New police officer in the loop

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

On a recommendation from the hiring board and Chief Gary Dent, the city council members moved to hire Justin Kirkbride from Hamilton. Kirkbride is expected to begin duty in about two weeks.

In a CPD related matter, Chief Dent was granted an extension for vacation time not used because of a man-power shortage in the department. He explained to the council, “I could take it, but it would mean overtime.” He requested his vacation time be extended to Aug. 31. The council approved his request on a 4-0 vote.

A draft for the Blue Sky Villa lease was briefly discussed. Mayor Wendy Judisch got the OK from council to take a “draft” to Troy Shirley at the Horizon Lodge.

It was noted, in a sign of the times, that verbage like “retired” cannot be used in the lease. Retired has been replaced by “55-plus” to designate a person who no longer works.

Other areas to be looked at in the lease include solid waste collection, street lights, and an annual inventory needs to be done said the mayor.

A water and sewer line that runs under the BNSF railroad tracks to the new Industrial Park needs a license from BNSF.

The license is good for 20 years. The Montana Department of Transportation will pay the $3,000 for the water and sewer line and Swank Construction will pick up $1,000 for the liability insurance. “There is no tax to the city,” Judisch commented.

There was a discussion on a water access inquiry by Mike Miller who lives outside the city limits.

Public Works Director Rich Anderson commented that, “Engineers weren’t required for this, but, it seemed like everything else we get involved with requires input from the DEQ, but I don’t know about a private line.”

Librarian Carolyn Donath gave a monthly facility report noting that last month over 2,000 patrons were served by the library and over 1,900 the month before that.

She also gave the council members a statistical sheet with the tax levy numbers that will be on the June primary ballot.

The Conrad Library is co-opting with the Valier Library in a tax levy vote in which the library in Conrad would receive $165,000 and the Valier Library would receive $69,500.

The levy is to run for eight years, starting in 2014 and has, by law, a built in inflation factor.

Readers will recall that in 2006 voters approved a levy request which expires in 2014. In last week’s I-O it was noted that $48,810 of this request is to replace funding that will no longer be levied for the libraries, beginning with the tax year 2014. A typo put that at $848,810. The correct number is $48,810.

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

The public is always welcome, the seating is free, to attend and see their government at work.