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Pocatello Mayor shares successes from last year while looking forward to 2022

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POCATELLO — Pocatello’s mayor announced several steps taken toward more efficient operations during a hectic 2021.

In his annual State of the City address at Thursday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Brian Blad highlighted the city’s progress, adding some things to watch for in the coming year.

As he went through the city’s accomplishments, department by department, Blad took the opportunity to laud the efforts of the city staff as a whole — workers he called “top-notch.”

“You don’t get better employees, and more dedicated employees,” he said less than six weeks removed from winning a bid for re-election in a run-off. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with them.”

Those employees unveiled a new, modernized city website last year – one which includes photos and art provided by local contributors. The new website is designed not only with a more visually appealing presentation in mind, but also a more user-friendly experience.

A new city department also made things a bit more user-friendly.

According to Blad’s address, the Fleet Services Department implemented a standardized preventative maintenance program. The program allows mechanics, employed by the city, to maintain nearly 600 fleet assets at industry-standards — preventing the city from outsourcing that maintenance.

The department plans to incorporate alternative-energy vehicles into the city fleet beginning this year.

The police department, which will soon welcome its newest K9 officer Thor to the streets, is targeting a reorganization in 2022. As Blad explained, the department intends to combine animal control, code enforcement, and licensing and parking officers into a single unit — Ordinance Enforcement — with the intention of improving responsiveness.

The department will also be adding a dedicated, full-time Internet Crimes Against Children officer in 2022.

Directed at efficiency, the sanitation department introduced Routeware — an asset management program designed to create more efficient routes and processes.

The streets department replaced 250-watt street light fixtures with new 73-watt LED fixtures at the intersection of U.S. 30 and North Main Street. The new fixtures require less energy and will require less maintenance.

Pocatello Rapid Transit will undergo its own efficiency upgrade in 2022, when it updates its fixed-route transportation system. The new system will provide users with real-time passenger data and will be fully funded through CARES Act money.

In the private sector, more than 30 local businesses and organizations received assistance from the city’s small business grant system in 2021 to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. That assistance was provided through funds allocated from state assistance.

Blad rounded out his address by telling citizens that the city and its finances are in “extremely good shape.”

“The city of Pocatello is in a very good position as we move forward into 2022 and beyond,” he said. “I’m excited to see what we bring this next year.”

NEW COUNCIL MEMBER

Josh Mansfield sworn in to fill Pocatello City Council Seat No. 4
Josh Mansfield is sworn in to fill the City Council seat No. 4 by city clerk Konni Kendell at the City Council meeting Thursday. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

Prior to the City Council meeting, three members of the council and the mayor were sworn in after victorious campaigns.

Incumbent council members Linda Leeuwrik and Rick Cheatum were joined by the only new face on the dais, Josh Mansfield, who replaced former council chair Heidi Adamson. Adamson did not run for re-election.

With her departure from the council, Adamson was replaced as chair by Cheatum, who was chosen via unanimous vote by the council.

Blad, who defeated challenger David Worley in a run-off election, was sworn in for his fourth term as mayor.

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