BOISE – If you've ever been to the town of Atlanta, Idaho, you know there is no easy way to get there. Come winter, it's even harder.
As it stands right now it might be near impossible once the snow falls because the Atlanta Highway District and the Boise County commissioners don't have an agreement to plow snow on the only usable road into town.
Here's the problem -- people in Atlanta, which is in Elmore County, use a Boise County road to get in and out. That road is Arrowrock Road to Middlefork Road.
For the past 20 years or more, Boise County paid the Atlanta Highway District to clear its portion of the road during the winter. But this year, Boise County says it doesn’t have the money.
"We're currently having very little success in negotiating a contract with Boise County commissioners," said Allen Lake, who is the Chair of the Atlanta Highway District Board of Commissioners.
There are only three roads into Atlanta. One road goes to Featherville, a dangerous road in the summer, and nearly impassible to everything but a snowmobile in the winter.
The other roads go through Boise County. One road goes over two summits and is a hard road to drive on during the winter. The other follows the Middle Fork of the Boise River.
Last year, Boise County paid the Atlanta Highway District $50,000 to maintain and plow the road, an expense that cost the district a total of $51,000, and that's in a light snow year. In typical years it can cost upwards of $15,000 over the contract price.
This year, Boise County said it would pay only $40,000, a figure rejected by the Atlanta Highway District.
"I'm sure that they're trying to do the best they can for Boise County, and since they're experiencing serious financial issues in Boise County, they're hoping to save some money," said Lake.
The Boise County commissioners talked about this during their meeting on Tuesday.
The plan now is to reach out to the Elmore County commissioners to try and find a solution.
But if one can't be found, the 32 full-time residents in Atlanta are concerned about what will happen when the snow falls.
If the road isn’t plowed, that means no emergency vehicles, no service vehicles, no mail, no personal travel and no groceries.
"We're all worried, all of our residents and all of our board members are quite concerned because this has not happened for about 20 years," said Lake.
The chair of the Boise County Commission did not want to talk with us Friday, but said they will send a letter to Elmore County in the near future with the hopes of getting everyone to sit down at the table and figure this out to avoid Atlanta being snowed in.
Before Atlanta created its highway district back in the 1990s, there were times when the mailman took donations to plow the road during the winter.