Ron Widhalm appointed to fill vacant council seat

50_ron-9912SIGN HERE  — Under the watchful eye of Agnes Fowler, Ron Widhalm was appointed new city councilman at the council meeting Monday evening.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

On a 3-0 vote with no discussion, local businessman Ron Widhalm was appointed by city council members to fill the seat vacated by Wendy Judisch.

Readers will recall that Judisch was appointed Mayor of Conrad at the March 21 council meeting after Mayor John Shevlin resigned.

Widhalm is the owner of Conrad Tire and has a little over two years to serve on his appointment. The council position pays $311.01 per month.

Besides Widhalm there were three other people who turned in letters of interest for the alderman position. They included Brad Berthelson who withdrew his name for consideration, Jacob Cowgill who is a field representative for Senator Jon Tester, and Mary Fussell who was not present at the Monday council meeting. There will be more information about Widhalm in next week’s I-O.

In other action by the council, on votes of 3-0, building permits were approved for 11 N. Montana and 119 S. Virginia for new windows.

LeAnn Hermance, DES coordinator, was on hand to talk about the recently updated Emergency Operation Plan that has been worked on over the past year. The plan covers a wide variety of disasters from hazardous waste to earthquakes. “It just covers the whole gamut, Hermance said. While the plan has been approved by the county, the city council tabled any action for the present.

During a public comment segment, Hermance reminded everyone of the E-cycle day at the old depot building on Front St. on Friday.

Chief Gary Dent made a recommendation to promote Jared Milligan from Patrolman I to Patrolman II. This passed on a 3-0 vote.

In his report to the council, Dent noted the CPD received 209 calls in March. In part, there were nine domestic incidents, five accidents, two thefts, 22 public assists and five felony arrests.

Rich Anderson, Public Works Director, reported the water plant is working well, there are a few minor problems at the wastewater plant, and “We’ve been sweeping the streets.”

The city will start sewer cleaning with Shelby and Cut Bank next week. He also noted there were two water leaks in the trailer park.

Cheryl Curry from the Pondera County Regional Port Authority (PA) informed the council that the Community Center is coming along nicely. She urged people to look at the Growth Policy posted on the PA website site.

The PA has a home, 16 N. Virginia that will be taken down and a new house built in the near future.

Curry said she and others will be going to Washington, D.C. to lobby for the Regional Water Project.

Councilman Sandy Syvertson reported that there was a full board for the Park and Rec., “something we haven’t had for some time.”

Members of the Park and Rec. board include Commissioner Cody Dugan, Syvertson president, Ken Newmiller vice-president, Krista Keiper, Kevin Kovatch, Roger Paulsen, Randy Hofstad, Dawn King, Del Styren and Jamey Byrnes.

On a recommendation of the swimming pool manager, swimming lessons were raised from $25 to $30, a single pass will go up to $60 and a family pass will be $90. The price increases passed on a 3-0 vote of the council.

There was discussion but no action taken on a work in progress, the new weed ordinance. Mayor Judisch commented, “This keeps resurfacing and we’ve been dealing with for about two years.”

She noted there was a segment in the MCA Codes on noxious weeds and she would like that included in the new weed ordinance and have this “done as soon as possible.”

The next regular meeting of the council will be on April 18, 7:30 p.m. in city hall at 411-1/2 S. Main Street.