Monday, January 28, 2013

Community Asked to Envision Its Future

The community of Coeur d’Alene is about to be asked to examine its past and envision its future.

Steven Ames
On Feb. 5 noted planner Steven Ames from Bend, Ore., will conduct several public conversations to start a proposed update of the CDA 2020 visioning project.
The CDA 2020 project began in 2000 when a group of citizens asked the community to share its vision for the Coeur d’Alene area for the next 20 years. Many people in the community feel that now is the time to revisit the 2020 goals and look even further into the future.
“While many of the community’s goals have been achieved and we have many successes to celebrate, the world has dramatically changed since 2000,” said Mayor Sandi Bloem. “We need to make sure we do everything we can today to position our community for a safe, healthy and prosperous future.
“We believe that Mr. Ames has the qualifications and experience to help our community create a shared vision for our future.”
Described as an “architect of public process,” Ames is a consulting long-range planner based in Portland/Bend, Oregon, recognized for his work in the area of community and regional visioning. He is the author of “A Guide to Community Visioning,” published by the American Planning Association and innovator of the Oregon Model, a strategic approach to visioning employed by cities and towns across the country.
Ames has advised two generations of visioning projects for the Portland, and worked with scores of other communities in Oregon and throughout the West. His most recent award-winning project is the Columbia Gorge Future Forum, a regional visioning process engaging the 13 communities and tribes of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and Washington.
Following the presentation to City Council in the Community Room at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m., Ames will meet the following day with community leaders and interested citizens.
The first public meeting will be at the Lake City Center, 1916 N. Lakewood Dr, 4:30-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6. A second meeting will follow at 7 p.m. at the Coeur d’Alene Eagles, 209 E. Sherman Ave. The public is invited to attend and participate in sharing their ideas for the Coeur d’Alene community.
If there is sufficient community support a multi-month visioning and planning project will begin this spring.
“This is just the beginning,” said Coeur d’Alene Public Planning Director Dave Yadon. “This process brings community members together to consider their common future and explore new ideas and possibilities. We know where we are. What do we want for our kids, grandkids and beyond?”

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Drainage fee added to utility bills this month

The city has added a drainage system utility fee to both residents’ and commercial customers’ monthly utility bill. Bills went out Jan. 22  reflecting the fee.

The city re-instituted the fee for the drainage utility, formerly called the stormwater utility, in December. The drainage utility is responsible for operating and maintaining the city’s stormwater system, which provides drainage services to properties in the city.

Residents who live primarily in the southern section of the city and are served by pipes will pay $3.76 a month. Those who live in the northern section of the city and are served primarily by grassy swales will pay $4.13 a month. The fee will be included on monthly bills along with sewer, water, street lights and garbage fees.

Like other vital utility services, users are charged a fee for the service of controlling stormwater. The drainage system utility fee applies to all properties, including homes, businesses, schools, government, and non-profit organizations that use the system.  These fees provide a dedicated revenue stream, which is used only on stormwater system maintenance, operations, systems planning, and construction.

Cities often use utility service fees to fund their drainage program,” said John Ghilarducci  of the FCS consulting group, which conducted a rate study of drainage fees for the city. “By reinstating the fees, Coeur d’Alene will be able to provide stable revenue to meet the total costs of providing drainage service to property owners.”

A primary function of a drainage program is that the utility, for a fee, takes on the individual property owners’ responsibility for stormwater and regulatory compliance. Stormwater must meet federal, state, and local regulations, most prominent among them being National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements.

Forms and information can be found online at or a customer service representative can mail or fax the form to a property owner.  Customers who do not agree with the drainage system utility fee calculation  may contact Utility Billing at 769-2223 or 769-2300.  City representatives can answer your stormwater questions.  If, after contacting the city, you still feel your drainage fee is incorrect, you may request that the fee be recalculated and ultimately, you may appeal the fee to the City Council.  

For more information about the drainage system and fees, click here for FAQs.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Money Management Workshops Offered at Library

The Spokane Teachers Credit Union and the Library Foundation are offering a series of workshops designed to help people manage their money and plan for the future. They are also providing lunch.
The first session, “Budgeting 101,” will be Thursday, Jan. 31, 11:30 to 1 p.m. in the Community Room at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library and will focus on setting financial goals, and developing and managing a spending plan, among other topics.
Registration is required for the free workshops. Go to to sign up or call 208-619-4027.
Upcoming sessions are “Organizing Your Finances,” Feb. 26, and “Become Debt Free,” March 26.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CDA Police Department to set up COPS substation

Police volunteers needed for station this summer

By Sgt. Christie Wood
The Coeur d’Alene Police Department started our Police Volunteer program in 2004. In the ensuing years, we utilized the talent and special skills of community members in a variety of ways. Since we began the program, these dedicated citizens have put in over 40,000 hours of volunteer time.

