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The Shelby City Council meeting on Monday, April 1, got underway with Sarah Converse of Sweetgrass Development giving the Council an update on the Brownsfield program.

“We have a number of projects going on throughout the region,” said Converse. “The focus of the Brownsfield board is on economic development and right now we are working a lot in Sunburst on different properties. We don’t do a lot in Toole County because you have a great grant writer, Lorette Carter.”

Sweetgrass Development covers five counties and strives to help them improve upon their economic development and applying for grant funding. 

“We are working to help communities find solutions and other resources to help get the area’s tax base moving forward again,” she said.

The Council also approved hiring a new City Superintendent, Luis Correa. This was not an easy decision. It was one the selection committee, consisting of Lorette Carter, Jade Goroski and Mayor McDermott, spent two weeks on. 

“There was a lot of time spent interviewing, discussing, a second interview,” said Mayor McDermott. “The final two candidates, Luis and Brian Roark, were both great. It was not an easy decision, but Luis is who we recommend.”

The Council then moved to consider the sublease agreement and consent in regards to 555 Industrial Park Road, currently leased by Curt Stene and his wife, from the City of Shelby. Stene leases the property for the Kevin Distributing building and CHS would like to sub-lease from them.

“This is basically asking the City to allow Stene to sub-lease to CHS,” explained City Attorney Bill Hunt. “If CHS does anything to violate the lease Stene is still on the hook with the City. I see no reason to not approve it.”

The Council unanimously passed the agreement.

During the meeting the Council also approved the prior meeting’s minutes and claims for the month, as well as allowing Flesch Farms, Inc. and Mike Irvin to tap into the North Shelby Water Line. Councilman Joe Flesch did not vote on the water tap. 

The Council also approved appointing Mayor McDermott as a voting member for North Central Montana Rural Water Association, repairing the sewer line at the Civic Center, the Landfill gate purchase and a well site survey and analysis from HydroSolutions.

The sewer line at the Civic Center that runs from the kitchen and ladies restroom has been in need of repair for some time. The last bid received to fix it was over $14,000, but recently a quote of $9,050 was given from Sullivan Brothers.

“We put the brakes on when we got the first quote,” said Goroski. “There are a number of events scheduled at the Civic Center for April, including the Chamber Banquet on April 26 and the self defense course on April 28. This is a needed repair at this point and it needs to be working.”

In regards to the landfill gate, the current gate is old, bent and dragging, causing the opener to burn out and not function. A bid of $2,950 was given to replace the part that operates the gate, but the Council was advised that this piece would need to be replaced again in a couple of years due to the condition of the gate itself. Another $6,600 would be needed to replace the gate. The Council opted to approve the entire gate replacement package for $9,550.

The HydroSolutions well site survey and analysis on the test well for offset for Well 6 was approved for $6,500, half of the original bid given.

“We have to meet DEQ requirements,” Mayor McDermott reminded the Council. “This is to determine the best site and aquifer, they suggested we do a test well. The original proposal was $12,750. We thought this was too high; $6,500 was what they came back with.”

Two items listed under Other Matters were tabled, health rates and Well #4, Well Patch. The health insurance increase for employees this year came in at eight percent, not what City Finance Officer Goroski was expecting.

“This is probably double what I thought it would be,” said Goroski. “The overall affect is about $28,000. The City has always tried to cover its employees, their spouses and children, employees have four different options to choose from. Most employees already have some payroll deduction for insurance, this will raise that. It will be an action item at the next meeting.”

The Well #4 Well Patch was also tabled as it has been discovered that the casing in Well 4 is too deteriorated to do a casing patch. 

“Well 4 produces 300,000 gallons a day,” said Mayor McDermott. “Having to re-drill will cost $100,000, compared to $25,000 to patch. This is no longer an action item and a new proposal will be presented at the April 15 meeting. Just because we have the grant money doesn’t mean we have to spend it, we need to still be prudent and responsible with it.”

The next City Council meeting will take place on Monday, April 15, starting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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