Despite protests, LIDs approved

Opposition means three measures will now go to county commissioners

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They considered the protests, but the East Side Highway District commissioners were still intent on Monday to ask locals to pitch in on costly road projects.

The officials voted unanimously at a Monday meeting to uphold their previous approval of three local improvement districts totaling half a million dollars, which will match federal dollars for overlays in Coeur d'Alene and Harrison.

"If we let them (the roads) go too long, they have to go back to gravel," said Commissioner Terry Sverdsten.

The highway district has received opposition letters from approximately 200 residents who would have to contribute to the LIDs. But the commissioners don't want to lose out on one-time federal funding that would cover at least 80 percent of the three projects, said Commissioner Ron Edinger.

"We've been talked to as though our morals, that we have no ethics to pass these," Edinger said. "But this is one situation where if we don't take this money, which is your money and our money, we're not going to have this opportunity again."

The LIDs aren't set in stone yet, however.

The number of protest letters from permanent residents in the LIDs - who only comprise 241 of the 704 that would have to contribute - requires that the three measures be passed on to the Kootenai County commissioners for review.

District staff said the county has 180 days to uphold or reject the LIDs.

The overlays, which would cost a total $3.9 million, are planned for sections of Sunnyside Road in Coeur d'Alene and O'Gara and Burma roads in Harrison.

The district only has to pay a 12 percent match of federal funds provided.

The roughly 40 individuals who attended Monday's meeting were rankled by the commissioners' decision.

"You may listen to the people, but you don't hear," said Jim Sharron, whose property is included in the O'Gara LID, after the vote.

Cheryl Marcheso, affected by the Sunnyside LID, said she will look into legal means to halt the LIDs.

"It's opening a door for future LID assessments. I don't believe it's legal," she said.

Lorna Casey-Kaiser, who has petitioned against the measures, said she will keep hitting the streets to rouse opposition.

"I will be running for this district in May," she said. "We need to find other people who will not be about tax and spend."

Individuals who would be impacted by the LIDs have said they would have to contribute from as little as $200 to as high as $6,000.

The commissioners said Monday they will make sure no one has been left out of the LIDs who would benefit from them.

They will also look for other revenue sources to ease the individuals' burdens, said Commissioner Jimmie Dorsey.

"We will continue to look at changes that need to be done," Dorsey said.

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