$750,000 Reimbursement Requested by Northgate Developers for Road Improvements

Infrastructure upgrades on Olympus drive were done by private developers Portneuf and Millennial. This cost them almost $750,000 and because of that they are requesting a reimbursement. On October 23, 2018 this was brought to light during a city council meeting. After an hour of deliberation, it was decided to come to a complete decision on November 1 which is when the next council meeting will be held.

About 900 feet of Olympus drive, from Jerome street to Chubbuck road was widened from two lanes to four. They also provided right-of-way additions and improvements to power, water, sewer and communication lines. These improvements were not originally agreed upon for Millennial and Portneuf to complete. They were only tasked with connecting road to interchange.

“If we followed our agreement exactly (Olympus Drive) would have went from four lanes to two lanes and back to four lanes,” Buck Swany said. “The city (of Pocatello) engineers weren’t willing to allow that, and so, as the engineering was completed that additional improvement was added on and we didn’t say stop. We didn’t need to improve that intersection. It just got added on and now we want the city to pick up that public improvement for its citizens.”

Mayor Brian Blad was aware of the price range of these enhancements but the exact amount was not known until the council meeting on tuesday. The Pocatello Development Authority was originally supposed to cover these costs but was unable to. The PDA is an independent business that carries a lot of authority over urban renewal projects.  

The first to object to the reimbursement was Councilman Roger Bray due to the council not originally agreeing to Portnuef and Millennial providing these improvements. Bray also believes he has a financial obligation to the taxpayers of Pocatello and not Northgate developers.

The city council members with the help of Merril Quayle, city development engineer, and Joyce Stroschein, city chief financial officer, determined which portion of the $744,655 was related to road improvements for Pocatello, Bannock, and PDA groups. $ 281,217 was Pocatello’s portion, $235,950 was Bannock related, and $227,488 was the PDA’s.

Stroschein claims the general capital improvement fund for Pocatello has almost enough money to cover the full reimbursement. Beena Mannan, a council member, opposed because the city of Pocatello didn’t agree to have the private developers provide these road improvements. She believes they should only cover a portion of the total $750,000.

Buck Swaney contributed to the discussion saying the developers could reimburse the city if they create a TIF district for the Northgate area.

Mayor Blad recommended the city cover the entire amount so they don’t have to elongate the process and cause any more delays. Councilman Rick Cheatum made a motion to add this agenda to the next council meeting but no one supported it. Mannan made a similar motion to discuss paying part of the total but once again the motion was not supported. The motion that was finally supported was made by Bray which would allow the committee to discuss how much to cover.

-from Idaho State Journal

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