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City staff discusses capital expenses in upcoming budget: New fire engine, animal control truck among asks
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City staff discusses capital expenses in upcoming budget: New fire engine, animal control truck among asks

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Downtown Twin Falls

City Hall is seen Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in downtown Twin Falls.

TWIN FALLS — Employees presented City Council with some of the capital expenses included in the recommended budget for fiscal year 2022 during a meeting Monday evening.

City Manager Travis Rothweiler presented the council with this recommended budget of $69.3 million during last week’s meeting. This budget amount is roughly 4.8% smaller than the ongoing fiscal year’s budget of $72.8 million.

During Monday’s meeting, Library Director Tara Bartley told the council that the library is seeking funding to replace its air handling unit, which was installed when the library underwent renovations in 1991.

According to the recommended budget document available on the city’s website, this will cost $120,000. The library is also requesting $30,000 to complete improvements to the sidewalk outside the library, which has been damaged by tree roots.

Fire Chief Les Kenworthy told the council that his department plans to use some of the federal funding the city received through the CARES Act, which was a $2.2 trillion stimulus package Congress passed last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to help cover the cost of a new fire engine.

Kenworthy told the council that one of the department’s existing trucks has 12,000 hours of use over the last 15 years, which he estimated is the equivalent of 700,000 miles in the life of a car. The engine could cost around $750,000.

The department is also requesting funding for a breathing system budgeted at $30,500 and a communication system budgeted at $8,500.

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Sean Standley, the city’s code enforcement coordinator, told the council his department’s budget includes $80,000 to purchase a new animal control truck. The department’s existing truck has driven 127,000 miles, and is equipped with only one kennel to hold animals.

The truck the department is requesting funds to purchase is equipped with six kennels with air conditioning and heating. The truck also has a lift that can raise large animals off the ground.

To illustrate why the latter is needed, Standley played the council a video clip of code enforcement officers trying to get a large pig into the existing truck.

The police department is also requesting funding for new vehicles. The department’s budget includes an allocation of $135,000 to purchase two patrol vehicles.

In addition to the vehicles, the department is requesting $16,000 to add four lockers to its women’s locker room. The department has only 22 lockers for its 30 female employees.

The department is also requesting funding to replace patrol equipment and add on to a refrigerated storage unit that holds certain types of evidence, such as sexual assault kits, which state law requires departments to store for up to 55 years

Employees from other city departments will similarly present the council with their budget proposals in the coming weeks. City Council will adopt a preliminary budget Aug. 9, followed by a public hearing and final adoption of the budget Aug. 23.

The full recommended budget is available on the city’s website. Members of the public can comment on the budget during each City Council meeting leading up to the document’s adoption.

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