Jerome Town Council passed two ordinances at its meeting on July 11.
The public works director may now live within 15 miles of town limits after Ordinance No. 431 passed in a 4-1 vote. Previously, the director, along with the police and fire chiefs, town manager and town clerk all had to reside within town limits. This left the public works director position unfilled.
Public Works Deputy Director Martin Boland will likely now fill the role. Boland lives 12 miles outside town.
Councilman Lew Courrier was the dissenting vote. He urged council to consider the will of the people and pointed to the fact that the town has dealt with this restriction in the past.
“We think we know better, and I’m not sure we do,” he said.
Mayor Frank Vander Horst said that by not finding a director who lives in town and relying on a perpetual deputy director, the town has already taken the stance that it knows better than its constituents.
Any director named will have six months to move into the radius.
The town also unanimously passed Ordinance No. 430, which changes the town property maintenance code to give a more defined timeline for when repairs need to be made.
Now, when a correction order is issued, the responsible party has 90 days to fix most repairs. The exception is major repairs, which will have to start within 30 days of the order and shall take no longer than six months from the date of the order. The previous wording in the code simply stated a “reasonable time.”
Council also gave its first reading of an ordinance that could issue residential parking permits, which would be required to park on specific town streets. This is in an effort to reduce parking congestion and issues for residents who must park on city streets.
Before the town incorporated, it was not required to have parking space on residential property. After discussion, council directed staff to find zones that the permits could be broken into, including a specific zone for Holly Street, which was pointed out as one of the largest problems.
Council also directed the staff to form a permit system that gave one permit to qualified homes with a second to be possibly given if a second driver is shown to be living at the residence. Two would be the maximum. The permits will likely cost $100 per vehicle per year, but this will be determined by council if and when the ordinance passes.
In other discussion, Courrier said that re-examining the bed tax and its existence was in order due to difficulties collecting proper taxes from some short-term rentals. He said that the bed tax may be keeping hotels from staying competitive. Staff will look into the tax numbers to give a more specific effectiveness at a later meeting.
“What’s the purpose of it if you’re driving the hotel industry down?” he asked.
Jerome is also now a FireWise community.
The next Town Council meeting will be Tuesday, July 25.