Council votes 3-1 to keep meetings on first, third Tuesdays

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

Tuesday is better, the council has spoken.

Tuesday evening on a 3-1 vote the council moved to keep their meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month (6 p.m.) instead of moving them back a day, to Mondays, where they used to be.

I-O Editor Buck Traxler had requested the council move the meetings back because Tuesday is the make-up day for the newspaper and it made it hard to get to the city offices for a Tuesday meeting, if at all.

The editor also noted that when the meetings were held on Monday, after they adjourned, he went home, wrote up the story, and set it the next day for the newspaper. Now it will be a week later.

However, council members noted that by having the meeting on Tuesday, it gave them an extra day to go over business matters and if they did make the change they would have to advertise it and hold two public meetings to change the ordinance.

It was noted that the agenda was out to the public in city and library display cases and the mayor got the word out about council meetings during a Wednesday morning radio talk show.

It was mentioned that while a lot of people had signed a petition to move the meeting, many of the signers were from outside the city limits.

Mayor Judisch was absent from the meeting and votes only to break a tie. Senior councilwoman Karla Breding ran the meeting and also retained her right to vote on matters, thus the 3-1 vote.

Councilman Rick Moss, in his last regular meeting, cast the vote to move the meeting back to Monday.

In a clarification from the Nov. 19 meeting, Alderman Ron Widhalm, being a former fireman, abstained from voting at the Nov. 5 meeting regarding the fire relief pension request.

In other business from the Nov. 19 meeting, three residential building permits were presented; one at 501 S. Iowa for a reroof, one at 2 N. Maryland for new siding, and one at 6 S. Delaware for a new roof.

Council members moved to accept Finance Officer Agnes Fowlers report which in part had two new CDs with the RBC being purchased at a higher rate of interest.

In a report from the librarian Carolynn Donath, it was reported that 2.350 patrons had come through the doors at the library. There were a few trick-or-treaters on Halloween and McDonald electric has installed a new heater in the story hour room and the piano recital for the Christmas Stroll was moved up to 5 p.m.

In a related matter, Boy Scout Logan Gouchenour was presented with a special certificate of appreciation for work on his Eagle Scout project at the library.

Jason Senn of Byron Stahly Engineering presented the results of the inflow and infiltration study for the waste water plant.

The DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) required the study because the city exceeded their discharge permit due to an overly wet year in 2011 that resulted in some severe spikes.

The study does not recommend any construction alterations, noting that Conrad has a very good system. Public works Director Rich Anderson commented that the study came in $5,000 under budget.

A motion was approved in the Water Purchase Agreement amendment with the North Central Montana Regional Water Authority (NCMRWA) as presented, increasing the cost to $2.51 per 1,000 gallons for water going to Brady. That price may go up another 10-cents when the air scrubbers are installed at their water plant. The original price had been $2.43 per 1,000 gallons.

On a motion by Breding and a second by Drew Lesnik, the Operations and Management Agreement with NCMRWA was presented and approved, pending approval from MMIA.

In a report from the Port Authority, the Safe Routes to Schools (SRS) Infrastructure project which contains the consultant services agreement with KLJ Engineering was presented

Terry Voller of CTEP (Community, Transportation Enhancement Projects) felt that the engineering line item was not sufficient. Stahly noted that especially on smaller CTEP projects, “engineering costs are being driven higher.”

The amount, as amended by KLJ, is now $12,900, an increase of $5,000 over the proposed amount in the original grant submission. Most likely, the project (SRS) will have to be amended after the bids are received.

The council, on a 4-0 vote, approved the engineering scope of services in the amount of $12,900.

The State Revolving Loan Fund application was presented in the amount of $845,995 with a portion being used as the required match on the $625,000 TSEP water project grant.

The current interest rate is three percent for a 20 year term with semi-annual payments. A motion to approve the loan application passed on a 4-0 vote.

In a report from the Port Authority (PA), councilwoman Breding read a report for Cheryl Curry.

In part, Breding noted that the PA has completed a contract with the state for a rail development study.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program with Brady has been a frustrating project the PA with more and more rules emerging, but “We finally have a closing date that will probably be met,” Curry wrote.

The Maryland Street project is ready to go to bid. The start date for the project is slated for June 1, 2014.

The City Council will continue to meet every first and third Tuesday at 6 p.m. in city hall at 413 S. Main Street.

The public is always invited to attend these free meetings and get swept up by the bustling civics-in-action buzz of your government at work.