POCATELLO, Idaho - State of the City 2022
To watch the full video click HERE. Video created by Marlise Irby, Public Information Officer (PIO)
We have seen a lot of changes this past year. We hired a new Chief Financial Officer Gene Hill and a new Public Information Officer, Marlise Irby. We also saw many great promotions across the City including the promotion of Ryan O’Hearn to Fire Chief.
The Mayor’s Million Minute reading challenge had a record year with elementary students reading over two million minutes in February.
And just in 2022… five lucky students received the Pocatello’s Promise of Tomorrows' Mayoral Scholarship for $2,500 per student. That makes 15 scholarships awarded since the program started in 2020.
Myself and the City Council together helped fund new permitting software for the Building and Planning Departments, a new tower truck for the Fire Department… additional funds for pavement management, a department-wide driving simulator, a new traffic signal for the South Valley/Bannock Highway intersection and so much more.
In 2022 we saw four new Council Members join the city. The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council also known as MYAC won another Association of Idaho Cities award for their Pen Pals Program and this group of local high school students continues to do great things in our community.
Across the City of Pocatello, departments are working hard each and every day to assist community members and continue economic growth in Pocatello.
Pocatello Regional Airport:
The Airport purchased a new piece of airfield snow removal equipment. It is a multi-use piece with a plow and broom combination allowing staff to be more efficient by being able to plow and broom at the same time. The piece was purchased from M-B Companies using a combination of federal grant funds and airport passenger facility charge revenues.
Expansion of the Bureau of Land Management wildland fire air attack base began in 2022 and will be completed in 2023. The expansion will add a third loading pad and increase the size of the other two loading pads, allowing for the accommodation of multiple VLAT (very large air tanker) aircraft simultaneously.
The airport also began an update to its master plan for the airfield which will be completed in 2023. The plan will look at projected growth and needs for the airfield infrastructure to assist the airport in selecting future capital projects.
The airport welcomed a new tenant, Morton Buildings. Morton’s new facility will be completed soon and will manufacture post-frame buildings. We also welcomed a new hangar being built by AvCenter. The new hangar will also be completed soon and will be able to hangar large corporate jets.
The airport origami art exhibit completed phases 1, 2, and 3 providing the airport with a unique, world-class exhibit of origami art including 1,000 suspended cranes, multiple tessellations, and several different kusudamas. Phase 4, a silk origami rose exhibit, will be completed in 2023.
Pocatello Animal Services:
2022 the Animal Services Department has added an enrichment room as well as finished the play yard for our animals. Utilizing the play yard allows volunteers and staff individual time to help stimulate the animals in an active environment and helps decrease anxiety.
The Pocatello Animal Shelter has maintained its No Kill Status and will continue working with other shelter agencies to transfer and home animals.
In 2022, Pocatello Animal Services hired a Veterinarian part-time, Dr. Shelley Hill. Hill performs spay and neuters in the shelter and other various medical necessities. Having Hill helps reduce the cost of outsourcing veterinary needs and helps the turnaround time to get animals at the shelter adopted faster.
We have seen tremendous growth despite the dramatic increase in the cost of construction materials after the pandemic in 2020.
Permits issued through the Building department totaled 2,580. Of that number 283 were residential building permits and 83 were commercial building permits.
In FY2022, the total number of inspections completed by the building department was 4,472.
Additionally, the IT Department will be assisting the Planning and Building Departments in their implementation of a new Community Development platform. This new software will provide citizens with an online self-service portal to increase efficiency with permitting and requesting inspections.
Pocatello Fire Department:
Our Community Risk Reduction division teamed up with Meals on Wheels:
We were excited to partner with Southeastern Idaho Community Action Agency Inc. We accompanied the Meals on Wheels Program during October to deliver meals to residents and check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. This enabled us to ensure that residents had working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for their safety.
Initiated a Naloxone Leave Behind Program:
Naloxone saves lives. The aim of this program is to improve the safety and health outcomes for individuals that have experienced or are at risk for, an overdose.
