Stanford Town Council passes FY17 budget, chooses next street project

By VICKY MCCRAY

Special to the News-Argus

 

At their August meeting, which was held Aug. 15, a week later than usual, the Stanford Town Council voted to accept Resolutions 2017-01, 2017-02 and 2017-03. The items surrounding these resolutions were discussed at the July meeting.

The first resolution addresses the FY16 budget amendments (the transferring and correction of expenditures within the budget), the second the FY17 salary resolution and the third the FY17 budget. Information for the first resolution was reported in last month’s Town Council article; it can be found in the July 21 issue of the Press. The salary adjustments were reported in the June 23 issue of the Press. Both of these papers are still available at the Press office if anyone would like more information.

For the FY17 budget, Kelly had the new taxable value for Stanford; the Department of Revenue has set it at $415,532, giving each mill a value of $415.53. She told the Council the General Fund is 124.67 mills, street, which will raise $10,000, is 24.07 mills and permissive medical is 7.26 mills.

Tess Brady spoke under public comment expressing the need for a specific project for the Street Committee. She put the question to the Council, who suggested the school street, 4th Avenue South, would be the best street for repair. First Street is definitely in need of work, but as Councilwoman Leah Kay Roane noted, it still needs sewer repair; it does not make sense to repair the street before the sewer is done. 

Fourth Avenue South will be the next Street Committee project.

Under correspondence, the Council learned their grant application was received by the Treasure State Endowment Program. Along with this correspondence was a copy of a letter sent to Robert Peccia and Associates, the Town’s engineering firm, asking for clarification on specific areas in the application. Engineer Gary Swanson responded to the letter. Kelly did not read Swanson’s response publicly.

A second letter was the result of a visit Mayor Rose Schindler had with City Attorney Jim Hubble. It addresses Stephanie Hedrick’s waterline issue with the Town, a dispute over who actually caused the leak. The attorney had in his possession a copy of a letter Hedrick wrote to the Council; it was dated July 5, 2016, and a bill from Youderian Construction for $2,000 was attached.

In Hubble’s opinion “… unless and until the Youderian employees who actually performed the work appear at the Town Council meeting to describe the work they did for Hedrick, and unless and until Miss Hedrick presents the signed affidavit she mentioned in her letter to the Council for review, the Council cannot make a decision on whether to pay any part of the bill.” 

Hubble went on to say: “Also it is my opinion that Youderian Construction should present an itemized bill describing the work that it did for the Council’s review. Until after the Council has had an opportunity to review further documentary evidence and has an opportunity to interview the employees who performed the work, the Town should not agree to pay any part of the bill.” 

Hedrick was on the meeting’s agenda under old business and was in attendance when the letter was read. She had not seen or heard it until Kelly read it publicly. She had a question for City Man Dale Zuck, which did not prove valuable in settling her dispute with the Council. Schindler reiterated the need for Hedrick to bring the Youderian employees to a Council meeting. She said she felt the next step would be court.

In additional old business, the safety policy agenda item was tabled.

Under new business, Superintendent Tim Dolphay had two requests of the Council. The first asked the Council permission to use the swimming pool for the school’s health and P.E. classes through Labor Day, Sept. 2. He proposed a similar agreement to years past, the school paying for propane for the time they use it.

Kelly read the agreement the school has had with the Council for the pool. It includes allowing the school to use the pool free of charge, but the school is responsible for providing certified lifeguards, propane and liability coverage for the time they use it. 

Dolphay accepted the agreement and the Council moved to sign it.

The Council asked Pool Manager Sarah Bracha how many lifeguards the school would need. She said if the P.E. teacher has first aid and CPR certification, they only need one. She added she may be available herself at times; otherwise, the school will need to take a summer lifeguard out of class to provide the service.

Dolphay’s second request involved the Council’s obtaining a certificate of insurance and a new yearly agreement for the use of the skating rink at the school. He is hoping the rink can be filled and put to use earlier than it was available last year. Dolphay also thanked Zuck for keeping the rink mowed this summer.

