The May 6 City Council meeting got underway with Harry Benjamin making an appearance request to share his latest great plan for additional fun at the Carousel Rest Area of Shelby with the Council.
“I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up some rides this summer on the new pavement on the empty lot next to Pizza Hut, owned by the City,” said Benjamin. “I am asking the Council to consider an agreement with me, allowing the use of it for a day or two a week. I have a train and a few other things that I would bring out. I know the insurance issue would need to be taken care of and I’d take care of that with my company, and whatever else.”
After listening to Benjamin’s idea Mayor Gary McDermott asked Benjamin to please provide a list of the rides and a more detailed explanation of what he has in mind to the Council.
“If you can give us a list of the rides and what all you have in mind so we have a better idea that would be great,” said McDermott. “Once we have that we will certainly discuss it.”
The Council then heard from Saza Lee, the new director for Empress at Marias Care Center. He advised the Council that he was there simply to introduce himself, to share his initial outsider’s view of the town and to learn a bit more about Shelby.
“I moved here from Wyoming as the new director for Empress in Shelby,” said Lee. “This is not a short-term stay for me and my family. With where I am at in my career I will probably retire here. I wanted to come and introduce myself and get to know more about Shelby. I think it’s good to know more about where you live and attending different meetings like this can do that.”
After appearance requests the Council moved on to approve several action items on the agenda. They unanimously approved all claims and reports, the North Central Montana Rural Water Association Marias River Component (aka Shelby South Line) Agreement and the first reading of Ordinance No. 838 regarding Community Decay.
The Marias River Component Agreement approved simply agrees to the Habets family, the only ones currently tapped into the south line, to pay $2,000. As more tap into the line the revenue will increase.
“I think it’s good to stay on the good side of NCMRWA and be good to our neighbors,” said McDermott.
Ordinance No. 838 amends public nuisance protocol for abandoned property. Over the years there have been problems with hard-to-find property owners. The way the ordinance currently reads, the City is required to find and send a certified letter to the property owner. The amended ordinance would allow for the City to do a public notice in the newspaper as another way to serve those property owners.
“We already have this for junk buildings and dangerous buildings,” said City Building Inspector Rob Tasker. “We do this when we can’t find the owners otherwise.”
The Council also heard from Community Development Director Lorette Carter. Carter updated the Council on the Park and Rec Committee’s recommendation in regards to Meadowlark Park, located at the fire hall. Park and Recs is recommending the removal of the chain link fence, to make the park more welcoming. They also suggest offering the tennis court/skate park area to the fire department. City Superintendent Luis Correa stated that he would go and check out the fence located at Sixth Avenue and Main Street and see about taking it out and the easiest way to go about it.
“We will probably have some public comment as it is the only park with a fence and people like to take their dogs there,” said council member Bill Moritz.
In other matters the Council approved American Roofing’s bid for repairing the swimming pool roof in the amount of $33,795. When it came to the bids for the swimming pool ventilation system it was shared that only one bid had been received so far and two others are forthcoming.
“I told them we are pressed for time,” said Correa. “Both Central and Harland came last week for measurements.”
The Council discussed approving a bid not to exceed $19,525, which is the amount of the bid received from All Season Heating & Air Conditioning. This motion did not pass, with the Council being tied at 3-3.
Council members, Lyle Kimmet, Trent Tustian and Aaron Heaton all agreed that it would be best to wait for the other two bids to come in and then hold a special meeting to decide.
Council member Joe Flesch pointed out this is a local, invested community business that has bid already and City Attorney Bill Hunt reminded the Council that they can accept the “lowest responsible bid.”
“All Season is responsible,” said Hunt. “They are local and can respond faster to any issues that might happen.”
After some discussion the Council agreed to hold off on accepting the bid and to hold a special meeting once the other two have been received.
No action was taken on the MDT Construction Agreement having to do with the ADA sidewalks tentatively planned for Roosevelt and Oilfield Avenue.
“These projects are for 2020 and 2021,” said Carter. “It will basically make the corners ADA accessible, cutting curbs and making handicap accessible.”
Hunt reminded the Council that the City gets no say in the contractor that does the work, that is all decided by the Montana Department of Transportation, but once the project is completed the City is responsible.
“I can see why Jade (Jade Goroski, City of Shelby Finance Officer) has been hesitant on this,” said Hunt. “We’ve been holding off, but we need to decide if we are going to move forward and do it or not.”
Goroski did advise that the Council could try and request a vote on the contractor and see if the State would allow that.
“We are not the only community resisting this,” said Goroski.
“The company that did the work on Main Street was not easy to work with last year,” said Tasker. “The sidewalks they did on Main already, not real impressive. I don’t think they are even up to ADA code, not the ramps anyway.”
The Council agreed to table the agreement until the next City Council meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, May 20, starting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.