Idaho’s Naloxone Access Law was updated in July 2021, allowing for naloxone to be distributed via leave-behind programs for first responders. This bill permits entities, such as first responder organizations, to further distribute naloxone to the public and their employees.
Completed Tri-Annual Airport Drill:
Under Federal Aviation Administration requirements, the airport is required to do a full-scale exercise every three years. The Airport partnered with PFD, PPD, PRT, and surrounding agencies. During the simulated plane crash scenario, units responded to perform fire suppression and stabilize the scene. Additional units performed medical evaluations on patients. This enabled crews to accurately triage patients in order to ensure patients were transported to the appropriate medical facility in a timely manner.
The Pocatello Fire Department sent multiple units on deployment to assist with wildfires within Idaho and surrounding states. Most notably, crews assisted on the Moose Fire in Salmon Idaho. Crews were also sent to fires in central Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. These incidents are an example of our department’s participation in the National Response Framework.
WILDLAND FIRE TRUCKS – The PFD received an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for the purchase of a new Wildland Engine, or brush truck. In addition, the City of Pocatello agreed to purchase a new brush truck and ICCU graciously matched those funds for the purchase of a third brush truck. These trucks were desperately needed as several of our units were at or near 30 years old and were no longer able to meet the needs of the community.
The PFD is anticipating the arrival of the three new brush trucks in January 2023 which will be in use for fire season 2023. The cost per Wildland Engine is $170,565.32.
Information Technology Department:
The Information Technology Department (IT) primarily focuses its support on internal customers, e.g. City employees. However, their mission ultimately supports the citizens of our community by protecting their information and enabling tools for other departments that directly support our citizens.
In 2022, the IT Department rolled out multi-factor authentication to its employees to help bolster the City’s cybersecurity footing and reduce the risk of malicious actors obtaining and utilizing legitimate login credentials. Additionally, the IT Department completed its implementation of the Paymentus credit card/online payment system. It expanded the utilization of the platform beyond that of just the Utility Billing Department to all other City departments that accept credit/debit card payments. The deployment of the system also includes three areas that accept donations, i.e. The Brady Chapel, Zoo Idaho, and the Animal Shelter. The Paymentus platform provides a simplified way for users to utilize payment cards and reduced stabilized purchase card fees while passing those fees directly to card users as opposed to the City absorbing those fees at all taxpayers’ expense.
In 2023, the IT Department plans to upgrade the phone system of City Hall, the Pocatello Police Department, and the Water Department by replacing its outdated unified call center with a more robust and capable cloud-based telephony system; eliminating long-distance charges while enabling more user-friendly capabilities.
The IT Department will also continue its focus on improving the cybersecurity of all of the City’s networks, data, and information by bringing on additional tools and capabilities to reduce risks and address vulnerabilities.
Marshall Public Library:
So far this year the Marshall Public Library has had 108,308 visitors to the library and 1,809 new library cards have been processed. Plus, 133,145 items have been checked out, with an additional 33,902 ebooks.
Earlier this year the Marshall Public library received a wonderful gift from the Friends of the Marshall Public Library. Friends purchased $12,000 worth of new furniture for the community to enjoy. This gift offers guests places to sit and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of the library.
The Marshall Public library also had a very successful summer reading program this year. Over 350 people came to our kick-off event for our summer program: Oceans of Possibilities. The library was full of fish since we added one for every patron who signed up. At the end of summer, The Friends of the Library provided many fun prizes for patrons who completed all of their reading challenges.
Pocatello Parks and Recreation Department:
Zoo Connections Entrance and Gift Shop Building at Zoo Idaho:
In 2022, the new “Zoo Connections Entrance & Gift Shop Building” at Zoo Idaho was completed and dedicated. The beautiful log-cabin design structure is approximately 1,200 square feet in size and features ticketing areas, a gift shop, concessions, and restroom facilities. The facility opened during the 2022 Zoo Idaho season and was constructed in-house by Parks & Recreation Department staff, providing tremendous cost savings to the community and taxpayers. A sincere thank you from the City of Pocatello to Connections Credit Union and the Zoo Idaho Zoological Society for their generous support in helping to make the “Zoo Connections Entrance & Gift Shop Building” a reality for the community.