Kelly told Dolphay the Council would be sent a certificate of insurance once they signed a letter from their insurance company referring to the contract between the Town and the Stanford School. 

The Council moved to sign the letter from their insurance company allowing for the skating rink agreement.

Sheila Dixson was on the agenda, but she was not in attendance.

Kim Holzer, representing the Judith Basin Chamber of Commerce, questioned the Council about payment for using Stanford City Hall for a community meeting with Montana State Parks to gather concerns and feedback on the future of Ackley Lake State Park. She was quoted a fee of $100 for light and heat. Holzer did not think the Chamber should have to pay the complete amount, as they did not use any heat or the kitchen, only the big room. She explained she had left the room the way she had found it.

She also explained she had received a call from Kelly wondering if the Chamber would be willing to make a trade with the Town for Chamber dues, which are $50. (The Council did not pay the Chamber invoice when they paid the rest of the claims.) This would make the fee $50. Holzer did not have the authority to make the trade.

Holzer feels the rate is high when the renting organization does not use the kitchen.

The Council noted they have set the rates and stood by the fee. Holzer paid the $100 but suggested the Council look at providing a rate for the big room without the kitchen.

Councilman Cody Swanson asked Holzer why the Town had to pay Chamber dues. After hearing her explanation, he moved to pay the dues. The motion passed.

Jim Walsh reported he will mow the cemetery one more time and trim some bushes and trees before he gets the equipment ready for winter and stored. He said he wants to trim the caraganas at City Park and he and Sharon Zirschky would be glad to do it as volunteers. Bracha suggested he get help from the Stanford students involved in BPA and Honor Society; they are looking for community service projects.

Bracha reported the swimming season has been a good one, with three weeks to go including the school’s use (as of Aug. 15). She was pleased with the lifeguards and the way they got along. They even wanted to spend a night at the pool, which they were allowed, and they wanted to be involved with the Geezers’ pool fundraiser. They provided cans for swimmers to vote (with change) on their favorite lifeguard. The one with the most money at the end of the designated time would be duct taped to the pool wall. Bracha wondered who would purchase the tape, and the kids said they would supply it. She said they raised $45 and with additional funds provided from the sale of fry bread during the Geezers fundraiser, the lifeguards want to purchase a flashing strobe light for the pool.

Bracha has spoken to Marian Permann, who used to manage the Stanford pool. She will get the information Bracha needs in order to certify as a lifeguard trainer. Bracha is excited about the certification, as it will prove a helpful asset to the pool. She will keep the Council updated on this issue.

Zuck reported all the wells are running, and the tower is about two-thirds full. Water restrictions are still in effect for morning and night watering. The sewer is in good shape and the streets are ongoing.

Zuck asked the Council to allow young John Bracha to continue working with him for 11 hours per week until school starts. His mother said they could also have him during school for a while because he is looking at a work release from school. Zuck said street repair works best with two people.

The Council moved to pay Bracha for 4 hours per day until school starts and for 2 hours per day after school starts through Sept. 15.

Kelly reported the tower had been cleaned but still needs painting. The company will be back next year to paint inside the tower. Zuck explained the Council needs to put a circulator in the tower to keep the ice that forms in it during the winter from sliding up and down on the pipe that houses the ladder; this action tears off the paint. He has not yet seen a price for the circulator.

Roane commented on a new tree in the park. It had a white pine weevil. Extension Agent Katie Hatlelid cut out the part that was infested.

Councilman Kent Ridgeway said he has had a few residents visit with him about their concerns for the weed spray used by Jim Sparks. He has purchased the old service station next to the old Sundown Inn and moved his spray business there. Everyone agreed chemical regulations should be checked.

Schindler thanked Ridgeway for sitting in the dunking booth at the Geezers fundraiser, and all of the Council thanked Walsh, who serves as the Geezers vice-president, for the group’s hard work and dedication to the pool and park.

The next meeting of the Stanford Town Council is set for Monday, Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

The meeting was adjourned at 9 p.m.

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