Historically, Boundary County
has relied on natural resource extraction-based industries and government
agencies to employ its workforce. Boundary County’s major employers are: the
U.S. Forest Service, Boundary County government, Boundary Community Hospital,
Boundary Regional Health Center, the Kootenai Tribe, Boundary County School
District and Riley Creek Lumber Company, Inc.
In 2002, per capita personal
income was $18,316.
In recent years, the local
economy has been affected by the closure of several of the larger employers in
the county. In 2002, Louisiana Pacific Corporation shut down the Bonners Ferry
Mill in Bonners Ferry. In 2004, the Brown Schools, the county’s largest
employer, shut their doors in Boundary County. The closures of Brown Schools put
more than 400 people out of work. These
schools are currently in the process of reopening under new ownership.
Boundary County encourages the
development of safe, adequate housing for residents, but it limits restrictions
to the minimum requirements of state and federal law. While recognizing the
value of the Uniform Building Code, Boundary County planners do not mandate
compliance with the code in the construction of residential structures.
Two major utility corridors pass through the county. The Pacific Gas Transmission Company pipeline delivers
natural gas destined for southern California from Alberta, Canada.
This pipeline traverses the county from north to south.
The line currently consists of two parallel pipes, with immediate plans
to add a third pipe into the loop.
A Bonneville Power electric
transmission line ties Libby Dam into the grid with dams along the Columbia
River. There are electric
transmission lines connecting the Smith Creek Hydroelectric plant and the Moyie
River Dam with the Bonneville Power system.
Water, Sewer, Solid Waste Disposal For domestic water, Boundary County depends on a number
of water systems. Most domestic
water is taken from surface water sources.
The city of Bonners Ferry has a large system that supplies both the South
Hill Water and North Water Districts. The
city system takes water out of Myrtle Creek, and during high use periods or
emergencies, water is taken out of the Kootenai River.
In 2005, Bonners Ferry will merge with South Hill water and will be owned
by the city.
Other communities and groups of
residences get their water from the City of Moyie, Three-Mile Water Association,
Cabinet Mountains Water, Bee Line Water Association, Skin Creek Water, Paradise
Valley Association, Mission Creek Water, Twenty-Mile Water, the Moravia water
system or other sources.
Bonners Ferry and Moyie Springs
has sewage collection and treatment systems.
The remainder of the county depends on septic systems for sewage
The county operates a landfill
to dispose of solid waste and also collects recyclable items and material.
Solid waste is collected from 50 dumpster boxes situated at 17 key points
around the county, or through curbside collection in Bonners Ferry.
One dumpster site is manned. The non-staffed drop sites allow
uncontrolled disposal where hazardous materials can be simply dropped in the
dumpster. Such uncontrolled
disposal poses risks to others using the drop site, and to workers who make the
collection for transfer to the landfill.
The landfill is operated under a
small community exemption and has an estimated life expectancy of 10 to 12 more
years at current rates of filling. When
this landfill is full, the county will have to collect garbage at transfer
sites, and transport the garbage to an approved site somewhere outside the
county, and most likely outside the state.
Communication is the primary telephone service in Boundary County. Verizon also
is the primary cell phone service. Cell phone service is limited due to the lack
of cell phone towers and mountainous terrain.
Commercial TV/Radio Boundary
County has a commercial radio AM/FM station. This service can also simulcast to
Sandpoint since the parent radio station is in Sandpoint, 28 miles south of
Bonners Ferry. The radio station has an office and transmits live radio shows
from Bonners Ferry. Boundary County Emergency Management and the Bonners Ferry
Police Department use this mode of communication frequently for public address
A television translator station
is located on one of Boundary County’s most visible and highest peaks. The
translator broadcasts Idaho Public TV/Radio and the four primary commercial
televisions stations from Spokane Washington, 90 miles south of Bonners Ferry.
Bonners Ferry also has a
television franchise within the city limits. The company currently having this
contract is TimeWarner Communication.
Boundary County has high speed DSL in parts of the county. The determining factor is residence distance from the phone switch. The limit is three miles from a switch.