Successful Community Partnerships:
With the inception of the Parks & Recreation Department’s “Partnerships Program”, we’ve already been able to accomplish so much for the community. The program provides opportunities for community partners to work together with Parks & Recreation to achieve significant projects and improvements for the use & enjoyment of the Pocatello Community. Partner benefits include significant and meaningful returns on investment, including naming rights, and when we dream big and work together, just about anything is possible.
In 2022 the Parks & Recreation Department was able to work with Idaho Central Credit Union for two successful partnerships:
The first is ICCU’s purchase and donation of a PistenBully snow grooming machine for the Mink Creek Nordic Center, which will allow for high-quality grooming of the Nordic Center on an ongoing basis for decades to come. ICCU is also partnering with Parks & Recreation for the construction of a new and exciting Splashpad Facility at OK Ward Park, set to open during the summer of 2023.
The Idaho Central Credit Union Community Splashpad will provide approximately 2,700 square feet of play zone, including a variety of above-ground and ground-level features, as well as an additional concrete pad area for parents and family members to gather, observe, and interact.
Arthur Ave. and Halliday St. Area Improvements:
Parks Dept. Staff successfully collaborated with the Science & Environmental Division and the IFFT Foundation to accomplish significant beautification improvements at the area of Arthur Ave. and Halliday St. Project improvements included: grading, a new irrigation system, curbing, weed barrier & landscaping, and trees to transform the previously unkempt area into an attractive intersection for the community.
Parks & Recreation Department – Key FY 2023 Projects
Complete Ross Park Master Plan for Council adoption consideration:
City staff has also been busy developing and finalizing the draft Master Plan for Ross Park, built on input solicited from the community and with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board serving as the steering committee.
Ross Park is the gem of the City of Pocatello’s park system and has over 145 acres of available land, approximately 95 acres of which are currently developed. The goal of the process is to craft a 5-25 year Master Plan to guide the future development of Ross Park, which will enrich its recreational & cultural opportunities while maintaining and enhancing its natural beauty and historical, recreational & educational features. Staff plans to bring the final draft version of the plan forward to City Council in the first quarter of 2023 for review and adoption consideration.
Lookout Point – Lookout Credit Union:
Groundbreaking took place summer of 2022 for Lookout Point located in Historic Downtown Pocatello.
The City of Pocatello would like to thank Lookout Credit Union for their generous donation and Historic Downtown Pocatello for all of their work in bringing this exciting new park to the community. The park will provide the citizens with a new town square to enjoy live music, great events, farmer's markets, and more. The completion date is set for summer 2023.
Pocatello Police Department:
Mobile Command Unit:
In August 2022, the Pocatello Police Department received a new 30’ Command vehicle donated to us by Operation Underground Railroad. The cost to build and equip the vehicle was approximately $450,000. The vehicle was custom-built by SVCI (Specialty Vehicle Concepts Inc.).
The Unit can be deployed as a Mobile Command Center with the ability to run real-time dispatch. Tactical briefings can be held outside the vehicle. The unit has four exterior cameras that record continuously, and seven high-definition monitors mounted inside and one mounted outside the vehicle. The Command vehicle has an interview room inside with audio and video capabilities to assist with Internet Crimes Against Children Investigations. A big thank you to Operation Underground Railroad and SVCI for making this possible.
Recently, the Pocatello Police Department faced the unavoidable problem of running out of space to store evidence. Due to state evidence mandates, the department is required to secure certain pieces of evidence for 50-plus years. Modular shelves are the most cost-effective option to provide an increased storage capacity that will benefit the department for the next 15 to 20 years. The height of each shelf can be adjusted, and each shelving unit can be moved from side to side, creating more space without adding additional square footage to our building. City Council approved a budget of up to $150,000.00 to aid the police department in resolving the storage space issue. The Pocatello Police Department purchased the modular shelving system and was able to come in under the approved budget.
The Pocatello Police Department (PPD) successfully completed the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association (ICOPA) re-accreditation. The purpose of ICOPA’s accreditation is to establish a professional standards program for law enforcement agencies and ensure that those standards are being met and maintained. PPD was initially accredited in 2012. This is the third consecutive re-accreditation through ICOPA.
