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Stevi bonuses, city judge, tax levy

 

Did you know at the December 12, 2013 meeting, Stevensville’s Town Council voted on Resolution #326 (which is: Administrative/Executive Supplemental Compensation)? Council person Towle read the Resolution #326 into the minutes and council person Bill Perrin clarified that this was brought forward by the council and not the mayor. There was public opposition and positive comments to this resolution. In the actual minutes of this meeting it does not state if the resolution was passed or not! So, we are assuming it did as the mayor has been receiving $1200 a month since January 2014, plus his $400/month honorarium.

Jim Crews was elected and took Desera Towle’s place in January 2014. When asked at a council meeting why the mayor was receiving this money, the answer was the mayor is being compensated for all the “extra” hours per month for overseeing the Stevensville Water/Sewer Projects. My thoughts, are we not paying two college graduates in engineering very well to oversee these projects? Why would we need someone with little or no experience plus no degree in engineering to oversee these two college engineers? And last, but not least, where is the money coming from?

When asked how long would the “extra” $1200 be paid to the mayor, we got no response. Is it until the project is completely done? Until the last pipe is laid? Stevensville was just awarded a sewer bond for $2 million to use on the sewer project. So, will Mr. Mim Mack be paid until the $2 million is gone? We all know the council members do a lot of extras; should they all get more money? Our mayor has received $6000 and more to follow! The Stevensville taxpayers are already paying for increases in water/sewer project plus higher property taxes! Where does it end? The mayor says we have a very tight budget and we all have to make allowances. Perhaps he should practice what he preaches. Let your council members know how you feel about this monthly bonus!
On another issue: The mayor wanted the council’s consent to appoint Ron Klaphake as Stevensville’s City Court Judge at the May 22, 2014 meeting. Six people applied for this position. They were: Ron Klaphake, Lewis Barnett, Joseph Tifer, Nancy Preston, Michael Sharkey and Bill Swendsen. I’m sure these are all fine candidates for the job. They were interviewed by the mayor, Bill Perrin and Stacy Bartlett (Court Clerk). Question: Why weren’t Jim Crews and Robin Holcomb considered as part of the hiring process? Hmmm, baffling! They did in fact ask why they were excluded and wanted to table this issue until further review.

Ron Klaphake would have to step down as a council member if appointed as judge. Ron is also on the Airport Board among others as well. Is this being biased? Fair? Why not have the voters of Stevensville decide by a democratic vote? If there had only been a couple applicants for the judge position I could see the mayor appointing one of the two. But six applicants? I smell a small rooster in the hen house.
For everyone’s information: A permissive levy like the one stated in the Bitterroot Star (May 28, 2014), regarding the dental/vision plan for employees which was originally planned by the mayor to be paid by the Town at 100%, was tabled at 50% Town cost and 50% employee cost. Please note that a permissive levy, once in place, NEVER goes away! It is a levy tax that will never go down. Stevensville will again pay another tax if the permissive levy is passed by the town council. Please speak to your council members before the next Town Council meeting, June 12, 2014 and let them know that our community does not need another tax levy or better yet, let them know at the meeting.
Please start supporting your town by coming to town council meetings or ask your council members in your ward or in general what’s going on. Let’s all try to be proactive in some way as a community. It’s what keeps our council members in check and our mayor on his toes. I know I’m going to stay involved!
Robert Michalson
Stevensville

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