By Michael Howell
The Mayor of Stevensville recommended that the Town Council consider instituting a permissive levy by resolution as a way to address the constantly rising cost of employee health insurance. Such a levy, if passed, would be implemented annually to cover any increase in the costs of providing health insurance for employees. He noted that the County implemented such levy in 2000. He said it is a good way to address constantly rising costs that can be hard to meet if postponed and is designed to meet the annual increases each year. He suggested holding a public hearing prior to considering the Resolution.
Treasurer Stephanie Mapelli said it might be a good time to think about adding vision and hearing benefits to the employee health insurance program. That way increases in those charges could be covered by the permissive levy as well.
It was agreed that the Mayor would bring more detailed information about the proposal to the next meeting.
The Council agreed to send a letter of support for the Sapphire Community Health, Inc. grant application for $650,000 in operating funds. Sapphire Community Health was created in 2002 to provide primary medical care services to people who meet the income guidelines on a sliding scale fee. The service shut down in 2011 leaving 900 patients without any equivalent service in the valley and now hope to re-open.
The Council approved a Special Event Permit to the Sportsmen’s Church for the 5K March to Remember Victims of the Lolo Crash.
The Council postponed a decision about a request for funds from Ravalli County Habitat for Humanity. The money would be used to cover the costs associated with hooking up the second home on Mission Street to town services.
Work began on the Town’s water system improvement project and the sewer system upgrade on March 24. Both projects had been suspended due to cold weather. Problems facing the the sewer line project extending from Lewis and Clark Park up Second Street to Buck Street were discussed. The complex pumping system to re-route sewage during the repair work makes extreme noise and will be operating 24 hours a day. The Mayor said that five primary residences would be affected by the noise. He said the noise would be very difficult to mitigate effectively. The plan was to work closely with the five primary residents along the route and do the best they can, but it could mean up to nine days of incessant and loud noise.
Stevensville Police Chief james Marble asked the council to consider possibly creating an ordinance against loitering in an area of town near the school where a lot of students have begun hanging out. He said the problem was concentrated in the alley between 5th Street and Spring Street. He said the problem is being aggravated by one property owner who advocates kids coming on his property and spending time there. He said it is a place where lots of kids have begun to frequent and there were reports of drug use and possibly sales going on.
Councilor Ron Klaphake asked the Chief to write up a draft ordinance that might meet his concerns and bring it back to the Council. Chief Marble agreed to do that.