Dispatch Receives ACE Accreditation:
Pocatello Dispatch Center is an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) in Emergency Medical Dispatch. The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) - ACE Accreditation is the gold standard for emergency communication centers. The Pocatello Dispatch Center is only the 306th communication center in the world and the first in Idaho to achieve ACE.
Pocatello Public Works Department:
Clark Street ADA ramps:
The City of Pocatello seeks grants annually to improve sidewalks and pedestrian safety. For FY22 we received, about $300,000 to improve pedestrian mobility. The 5310 FTA program aims to improve mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities by removing barriers to transportation services and expanding options. The Clark Street ADA Improvements Project included filling in a 120 feet gap in the sidewalk with concrete sidewalk and concrete block wall on the 1800 block of Clark Street, 35 updated curb ramps, and nine asphalt approaches along the north side of Clark Street. The project started at 18th Street and ran to Pocatello Avenue. The project is now an updated accessible route with a continuous sidewalk for the community.
GIS Enterprise license:
The GIS Department recently negotiated a new Enterprise agreement that allows for 250 users, a large increase from the previous agreement which limited us to less than 15. The agreement significantly expands the accessibility of ArcGIS software to the following departments; Fire, EMS, Public Safety, Police, Planning, Environmental, and PRT. Expanded access to the software allows the GIS department to better support the needs of our departments while also providing a better return on investments.
Pocatello Street Operations Department:
The Street Operations Department consists of the Street Division and Traffic Division.
In the fiscal year 2022, the Street Division improved over 26 miles of roadway in its annual Pavement Management Program, utilizing targeted treatments such as fog sealing, micro sealing, and paving.
The Traffic Division successfully expanded the Intelligent Transportation System network to include the signals within the Historic Downtown area, which allows proactive signal monitoring to reduce traffic disruptions.
In addition, the Traffic Division has also utilized Idaho Power’s Energy Efficiency Incentive to upgrade many Pocatello streetlights to LEDs in order to reduce energy consumption. This program has helped create ongoing savings for the City’s monthly energy costs. These new long-life LED fixtures also require less maintenance, which results in fewer disruptions to traffic.
Pocatello Sanitation Department:
In the fiscal year 2022, the Sanitation Department has seen a 6% increase in services. They’ve also collected over 2800 tons of recycling material through its curbside pickup, composting, and glass recycling programs. These efforts have diverted over 13% of refuse that would have otherwise made its way to the local landfill. This equates to over 5 million pounds of material diverted from the landfill to a nearby recycling center.
Pocatello Fleet Services:
Fleet Services is an internal service department that effectively maintains the majority of the City’s 600 assets, including police and public works vehicles and equipment, allowing City workers to focus on proudly serving the public.
Fleet Services is also working to right-size the City’s asset count through a Capital Replacement Plan. This goal aims to decrease long-term procurement costs and eliminate redundancies while simultaneously increasing efficiencies for many City departments.
Fleet Services was also awarded a Technical & Management Innovation Award for its cost-reduction and problem-solving efforts.
The City’s Street Operations Department completed its Pavement Management Program and was able to treat approximately 26 miles of roadway.
Fog Seal = 6.13 miles
Micro Seal = 17.21 miles
Paving = 2.88 miles
Total Miles = 26.21
The Traffic Division successfully expanded the Intelligent Transportation System network to include the signals within the Historic Downtown area. This allows us to proactively monitor the signals to reduce disruptions to traffic.
Partnered with Idaho Power Company, utilizing their energy efficiency incentive program to replace street light fixtures with LED fixtures throughout Pocatello The resulting wattage reduction allows for ongoing savings to the City’s monthly energy costs. The new long-life LED fixtures also require less maintenance, which results in fewer disruptions to traffic.
The Sanitation Department continues its recycling efforts through curbside recycling, composting, and glass recycling. Below is the tonnage collected, along with the diversion rate from the landfill, for each particular recycled product in FY22.
