By Michael Howell
The Town of Stevensville, at meeting on December 13, honored two people who have volunteered countless hours for years performing essential services for the town, but who are now looking to pass on the baton and ease out of government service. Mayor Gene Mim Mack presented Certificates for Service Awards to Airport Manager Don Misevic and Town Planner Ben Longbottom.
Both men were born and raised in Stevensville.
Misevic has served as Airport Manager at the Stevensville Airport since 1986. For over a quarter of a century he has shepherded the airport through several improvement projects, working with state and federal officials to secure and implement the grants to pay for all the improvements. If you haven’t handled a grant application to the Federal Aviation Administration for some million dollar improvements, then you might not appreciate what is involved. A lot of people make a lot of money doing that for municipalities and counties around the state. Misevic has done it for the Town of Stevensville for decades for free.
Back in 2006, when the whole county was experiencing a building boom that was overwhelming local government agencies, the Town of Stevensville realized that it could no longer get by without a Town Planner to handle the new subdivisions that were coming down the pike. Ben Longbottom volunteered to do it. If you haven’t handled a major subdivision proposal, then you might not appreciate what is involved. A lot of people make a lot of money doing that for municipalities and counties around the state. Longbottom volunteered to do it for Stevensville for free.
“Tireless services like these will never be repeated,” said Mayor Mim Mack, when presenting the awards. “We are in a different era, a different age.” He said the town would never again see this kind of long term, enduring, and volunteer public service again.
“Ben is a native here, and so am I,” said Airport Manager Don Misevic, “and that’s how our town was founded. My parents and grandparents and everybody did what had to be done. Everything was volunteer. You never expected compensation. It was your turn.”
Misevic’s replacement has already been chosen. Steve Knopp will take on the position of Airport Manager this month, but Misevic, who lives adjacent to the airport, will continue to offer help during the transition period.
No replacement has yet been chosen for the position of Town Planner. Longbottom will continue to serve as Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board for another year until his term is up. He has served on the Board since 1992.
Longbottom said there is still a lot of work to be done as the town updates and re-writes it development codes. He said the town is also updating its streets, sewer and water master plans.
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