By Michael Howell
Donny Ramer of Professional Consultants Incorporated told the Stevensville Town Council last week that the current water project is about 90% complete. The only pipe left to lay as part of the project is the pipe along Third Street between Main and Church. The old water main on Church Street between 2nd and 4th Streets has been abandoned. The final work on Main Street is awaiting a permit from the state because it is a state highway. Ramer said that all the rest of the new system has been pressure tested, bacteriologically tested, flushed and put into service.
The Council approved a change order covering several aspects of the project that were done outside the contract requirements. Two additional fire hydrants were installed at a total cost of about $10,700. Those costs were budgeted for under the Tax Increment Financing District. An additional trench plug was added to that which works like a French drain to keep groundwater from flowing along a buried water pipe. Additional bends were added to the sewer main going across to Selway, costing about $1,800. At-connection was added to the water line serving Ace Hardware for $3,110. The total cost of the change order additions came to $21,365.60. Full width paving of driving lanes on Church Street, instead of a long patch, will cost $49,787.10 and will be paid for with gas tax funds. The contractor was also awarded a twelve-day extension on the contract deadline due to the various time consuming activities that were not covered by the contract.
Ramer said that the additional costs of the change orders was well within the contingency budget for the project and they were under the contract budget by about $11,000 at this point.
“We are getting close to the finish,” said Ramer. He said there is a lot of small finish work to do and some paving.
“We are still getting some of the main items done, but we will be coming back and dealing with small items including cleanup on private lawns where things were disturbed,” said Ramer. He urged people with problems related to the work to contact the town, but asked them to be patient.
The Council also accepted the low bid for roofing the 10,400 square foot water reservoir located up the Burnt Fork, that was a $35,000 bid from Progressive Roofing. Other bids were $6,000 to $12,000 higher.
Councilor Ron Klaphake, who was recently selected to serve as Municipal Judge, said that he had contacted the Montana Supreme Court requesting temporary certification. As soon as he is certified to serve as judge he will resign from the Town Council. The Council took applications to fill the vacant Council seat in Ward I when Klaphake leaves and received only one application, from Tim Hunter. He was scheduled to be interviewed on July 8.
Town Attorney Brian West is working on a hold harmless agreement for Klaphake concerning any financial problems that he may inherit from the preceding judge’s term when he takes office.
Klaphake said the Court’s books have been examined and there is no reason to suspect any financial wrongdoing. However, the paper work in the office was not well organized, he said. For instance, docket numbers were assigned to each case, but were not connected to the case record, making it difficult to find out the disposition of the cases.
Court Clerk Stacy Bartlett said that records concerning time payments on fines were kept in a box and were not being followed up on in any systematic way. She said a previous judge, Skip Kohn, had kept pretty good records and suspended driver’s licenses as a tool to keep payments current, but that it wasn’t being done regularly by the latest Judge in the office.
Councilor and Judge-to-be Klaphake said that he was going to push adoption of the Full Court system, a computer software program developed specifically for the court system and used by every municipality in the state except Stevensville.
Police Chief James Marble said that calls for service were holding steady around 39 but that citations were up from 9 in March and 11 in April to 17 in May. He said part of that was due to a change in policy to give written warnings rather than simply verbal ones. He said it made following up on warnings easier if they were documented as actual citations.
Councilor Bill Perrin asked Marble if compiling the monthly reports was doing him any good. Marble said, “Yes, it helps us to see trends and I think it’s healthier for everyone here to see our activity.”
Marble also discussed the study being done using GPS monitoring of the Dodge Charger and the ongoing analysis of the cost of idling the vehicle. He said out of a total of 164 hours, 124 hours was working and 40 hours was spent idling. He said it did appear that there was excessive idling and that some money could be saved by turning the vehicle off whenever possible.
“We can cut that down,” said Marble. But he said the savings of an estimated $25 a month was not enough to offset the cost of permanent GPS monitoring, which they were considering. He asked to continue with the ninety-day trial and then discuss the future in connection with budgeting decisions. A motion was approved to continue the trial program for the full ninety days.
Main Street representative Cinda Holt told the Council that the Stevensville Main Street Association had placed ten historic plaques around town on historic buildings ranging from the 1890s to the 1920s. She said more are in the works as well as a walking tour brochure.
Hours were extended for the closure of 3rd Street on Saturdays for the Farmers Market. The Market runs from May to October and has been open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The street was closed till 2 p.m. to allow vendors an hour to take down and remove their stands. By extending the street closure to 3 p.m. the Market can remain open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Stevensville Farmers Market currently has about 25 vendors.
The Council postponed consideration of a resolution adopting lawn watering regulations. A schedule for watering has been followed in the past but without a regulation on the books, according to Klaphake, it is not possible to enforce them. The regulations split watering days between even numbered addresses and odd numbered addresses to conserve water and keep reservoir reserves up for emergencies. The decision was postponed so that the Water Supervisor could participate in the discussion.
The Council also authorized the Planning and Zoning Board to undertake the mandatory five-year review of the Town’s Growth Policy and make recommendations to the Council.