Arco is a city in Butte CountyIdaho, United States. The population was 995 at the 2010 census. Arco is the county seat and largest city in Butte County.

Originally known as Root Hog, the original town site was five miles (8 km) south at the junction of two stagecoach lines (Blackfoot-Wood River and Blackfoot-Salmon). A suspension bridge that crossed the Big Lost River funneled traffic through the settlement. The town leaders applied to the U.S. Post Office for the town name of "Junction".

The Postmaster General thought the name too common and suggested that the place be named Arco for Georg von Arco (1869–1940) of Germany who was visiting Washington, D.C., at the time. Georg von Arco was an inventor and a pioneer in the field of radio transmission and would become the lead engineer of Telefunken, a German company founded in 1903 that produced radio vacuum tubes. The town later moved four miles southeast when the stage station was moved to Webb Springs at Big Southern Butte. When the Oregon Short Line Railroad arrived from Blackfoot in 1901 the stage lines became obsolete and the town of Arco moved northwest to its present site.

Arco was the first community in the world ever to be lit by electricity generated solely by nuclear power. This occurred for about an hour on July 17, 1955, powered by Argonne National Laboratory’s BORAX-III reactor at the nearby National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS), now the Idaho National Laboratory. NRTS made further history on January 3, 1961, when the SL-1 reactor was destroyed through an operator maintenance error, with the ensuing steam explosion causing the deaths of all three personnel present. It was the world's first and the United States' only fatal reactor accident.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long does it take to get a library card?

Our librarian will be able to supply you with a new library card the same day you apply.

Are electronic books available?

We do offer the use of the Overdrive App and we have books on CDs. 

Does the Library have

We do offer "story time" for younger children on Wednesday mornings at 10:30. 

What hours are we open?

We are open Monday - Thursday from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm and Friday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. We are closed Saturday and Sunday. 

City Hall

What hours is City Hall open?

City Hall is open from 9am - 4pm Monday -Friday and closed most Holidays

City Council Meetings are held at regular intervals the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month at the city office, 302 W Grand Ave. Meetings start at 7:00 pm

Meetings are subject to be cancelled or rescheduled due to holiday interference or lack of available council members, in which case, notice will be given to the public (via this website, Facebook and posted at City Hall).


May I burn trash and leaves inside the city limits?

No, not at the current time due to dry conditions in our county.  Please contact city hall if you have any questions.

Application Process

I am interested in applying for a job with the City of Arco, what do I do?

You will need to fill out an application if available.  Please ensure you meet the qualifications for the position you wish to be considered for.  If you would like to include a resume, simply attach it to the completed application. You may mail or drop off the application at City Hall.  Interviews will be scheduled accordingly.

Does the City of Arco hire part time employees?

Yes, we do hire part time employees.  Availability of these positions will be posted here when available.

Building Permits & Inspections

What is the process for getting a building permit?

Take a moment to read all required information provided. Then print and fill out the building permit application form and return to city hall.  Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email.  We will be happy to help you.

Sanitation & Recycling

When are the garbage collection days for my street?

Please refer to the monthly schedule. Remember, observed holidays will alter the normal routine.

Water Utilities

Water is not metered.

At the present time the City of Arco does not meter read water useage. Please follow the ordinance on water usage. If your address is an even number water on even days (2nd, 4th, 6th ect). If your address is an odd number water on odd days (1st, 3rd, 5th ect.) If a month has 31 days then no one waters on that day. 

My bill is past due can I get an extension?

Please contact our office (208-527-8294) and a one-time extension will be extended to you for extenuating circumstances. If your bill falls behind over $200 we will give you notice of a shut off. If this happens there is a $50 reconnect fee. 

What do I do if I am experiencing low pressure?

Check your meter and the surrounding area for possible leaks. Next, call our office and report low pressure for your area.

Why do I have a previous balance when I know I sent in my payment?

We may have received it after the due date or we may not have received it at all. Call our office and we will help you solve the problem.

Why is my water discolored?

A repair could have been completed recently allowing air to enter the line, causing the milky look.

New Resident Resources

How do I sign up to receive Alerts and News & Notices?

Simply click the "Sign Up for Alerts" button located ……fill out the brief form with your preferred contact information and click submit

Where do I go to vote?

All City elections are conducted by Butte County Clerk's Office please contact them for upcoming election information.  208-527-3021