City OKs use of park for Shakespeare production

At the council meeting on Tuesday, Dale Sheldon, on behalf of the Pondera Arts Council, requested the use of the Conrad Lions Swimming Pool Park for a play Shakespeare in the Park on the evening of June 28.

He indicated there may also be some vendors. On a motion by Alderman Cory Rilley and second by Alderman Daniel Jones, the request was approved, with proof of proper insurance provided to the city.

There were no public comments, no water contracts and no residential or commercial building permits submitted.

Finance Officer Fowler presented the February 2017 Finance, J.V. and R.V. reports and the Combined Balance Sheet.  The FY 18 Intercap interest rates have been received and it is being reviewed. 

A response to the fire pension finding has been submitted.  Weekly conference calls with the Montana League of Cities and Towns as the legislative bills relate to city and town operations continue.  Advertising for the open position of Billing Clerk have been placed in the Independent-Observer, at Job Service and on the City website.

A motion by Alderman Karla Breding and second by Alderman Daniel Jones to approve Finance Officer Fowler’s  Finance, J.V. and R.V. reports and the Combined Balance Sheet as presented. The motion passed.

Library Director Carolyn  Donath reported they are at the end of the remodel project noting the local contractors and businesses utilized. The sum of $12,868 has been expended and, “it looks very nice,” she said.  Donath was appreciative of the Public Works Department for the use of a dump truck and crew members.

The library encountered a plumbing issue with a drain pipe for the roof which resulted in additional work. The MMIA adjuster came and a roofer will inspect to determine a solution. 

A program titled “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” has been started with a lot of participating families.  Amber Durnell is the head of the program. 

Kristi Calvery has been hired as the Children’s Librarian and she will start in June. The book club is in full force. Carolyn, Amber and Donna will attend the Montana Library Association conference the end of March.  Attendance at the library was down in February due to inclement weather and closure for construction. First through third graders attend the library regularly along with a couple of the Hutterite Colonies. Headstart attendance will start soon.  Library Director Donath is working with the schools for participation of other grades.

Tim Uribe gave an update on the progress of the upcoming water line upgrade project. Both variances that have been submitted to DEQ were approved.  Encroachment permits have been sent to MDT. Mayor Wendy Judisch is continuing negotiations with the area that involves an easement from private property owners. Funding calls with SRF and TSEP have been made with the next one scheduled for April 11.  PWD Dave Zimbelman noted he has arranged for the tank inspection to be done in May to not conflict with the project. KLJ is taking extra precautions in the bid documents regarding the painting of the tanks to ensure proper application and paint quality for durability.

Norma Copenhaver submitted a sewer averaging request.  She used 22,600 gallons in January and 57,950 gallons in February due to a pipe that burst under her trailer.  She would like the usages from January and February 2016 used for her new sewer average.

A motion by Jones and second by Rilley approve Copenhaver’s request. Passed on a unanimous vote of the council.             

The NorthWestern Energy request regarding the terms and conditions in Ordinance #404 remain in full force and effect was re-visited.  It pertains to a Non-Exclusive Franchise.

A motion by Jones and second by Breding to table the NW Energy request regarding Ordinance #404 passed.

Chief Gary Dent requested an extension to June 30 to use his excess vacation. Due to manpower issues he has not been able to use his vacation by March 31.

The request was passed by the council.

In other business from the Chief, he requested approval to promote Patrolman I, Sam Wavra to a Senior Patrolman (Patrolman II) as of April 1. Wavra has worked diligently to provide a professional attitude and approach to his duties with the CPD.  He will complete the Montana Basic Law Enforcement Academy on March 31. The council passed the request.

Interview Committees need to be appointed for the Billing Clerk and Water/Wastewater I positions. 

Recommended appointments for the Water/Wastewater position; PWD Zimbelman, Water/Wastewater Operator II Keith Thaut, Aldermen Ron Widhalm and Breding or Mayor Judisch. 

The Mayor requested  Fowler, Administrative Clerk Gail Klette,  Rilley and Breding for the Billing Clerk position. A motion was passed.
Mayor Judisch advised the Council that the MT-TA grant application submission and sponsorship is being requested through the City for the Shared Use Path.  The Pondera Regional Port Authority is in the process of writing the grant.  Commitments of support are being sought for matching funds from various community agencies including the City. A motion by Breding and second by Jones to table the MT-TA grant submission approval and to allow email submission of the grant for review and consideration to the Council for the Shared Use Path passed on a 4-0 vote.

In other business: Sweetgrass Development will hold their annual meeting in Choteau; Montana DoT update on the Safe Sidewalks project was sent out; the filing deadlines for the upcoming municipal elections was presented for the expired terms for the Council positions of Aldermen Breding and Widhalm and Mayor Judisch.  The City of Conrad was recognized as the 4th Safest City in Montana.

The City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month beginning at 6 p.m. in city hall.