Curbside – 1,981 tons = 9.5%
Glass – 180 tons = 1%
Compost – 642 tons = 3%
Recycling efforts by the Sanitation Department have led to 5,606,000 lbs of material being diverted to a recycling center. The Sanitation Department realized a 6% overall increase in services in FY22.
Pocatello Science and Environment Division:
Portneuf Valley Environmental Fair:
This April, the City of Pocatello hosted the 2022 Portneuf Valley Environmental Fair.
This family-friendly community event was attended by ~2,000 community members of all ages, giving guests the opportunity to hear, experience, and learn what our local organizations, non-profits, and educational establishments are doing to build a more sustainable future for the Portneuf Valley.
Portneuf River Cleanup:
In August, the City organized the 2022 Portneuf River Cleanup. This event was attended by 40+ incredible volunteers who, in only two short hours, helped free the river of 6 cubic yards of trash and debris and moved us that much closer to making the Portneuf River Vision (PRV) a reality! Thanks to their continued efforts year after year, the Portneuf River is becoming a more beautiful and enjoyable place to recreate.
Russian Olive Removal up City Creek:
City staff hired a contractor to kill around 200 Russian Olive trees up City Creek in February and March 2022. This opened up the canopy adjacent to the stream down by the lower parking lot. Volunteers planted willows and Parks and Recreation staff installed a gravel path adjacent to the stream between the parking lot and bridge 1.
Pocatello Water Department:
The Water Department produced and treated 4.7 billion gallons of water that it delivered to consumers. Capital projects included the replacement of 1.9 miles of water mains throughout City neighborhoods, which included: Opal Street, North Hayes Street, and West Sublette Street. Additional projects included the 5MG Tank Interior Recoating, exploratory drilling of two test wells, and construction of the Pocatello Creek Booster Station and Transmission Line, which is projected to be completed in late spring of 2023.
Pocatello Creek Booster Station:
The Pocatello Creek Booster Station and Transmission Pipeline project includes a new high-pressure booster pumping station and approximately 2.5 miles of water transmission pipeline to connect the City’s water sources to the Highland water storage tanks. The finished project will resolve a long-standing deficiency of redundant water supply and include space for future expansion to address future projected water demands in the northeast area of Pocatello.
Water Pollution Control (WPC) Department:
Water Pollution Control (WPC) was very productive in 2022, working on a variety of projects to improve operations and infrastructure.
These projects were done in support of our mission to protect the public health, the water quality of the Portneuf River, and groundwater in the aquifer underneath our City.
The treatment facility cleaned over 2.5 billion gallons of water, exceeding regulatory standards by removing over 99.5% of all contaminants. In addition to the day-to-day operations of the department, the main focus of WPC staff was to complete the design of a new dewatering facility which will improve our ability to manage bio-solids and keep up with the growth of our community. This new facility will also open the door to the possibility of introducing a composting program as an additional alternative to managing bio-solids in the future.
Major improvements were made to the collection system infrastructure with the upgrade of the Whitman Street lift station and the addition of a new lift station on the opposite side of the Portneuf River on Hayes Street. The integrity of the collection system was also improved with the continuation of the sanitary sewer rehabilitation project, which included the installation of 10,291 linear feet of cured-in-place pipe and various point repairs to sewer mainlines. Collection system staff inspected several miles of the new subdivision sewer mainline, as well as many other existing mainlines throughout town. They completed the annual cleaning of over 260 miles of high-pressure and gravity mainlines, which will increase the life of the sewer mains by reducing the gases that will corrode the pipes, and they replaced worn and uneven manholes and collars on many City streets.
The WPC Laboratory and Pretreatment personnel completed several hundred inspections of businesses and industrial users to ensure compliance with City of Pocatello ordinances. Staff also tested and analyzed the water entering and exiting the treatment facility to ensure full compliance with the limits set forth in our Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (IPDES) permit.
Pocatello Regional Transit:
In the fiscal year 2022, Pocatello Regional Transit (PRT) provided over 185,000 passenger trips representing about a 15 percent increase from 2021. In June, the department received a brand new 30-foot transit coach, the first new bus of this style since 2007. The bus is ADA accessible, can accommodate up to 45 passengers, and was funded 100 percent by the CARES Act grant from the Federal Transit Administration.
