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    Aaron Qualls

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Mayor Rognstad

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News from the desk of the Mayor:

Mayor's Roundtable

Post Date:02/21/2018 8:18 AM

I hope all had a happy holiday season.  As is customary at this time of year, I’d like to share a brief “State of The City” to celebrate a few successes in 2017 and give you a heads up on developments underway in 2018.

Last year the City completed Phase 2 of the Fiber project.  We signed 3 providers onto our network, increasing competition in the local market which resulted in higher speeds and more affordable internet for Sandpoint.  Expect to see improved service to homes and small business later this year.

Notable public works projects included the downtown street 2-way reversion, the Schweitzer Cut-off Roundabout and bridge project and the Phase 1 sewer replacement on 1st Ave.

The Strategic Planning Initiative kicked off in 2017 with Council and our leadership team.  Fiscal resilience, increased transparency and better public engagement were three primary goals prioritized by City leadership.  To meet these goals, Council passed the City’s first Financial Reserve Policy, ensuring the city has the means to meet financial obligations in the midst of economic downturns, emergencies and other unforeseen financial challenges.  The City contracted with Opengov to enhance financial transparency for the public while enabling data driven decision making for City leadership.  Included in Opengov is an online forum, Open Town Hall, which gives the City enhanced outreach and engagement capacity on any number of issues.

Finally, I have initiated a Mayor’s Roundtable giving the public a monthly opportunity to meet with me to discuss updates and issues important to the City.  Previously “Lunch with the Mayor,” the Mayor’s Roundtable is now meeting at 8am on the last Friday of the month at Cedar St. Bistro (next one is Friday, January 26th).

The City’s Strategic Planning Initiative will continue in 2018 with the Citizen Survey.  This will be the test run of Open Town Hall and will give the public the opportunity to provide valuable feedback to City Council on City priorities, levels of service and other important issues.

Open Town Hall will also be used to invite public feedback on continued planning for the UofI Boyer property.  After completing the Comp Plan Map Revision in late 2017, a more detailed analysis is underway to develop a plan that can accomplish the goals identified in the Comp Plan revision.

Downtown Revitalization will continue this year as bids go out soon for construction of Phase 1, Cedar St. from 5th to 2nd.   Phase 2 of sewer replacement project will complete the sewer main on 1st from Bridge St. to Cedar and
2nd.  Design and scope of work for 2nd Phase of Downtown Revitalization will also be done this year and will include Farmin’s Landing along Sandcreek.   It will also give special consideration to the 1st and Bridge/Church intersection to ensure the best outcome for safety and traffic flow.  There will be ample opportunity to participate in all these planning efforts through public workshops and the Open Town Hall online platform.

Wastewater treatment is another major issue facing the city in 2018.  The City has contracted JUB to assist in developing a plan.  The City’s wastewater treatment facility is at the end of its useful life.  Now is the time for the City to plan for a new facility that can meet future growth and future permits which are likely to have heightened discharge standards.  Thoughtful planning can ensure least impact on future utility rates.  Two locations are currently being considered, the existing site at Lakeview Park and the Baldy site where the disc golf course is located.  Public input will be sought after the plan develops over the next couple months.

2018 will include a revision of the Parks Master Plan.  Special consideration will be given to City Beach, Farmin’s Landing and Sandcreek Lot.  The purpose of the plan is to identify opportunities to improve our parks to better meet the needs of the public.  The Little Sandcreek Watershed will also be considered in the plan.  There may be economic and quality of life benefits to be gained from expanded use of the City’s watershed.

To discuss these topics in greater depth please join me:  The Mayor’s Roundtable, Jan. 26th, Cedar ST Bistro, 8am.

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Mayor Rognstad at deskShelby Rognstad was born and raised in Lewiston, Idaho.  A fourth generation Idahoan, Shelby moved to Sandpoint in 1999.  Shelby first came here to practice permaculture after graduating with a liberal arts degree from the University of Idaho in 1998.  In 2006, he opened Common Knowledge Bookstore and Café.  In addition to selling new and used books, it served breakfast and lunch using locally sourced and organic foods. In 2013, Shelby co-founded The Hive, an entertainment venue in downtown Sandpoint.  Since 2012, Shelby has worked in real estate holding and private lending in North Idaho and Eastern Washington. 

Shelby served on the steering committee and Board of Directors for Sandpoint Transition Initiative (2007-2008) and has supported other local nonprofits, including Sandpoint Community Radio, the Public Forum on Sustainability, Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper and the Eureka Institute.  He practices yoga and Vipassanā Meditation and has volunteered at Vipassanā Meditation Centers in Washington, British Columbia and Puerto Rico.   He is active year round in sports and outdoor activities. 


Shelby’s public service began in 2007 when he was appointed to the Sandpoint Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee.  In 2009, he was appointed to the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission.  He served as Vice Chair until he was appointed to the City Council by Mayor Ogilvie on January 18, 2012.  Shelby was elected City Council President in February of 2014.  In November of 2015, he was elected Mayor and was sworn in on January 6, 2016.


Education and Workforce Training: 

While in office, Mayor Rognstad intends to work with employers, educators and community leaders to develop workforce training and higher education opportunities in Sandpoint.  The Mayor recognizes the importance and value of North Idaho College and the PTECH (Pathways to Technology in Early College High School) program in Sandpoint.  Sandpoint is fortunate to have excellent options in K-12 education.  However, more needs to be done to foster greater opportunities for youth and to develop an educated, skilled workforce in Sandpoint’s growing technology and health care industries.  For these reasons, supporting PTECH and the growth of NIC locally are high priorities.


In recent years, Sandpoint has seen significant growth in technology related industries.  Aerospace, biomedical and information technology, in particular, have taken a foothold.  High tech employers provide high paying jobs that serve a global market.  The result is an increasingly diversified economy that ensures economic stability.  The Mayor intends to continue to support these growing industries and attract new employers to Sandpoint.  By serving the needs of existing companies and leveraging assets, the City will retain quality employers and attract the right kind of growth and development in the future.   


Mayor Rognstad is committed to improving the quality of life in Sandpoint.  This requires a commitment to sustaining environmental health for which Sandpoint has taken many steps in recent years.  We’ve partnered with Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper to develop an herbicide-free weed management program for the lake.  We’ve created a city-wide zoning code which encourages multimodal connectivity, energy efficiency, community oriented design and reduces our carbon footprint.  Looking forward, the Mayor intends to reduce herbicide use in city parks, complete the implementation of the City’s storm water management plan and ensure long term protection of the City’s watershed. 


From the mountain to the lake, Sandpoint boasts many recreational opportunities.  Residents and visitors alike have long enjoyed the benefits of our signature assets: Lake Pend Oreille and Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort.  However, recent additions like the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail, the Sand Creek Trail and the Watershed Crest Trail have been welcomed additions to our world class park system.  Mayor Rognstad will continue to develop opportunities like these in the future. 

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