BOISE – People in the small town of Atlanta have a little more hope Friday that when winter comes they'll be able to get in and out of their town.
When we first reported this story on Nov. 8, Boise County and the Atlanta Highway District could not come to an agreement to plow the only usable road into town.
The three players in this whole scenario that are working to make sure people in Atlanta can get to and from town are the Elmore County commissioners, the Atlanta Highway District and Boise County commissioners.
They all met at the Statehouse Friday morning for about an hour and a half. In that meeting they were able to hash out a tentative agreement.
In the winter, Arrow Rock Road, off Highway 21, is the only road in and out of Atlanta.
It's difficult to maintain in the non-winter months and doesn’t get any easier when the snow falls.
Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, moderated the discussion over who would pay for maintaining the 38 miles of road. With everyone at the table, including the Idaho Association of Highway Districts to help aide the process, the groups reached a tentative agreement.
Long term, that verbal agreement would turn all the responsibility of the road and the money that portion receives through taxes, from Boise County to the Atlanta Highway District.
Short term, the counties will split the costs for this winter.
"Should it go through the way it was described today, I'd be happy with it," said Allen Lake, chair of the Atlanta Highway District Board of Commissioners.
About 16 people from Atlanta attended the meeting, that's roughly half of the town's population.
"I think they've found a path to pursue now rather than three entities fighting with each other and I think that short term contract is a way to start," said Atlanta resident Richard Forney.
When the meeting ended, all parties liked where this agreement is going.
"I enjoyed the interaction and I think that's what we in Idaho do. As counties we sit down at the table and we cuss and discuss and then we come to solutions," said Barbara Balding, chair of the Boise County Board of Commissioners.
With the tentative agreement, the Idaho Association of Highway Districts plans to put together a working contract by Dec. 13. From there the hope is to have something finalized by the end of February.
If the two counties agree to transfer the responsibility of the road, it may require a change to Idaho code.
If it does, it will be brought up in the upcoming legislative session.