Primaries, Awards, and More!

This week in Moscow, we get you up to speed on the local primary elections as well as the City’s Earth Day awards and Climate Action updates.

Read the full transcript of the video below:

If Arbor Day comes around, and I don’t see Gina Taruscio around town wearing some sort of tree costume, I’m gonna be disappointed.

How’s it going y’all. Aiden Anderson here with the Moscow Minutes. It’s been another busy week in Moscow with a lot going on, and I’m gonna try and give you an overview in this video.

First up, some election updates!

We’ve got a primary election coming up in Latah County on May 21st. The sample ballot for all four Idaho political parties as well as the ballot for registered independents is available right now for you to look over on the county website under the elections page. This is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the potential candidates running in the November election, and for those of you who are registered with a political party, a chance to choose candidates to represent the party in November.

I looked over the ballot myself, and it appears that the Republicans have the largest selection of candidates from which to choose from, particularly in the Idaho State Senate and Representative categories. We’ll have more updates for you as we move closer to election day.

Ok, back to local updates. Let’s start with the county. The commissioners met with representatives from our local congressional offices to discuss items that sit at the intersection of federal and county government. Much of their discussion revolved around options for a post office or post office-like building  in Viola, as well as updates to the broadband project, and questions about solutions to our housing problems.

The commissioners also held a tax deed property hearing, a meeting in which the county treasurer BJ Swanson presented on some properties in the county that are going through the tax deed process. Depending on what can be done with the properties as far as the owners and delinquent taxes are concerned, there’s a chance that the commissioners will bring these properties to auction. We’ll find out for sure both the details on the properties and dates of the auctions when the treasurer announces it on their page on the county website.

Onto the City Meeting. The Mayor began the meeting with proclamations for Earth Day and Arbor Day, both taking place next week, and an official staff recognition for Chief Fry in lieu of his upcoming retirement.

This was followed by public comment. It was a more interesting public comment period than usual. A number of folks connected to the Moscow Baseball Association spoke out in frustration against the city’s cancellation of their opening day event. According to those who spoke, the event was canceled by the city due to “excessive moisture” at the particular fields which the event organizers were using, forcing them to prepare and reorganize to a new venue at the last minute. Those who spoke criticized the city’s lack of preparedness and asked for solutions to be provided for in short order. The Mayor assented to the complaints and assured those there that the city was in fact working on solutions.

The City then presented the Earth Day awards to a number of folks and organizations who have worked to encourage conservation and eco-friendly actions in their work, lives, and communities. Shortly after, the council heard from one of the Earth Day award recipients: the Moscow Area Mountain Bike Association, or MAMBA. They presented an update on their mountain bike trails system and addressed questions from the council about trail use, trail maps, and fire prevention.

To wrap up the meeting, Tyler Palmer presented an update on the Climate Action Plan. In case you forgot, the Climate Action Plan was adopted back in 2021 to help inform city planning regarding various climate goals, including net carbon neutrality for city operations by 2035. In this update, Tyler highlighted a couple steps that the city has taken through 2023 to help achieve those goals. 

These updates focused on the city vehicle fleet, water and wastewater, and street lighting. The city has replaced a majority of its vehicles, including the police fleet, with new hybrid vehicles, and has been working on converting all city-owned street lighting to LED bulbs for energy efficiency. While water issues are more difficult to solve directly, Tyler stated that the city has been making progress with their water conservation programs as well. 

The Climate Action Working Group, a subset of the city’s sustainable environment commission, has also been working on outreach and education options to help address climate issues in the community, in addition to city operations. The goal of the Climate Action Plan is at this point to achieve net carbon neutrality in the overall community by 2050.

With that update, this video comes to an end. Once again, take a look at the primary election sample ballot if you get a chance, and we’ll keep you updated with more election news. We’ll have the relevant links posted with this video, and if you have any questions, please reach out. I’m Aiden Anderson, and this is the Moscow Minutes. See ya next time!

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