Some of our police volunteers are COPS (Citizens on Patrol, who are provided specific training to assist our patrol division. COPS are responsible for marking and towing all of the abandoned vehicles in the city. They are also authorized by the Mayor and Council to issue tickets for parking violations. They assist with traffic control at accident scenes and assist with traffic for special events. Our COPS volunteers wear a uniform provided by the Police Department and drive a marked car similar to a police car. They are a tremendous help to us and our community at large.

Other police volunteers help in our Records Division. These volunteers do data entry, scanning, filing, etc. We also use civilian volunteers to assist us with fingerprinting and the scheduling of our Traffic School. We rely on these talented people to help us with an increasing work load.

In the Detective Division, retired law enforcement volunteers assist with case investigations. In the Community Relations Division, volunteers help with designing and producing handouts with pertinent information about personal safety and many other topics. Volunteers also assist with public speaking and the Neighborhood Watch Program.

This year our goal is to implement our first ever COPS sub-station for the city of Coeur d’Alene. This program will be similar to the SCOPE program that Spokane Washington has in place. This program consists of volunteers and police officers working together to show high visibility in a neighborhood, or area of town. We are currently searching for a suitable location in the East Sherman area of town and hope to have one identified by early summer.

Volunteers would be asked to work at the COPS station by being available to answer questions, take found property police reports and a variety of other miscellaneous tasks. We believe the COPS station is one more tool we can use to assist us in crime prevention.

If you are interested in becoming a Police Volunteer we are looking for citizens to help us in all areas. For an application you can contact our COPS Coordinator Rob Clifford at . You can also visit our website at for additional information on the Volunteer Program.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

City Council in Brief

Council approves LID, lowers assessment
Council voted to create a local improvement district on a portion of Front Avenue. Front Avenue from Second to Seventh streets and the side streets north to the alley are slated for several improvements that would bring the area in line with Sherman and Lakeside avenues. Those streets were enhanced through LIDs in the late 80s and mid-90s. The Front Avenue project will cost $2.9 million. The original proposal had the city paying 61 percent of that, leaving the rest to be absorbed by Front Avenue property owners. City staff said an assessment of $400 a front foot for property owners would make the project pencil. However, Council voted to lower that fee to $300 leaving the property owners with 29 percent of the cost and the City with 71 percent. City staff will work with that number and determine whether the scope of the project needs to be reduced or whether they can find the additional dollars elsewhere in the city budget.

Harbor House gets green light
The McEuen Park Design Team presented information to the Council regarding the size and bulk of the Harbor House, one of the many amenities identified for the park. The team also showed Council that the location of the house was carefully planned to not obstruct any view corridor to the water. The Council had concerns over the design of the Harbor House. After hearing the report, Council voted to accept the design as is without modification and thanked the Design Team for presenting the additional information.  

City to explore visioning project
The city will further explore a longer-range visioning project for how Coeur d’Alene should develop in the years to come. City Attorney Mike Gridley presented the idea to Council at its last meeting. Tuesday night, he reiterated the benefits of the community-led project. Bend, Ore. embarked on such a visioning project with success, he said. Gridley has asked Council to allocate $2,000 from the city’s Professional Services fund toward bringing in the consultant on that project to talk about the potential for such an initiative in Coeur d’Alene. It will cost a total of $6,000 to host the consultant. Coeur d’Alene undertook a visioning 20/20 project more than a decade ago. “We are now 10, 11, years down the road from that,” Gridley said. “The world has changed significantly.” Gridley said it's time to revisit Coeur d'Alene's long-range plan through the eyes of the community. He will look to raise the additional $4,000 from the community to bring in the consultant. If there is no interest, then the project will not go further, he said.

