By Michael Howell
It was a time consuming process for the Town of Stevensville but with two attorneys working on it for over a year to make sure the 26 chapters of Stevensville’s Municipal Codes are compliant with state law, the Town Council adopted the results of that process at their August 22 meeting.
“Not only will this yield a completely compliant code book in hard copy, it also allows us to put it on-line in its totality,” said Councilor Ron Klaphake who helped in the codification process.
Codification is actually required by law to be conducted every five years. According to Klaphake, Stevensville hasn’t done it since 1973.
“This pretty much makes us compliant with state law,” said Klaphake.
The ordinance adopting the code sets a fine of up to $500 for any violation of the code or up to six months imprisonment, or both. The exception is the fine for violation of any code relating to local or federal wastewater pretreatment standards implementing the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, which is not to exceed $1,000 per day for each violation.
The ordinance also establishes that whenever a defendant is imprisoned for the violation of any town ordinance, “he may be required to labor upon streets or do other work for the municipality under the supervision or direction of the chief of police.”
The Council also passed a resolution for adopting a $5,992,435 budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. According to Councilor Klaphake, the mill rate in Stevensville went down this year, dropping from 102 to 98.
“That reflects new growth in the town,” he said. This year a single mill is valued at $2,584.
Town Treasurer Stephanie Mapelli has integrated the town’s water and sewer projects into the overall budget. In past years they were tracked separately. Where expenditures exceed revenues in planning and zoning, police training, gas tax apportionment, capital improvements, and airport projects, existing fund balances are being used to make up the difference. At the end of the year expenses are projected to exceed revenues by $519,631.
The budget resolution was adopted on a 3 to 1 vote with Councilor Robin Holcomb dissenting.
“I brought up two concerns in this whole process,” said Holcomb. “Of course, giving Main Street (Association) $5,500 and, even though I know he would probably be a good consultant, I still think it would be a conflict for the Mayor to have that kind of role.”
No one on the Council responded to Holcomb’s statement, but the Mayor stated that the money, which has been paid to Main Street in the past, is not a grant but payment on a contract for services. If the money being budgeted is spent, it will be to pay the contract for whomever provides the services. That contract has not yet been awarded for this coming year, he said, and suggested that Holcomb could make her objections at that time rather than voting against the entire budget.
Holcomb stated that she had not seen the report yet that was required per the last contract with Main Street, “so I just feel like I have to vote no.”
“I still have a problem with this town giving Main Street money, so I’m working with townspeople and going by what they complain to me about so I will have to vote no,” she said, “and those are my reasons.”
The “conflict” Holcomb referred to concerning the Mayor has to do with another contract. Money has been set aside in the budget for “consulting work” having to do with administering the town’s water and sewer projects. This too would be a contracted job. Although there was some discussion in the budget work sessions about the Mayor performing those services, no contract has been made and that decision would also have to come before the Council for approval.
In other business the Town Council:
- approved a Special Permit request by the Stevensville Fire Department for the annual September 11 Remembrance Ceremony at Veterans Park;
- approved a professional services contract for $5,000 between the Town and Ravalli County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA) and Community Development Services of Montana for the purpose of developing a Targeted Economic Development District (TEDD) for the Stevensville Airport.
- approved a $500 sub-recipient agreement with RCEDA for the purpose of administering the TEDD at the Airport.