PELICANS IN MONTANA — Contrary to popular belief, Pelicans do live in Montana. These were captured on camera down at the Marias River early last Wednesday morning. I-O Photo by Barb Endler
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
Some good news for swimmers came out of the city council meeting on Monday evening.
A proposal by new pool manager, Becky Rammell, to raise swim lesson rates up to $35 or $40 did not meet with approval of the council and for this season swimming lesson rates will remain the same as last year.
Rammell noted that there had been no change in rates in a number of years. Councilwoman Wendy Judisch recommended that, “We have to be careful and go slow, lets wait and think about it.” Alderman Sandy Syvertson echoed those sentiments.
On a related pool issue there was some discussion on why the pool wasn’t open, yet swim team members had use of the pol.
Presently the life guards are not certified, however, they are going through the process and the pool will be open June 14. Swim team members do not need to have a certified life guard on duty to practice.
Tyler Bucklin felt someone “had dropped the ball and didn’t think it was fair.” Plans to certify guards at the Choteau pool fell through at the last minute and life guards had to make arrangements to go to Cut Bank for certification.
Former pool manager Courtney Ellefsen was on hand to talk about the delay of the pool opening saying she felt word had come out of the city office that it was her fault. “When I was manager I worked hard to get the pool up,” she noted. Mayor John Shevlin said that, “Nobody from this office said it was your fault,” but Ellefsen still disagreed with that. Judisch commented that, “no one needs to feel blame.”
Rammell also introduced Melissa Barringer who will be the head lifeguard and noted that lifeguards will buy their own swim suits and have that money deducted from their paychecks.
While the pool is open later this year, it will stay open longer because school starts later this year.
W.J. Campbell, owner of Joe’s Family Steakhouse on Main St., was on hand to discuss a water bill that showed he had used 200,000 gallons of water in May. He disputed that feeling the meter was faulty.
Councilman Wally McHenry said he’d like a little more time to look into this situation and Campbell stated he wanted the state plumbing inspector to take a look at this as well.
The council agreed to table any decision in order to gather more information on the situation.
Chief Gary Dent got approval to use the Lions Club Swimming Pool Park on Aug. 3 for a second annual Family Night Out. There will be more details in The I-O as the date draws near.
Dent also recommended Patrolman Jason Korst be promoted to sergeant noting the position had been vacant for several years. The council passed this on a 4-0 voted.
In his report to the council the chief noted the department had received 172 calls for the month of May. They, in part, included nine assists to the ambulance crew, bike safety check was done, three businesses were found open, and there were two cases of vandalism and four domestic situations.
Officers handled a chicken complaint and presently the German shepherd dogs that have caused mail delivery to be stopped on a Maryland St. block are currently in the pound. He also noted that the Whoop-Up weekend was very smooth and quiet.
Rich Anderson reported that the pool was up and running, there were still problems with messes to be cleaned up in the ball field bathrooms and there were some power problems at the lagoon plant.
Anderson also recommended a 25-cent an hour raise for John Calahan and Jerry Stubbs for working at night on mosquito control and mosquito certification.
This was approved by the council as well. Anderson noted the funding for this was already in the budget and that certification was good for two years.
Cheryl Curry from the Port Authority reported the Neighborhood Stabilization Program was moving along nicely.
Excavation for a house in Brady was coming along and a pre-fab home has been ordered. The P.A. had $150,600 in loan activity with one loan paid back and a business that had closed and the loan was at risk.
She also noted that Sarah Converse who formally worked for Sen. Conrad Burns was the new director of Sweetgrass Development.
Council members had a discussion and took action with an amendment vote to an earlier motion.
Alderman Karla Breding read a motion, covering almost two full pages that covered the premium towards MMIA’s employer benefits program portion of the Mission Health Insurance plan with prescription card for current employees and the $225 stipend employees now receive to help pay for health insurance.
The full context of the motion may be viewed in the council minutes at city hall during normal working hours, or a copy of the motion may also be seen at The I-O. The motion passed on a 4-0 vote.
The next regular meeting of the city council will be on June 21, the first day of summer, 7:30 p.m. at city hall, 411-1/2 S. Main St.