PAYETTE — While school may be out and summer upon us, Mayor Jeff Williams presented members of the Payette City Council with a homework assignment during its regular meting on Monday: How to clean up the Payette City Code.

During his “Mayor’s comments” segment, Williams presented each councilor with a different section of the code to research. The object of their assignment is to identify laws and language that the city and its residents can potentially do without.

Williams said the idea came about because a previous discussion on how to address the topic did not lead to a consensus.

“We had talked about reviewing our ordinances and I said I would come back with a proposal; I looked at how many chapters per page and I tried to break it down so you all have a similar number of chapters,” said Williams. “I just kinda did it by pages per councilor.”

In assigning the task to his councilors, Williams tried to assign sections that matched each councilor’s experience; He noted that Councilor Mike Kee had served on the Payette Planning and Zoning Commission, for example.

“This is what I’m recommending because we couldn’t come to a decision the other night,” he said.

Williams advised councilors to be prepared to discuss their findings during the next regular meeting on June 21.

Tablet devices given to councilors

As technology finds its way into city halls around the country, such has made itself known in Payette’s council chambers; During his comments, Williams also announced that councilors will no longer be given printed copies of the agenda packet for each meeting, as they have each been issued with tablet computers to receive it.

“I would think … maybe there are some here who aren’t quite as literate in technology as others,” Williams noted. “We may want to … start a half-hour early before our next meeting, and have maybe  a little tutorial.”

Councilor Ray Wickersham expressed his willingness to spend time on such a lesson.

“These things, it’s easy to do but not until you learn how,” said Wickersham. 

Williams noted that deploying the tablets will save time and paper and reduce the burden on city staff.

“You’re probably gonna have to grab a scratch pad; I will, because I always make little notes,” he said, to which Wickersham suggested councilors could also type notes into a word document on the same device.

Councilor Lori Steiniker joked that she would be able to teach councilors how to use the devices. Otherwise, the council will meet before its regular meeting on June 21 to learn about how to use the devices. According to city clerk Mary Cordova, the tablets cost less than $100 each and are paid for through Idaho COVID-19 relief funds.

Similar devices are already in use by the Fruitland City Council.

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