In a meeting that councilman Greg Lanting did not attend, police chief Kingsbury presented promotions and inductions into the ranks during Monday’s city council meeting, and the council approved the use of more C.A.R.E.S. dollars for radios for the local dispatch center. The Twin Falls Police Department welcomed four new officers to the department (Ryan Carlson, Alexandra McClain, Kevin Warner, and Riley Whiteley), promoted two officers (Corporal David Weigt to Sergeant and Officer Cody Christensen to Corporal), and awarded a P.O.S.T master’s certificate (among the highest of such certifications one can earn) to officer Aaron Nay. The families of the officers receiving awards were present and pinned the officers’ new badges on their uniforms.
The council approved a $448,900 purchase for a Vactor Hydro-Excavator (a tool that digs trenches using high-powered water pressure) to be used by city employees. The equipment was slightly over budget, but the city employee who presented the request assured the council that his department had excess money in their budget to cover it. The purchase had already been technically approved but due to the high dollar amount had to be formally requested from the council. The council voted 6-0 to accept the expenditure.
Another installment was added to the annals of the Twin Falls city council accepting and spending federal C.A.R.E.S dollars for things that do not directly (or really even indirectly) apply to the treatment or relief of COVID-19. The Twin Falls emergency dispatch center is in need of new radios because of an upgrade that was made last year which requires digital technology that the current radios don’t possess. One might be tempted to wonder why the city’s IT department didn’t consider this snafu when they upgraded their systems, but that wasn’t something the city council deemed worth considering. The purchase amount to replace every radio in the system (158 of them, to be exact) was $370,478.78. Not to worry dear taxpayer, that price tag will be covered by C.A.R.E.S. dollars — you know, the federal taxes that get taken out of your paycheck. The head of the city’s IT department assured the council that they will implement a rolling replacement strategy from here on out so that this large purchase won’t be repeated. The City council voted 6-0 to approve the request.
To be fair, this was the least egregious example of tax dollar spending I have seen in the roughly eighteen months I have been attending city council meetings. They only really overspent a few thousand city tax dollars, and for this city council, that is a very low amount. On the other hand, if I overspend a few thousand dollars in my annual budget, Christmas gets canceled and I work overtime to make up the deficit.
If you want to get involved, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or start attending the city council meetings and see for yourself how your money gets spent. They happen every Monday at 5 pm at City Hall (203 Main Ave. E, Twin Falls, ID 83301). I’ll be the bald guy shaking his head and trying not to scream.