Stanford Town Council updated on water project

By: 
Vicky McCray
Special to the News-Argus

    At its Dec. 12 meeting, the Stanford Town Council received information from the Town’s engineer, Gary Swanson, and notification from the State of Montana concerning Stanford’s upcoming water project. The Stanford water project has been approved for a DNRC grant for $125,000; however, the project is only ranked 81st. The low ranking is a good indication Stanford will not be awarded the grant. Swanson will contact the agency to see why the project was ranked so low; typically the cut-off rank is 24.

Stanford was rated 16th for a TSEP grant, which is for $500,000. Swanson told the Council they will need to send representation to the legislature when the TSEP hearings are held. He did not have a specific date, but it will be some time in January.

Swanson plans on attending the Council’s January meeting to let members know what comes next for the project and how much money it looks as though the Town will have to borrow to complete it. Swanson noted two possible outlets for the loan – DNRC or CRF (Community Reinvestment Fund) – although he is leaning toward the latter. 

For the January meeting the Council is training for their role in a town emergency with DES Coordinator Bonnie Ostertag. They will participate in a tabletop exercise, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 9.

During the first public comment period and on behalf of the Stanford Geezers, Jim Walsh requested the Town of Stanford sponsor the Geezers’ Annual Christmas dinner on Christmas Day and provide the Geezers the use of City Hall for the dinner. He explained volunteers would be in the hall on the 24th to decorate and set up. They will return early Christmas morning to work on the meal, which is set for 1 p.m. The Geezers will deliver Christmas dinner to all communities in the county. Anyone wishing to be included should call 599-0398, 350-3014 or 788-2568. 

The Council moved to sponsor the Geezer dinner.

Under old business Mayor Rose Schindler asked for a bid for the fire hall furnace. Assistant Fire Chief Kent Ridgeway presented Secretary Clerk Mandy Kelly with two bids, but he said he was waiting for another. He asked to have the item tabled until next month.

The Geezers recently had electrical work done in the city park. It involved a light on the flagpole and outlets in the swimming pool building. The total bill proved higher than expected and was broken into two parts: one for the Geezers and one for the Town of Stanford. The Geezers were under the impression the Council had agreed to pay for the pole part of the project. The Council has no documentation of voting to share the cost of the project and is therefore under no obligation to pay the bill.

In working through the bill, Jim Walsh and Council members had questions. Schindler called Donny Jones of Basin Electric and asked if he could take time to visit with the Council. Jones obliged. In answering questions, Jones apologized for what ended up as errors on the bill(s) and adjusted the total.

After the adjustments the cost of the outlet work came to a total of $2,824, while the flagpole light work came to a total of $1,022. 

Walsh asked if the Town of Stanford would consider paying for the flagpole light. 

As the clerk and from a legal standpoint, Kelly reminded Council members and Walsh that any kind of work being paid by the Town of Stanford must have been approved by the Council prior to the work being ordered.

The Council moved to go ahead and pay for the flagpole light, the vote three to one.

In new business Kelly told the Council she was contacted by the Stanford Woman’s Club. The Club has set their meeting dates for 2017 in March, May, October and December. They have requested the Town sponsor their meetings, as the Club has taken responsibility for the hall kitchen for several years. The Council moved to sponsor the Club by providing them with the meeting room free of charge.

Councilmen Kelley Goodhart and Cody Swanson were unable to attend the last street committee meeting, which was held the end of November. They said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Blast in February.

City Man Dale Zuck reported because of the cold weather, he has been rotating the wells, turning them off at night and back on during the day. The sewer is frozen and in good shape. Ongoing repair continues with the streets when possible. Zuck did not install any new water meters this past month because of the cold. One resident is having problems with his water, undoubtedly a leak of some kind. Zuck said the resident is using a ridiculous amount of water. Several people have looked into the problem but Zuck has not been asked to check out the problem.

Kelly told the Council she has received her new computer and it took three days to transfer the information from the old computer to the new one. She had no idea how much the transfer might cost, but it was done digitally, which should lower the cost. The computer itself was $1,295 and the Excel and Word programs were an additional $337. Kelly had to purchase an external CD Rom (laptops no longer come with them) for $35 and virus protection was $60.

Kelly was aware the Town’s computer needed replacing and had budgeted for a replacement.

She reported she is currently providing information to the auditor for the FY 16 audit, even though the auditors will not be in Stanford until May. They help Kelly with the year-end financial statement, which must be done by Dec. 31.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m. The next meeting of the Stanford Town Council is Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. 

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