Officer Thornton resigns, Kirkbride receives promotion

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

Mayor Wendy Judisch announced the resignation of police officer Ted Thornton at the council meeting on Tuesday.

Council members accepted the resignation which was effective Feb. 6. No reason for the resignation was given.

A search is underway for a new police officer. In related police business, on the recommendation of Chief Gary Dent, Officer Dustin Kirkbride was promoted to Senior Patrolman with an effective date of Feb. 1.

Dent noted that he had met the requirements for the promotion and, in addition, will be serving as the Training Officer for the city police department. The motion passed on a vote of 3/0.

There was no business or residential building permits presented at the meeting. Probably because of the recent bitter cold weather we have experienced.

Two water contracts were up for consideration of the council.

One was presented by Kevin Johnson of Performance Ag Services to replace the contract currently owned by Theodore Aakre.

A motion to approve the water contract transfer from Aakre to Johnson as legal owner removing the business name of Performance Ag Services passed on a 3/0 vote.

A new water contract with Jeff and Joel Farkell was presented.

This is for property that had water service being run through the Branding Iron contract.

Public Works Director Rich Anderson reported that an existing curb stop and service line is on the property already so system development fees will not be implemented. A water meter will be installed.

The motion to approve the new water contract passed on a 3/0 vote.

City Finance Officer Agnes Fowler gave a report and presented the council with the “draft” audit and “draft” agreed upon procedures for the building code fund.

The auditors rated the audit as unqualified, with no findings for the last two years. (That is auditor talk, saying the audit was perfect.)

Fowler told the council she would be attending the Rural Water conference in Great Falls for the rest of the week.

Her report was approved and accepted of a 3/0 vote of the council.

PWD Anderson in his report noted that tree branches from the recent high winds have been cleaned up around town. Bids were received for a new truck, one from Van Motors Chevrolet with a regular cab and eight-foot box for$27,489. A bid with a trade-in came in for $26,300 with an extended cab and eight foot box from Courtesy Ford. The new pickup truck will be purchased from Courtesy Ford.

A leak was found in the sewer lift station on Central Ave. The sump pump and blower motor were both replaced.

Anderson also noted that shop rags and personal sanitary wipes are causing sewer line plugs at various places around town because they do not dissolve.

Some of the lines are being re-jetted and routered.

He said the public needs to be made aware of the problems these are causing. He also noted that specifications have been given to Toro and John Deere for quotes for a new mower.

The Aldermen were presented with Resolution 14-1119, which covers the upcoming study commission election.

Previously, it was voted to levy additional mills not to exceed $3,000 for the cost of the study and to require five board members.

The county will not be charging the city for the election costs for this ballot issue.

The resolution was passed on a 3-0.

The city attorney has reviewed the contract for the interim residential building inspector.

The cause and no-cause termination issues needed clarification and have been corrected.

The roles and requirements for the advertising of the position are still to be worked out. The contract was approved on a 3-0 vote.

On a recommendation from the mayor, the council approved the appointment of Bonnie Poser for a three-year-term to the Zoning Board and Board of Adjustments.

Mayor Judisch also requested approval to submit a TSEP planning grant to help cover the costs associated with the updating of the water PER (Preliminary Engineering Report).

After the PER is complete, “We will submit to TSEP (Treasurer State Endowment Program) for a grant to help cover the water system upgrades,” she said.

Approval to submit the planninggrants passed on a 3-0 vote.

Aldermen approved the costs for upgrades to the water PER in the amount of $15,000, and also to approve an $855,000 loan with the DWRLF/SRF (Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund and the Surface Revolving Fund).

It was announced that a public hearing is slated for Feb. 26. CTEP (Community Transportation Endowment Program) TSEP (Treasurer State Endowment Program) and CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) grants will be discussed. It starts at 5:30 p.m.

The city council meets every first and third Tuesday at 6 p.m. in city hall on Main St. The public is always welcome and encouraged to attend and get swept up by the bustling civics-in-action.