Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Commissioners to meet with Idaho delegation

Leaders will likely discuss new airport

Express Staff Writer

Blaine County commissioners revised their schedule this week to make room for a special meeting on Thursday, March 10, that will include a visit from the Idaho congressional delegation.

Representatives of Sen. Mike Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson, all Republicans, will meet with the commissioners at 10 a.m. to discuss issues facing Blaine County and how the lawmakers may be able to help.

"They just come in and touch base with the elected officials," said Commissioner Tom Bowman.

Bowman said the annual visit has been going on for several years. While the commissioners plan to discuss several topics, Bowman said, one recurring theme is the replacement airport and its potential sites.

"We've been bringing it up every year," he said.

The delegation can help the county by co-sponsoring a bill in Congress that would direct the Bureau of Land Management to convey to the county the land for proposed site 10A, in southern Blaine County. Bowman said that would save the county about $750,000 in land purchase costs.

However, as the site itself has not been officially approved, Bowman said the commissioners can't make that request yet.

"But we've been teeing them up," he said.

Thursday's meeting will also include an update on the joint-powers agreement between the city of Hailey and the county for the existing airport. In December, the county submitted amendments to the city for its approval. The city will provide its recommendations for the amended agreement Thursday at 9 a.m.

In other county news:

( On Tuesday, the commissioners appointed Mike O'Farrell, a former range conservation officer with the U.S. Forest Service, to the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission. O'Farrell is replacing Doug Werth, who resigned in December.

Katherine Wutz:

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