City launches social media
The city officially launched two social media sites designed to get more information out to the public and offer citizens a way to engage with the city. The city’s Facebook page can be accessed at and the city’s Twitter page can be found at

Drainage Utility fee appears this month
City staff reminded Council that the new drainage utility fee will appear on January’s utility bill. The drainage utility was formerly called the stormwater utility. City Council resurrected the utility in December, allowing the city to once again collect fees to provide drainage services to property owners. Council opted for minimal user fees. Residents served by pipes will pay $4.13 a month and those who rely on swales for drainage will pay $3.76 a month. The city stopped collecting fees in 2011 while it evaluated the service and reviewed a legal challenge of Lewiston’s stormwater utility, which was similar to Coeur d’Alene’s. A primary function of a stormwater program is that the utility, for a fee, takes on the individual property owners’ responsibility for stormwater and regulatory compliance. Stormwater must meet federal, state, and local regulations. The fee, effective immediately, only applies to property owners that use the utility. Those who handle their own drainage on their property will not be charged. For questions, contact 208.769.2223.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Specialized Needs Recreation Presents Camp Allstars "School Day Off Day Camp"

Specialized Needs Recreation (SNR) is holding Camp All-Stars “School Day Off” Day Camp on January 21st at the SNR facility in Coeur d’Alene, 3700 N. Government Way, Suites I & J. Don’t be bored on your school day off -- come and have a day full of friends and fun!

Camp All-Stars day camps are filled with six hours of meaningful and memorable activities such as community outings, crafts, and games. Camp will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The cost is $15.00 for the day. There are scholarships available for those who qualify.

For those of you coming from the Post Falls area, we provide transportation from The Trading Company. Morning pick-up will be at 8:30 a.m. and afternoon drop-offs will be at 3:30 p.m. Campers coming from the Coeur d’Alene/Hayden area will meet at the SNR facility at 9:00 a.m. and will need to be picked up by 3:00 p.m.

Please bring a sack lunch and dress warm. Limited space is available so sign up today! Pre-registration is required. Unfortunately SNR is not able to provide 1:1 assistance but individuals who require 1:1 assistance are still encouraged to join us with their care provider or assistant.

Specialized Needs Recreation also offers summer, winter, and spring break day camps as well as school days off throughout the year. If you would like more information about Camp All-Stars, would like to register your child for camp, or if you are interested in volunteering please call Angie Goucher at 755-6781 or e-mail her at

Specialized Needs Recreation is a non-profit organization that provides recreational opportunities for youth and adults who have developmental disabilities. Visit us at our website

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mark Calendars for a Library Concert

Ruth Pratt
      Reservations are now being accepted for “Love Stories,” a benefit concert featuring vocalist Ruth Pratt, Friday, Feb. 15, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave.
Tickets are $25 with all proceeds benefitting the library. Reservations can be made by calling 208-769-2380 or by e-mail at
Pratt, who is the Executive Director of the Coeur d’Alene Public Library Foundation, will perform with musicians Brian Flick, Pearl Harwood, Tom Shaeger, and Craig Catlett. The concert will also include guest artist Lyle Morse on guitar and vocals.

Patrons who need accommodation to participate in library programs or services are asked to contact the staff prior to the activity by calling 208-769-2315. For more library information visit The library is a department of the City of Coeur d’Alene and a member of the Cooperative Information Network, Library Director, Bette Ammon. Library hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m./Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m./Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. For regular updates follow the library on Facebook and Twitter.

Library Closed for MLK Jr. Observance

      The Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave., will be closed Monday, Jan. 21, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Normal hours resume Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 10 a.m.
When the library is closed several services are available through the library website:
CIN resident library cardholders can access e-books and e-audiobooks through the OverDrive catalog; patrons can access their accounts, check the catalog, and place holds; and the website offers several useful online resources. To use some resources a user name and password are needed. These can be obtained by calling or visiting the library during open hours.

City Hall Closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

On Monday, January 21, 2013, Coeur d’Alene City Hall will be closed for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Other city offices and facilities will be closed as well. Emergency calls for Police, Streets, and Fire can be made by dialing 9-1-1. Other city facilities have emergency numbers and can be reached if the need arises: Sewer Back-up 769-2241 and Water 755-9729.

City Hall and other city facilities will open Tuesday, January 22nd, at 8:00 a.m. For more information, please call 769-2300.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

City and school officials reach partial deal on Person Field

City and school officials are a step closer to inking a deal on Person Field. 
The two sides met Thursday evening to discuss the sale of the district’s half of the field. The city, which owns the other half, wants to acquire the property in an effort to keep the field public green space. 
Both sides, however, have been unable to agree on terms of a sale. But Thursday, in just under two hours, city and school officials worked together to reach an agreement. The city will buy the district’s half of Person Field and acquire Bryan Field as part of the package. 
What hasn’t been determined is the price tag. City Council passed a motion to allocate $655,000 to purchase both Person and Bryan from the district. The city has argued that the true value of Person is about half that and the district should make up the gap in value.
The School Board also passed a motion packaging the two properties but with a price tag of $750,000. The district will get an appraisal of Bryan Field and the two sides will negotiate from there. It could take three weeks for the appraisal, officials said.