PRT also amended a 5310 Federal Transit Administration capital grant for the purpose of bus stop improvements. The grant federally funded 80 percent of the purchase for three new bus stop shelters and 250 bus stop signs in the Fixed Route system. Local match for the shelters was provided by the Gate City Rotary and Housing Alliance and Community Partnerships.
In 2023, PRT is looking to receive four cutaway-style buses that will be ADA-compliant. Three will be placed into the urban program and one into the rural program. These will replace buses that have over 300,000 miles. The project will be funded 80 percent by a 5339 grant from the Federal Transit Administration. PRT also plans to complete the implementation of the 100 percent CARES ACT-funded Intelligent Transportation System. The project will update the fixed-route and demand response mobile data terminals, dispatch software, and provide real-time passenger information features for citizens.
Pocatello Planning and Development Services Department:
FY22 has kept the Planning & Development Services Department active with numerous projects and applications. The Our Valley, Our Vision initiative for the Pocatello Comprehensive Plan 2040, a 20-year vision for Pocatello, has kept all planning staff busy this past year by interpreting community input to create goals and strategies for the future of the City into a document that is expected to be unveiled and adopted in the first half of 2023.
The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) received a grant through the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office’s Certified Local Government program for $15,000. This grant included $5,000 to host Idaho’s Heritage Conference which took place back in September 2022 and $10,000 to update the design guidelines for Pocatello’s Downtown Historic District which is currently underway. The HPC along with the Friends of the Brady Chapel, a new non-profit organization helping to raise money to restore the Brady Chapel, including a matching grant from the Idaho Heritage Trust. Both groups are continuing to solicit donations from the public and businesses as well as continuing to apply for grants including both non-matching and matching grants.
The City was awarded its first U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Assessment Grant. The grant award totals $500,000 and will provide funding to complete a site inventory as well as conduct Phase I and Phase II site assessments on un- or underdeveloped properties that may qualify as brownfields. EPA awarded 227 communities a total of $147.5 million in Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant funding. Pocatello received the only Assessment grant in Idaho and was one of three Idaho applicants awarded a grant.
FY22 marked the first year in which the newly adopted and HUD-approved CDBG Consolidated Plan was underway. The Consolidated Plan serves as the 5-year strategic plan to guide CDBG funding to assist low to moderate-income individuals and achieve the program goals to provide decent housing, create a suitable living environment, and expand opportunities for low- to moderate-income persons. CDBG administered funding from multiple program years, completing projects for Family Services Alliance, Saint Vincent de Paul, NeighborWorks Pocatello Mobile Home Rehabs, RENEWAL Rehab Loans and Grants, Lead Hazard Control Work, Aid for Friends, New Day Products, Salvation Army, and the Senior Activity Center,
In addition, the CDBG program administered nearly $200,000 in CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funding, providing local public service agencies with over $180,000 in grants to administer services that responded to, prepared for, and prevented COVID-19. CDBG-CV was also used to provide emergency rental and mortgage assistance to those qualifying applicants affected by the pandemic. Approximately $72,650 was granted through 64 transactions to cover monthly rent or mortgage payments for low and moderate-income residents in the community.
The City’s Lead Safe and Healthy Homes (LSHH) Program was fully underway in FY22. The City was awarded over $2.5M from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and began its program year in November of 2021. With the funding, the LSHH Program conducted EPA-certified Lead Abatement Worker and Supervisor training for over 20 local contractors and laborers. In addition, the City conducted an EPA Renovation Repair and Painting training for over 20 local contractors and workers in April. Throughout FY22, the LSHH program remediated lead hazards in 8 units, providing over $100,000 in lead hazard grants or an average grant of $13,634.06. All 8 of the properties also received Healthy Homes grants to provide needed health and safety repairs and supplies such as railings, code-compliant stairs, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and HEPA vacuums. Healthy Homes grants totaled over $19,000 for an average grant of about $2,500.