I clearly state, before the reader proceeds, I am a personal friend of Mayor Gene Mim Mack and that all of the following information is gathered from local publications and/or my own personal experience.
Congratulations to the residents in Stevensville, Town Council members, employees of the town, and to Mayor Gene Mim Mack for securing the USDA Rural Development grant/loan in the amount of $2.75 million. This money includes $1,955,000 in grant funds and is in addition to a Treasure State Endowment Fund grant for $750,000 and a $100,000 grant from RRGL as reported in the Bitterroot Star last week.
Any entity that undertakes improvements, infrastructure or otherwise, should have in place someone responsible for protecting the best interests of that entity. Thus, the wastewater treatment project for Stevensville absolutely needed someone that could pay attention to the daily if not hourly interests of the town. Of course, a project such as this will also involve engineering expertise. Engineering expertise is quite specific and addresses only engineering concerns. It is possible to have many paths to a satisfactory resolution of engineering issues. It is the responsibility of the oversight position to determine the least expensive path.
So, kudos to Town Council for recognizing the huge number of hours the Mayor (or someone else) needed to devote to this project to make sure the best interests of the community were addressed and for rightly compensating that time. Kudos to the maintenance employees of Stevensville for the work I am sure was required to continue moving this massive project forward. Kudos to the office staff for handling the volume of calls related to the project from professionals as well as townspeople. Kudos to the office staff for the expeditious handling of the daily accounting and the extra paperwork involved with this project. There is no doubt in my mind that crisp and professional management on your part produced the above-mentioned grants.
Finally on this matter, I agree with Mr. Michalson’s letter to the editor in which he asks for local townspeople to support the town by coming to town council meetings. We all need to support our local governance bodies by staying informed and participating. Such participation should always remain civil, direct, and above all, honest. Any efforts otherwise are detrimental and hurtful to us all.
Lastly, I read in the Bitterroot Star’s June 18 issue that Alison Mim Mack’s job at the town’s swimming pool is on a volunteer basis rather than paid. Surely there is room in our small community to hire a town official’s child for a paying job when absolutely no applicant has been displaced and/or when that job does not involve oversight by said official. It is laudable that Alison has accepted the position as a volunteer but I think it is most unfortunate she will not be paid. I personally think this should be revisited! Just saying.