Mayor Shevlin wins write-in vote; City lays an egg with chicken issue

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
   Incumbent Mayor John Shevlin handily won a write-in campaign in the Nov. 3 city election and will serve his constituents for another four-year term.
   The mayor faced a challenge from new comer Keith T. Melhus, but a race never developed and he walked away with 367 votes to 42 for Melhus. This was the total from Wards 1 – 2. (219-22 – 148- 20).
   Karla Breding in Ward 1 was elected, running unopposed, to a four year term on the council with 309 votes.
   Incumbent alderwoman Wendy Judisch, Ward 2, also ran unopposed and was elected to a second four year term with 233 votes.
   There was a 41 percent voter turnout for the mail-in ballot election.
   The reason Breding had so many more votes is that Ward 1 is bigger than Ward 2 and has more voters 735 active voters to 554 active voters in Ward 2.
   Some people spent their vote on other individuals. Others receiving write in votes included Mark Leys, Dale Sheldon, Mayor Larry Bonderud of Shelby, and former mayors Thomas Hammerbacker and Byron Grubb.
   In Valier all the candidates (3), one for mayor and two aldermen were all declared write-in candidates.
Mckenzie A. Graye is the mayor with 29 votes from Wards 1-2. In Ward 1, Rodney J. Christiaens is an alderman with 40 votes and in Ward 2, Kory Kovatch will be seated on the council with 29 votes.
   There was a 30 percent turnout in the mail ballots for Valier.
   In other city business, at the Conrad council meeting on Nov. 2, the issue of allowing backyard chickens within the city limits was not on the agenda, therefore there was no discussion.
   The council is in the process of gathering, still more, information so that they can make a wise decision as to allow, or not, the raising of chickens.
Alderman Wally McHenry should be back for the next meeting, Nov. 16, the council should have their homework done and with all their ducks in a row, the issue may be laid to rest.
   In actual action, the council approved three building permits; one at 107 S. Maryland for a shed; one at 412 1st Ave. NW for a deck; and a third at 607 N. Main for fencing.
   Councilwoman Judisch requested $5,000 from the Genevieve Reiken Anderson trust fund for the library which was approved by the council.
   Plans on the 1-15 overpass project are proceeding nicely with the approval of R-1011.
   The city, as noted before, intends to put in an Industrial Park for which it will need to provide water and sewer services.
   Tom McCracken Ranches will donate 4.28 acres of property to the Montana Department of Transportation so the project can proceed.
   The Ranch would like to connect to the city water services once they are available. They would also have to be annexed into the city. The Ranch has agreed to pay the cost of installation of water and sewer line from the city mains to their property.
   Council committee members met again with Blue Sky Villa representatives for talks concerning the BSV lease.
   The city needs to do more research the committee felt it would be good to extend the negotiations for one year, giving time for more talk and communication.
   The employee health insurance plan is again being revisited and a committee is looking at various insurance plans to present to the employee committee.
   There was some talk on the issue of noxious weeds. There is consideration to drop the word “noxious” and go with height, such as six (6) inches. An update on a weed ordinance will be coming at a later date.
   It was noted an isolation valve is needed for the wastewater project. The oversight was an error on the engineering firm’s part and the city will not be charged for time spent in correcting this.
   Chief Gary Dent reported that there were 207 calls to the police department in October.
   A few of those included four thefts, three vandalisms, security checks, 36 public assists and nine rides home from local taverns.
   He also informed the council that as interviews for a new officer were about to start, he was notified that an officer serving overseas might come back and his position had to be held for at least 90 after separation orders were issued.
   Hiring of a new officer has been put on hold for now.
   The next regular meeting of the city council will be on Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m. in city hall, 411-1/2 S. Main St.