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Posted on: December 22, 2021

Optional Forms of Government Study Commission to Hold a Public Hearing

Optional Government Hearing

Optional Forms of Government Study Commission to Hold a Public Hearing.

Dec. 22, 2021 – The Optional Forms of Government Study Commission of the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, at 5:30 PM, in room 1A/1B of the Kootenai County Administration Building, at 451 N. Government Way, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The purpose of this hearing is to give the public an opportunity to give its input on the recommendation presented by the alternative form of government proposal. The study commission would like to encourage residents to read the full recommendation and voice any concerns at the public hearing.

The Study Commission’s recommendation is as follows:

On July 3, 1890, Idaho became the 43rd state in the Union. In the original Idaho State Constitution, the form of county government was mandated as a three-person Board of County Commissioners who performed both administrative and legislative functions, combined with six co-equal elected officials who performed specific administrative functions that were limited in scope. In 1996, the Idaho State Legislature amended the Idaho State Constitution and passed into law the Optional Forms of County Government Act, Title 31, Chapters 50 through 58 (1) (“Act”). The stated purpose of the Act is "to establish optional forms of county government in compliance with Section 12, Article XVIII of the Idaho Constitution" (Idaho Code 31-5001).

Pursuant to Idaho Code 31-5101(1), the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners passed Resolution #2021-56 on May 11, 2021, authorizing a nine-member citizens' commission to “study the existing form of county government, compare it to other optional forms and submit a report and any recommendations for change to the board.” If the final report recommends one of the Act’s optional forms of county government, the Board of County Commissioners may submit the question at the next succeeding general election for the voters of Kootenai County to decide whether to retain the current form of county government or approve the proposed optional form of county government.

The citizens’ study commission met weekly for nearly six months collecting information about the structure and operations of Kootenai County's government. Based on this information, a majority of the citizens’ study commission supported a recommendation to change the current form of county government from a three-member board of county commissioners with six elected “row” officials to a commission-manager form of government, as authorized under IC 31-5301–5312, with a five-member elected board of county commissioners, a manager appointed by the board of county commissioners, and no changes to the county’s six elected “row” officials.

More specifically, a majority of the citizens’ study commission support the following recommendation(s):

1. Change the structure from the current three-member Board of Commissioners to the Commission-Manager form of government (IC 31-5301–5312). This form is “governed by an elected Board of County Commissioners and a manager appointed by the Board.”

o The manager shall be the county budget officer and shall be responsible for the performance of the duties of the county budget officer as provided in chapter 16, title 31, Idaho Code, and any other provisions of law imposing duties upon the county budget officer (IC 31-5303-4).

2. Change the size of the Board of Commissioners to five members (IC 31-5304).

o The additional members shall be elected for a term of two (2) years, with the allotment of the four-year term between the entire commission to proceed in numerical rotation in accordance with the provisions of section 31-703, Idaho Code (IC 31-5305-2).

3. The County Clerk shall continue to be elected to a term of four (4) years and to perform all the duties and responsibilities of the office (IC 31-5307). [Per IC 31-5303-4, The County Clerk will no longer be the county budget officer.]

4. The County Treasurer shall continue to be elected to a term of four (4) years and to perform all the duties and responsibilities of the office (IC 31-5308).

5. The County Assessor shall continue to be elected to a term of four (4) years and to perform all the duties and responsibilities of the office (IC 31-5309).

6. The County Sheriff shall continue to be elected to a term of four (4) years and to perform all the duties and responsibilities of the office (IC 31-5310).

7. The County Coroner shall continue to be elected to a term of four (4) years and to perform all the duties and responsibilities of the office (IC 31-5311).

8. The County Prosecuting Attorney shall continue to be elected to a term of four (4) years and to perform all the duties and responsibilities of the office (IC 31-5312).

More information on the Study Commission can be found at:

Optional Forms of Government Webpage

The public hearing can also be watched on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/kootenaicountyidaho

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Study Commission Contact Information:
kcofg@kcgov.us

The recommendation can be found here.
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