Morning News â€” Bob Hudson
Bingham County Commissioner Whitney Manwaring gives a state of the county address during the Greater Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday.
City Council president Chris Jensen and Bingham County Commissioner Whitney Manwaring shared "state of the â€¦." messages with members of the Greater Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
Among the accomplishments of city workers in 2012, Jensen said, were the completion of various road projects and of improvements at Jensen Grove.
They also added an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant lift in the swimming pool and completed a new water storage tank and booster station.
"We have had back luck with council members," Jensen said, noting the deaths of Farrell Cammack and Butch Hulse. "That makes me a little nervous.
"That's going to make next year interesting for the city of Blackfoot," he said. He pointed out that the mayor's office and all four city council seats will be up for election in November, something that may be unprecedented in the community.
Jensen noted that Mayor Mike Virtue has announced he doesn't plan to run for reelection and councilman Rich Woodfin has indicated he would like to retire.
Projects scheduled this year include completion of roadwork on East Airport Road, three more ballfields at the city complex and consideration of a rugby field.
"The new ballfields will allow the city to court tournaments," he said.
Manwaring, who is a sheep rancher, said he compares the challenges county officials face to those "in my farm life" with Mother Nature dictating many expenditures.
Last year, during a mild winter, county workers didn't spend much on snow removal or road maintenance. This year they've already dipped deep into budgeted monies for those items.
One of the accomplishments he noted was the combining of the Bingham County Historical Museum on Shilling Street in Blackfoot with the historical society's photo gallery on Northwest Main.
"The passing of the planning and zoning ordinance was a thing that needed to be done," he said of wrapping up that project in 2012. "Now it's better-organized and easier to understand."
He added that he expects good things from new county prosecuting attorney Cleve Colson, Sheriff Craig Rowland and commissioner Mark Bair.