money in the transaction.

The city council approved the purchase of the Timeline Theory Reflections piece in part because they were informed that the downtown elk statue recently sold to a private party and they felt comfortable using the money from that sale to purchase this Timeline art. When asked how much money the city made on that elk piece, Arts Commission liaison Stephanie Padilla informed the council they made about $5,000 on that elk, which ultimately led to the approval of purchasing the Timeline piece.

The problem, however, is that the elk statue, “Responding to a Rival,” is listed on the ArtCurrents site for $5,800. If the city were to get 25% of the asking price, then the city only made $1,450 on this sale, not including the cost of installation/removal, AND the $2,000 stipend that the artist received from the city over the past 2 years.

In case anyone asks where this money comes from here you go.

Money well spent?

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