State may face funding short fall reports Jones at CofC

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

Montana House Representative Llew Jones, HD-27, told the members of the Conrad Area Chamber of Commerce as they met the Pondera Golf Club on Wednesday, “Montana could face a $500 million shortfall in revenue when the legislature convenes in 2011.”

He noted that when he left the capital there was $300 million in savings and that Montana was one of two states that was still in the black.

If the current forecasts are right, lawmakers will have “only” $44 million, or “there abouts,” left in savings.

Jones reported that individual income tax collection is down about 18 percent and corporate taxes collections are down about 50 percent.

Superintendent of Schools Lynn Utterback reported, on a lighter note, that school Christmas programs are upon us this week.

Meadowlark School had theirs on Dec. 14 in their multi-purpose room at 2:30 p.m. The combined UMS/CHS Christmas concert was in the new high school gym on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. and the Prairie View School concert will be in the PVS multi-purpose room on Dec. 16 at 2 p.m.

Utterback said crews have started work on the renovation of the old CHS gym, soon to be an auditorium that will seat approximately 500 people.

On Jan. 5, he said, there will be a public hearing at the courthouse to allow residents of the old Brady School district to petition their land out of the Dutton/Brady School district under the laws that were in place when consolidation of the two school districts took place.

Presently there are 36 school age kids in the contested district, 26 of which already attend school in Conrad.

Utterback noted, that while they cannot and did not initiate the petition, the transfer would be supported if it goes through.

“The tax base went to Conrad,” he said – “but 100 percent of funding went to Dutton.”

Conrad mayor John Shevlin touched on taking care of pets during these tough winter days, noting also that there are dogs and cats up for adoption at the pound.

On the subject of snow removal, he said the streets can be cleared after the storm has passed. He asked that people not pile snow in the streets.

The town of Brady is interested in getting water from Conrad and that possibility is being explored to which Mayor Shevlin noted, “No cost will be borne by the city of Conrad. If they want our water, they will have to pay for it.”

Cassie DeVries was on hand to briefly talk about a new dance/aerobic program being offered.

It is called Zumba and is a program that focuses on Latin and rhythms and easy-to-follow moves which create a one-of-a-kind fitness program, “that will blow you away,” she says.

As fitness programs come and go, Zumba is now the new “in” fitness exercise dance and is touting itself as the single most influential movement in the industry of fitness.

For more information about Zumba or classes, contact DeVries.

The next regular meeting of the CofC will be next year, Jan.12, 2010 at Joe’s Family Steakhouse at noon. Lisa Schmidt is the scheduled-feature speaker and she will talk about shopping local.