By Michael Howell
The Stevensville Town Council agreed unanimously at its Thursday, July 25 meeting to issue a Water System Revenue Bond in the amount of $2.173 million. The bond is payable over 39 years at 2.75% interest. The entire cost of the Water System Improvement Project is a little under $4.7 million. The $1.5 million difference is being covered by various grants. These include a Treasure State Endowment Program grant in the amount of $500,000; a Water Resources Development Act grant for $175,000; a Water Resources Development Act special appropriation of $487,500; USDA Rural Development grants in the amounts of $864,900 and $329,100; and a Town match of $59,000.
According to Town Treasurer Stephanie Mapelli, the 2.75 % interest rate on the bond is a good break compared to the 3.5% being paid on the interim financing loan. It will lower the Town’s monthly payment from $811 to $759 per month.
According to Mayor Gene Mim Mack, last year the town produced about 220 million gallons of water. That calculates to about 500 gallons per minute. With the addition of the new well field, the town’s production will be boosted to 2,000 gallons per minute.
In other business, the Town Council awarded a contract related to the ongoing Wastewater Treatment Project for testing services to Holman Consulting Engineers for $3,850.
The council adopted a $5 fee for licenses related to owning rabbits, chickens and ducks in town. There is a $5 fee for each type of license. If you intend on raising all three kinds of animals you will need three licenses at a total cost of $15.
The Council approved a memorandum of understanding with the state that will allow the town to participate in the state’s cooperative purchasing program. In response to a question from the audience about how this would affect the Town’s ability to support local businesses, it was noted that some local businesses, like Napa, participate in the state’s program. Mayor Mim Mack noted that the MOU simply gives the Town the option to take advantage of the state’s buying power but there is no requirement to make purchases through the system.
The Mayor said, “I am working on a local purchasing policy for directing purchases made by staff and part of that will be a local preference option.” He said it included an “escalator, a percentage between the local option versus some other option and there is an advantage given that local vendor to compete within that market place.”
The MOU was unanimously approved.
The Town received correspondence from Brett Mauri and Carrie Ann McEnroe, owners of the Creamery Building, located at 4072 Eastside Highway in Stevensville, requesting “all documents related to the alleged claim” that the building was in fact annexed into the Light Industrial Zone district, “properly.” The letter states that the previous owner of the building and other adjacent property owners “all believe that our property was not annexed.”
“Carrie and I purchased the Creamery building to save the historic structure and have overwhelming support from Stevensville residents. In the absence of any compelling and proper supporting documentation as to the annexation, we will take the position that no annexation occurred as it relates to the Creamery Building property,” the new owners conclude in their letter.
Mayor Mim Mack said that he has been dealing with the couple since before they purchased the property, meeting them several times face to face and talking over the phone. He said they were aware of the Town’s view that the property was annexed into the TIF District. He said that by law when these districts are established there is no provision for having an individual property excluded from the district.
“In this case it was the Town that provided a chance for any landowner to exclude themselves from the district upon request,” said Mim Mack. He said each landowner was sent a registered letter informing them of the need to request an exclusion if they wanted one. He said that one of the owners of the property at the time did accept that registered letter but never replied.
Mim Mack said that he had noticed a change in “attitude” recently in his talks with the new owner so that he was “disappointed but not surprised” at the letter. “I think they want to do some things that are not allowed by the district rules,” said Mim Mack.
The matter has been referred to the town’s attorney.