Pocatello’s Library Board has scheduled a special meeting to take place at 4:00 p.m. Thursday, August 5, 2021 in the Community Room of the Marshall Public Library at 113 S. Garfield Avenue, Pocatello, Idaho to discuss the budget.
Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad has responded to questions regarding a controversial email that City Council Member Claudia Ortega sent to Pocatello’s Human Resources Department Head Heather Buchanan last month. Ortega’s email contained, “…a list of potential positions to eliminate for streamlining purposes.” Along with the list of Pocatello city employees was a request for, “…the dollar amount associated to each one, so I can calculate total savings.”
After receiving questions from our readers, the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer asked Mayor Blad for his comments regarding two aspects of the email.
First, given that the mayor is the City’s executive officer in Pocatello, we noted that questions regarding hiring and firing of personnel would appear to be the mayor’s responsibility. We asked, “What are your thoughts about a city council member getting involved in recommending city employees for termination, especially with this specificity, and is such action appropriate?”
Blad replied, “It’s not unusual for a Councilmember to have recommendations or suggestions for any part of the City budget. What is unusual is a Councilmember naming names of specific employees they would consider laying off.”
We then asked, “Have you seen an impact on employee morale because of Ms. Ortega’s email, and, if so, what has it been?
Blad replied, “Given the nature of the list, it’d be hard not to have an impact on morale. City employees are dedicated to making Pocatello a fantastic place to call home and I thank them for their commitment. What I’ve heard from employees is they are anxious about what the future holds.”
The Pocatello City Council City will continue with budget discussions at their regularly scheduled meeting set for this coming Thursday, August 5, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Time has been set aside at the meeting to receive public comments on the proposed Fiscal Year 2022 City Budget. The agenda for the meeting, which contains links to relevant documents, can be found, here: Pocatello City Council Meeting, August 5, 2021
(Idaho Governor’s Office Press Release, July 30, 2021)
Boise, Idaho – Idahoans will begin receiving direct deposits or mailed checks in the form of income tax relief starting next week following the passage of Governor Brad Little’s historic tax relief package earlier this year.
The refunds are part of Governor Little’s “Building Idaho’s Future” plan to use our record budget surplus for tax relief and key investments in critical areas to keep up with the state’s unprecedented growth.
“Idaho’s economy continues to blow past projections. We are leading the country in economic prosperity. This year, we achieved the single largest tax cut in state history! We’ve returned your tax dollars with our record budget surplus,” Governor Little said. “These tax cuts boost Idahoans’ prosperity, and they keep our tax rates competitive and our business climate vibrant.”
Idahoans are benefitting from the single largest income tax cut in state history – $445 million for Idaho families and businesses, including $163 million in permanent, ongoing income tax cuts, and $8 million in ongoing property tax cuts offset by the General Fund.
“Curbing government spending should be the perpetual mission of public servants. Returning taxpayer dollars should always be our goal,” Governor Little added.
Last Wednesday evening, Idaho Coffee Company, Chubbuck’s latest coffee shop, held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of their new location, 322 Chubbuck Road. During the event, friends and family of the owners, Joe and Deidra Terrell, stopped by to offer their congratulations and to share their enthusiasm for the project.
The veteran owned, family owned, and locally owned coffee shop is scheduled to complete construction and begin serving customers in September. The store will feature two drive-thru windows allowing for quick service. Customers will be able to enjoy drip coffees, handcrafted specialty drinks, smoothies, and a variety of fresh baked goods made in-house, including gluten free, vegetarian, and organic options. Unique to Idaho Coffee Company will be offerings of hot or cold non-caffeine teas and coffees, along with paninis and harvest bowls.
Pocatello’s Senior Activity Center has posted their lunch menu and entertainment schedule for August.
Lunch, which includes a main course, sides, milk, and dessert, is served from noon until 1:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Musical entertainment begins at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, free dance lessons are provided on Thursdays starting at 1:00 p.m., and Jackpot Bingo is on Fridays beginning at 1:15 p.m.
(Idaho Governor’s Office Press Release, July 29, 2021)
Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little signed on to an amicus brief today related to a case before the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), seeking to protect the lives of preborn babies and restore state sovereignty.
“Protecting the lives of preborn babies has always been and will continue to be a priority of mine. I am also a defender of state sovereignty. My decision to join this lawsuit to protect lives and states’ rights reflects my conservative approach to constitutional interpretation. The ‘right’ to an abortion is a judicial creation. It is not a right expressed in the U.S. Constitution. I am asking the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify there is no constitutional right to an abortion and restore state sovereignty by allowing states to regulate all abortions consistent with the principles of democratic self-governance,” Governor Little said.
As of today, the governors of Idaho, Montana, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Iowa, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, and Oklahoma have joined a Governors’ amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case centers around a 2018 Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks except in medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality. Lower courts held that Mississippi’s law violated the holdings in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), in which non-elected justices recognized a right to abortion exists contrary to the text and original meaning of the Constitution.
The Governors’ amicus brief supports the State ofMississippi’s cert petition, which SCOTUS accepted, to determine whether “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
The Governors’ amicus brief requests SCOTUS overrule Roe and Casey because there is no constitutional right to an abortion and, according to the principle of federalism, rights not granted in the U.S. Constitution should be entrusted to states to control.
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated mask and face covering guidance and in consultation with Southeastern Idaho Public Health, the City of Pocatello will be requiring masks or face coverings at all indoor City facilities effective Thursday, July 29.
The policy requires City employees and citizens who enter City facilities and participate in indoor programs and activities to wear a mask or face covering. Masks continue to be required to ride Pocatello Regional Transit buses and for anyone entering Pocatello Regional Airport per President Joe Biden’s executive order.
For citizens participating in City of Pocatello sponsored programs and activities in outdoor spaces, face coverings are not required to be worn but the City is strongly encouraging individuals to maintain six feet of physical distancing.
The policy was announced at a news conference Wednesday with Southeastern Idaho Public Health District Director Maggie Mann, Portneuf Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Jordan Herget, and Dr. Dan Snell. During the news conference, all the participants highlighted the importance of getting vaccinated.
“We’ve seen the stories from around the nation of people begging for vaccines just before going on a ventilator,” said Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad. “My heart breaks for these people and their families. I pray that we won’t ever hear about one of these stories in Pocatello.”
“We have proven, safe, and effective vaccines against COVID-19,” said Maggie Mann, Southeastern Idaho Public Health District Director. “We strongly encourage people to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their families, and our communities.”
“The COVID-19 vaccines are clearly preventing COVID-19 infections, and in the few instances of breakthrough infection, they are preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and death among those who are vaccinated,” Jordan Herget, CEO of Portneuf Medical Center. “This has become a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated.’ Our current COVID-19 inpatients are more than 90 percent unvaccinated people. We continue to strongly encourage everyone in our community to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and work to dispel misinformation about the vaccines that threaten the lives of those who may be persuaded by these false claims.”
As of July 28, the vaccination rate for Bannock County was 49 percent, according to Southeastern Idaho Public Health.